20. June 2013–
How does the process of generating links, traffic, leads and sales work within the context of inbound marketing? And what’s the deal with link building and content seeding?
How to Improve Your Search Results
There are no two ways about it, really. Next to a reasonably solid on-page optimisation of your website, high-quality link building in combination with online PR and content seeding is essential for achieving success and good, lasting positions in organic search results.
A topic mulled over with increasing frequency on the web and at online marketing symposiums worldwide happens to be a curious little marketing strategy called content marketing. This buzz phrase of the moment is generally known as a quite profitable subfield of inbound marketing, which as a whole is meant to generate links, traffic, leads and sales.
In giving you the following practice-related rundown on the subject, we aim to inspire online marketers on how to build a successful link building and content seeding campaign – one purposeful step at a time and, needless to say, with the full support of linkbird, a SEO management tool that boasts features for all your online marketing needs and wishes.
When done right, the desired outcome should be high-quality backlinks, direct traffic, reputation-boosting social signals and, inevitably, more SEO success in the long-run. To break down the individual steps of this process more clearly, this article takes on the topic in five separate segments, thus taking you on a journey from the planning right down to the analysis of the outcome of a campaign, and enriching the theoretical musings with some useful practical examples along the way. Now, let’s start at the beginning...
1. Plan Your Campaign
The planning of a link building and content seeding campaign should entail both the actual production of content as well as its smart distribution, ie its marketing to the outside world.
Given that the creation of good content is more often than not reliant on an unpredictable variable, which is the creativity of the particular individual assigned to the task, one should most certainly base the development of good content ideas also on actual figures and hard empirical data. Hence, it is wise at the very start, to employ, for example, the Google Keyword Tool to assess the search volume and thus identify the demand for particular keywords. Additional sources for acquiring inspirations for your campaign can be already successful campaigns from abroad or the illuminating stats from very trend-sensitive tools such as the mighty Google Trends or the rather more playful Trendsmap, both of them indispensable data providers on what topics are hot right now on the web (and, sometimes, even beyond).
Once an idea has been found and agreed upon, the content has to be created and prepared for publication. Ever-popular, but rather time-consuming, infographics and whitepapers are not the only options to start with, of course, but do understand that a visually compelling layout has always been the key to success in a mostly visual medium such as the internet.
We at linkbird have by now curated a wide variety of content as helpful resources for our visitors and customers alike. Our popular whitepaper on the art of linkbuilding and our – even to this day – frequently quoted survey among Germany-based SEO experts on the first Google Penguin Update have been the most successful content campaigns of this kind so far.
The SEO experts over in the US, in particular, can also provide you with many exciting stimuli for your campaigns. The aptly-titled Content Marketing Institute, for instance, provides you with everything you need to know, should have known and simply have to know on the topic of – yes, you guessed right – Content Marketing.
Another task in this planning stage not to be underrated is a very precise definition of the intended target group for your content: the one you hope will eventually link to it, spread it and take it into account when making their decision on what they like, need or want.
2. Research Sites to Market Your Content
The second phase of your campaign entails the distribution of your created content in such a way that it keeps generating links and mentions on the sites relevant to your target group. To achieve this rather daunting task, it is first of all sensible to compile a list of potential websites you can contact at a later stage as part of your actual content marketing, ie the marketing of your content – as opposed to marketing your product. One thing you need to understand as early as possible: content marketing is not about boasting the profile of your product, but the profile of your brand, your company, and of yourself as an authority on a subject close to the product or service you are selling.
The research for sites relevant to your campaign is best done by using Google, especially by means of the so-called Google parameters (for example “intitle:keyword”). If you lack the time to read up and get to work on using Google parameters, you could also quite easily fall back on the linkbird sitehunter. Using the sitehunter, which has just about all Google parameters worked into its mechanism, you could search, by way of an example, for sites about “online marketing”, who already featured articles on “infographics”:
Another helpful tool offered by the almighty search engine is Google Alerts. These alerts are sent in pre-set intervals directly to the email account of your choice, allowing you to stay up-to-date on certain keywords or websites trafficking in subjects you have an interest in. It is worth keeping an eye on the endless stream of infomation and to pick out and file the sources you deem appropriate for your campaign.
Apart from using websites (particularly relevant to link building) one should also make time for taking on other marketing channels. Examples are as follows:
- Corporate social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest et al) and, if possible, the personal accounts of members of the marketing team
- Influencers with influential Twitter or Facebook accounts
- Your own newsletter dispensers and also the newsletters of partner corporations
These channels might not immediately generate links, but there is the hopeful possibility of the campaign taking off on its own and thereby animating other potential websites to give your content a valuable backlink in turn.
3. Making Contact and Seeding Content
Making contact with the key partners for spreading and linking back to your content is of utmost importance in this third stage of your campaign. This can be done, depending on the priority, across all channels at hand, starting from phone calls or emails (standardised or personalised) right up to Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. The goal should always be to find the best way to place the content to the satisfaction of both parties involved.
The more personalised your enquiries are, the more likely your success. It is worth investing a lot of time in this step, to make the necessary preparations, to consistently follow up on your enquiries and to finally review your enquiries on their effectiveness following the campaign.
Linkbird offers a quick and smooth workflow for e-mail enquiries: Fold out the website right then and there and take a look at it in linkbird, complete the relevant contact details and enter it into the integrated email system. Later on, you will be able to evaluate the performance of the various enquiry templates quite easily.
4. Keep a Record of Your Performance and Manage Your Links and Contacts
It is vital to document the generated links and to file your newly acquired contacts in a thematically sound order. In doing so, you will be able to review your performance later on and use the contact base for further campaigns down the road.
Hence, it is sensible to add tags to people or websites who like to report on infographics, manage popular Twitter accounts or write week-in-reviews, and file these contacts in your CRM.
A thorough follow-up of the campaign is also very important. You should search for your brand or the title of your article on a regular basis (or even better: get the info delivered to your mailbox via Google Alerts, as quite often your text will be quoted or excerpted in big chunks without placing a link to your original source). In such cases it should be easy to acquire additional backlinks with next to no effort.
5. Performance Analysis and Evaluation
The last step in your campaign should be the evaluation of the budget spent on your activities and the results you managed to create. With SEO it should be easy for you to calculate the price of every click. It is better, however, to calculate CPS, CPLs and CPOs in more telling KPIs such as traffic, leads and sales. This way, you can take into account the immediate and lasting effects of the campaign by way of ranking improvements within the organic search results.
The quality of the generated links can be evaluated after the campaign according to the link profile. Traffic and conversions should be gleamed from popular tools for analysis, the most prominent one being Google Analytics. This free tool shows you how much traffic and conversions were generated through the content – if it is displayed on your own website – and what you have achieved in terms of referral traffic via content seeding, for example by writing guest posts. This may be checked in Google Analytics by clicking through “Traffic Sources” -> “Sources” -> “Referrals”:
By now, you must have figured out that link building in connection with content marketing campaigns is the new marketing gift that just keeps giving. If done right, content marketing and link building can become a lasting pathway for visitors to your site. Apart from giving your website a lasting presence on the web and an improved position in search engine results, link building and content marketing can also generate new traffic and with it leads and sales even beyond the timeframe of your actual campaign.
You might not be able to see your success in the organic search results immediately, for constant improvement and work on your particular content channel is elementary, but content marketing and link building should be part of every reasonable online marketing mix.
As such campaigns are usually expensive and time-consuming, good planning and structured implementation are vital. The recently unveiled linkbird ULTIMATE offers helpful functions and automated workflows for every important step of your campaign, easing your workload in more than one way.
Just go ahead and get yourself a 14-day trial free of charge now!
We wish you a safe and pleasant flight with linkbird!
This article is a sponsored post.