When I started off in the digital marketing world, acquiring backlinks was a major force. SEO experts swore by their efficacy. Companies, even startups, paid tons of money to hire and engage executives to get backlinks. This army was roughly called ‘link exchange guys’! Since those early days of the internet and digital marketing, much has changed. Techniques have evolved and somehow, the traditional model of acquiring backlinks has been relegated to the backburner. So much so that ‘link exchange’ is nothing short of an abuse in SEO parlance!
Yet, you would be making a huge mistake if you write off backlinks completely. Backlinks highlight your importance online. There is no better indicator of a brand’s popularity than its outreach on the internet. That is probably why a Search Quality Senior Strategist of Google, Andrey Lipattsev, holds backlinks as one of the two most importance factors considered in the search engine giant’s website ranking system.
The problem starts when brands, especially the middle or lower tier ones, try to acquire links. The usual skyscraper approach of using email blasts directed at websites popular than yours for link exchanges do not work anymore. Despite all those resources engaged in directing emails for links, precious few come with favorable responses. Bigger brands do not want any truck with your business and you end up frustrated, heaping colorful abuses on the use of backlinks and how useless it can be as a tool!
It is time for a different approach. Here’s what I think about circumnavigating your way around the question of acquiring links. Now big brands are not offering you backlinks because your content and website, or brand value, is not good enough for them. Once your content starts to get popular, these brands will notice your work and you will probably get what you are looking for. The key is to make your content popular. Your brand name should be noticed online. You can do them in a number of ways.
Infographics, for example, is a tool that is continuing to ride the popularity wave. Initially people though that they will die out like a yesterday fad. But it has caught on and survived. Once you create infographics, you should promote them through your online channels. Social media platforms will be excellent for this purpose. You can embed them in newsletters and send them over. Identify content creators of a similar vein. Contacting influencers in your domain of work is another option for you. Email them your work instead of just link exchange requests.
Other than infographics, gifographics is another technique that works. Animated gifs are extremely popular on social media, especially Facebook. You can do one step better by providing the gif code for those who like your gif and want to use it on their website or blog. The idea here is to open up your content for new audiences and content editors. Instead of simply looking for links, let them notice your work and be interested in your brand.
There are a couple of thumb-rules that you can follow to judge the value of your content. Ask yourself: would you share the content you are creating if you were an unassociated user who has nothing to do with your brand? Secondly, take the content’s main keyword and do a Google search. Are the content quality of the first 3 results better than the work you have created? If the answers to both questions are in the affirmative, you are ready to publish the work and take it to the big brands.
After all, you should remember that it is doubly difficult for a largely unknown brand to get noticed than a popular brand. If you get something in your email from a reputed brand, you are tempted to check it out. For a smaller brand, the content must really stand out to get noticed. This is the target you should have when developing content. In the modern day SEO world, only excellent content will get you the cream of links for your website. Almost all other efforts will draw a blank.
So, rethink your body of content and that will redefine your efforts for better backlinks.