“Link-worthy content is the last thing you need to get links.”
As SEO we all know how hard it is to get quality links for our sites. Link acquisition becomes even more difficult when we don’t follow any formalized process.
This blog post is an attempt to develop that formalized process and to make our jobs as link builders much easier. So without further delay, I present to you my ‘Link Building Pyramid’:
Here I have represented ‘Hierarchy of ‘Link Building Needs’ in the form of a pyramid with the most basic needs at the bottom.
I got inspiration of this pyramid approach from ‘Maslow’s hierarchy of needs’. However, unlike Maslow’s theory, it has nothing to do with psychology. So you can chill :)
Resources are required to:
Gain domain knowledge
Develop/hire subject matter expertise
Develop networks, authority and link worthy contents.
That’s why I have chosen resources as the most basic need.
These resources can be:
Top industry sites (from where you can acquire domain knowledge/expertise)
Hardware, software, people, time, money, inclination, capacity etc required to run a link building campaign.
Say you have a client who runs a web development company and his target audience is ‘chiropractors’. His advertising goal is to get sign ups for his services from as many chiropractors as possible.
Now if you are not already familiar with ‘chiropractic’ then you need to acquire domain knowledge so that later you can find and hire ‘subject matter experts’. You can start your domain knowledge hunt through sites like Wikipedia.
According to Wikipedia:
Chiropractic is a health care discipline and profession that emphasizes diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, especially the spine, under the hypothesis that these disorders affect general health via the nervous system.
Now you have got the rough idea of what chiropractic is.
Generally every Wikipedia article has the ‘References’ and ‘External links’ sections at the bottom which can help in finding industry resources.
As you follow these resources link by link, you can expect to find even more resources and industry experts (aka subject matter experts, SMEs).
Generally, a large sum of money is required to afford these SMEs.
Time and inclination are required to socialize with potential linking partners.
Hardware, software, and content development capabilities are required to develop link-worthy content.
In short, you need resources to run a successful link building campaign. You can’t expect to rule your industry with a shoestring budget.
Subject matter expertise (SME)
If your client is not an SME, then you have to hire one.
Since you are an SEO and not an SME, so acquiring basic knowledge of the domain (like chiropractic) is not good enough to network with chiropractors and establish your authority in the chiropractic industry (which will later help you in making your contents go viral and acquiring links).
You need to hire a person(s) who practice/study chiropractic and who can guide you with your content, help in networking, and establishing your authority in the chiropractic industry.
A chiropractor may charge anywhere from $50 to several hundred dollars per hour depending upon his level of expertise and industry recognition. So subject matter experts are expensive and that’s why ‘Link Building Services’ are even more expensive.
Without subject matter expertise you can’t socialize with professionals in your niche and thus can’t establish your authority or make your link worthy contents go viral.
In short, without SME your link building campaign can’t get off the ground.
It is the platform where you can demonstrate your subject matter expertise.
It can be industry events (conferences, seminars, workshops, trade shows, training sessions), industry forums, industry blogs, meet-up groups, social networks, and other online/offline communities.
Network is required to establish authority and to build good relationship with your target audience and potential linking partners.
Without network, you can’t make your contents go viral and thus probability of getting quality links diminishes significantly.
You can develop your network on your own site in the form of blogs, forums, or groups and you can also take advantage of one of the largest networks on the net like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
All these networks have ‘status update’ like features that can be used intelligently to make your content go viral among your target audience.
You can update your status to something like “found an interesting article on parasailing: https://bit.ly/cEvViD“. Such updates generally appear on the home page of your connections.
So if your timing is right, you can catch the attention of a lot of your target audience immediately.
However, you need a lot of connections/followers/fans, for this strategy to work in the first place. Consequently, it makes sense to join and participate in at least all major industry events, forums, groups, and communities.
You need authority so that your connections show interest in what you say and take your tweets seriously.
One of the best way to become authority in your industry is through contributions.
Become one of the top-notch contributor of your network.
Here the theory of karma comes into the picture: “What goes around, comes around“. More people you help, more they will like you and tweet/re-tweet whatever you say. Consequently faster your contents will go viral which will eventually help you in getting links to your site.
Link worthy content
Although this is pretty obvious, you need link-worthy content to get backlinks.
People won’t promote crap, no matter how authoritative you are or how big your network is. Conversely, your link-worthy content won’t get you many links if you don’t have network and authority. Finally, link building is all about people.
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About the Author
Over 15 years of experience in digital analytics and marketing
Author of four best-selling books on digital analytics and conversion optimization
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