Content Marketing: A Linking Overview
The online content marketing landscape has seen dramatic changes over the last decade and a half. Today, your content needs to be optimized for mobile formats, heavily linked to authority sites in your niche, and above all, be of outstanding quality.
Gone are the days of using web 2.0 sites, infographic submission sites, and private blog networks to get easy links. In the modern age of content marketing, success boils down to building relationships with top competitors in your space and offering value. Having a clear, researched understanding of successful content marketing strategies and tips for linking will be helpful when trying to increase rankings and expand readership through core content linking.
The Importance Of Getting Links From Relevant Sites
Site relevance is now more important than site authority when it comes to backlinks. This wasn’t always the case. In the not-so-distant past, acquiring “do-follow” links from high-authority sites in any niche could boost your site’s rankings. A newly created site might watch their rankings soar from the acquisition of links from just one or two sites with high domain authority, regardless of content relevancy.
Today, Google places much less value on the overall strength of a site that links to you and much more emphasis on how relevant their content is to your own. Google wants to ensure that they are guiding searchers to websites with a network of content that’s appropriately linked and suited to their needs. Google weighs links from sites in your niche more heavily than links from unrelated sites. This is because Google feels that similar sites are best suited to evaluate the quality of sites that cover the same type of content. It’s these sites that you want to network with.
In the eyes of Google, do-follow links act as votes for your site. If another site links to yours and marks it as do-follow, that site is effectively saying that they stand by the quality of your site. In the event that your site uses questionable SEO strategies and is flagged for them, this can damage the rankings of the site that has linked to you. When a site gives you a do-follow link, they’re essentially risking the reputation of their own site while vouching for your site.
Evaluating Sites For Relevancy
The most efficient way to evaluate other sites for relevancy is to see what sites already link to them. If a given site has a significant amount of do-follow links from a plethora of high domain authority sites in the same niche, that is a solid indication that it is a site worth getting links from.
There are several market research tools out there for this purpose. Some are better suited for certain tasks than others. When it comes to backlink research, Ahrefs is great resource. Their crawlers are some of the most active on the web, second only to Google, so they provide the most detailed and up-to-date information. Other similar tools include Moz, SEMRush, and Spy Fu.
Look For Backlinks Earned With Quality Content
As you scan a site’s backlink profile, look for signs of shady link building tactics, also known as ‘grey hat’ or ‘black hat’ tactics. You do not want links from sites that are still using private blog networks or other strategies that Google frowns upon and penalizes for.
What you do want to see is plenty of high-quality, relevant do-follow links that were acquired mostly by merit. In other words, you want to know that the site earns links because other relevant sites think their content is excellent. They link to it because they feel their readers will find it helpful. If the site passes the backlink check, it’s time to visit it and confirm that it is a link-worthy option.
Visit The Site and Look For Red Flags
The final decision, however, should be made by personally browsing the site. Look for signs of low quality markers, such as poor user experience, that Google might penalize for. When considering building a relationship with a site, ask yourself, “Would my readers be impressed if I introduced them to this site?” If the answer is no, it is better to avoid linking to that site and look for a higher quality option.
Best Practices For Writing Guest Posts
Guest posting, or writing articles for sites that you want to get links from, is the easiest way to get your foot in the door with new websites. Sites are always hungry for quality content. If you can provide them with it, they’ll be more than willing to give you do-follow links in the body of the articles you write for them. Some sites will allow do-follow links right off the bat; others will need to build trust before requesting a link. Many sites have pages where they outline their guest posting guidelines along with editor contact information and article submission forms – something to be sure to check prior to submitting any guest posts.
Leveraging Social Media Platforms To Increase Your Visibility
If your site already has decent traffic flow, then it’s time to start publishing your content on the various content sharing platforms on social media channels. This is where the mobile-first approach becomes influential. Image-heavy platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest are now surpassing Facebook in influence. These image-intensive networks are more suited to browsing on smartphones. Pinterest is now thought of as “the new Google for images” because of how effectively it can be leveraged to increase traffic to your site. For long-format articles that you want to rank for, making an infographic and posting it to Pinterest can skyrocket shares.
Step one to success with content marketing is to create quality content that people in your niche will want to link to. Step two is finding sites that already have high-authority sites in your niche linking to them. Step three is to check these sites out to confirm that they provide a good user experience. Step four is to reach out and offer to guest post so you can begin to nurture an ongoing relationship. Finally, expand the reach of your audience by posting image-intensive content on the various social media platforms.
Successful linking strategies all require a foundation of high quality content from which you can promote and collaborate. Investing in content marketing services from experienced professionals will help to ensure that both content and linking is done strategically and implemented for success.