Digital marketing makes use of a blend of technologies that include video and social media. The good old SEO method of link building to generate traffic and rise in ranking seems to have receded into the background. However a recent study by Stone Temple shows that link building still matters and is relevant. Link building can be defined in the current context as reaching out to a niche audience to build relationship and, in the process, market your brand.
The way Google (and other search engines work)
Search engines are constantly at work to deliver content that informs, educates and proves to be enlightening or in some way useful. Google’s Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird updates, for instance, drive SEO agencies to be more careful when they attempt to manipulate links or otherwise stuff content with keywords in an attempt to derive higher rankings. Content receives top priority. Penguin update pecked down on spammy websites and improved chances for genuine people who wrote truly good content.
The good old method of solid, informative, innovative and noticeable content still works. The catch is that the content needs to be spread over sites that Google considers as “authoritative”. This means more effort to develop content and to get such sites to accept and backlink with the content. It is also important that links come from more sites rather than multiple links from one site for the search engine to view it with a favorable eye.
Site owners and their SEO agents may think PRs are an easy way out but, much to their chagrin, Google places no importance on PR links, which is one thing to keep in mind.
Search engines, much as they are driven by the need to monetize operations, are equally focused on the needs of searchers who look for quality contents and link building can take advantage of this fact.
Social media a mixed bag
Social media may be dominant and video as well as images may continue to be popular but may not totally influence traffic and link building as was presented by Rand Fishkin in his whiteboard presentation. Users on social media, it seems, are rarely interested in delving deep into content. It depends on how one leverages the power of social media. For instance, maintaining a strong presence on Google+ and populating it with rich content will certain attract Google’s attention since it is tied to Google Authorship. Google alone has 200 ranking factors and content still ranks high. However, keyword based content has given way to natural language content based on semantics. One of the things you can do with social media is to get people to share links that point to authoritative sites. The seriously interested ones will read and appreciate.
Just as search engines focus on delivery of quality contents and displaying such results in searches, the website owner and SEO handling expert too need to build content that addresses needs of people. Even today it is not surprising that detailed information is hard to come by in certain areas however hard one searches. Fulfill needs of people who want detailed information and you influence them so positively that they may consider buying your product. People matter. It is after all people who will recommend, spread the good word or buy. Back in 2009 it was about guest blogging followed by PR and content licensing and then infographics in 2011. Since 2012 it is relationship building. You do this by giving something of value. They remember and repay.
The sad fact remains that any one individual can write only so much on a topic. This is where one can take advantage of the skyscraper technique. Someone else, somewhere, has written good content. Build on it, mention the source and get in touch with the source to get him to display link to your site or blog. It works both ways and benefits both. This is but one of the many strategies that work to show relevance of link building.
The strategies for quality link building are many but not one is easy. One needs to work hard besides coming up with the right content. Getting an SEO company to develop content and engage in link building is likely to fetch long term benefits for a company.