When Google first hit the scene two decades ago, it quickly overtook popular search engines like AltaVista, Infoseek, and Lycos for two main reasons.
First, most search services have been caught up in what turned out to be a fatal fad: turning their homepages into a âportalâ to the Internet while neglecting their core function of providing the best search experience possible. . Second, and perhaps more importantly, Google pioneered the concept of using links as a powerful way to assess the quality of web pages through its PageRank algorithm.
The idea was both elegant and relatively simple: links were much like citations in academic literature â essentially a way for the author of a webpage to endorse or âvoteâ for another webpage. Many links pointing to a page suggested that a page was of higher quality than a page with few links pointing to it. Links from authoritative pages were even better. By using PageRank, Googleâs search was so much better than its competitors that it quickly blew them out of the water.
SEOs quickly realized they needed to focus on Google, and the art of link building became an essential part of search engine optimization. In the beginning, link builders simply asked other website owners to link to their site, and these requests were usually granted, especially if a reciprocal link was offered in return.
Today, link building remains an essential part of an SEOâs efforts to achieve optimal search engine visibility. But in the age of fake news, content skeptics, and corporate policies governing what can and cannot be done on most high-quality websites, link building has become a much more difficult task. .
Lisa Barone, marketing director at digital agency Overit, has been building connections and writing about the process for years. These days, its primary focus isnât so much building awareness and link demand as creating content that stands out â to place it, attract links, and ultimately bring people back to a clientâs business. She will share her process for creating a content-based link building plan at our SMX East conference in New York next month.
Lisa describes her process as having four essential parts:
Set goals for content. âNone of us have the resources to create content in the hope that someone will publish it. Nor do we have the time to create content in the âhopeâ that it will provide a measurable return to the business. You should use business objectives to identify opportunities for content themes and content type with examples.
Identify (and obsess over) the main themes of the topics. âUnderstanding our goals for content allows us to define the themes of the content we will place. We need to prioritize content that will help us achieve our goals, while resonating with our audience. Keyword research tools can help identify and segment topics based on user interest and fit with business needs. This allows us to create a data-driven strategy to guide our content/link building efforts around goals and keywords.
Search for gaps in host content. âRunning a content gap analysis on larger linking opportunities allows you to identify what content the site already has, what is working, what is lacking, and where you can build on existing efforts. This helps your content be placed showing the host site youâre paying attention to, while also helping you target your content more specifically for shares and conversion.
Creating Linkable Content. âGetting content placed is one thing; creating something that people want to share is another. To be successful, the content you create must be link-worthy and set up for distribution. Linkable content is content that contains elements such as a strong hook, original research, compelling visuals (videos, graphics, infographics, memes) and [that] comes with built-in resources.
Today, link building goes far beyond simply securing a link to influence search engine rankings. A comprehensive link building plan requires tailoring the content/link building process to business goals, designing content assets most likely to be shared, and focusing on outreach efforts most likely to be shared. to convert into sales.
If you want to hear more from Lisa and other experts in the field, be sure to attend our SMX East conference in New York City October 23-25, 2018.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.
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