Link building remains the toughest part of SEO. No matter how good your website and your content, without quality backlinks Google is not going to give your website or groovy content page much airtime.
In January 2017, I said link building is getting harder. Well, 12 months later and it’s even more difficult.
Publications are no following links or have a strict policy to not link externally at all. Google is looking for quality links which drive engagement (in other words, links that people actually click on), and there’s simply more competition.
I recently saw a post on LinkedIn by a traditional PR agency saying that 2 years ago, just 10% of their clients KPI’d them on links, and all they wanted was coverage and brand awareness. Well in 2018, 90% of their clients now want links on top of their media coverage, meaning not only are we battling against the many SEO agencies, but traditional PR companies looking to get links, too.
So, how can you successfully build links in 2018? And how do we ensure they are high quality and engaging, so that people actually click on them?
Think like a PR, but act like an SEO
In last year’s post, I quoted our Strategy Director, Stephen Kenwright: “Link earning is the process of adding so much value to a story that journalists and bloggers cannot fail to link to your website when covering it.”
This still remains true!
When thinking of ideas about how to build links, you need to firstly think:
How can we earn the coverage?
What story or headline is a journalist going to be interested in, and therefore their audience is going to read?
What kind of story will their audience share, as ultimately that is how a journalist is KPI’d?
Once you’ve cracked the story, you need to work out how to turn that coverage into a link. If the journalist can cover the story without linking to you (because they don’t need to or it doesn’t add value to their article or readers), then completely start again.
How can you create something that almost guarantees a link?
Create something onsite that journalists can link to which adds value to their story, is engaging, or acts as a resource.
Of course, this is going to cost money, but the content doesn’t have to be all singing and dancing. Static infographics still work! Yes, I said it, they’re back and as long as it’s creative, engaging and resourceful, it will work. Interactive assets, data led reports, or design led visuals are always going to get both quality and quantity links. If you don’t believe me, here are some examples to prove it.
Campaigns that achieved both quality and quantity links
Free data led assets: TomTom build 6,500+ links to a Worldwide Traffic Index
This is one of my favourite and most simplistic campaigns.
TomTom launched a Traffic Index campaign which takes their own ‘extra travel time’ data experienced by motorists to map out congestion in every city and country in the world. Using this information, they created a Traffic Index, revealing where each country ranks for being the most or least congested.
Each year, they re-launch this asset updating the stats to send to press. This simple data led campaign has achieved over 6,500 backlinks across