Building links to a lot of other, highly-regarded sites is a big priority for any site. For now (and for the foreseeable future), link building is, arguably, the most effective way to promote content and increase search engine rankings. Since it takes time and effort to do, many site owners would like to short cut the whole process.
However, the fact remains that links are still the basic form of communication between websites, and the easiest way for search engine algorithms to judge the value of a site. So, link building remains an important part of any online marketing strategy.
Of course, as any veteran link builder will tell you, linking to other sites is the easy part. Getting trusted sites to link to you-- not so much so. Why? Well, the trusted authorities have been around the block a few times. They know when it’s worth their while to link to a site and when it’s not. Much like in “real life”, the football star isn’t going to give the average plain-Jane the time of day.
So, prepare your clients for the fact that their sites are likely to be ruthlessly snubbed for awhile. It happens to everyone- at first. What will it take to get noticed? Neither time nor even large amounts of fresh content will necessarily get people to link to your clients' sites. These are helpful, but for you to really start seeing results with a link building strategy, they must back up and reevaluate the quality of their content.
Lee Odden at TopRank once asked, “How can you attract links if you don’t have content worth linking to?” This statement seems painfully obvious, but it’s been proven time and again that people tend to gloss over the content portion of their marketing strategy in order to focus on marketing tactics that they believe will get them quick results. As if these tactics are individual and apart from each other.
The truth is, they are always part of a larger plan—or at least they should be. Start with original, thought-provoking content. If your clients are just starting out, or developing a blog, or getting involved with social media for marketing purposes, the same principles apply. Start them off right--consider advising them to not worry about link building until they’ve established their ability to produce worthwhile content on a regular basis.
Here are some ideas for creating better content, so your clients can get the big boys and girls to notice them:
1. Target your audience
Identifying your market gives direction to your content. Before you start writing about topics that may or may not interest your potential customers, find out who’s likely to read your stuff. What would they like to know? What are their concerns?
2. Choose good keywords
With all of the keyword research tools out there now, there’s no excuse for missing the mark. Despite the fact that content marketing is no longer focusing on keyword density, and the “rules” for placing keywords in your content have loosened up considerably, you still need to be indexed properly. The proper keywords (and related terms) in your content give the search engines a way to know who you are.
3. Offer value
There’s content, and then there’s useful content. Offering value means that you take the time to research your topics, provide answers and helpful tips, share timely news and try to be a solution for your readers. Once you establish the fact that a) you know what you’re talking about and b) you are committed to helping them, you’re on your way to becoming a trusted source.
4. Don’t sell
Unless your content is on your squeeze page or product pages, please do not use it to sell products and services to your readers. It’s not nice. Enough said.
5. Update your content
Building your reputation takes about as much time and effort as it sounds. It doesn’t happen overnight. You need to create fresh content on a regular basis in order to keep people interested in you. Try starting a blog and posting a new one at least twice a week. You can do it every day if you’d like. Useful content is one thing that you can’t have too much of, and people will learn to check for it each day. Let people subscribe to your blog and bookmark your content (another effective way to get links).
Great content, maintained over time, will not go unnoticed for long. Link building with quality content is the best, most authentic method for your clients to establish themselves with readers, and achieve higher rankings naturally. Should they stop linking to the authoritative sites? No! One day, those guys are going to become curious, check out the links, and see what your clients have to offer.