The most difficult part of optimizing websites for search engine optimization isn’t the technical aspects of code, it’s the continuous battle to always get relevant, well-respected links.
It can be tempting to take shortcuts with SEO, but those who take the time to do it right can combine the best of both worlds to get great links naturally.
The content that gets shared the most is the content that is the best quality. In a world where there is a never-ending consumption of content and millions of publishers fighting for attention, the quality of the content needs to be constantly improving.
It’s important to keep the user experience in mind when thinking about promotion tactics, because improving the user experience leads to more successful campaigns.
Richer content is more likely to be shared and to earn links, citations, and other signals. Now that we know what content marketing is, let’s explore how much effort you should put into your content strategy.
1. Building super links with content syndication
When deciding what to include in your content, it’s helpful to look at the overall goal. It is important to consider who your audience is and what kind of content they are likely to want to consume.
- eBooks: Still a great format used mainly in lead-generation style businesses. Usually, an eBook promo will get you an email address that you can use to continue the conversation.
- Blog Posts: Great for breaking down thoughts and chapters of an eBook into more actionable steps (eBooks are full of nuggets that at times get lost). Many eBooks actually start as a series of blog posts that get assembled later on.
- Infographics: These still get a lot of love! The web is a visual medium with a short attention span. Compared to an article, a well-done infographic contains a ton of value not only in its content but in the process of creation – bloggers in particular are quick to share them.
- Infograms: Not everyone has time to scroll those infographics, and the smaller and easier to digest infogram is a great way to break them down (much like a blog post is a chapter of an eBook). These work great in social media spaces, too.
Other overlooked formats
- Video: People learn from movies. Video is going to continue to become a dominant form of content marketing as production continues to become more affordable and easier. Did you know YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world?
- Microvideo (Instagram, Vine): This emerging trend is finding a home among teens and millennials. Shorter video tends to be more socially friendly (30 sec or 60-second vignettes) and is also very engaging.
- Bonus: Consolidate your design efforts! You can create content in any of the formats listed above and repurpose it in another. Take a blog post and use it as a script for a video and then strip the audio for a podcast.
2. Strategize versus seeing what sticks
After determining your key performance indicators, you should identify themes that will help you achieve these goals.
There are many factors involved in crafting a strategy, so we often try to do too much without a plan. Before you start putting the content together, go through the following scenarios to help establish an outline:
- SEO Targets: Find the semantic modifiers of keyword buckets that drive context. For example, Starbucks might want to create content to target coffee pod keywords, but K-Cup keywords are just as relevant. This not only works with your own keyword strategy but also your links and citation building. Links are important, but links in content with relevant content are even more so.
- Outreach Targets: What resonates with publishers in your target verticals? What are your customers reading/visiting? Find the influencers via social media, visit the links they post then add them and ask them questions, so later when you need to communicate with them they know who you are.
- Social Sharing: What kinds of content or topics get the most interaction? Use tools like SharedCount to find out which specific pieces of content got hot and went viral. Research bulk content from competitors or industry sites and see what gets the most social sharing, then incorporate that into your current content strategies.
- Social Influencers: Who is sharing this hot kind of content in your niche? We’re not just talking about bloggers here; you’ll want to find YouTube and Vine stars and, as previously mentioned, popular Twitter users.
- Ad Enhancement: You have additional opportunities to grow content amplification in paid channels. Plan in advance to do Facebook, Reddit, and StumbleUpon advertising to amplify organic content success.
- Content Lifespan: Can this content live and breathe on its own? Your content should bring residual users forever (not just the short-term). Again, think about the bigger picture and how you can position this content to constantly drive value to the user.
3. Build your content nucleus
The goals you have for your website may be different from what you want to achieve through content syndication or lead generation. Having a strong foundation on your website will help you get the most out of your efforts.
Do not try to sell your product in this text, simply promote your link in order to get people to share it. Consider the following when deciding the layout and design of the task at hand:
- Syndicated content should not always link directly to “money pages” (usually your sales or product pages) – it should link to an on-page resource, such as blog or informational pages. You do however want to include some call-to-actions, like email subscription and commenting options.
- Once your on-page source attracts links and value, after the initial “pop” of promotion is over, then you can take advantage of the residual search traffic by incorporating more of your “money” page elements into the content and design.
- Infographic image files are great for syndication, but be careful. For example, WordPress users will want to use a Lightbox plugin for viewing the infographic, so people are not linking to the image file itself. Create supporting content to go along with the infographic as well.
- HTML 5 is a preferred and indexable way to support graphic assets and still be SEO friendly.
While creating great content is important, it’s only half the work that goes into having a successful website.
Your next task, after producing content, is to find people to consume it. This is where you’ll start building an audience that is loyal to your own brand.
4. Pillar pages to build backlinks
What is a pillar page? A single page that covers all aspects of a topic. A pillar page is a web page that covers a broad topic in depth. For example, you could create a pillar page about the topic of SEO. And then, pieces of cluster content around topics like “blog SEO”, “technical SEO”, “on-page SEO”, and “off-site SEO” that have more specific keywords within each topic.
A pillar page is a longer, centralized hub page on a website. It is hyperlinked to cluster content blog posts.
“HubSpot” explains that the “primary topic pillar pages” are more specific than the “cluster content”.
It’s important to post content on a regular basis, but creating “pillar content” will establish you as an expert in your field and keep people coming back long after you’ve published it. Pillar content is content that is in-depth and addresses the pain points of your readers.
Pillar pages improve your website in many ways. They generate organic traffic, improve your search rankings, and increase conversions.
Adding internal links to your pillar pages can help improve your website’s ranking, according to HubSpot.
When you have made your pillar page, the following thing you need to do is come up with a promotional strategy to get high-quality backlinks to your website’s pages with the most content. Working with a good SEO agency can help you get more backlinks.
5. Skyscraper technique for turning content into high-quality backlinks
The Skyscraper technique is a link-building strategy where you improve existing popular content or come up with new ways to communicate that message. This technique was created by Brian Dean. This can include updating statistics, unemployed a better design, or leveraging a more engaging medium.
After creating your in-depth guide, look for people who have linked to similar content and contact them to include your newly updated article. You can use SEO tools to automate this process.
This technique works well for building backlinks because:
- Existing demand – When you discover existing successful content, you know that there is demand in the topic you consider addressing. (For example, an income calculator for freelancers.)
- Serious ranking potential – Google has already indexed the existing resources. Adding to that, nobody likes pointing visitors to outdated resources. Use this opportunity to persuade the site owners to link to your “skyscraper” content.
To make sure your in-depth article is useful, keep it up to date.
It’s important to keep your content up to date with new trends, topics and statistics to ensure that it remains valuable.
6. Create expert roundups and interviews
This type of content is designed to make people feel good about themselves and their work. If you’re looking to get expert opinions for your roundup article, try reaching out to domain experts and bloggers. Many of them will be happy to contribute as long as you link back to their site.
If you want to earn backlinks, you should feature an expert or domain specialist on your site. Readers are more likely to keep referring back to advice from an expert, so this is a great way to earn links.
To maximize this strategy, determine if the influencer or expert you’re contacting usually links to resources that include their input.
When you post the article on social media, tag their handles so they can retweet it and share it on their feeds.
This is an example of an email that is well-personalized. The format I used for my expert roundups and interview posts can be replicated by you.
Keep the outreach emails simple and easy to read. Include single lines and links to your work. You shouldn’t need to spend more than a few seconds scanning the email to see if it’s worth responding to.
7. Use the broken link-building strategy to attract links with minimal effort
If you don’t have time to create new content, a broken links strategy can be useful. The task involves finding web pages on an external site that have dead links. Next, ask the site owner to switch out the dead link for a working link to your site that has similar content.
The strategy is effective because when you tell others about the broken links on their website, they understand how it could result in Google penalties. In other words, they’re happy to get rid of the old links and replace them with new ones.
If you are new to this strategy, you should start by running a backlinks check on competing sites. Each broken link is an opportunity for you to get a new customer. Backlinks are an important ranking factor, so outreach is a great way to build white-hat links.
After you’ve finished your link-building campaign, send follow-ups to the people you contacted.
8. Earn social exposure for increased visibility
Google has said that social signals are not related to ranking, but you can still use social media to increase the reach of your content. You probably use social media platforms as search engines more often than you realize. Whether you’re looking for a specific person, trying to find out more about a topic, or just want to see what others are saying, social media platforms are a great way to search for information. They play an important role in how we find answers to questions.
Use the large number of people on these social media networks to connect with your audience. Use social media platforms as a way to discover new content pieces and give them greater exposure.
You can increase the visibility and engagement of your linkable assets by advertising on social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Not only do they help you capture the attention of your prospective customers, but they also help generate leads. There are social media marketing tools available that can help you get more exposure.
If your content gets more engagement on social media, it will get more views, which will result in more links and mentions.
Backlinks are important for ranking in Google’s search engine. However, not all backlinks are equal. The link quality depends on relevance and placement. Creating links to your content is not difficult when that content is high quality and valuable.