The big shift in SEO over the past two years has been toward all things quality. Indeed, both users and search engines want to see quality results, and so as a marketer, it’s your job to give it to them.
Make great content and the links will come, they say. Do interesting things and they will talk about you, we’re told. Add value and you shall be recognized.
Sounds good, sure. But is it enough to hope and pray that the internet gods notice your site and bestow the almighty link in all it’s natural splendor? No. It’s not.
Quality does come first, but then what?
The cases made for quality leading the way in SEO strategy are valid insofar as you should never expect links without a reason for earning them. Let’s take that as a given. If links are counted as votes, you don’t want to be caught rigging the election– that’s not natural.
But you’re a marketer. You have results to get that involve real, measurable things like traffic, registrations and conversions. You market to make money. You don’t market for the sheer joy of enlightening the world. And even if you did, why will the world find you?
There is no magical notification system that tells the great mavens of the interwebz that some genius post has just been written or a new awesome site has been launched. And if you’re producing good stuff without a supporting promotional effort, you’re just painting a billboard in the desert.
Great content is not magnetic, unfortunately. It should be attractive to your audience once it’s found, but it has to be found first.
Publish everywhere and publish often.
Fine, so no one has an intrinsic urge to look at your website just because you’re doing great work over there. And as such, you aren’t getting any links, so Google doesn’t notice you, but if Google doesn’t notice you, you can’t get found, and so on. We get it. It’s awful.
You can’t just wait for links to materialize. You have to cultivate them.
To begin earning more completely natural links, as votes for your site, you must first earn links as a member of your community by publishing content off-site. Yes, my friend, we’re talking about guest blogging. Like there was any doubt?
Guest blogging gets your original content out on blogs that can grow your online footprint. That’s the real point here. Links matter, but they’re just one part of the bigger picture: your site needs to get found. If you’re making a pure link building play, chances are good that your footprint won’t last because you’re cutting a corner with link purchases, exchanges or whatnot. But if you lead with content, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t last, as you build credibility with industry members, prospects and search engines, all.
Of course, guest blogging isn’t the only tactic available to you. While it can do wonders for your marketing and SEO, if you depend on it exclusively, you risk an unbalanced “portfolio” of links and other credibility indicators.
Publish more than guest posts.
What else is there? Lots. Think beyond the guest post and your ability to cultivate valuable links grows dramatically.
You could offer yourself or another industry insider you know as a subject for an interview. A well-written interview that serves a blogger’s audience can make for great reading and a perfectly appropriate way to mention and link to your site without promoting it explicitly or linking to it from an author bio.
Many related industry sites and blogs will be more than happy to publish an infographic, so long as they know about it and it serves their audience well. Dozens of services now exist to help you craft interesting infographics. Since you are likely to spend some money to get a professional one done, be sure it’s fairly evergreen and definitely interesting so that it can syndicate widely and doesn’t go quickly out of date.
Film yourself giving advice, completing an online task that people often have questions about or whatever else you would otherwise write about. Like infographics, multimedia matters and gives you an alternative way to express yourself and provide value to other publishers. At the very least, your own youtube and social channels can help do the syndicating for you.
Oh, the dreaded PowerPoint presentation. Lucky for you (and unlike ye olde endless meetings) online users love clicking through a series of informative, useful and succinct slides that might take a long video, infographic or article to convey. If you’re a B2B marketer, LinkedIn users get all geeky for SlideShares.
Many blogs are happy to reprint or summarize articles you’ve written on your own site. They aren’t going to matter as much to your own site’s SEO as something original, but Google doesn’t look at all duplicate content as “scraped” and evil. In fact, your syndicated articles will sometimes appear above your own site in search because the host sites are that much more credible. Check out MyVenturePad and BizSugar for a couple examples of sites that are happy to aggregate what you’ve already written.
If you have a need for organic search placement, you must be actively producing a wide array of content, and publishing it everywhere you can.
Do you have more proactive link building tactics to share? Please tell us about them!