Three Backlink Strategies, and What They Mean in the Context of Influencer Marketing
SEO and influencer marketing have always been about visibility. From the very inception of SEO, it’s been concerned with getting content in front of a larger and larger audience. Today, scale isn’t really the problem. We’ve since shifted to a more nuanced kind of visibility, wherein it’s of vastly greater importance that your content be seen by the right audience.
One of the guiding principles here at Colibri Digital Marketing is that quality will always trump quantity. The strongest option will always be the one with the most concentrated impact, not the broadest reach. That approach comes into play when we develop backlinking strategies for our clients, as well. We’ve found that the more relevant links will always get the greatest traction.
With the rise of influencer marketing, the backlink game has opened up into new avenues. Today, we wanted to compare and contrast some of the top backlink strategies for digital marketing, and see where they might fit into the newly broadened ecosystem.
While not traditionally seen as influencer marketing, getting your site on a number of directories is a low-cost way to radically increase your link network. It’s possible to get dozens or even hundreds of links in a relatively short blitz, and there’s definitely something to be said for the boost your site’s rankings can get from a robust backlink network. On the other hand, if you aren’t careful about precisely which directories you’re being linked from, you run the risk of getting penalized for spamminess.
There’s a middle-ground, here. You want to leverage directories that are relevant in some way. If there’s a defensible reason why you’re on a particular directory, beyond the fact of the link itself, then you’re probably in the clear. For instance, lots of directories operate within a certain industry. You might get listed alongside other independently owned local businesses, say, or, if you’re a B Corp like us, your listing alongside other B Corps would be a perfectly valid directory backlink.
It’s really all in the name. Directories direct relevant traffic, and help connect seekers with providers. If someone might search that directory for the sort of service you provide, then it’s a valid, if relatively low value, link.
Guest Posting and Mentions
These links are of significantly higher value than their flatter directory counterparts. There a few different factors that all contribute to this increase. First, where a directory will host lots of different links, almost by definition, your host for a guest blog, or a specific mention on another site, will have considerably more weight behind it. The host site is saying that you’re worthy of specific mention, and that your content is valuable enough to be worth hosting.
Linking is a two-way street, remember. If someone links to your content, they’re sharing a part of their own reputation to back it. If your content turns out to be a dud, they’ll have lost face in front of their own readership, so a link from a site like that is a clear mark of trust.
Since that trust won’t be given lightly, you can be assured that you’re in good company. A backlink from a guest blog or from a mention, then, not only builds your network but provides a significantly higher value for your rankings. On the other hand, you can expect to work harder to earn those higher-value links than you would for a directory listing.
This is also where we start to get into the overlap with influencer marketing. While guest posting (and other direct links from different sites) have always been a strong option for building your network (indeed, this is the kind of link that Google was built to evaluate in the first place, back in the late 90s), those links have skyrocketed in importance in the past few years. A mention from another site is great — even a casual one — but an endorsement from an influencer (say, a YouTube starlet or Instagram sensation) is all but worth its weight in gold.
Influencers have set themselves up as authorities on the world at large, often for an audience of millions of loyal followers. While a single mention is still only a single link, it can still send huge swathes of eager new traffic your way, and that’s sure to be reflected in your site’s relative authority.
(For those who haven’t seen the term, Domain and Page Authority are some of the primary metrics which determine your site’s rankings.)
Lots (and lots!) of people go the extra mile and pay to sponsor mentions from influencers. (SIDEBAR: Sponsored content is content for which the host has been incentivised in some way, and on most sites it is required to be identified as such. It used to go by the term native advertising.) While there’s certainly nothing wrong with this approach, so long as it’s used in good faith by all parties, there is still one more link strategy that might better position your brand as a thought leader in your industry, and net you a wider and more valuable link strategy in the process.
It may seem a little odd to name content generation in a post about off-page SEO, but here’s where it gets fun. Influencer marketing, and sharing culture in general, have changed the game. We’ve reached a point where content creation has become a viable strategy for off-page SEO.
Think of infographics, for instance. They’re a type of content that’s designed to spread, not to be hosted in any one place. They’re comprehensive content tidbits that make the rounds on any number of industry feeds, pages, bulletins, emails, newsletters, and more. They get picked up, shared by influencers, and, eventually, traced to their original creation source.
Each and every one of those shares comes with a link straight back to its parent site.
The act of unleashing quality content onto the web is, itself, a way of increasing your link network substantially. And the best part is that virtually all of those links will be a high-value, high-trust link, because it’s in the nature of sharing that only relevant content makes the cut.
Producing quality content is the single most effective way to increase your site’s visibility, and it’s an incredibly effective way to build your link network in the process. Beyond that, if you become a trusted voice, that shareable content goes a long way toward positioning you as a thought-leader, and influencer, in your own industry. The word “organic” usually refers to traffic flow, but consider too how shareable content can take root, and help your link network to flourish, all without much need for your direct influence.
Organic metaphors work quite well, we’ve found. Networks and audiences grow, content goes viral, and influence blossoms.
Colibri Digital Marketing
Colibri Digital Marketing is San Francisco’s only full-service B Corp certified digital marketing company. We’re putting out new content all the time, so we hope you’ll follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and don’t miss out on the chance at a free digital marketing strategy session!
Originally published at colibridigitalmarketing.com on July 26, 2018.