Guest post by Jason Parks.
The Stanley Cup is the most coveted trophy in all of professional sports. In order to hoist Lord Stanley at the end of the season, the winning team must have desire, dedication and determination.
Unfortunately, the search engine optimization field doesn’t have a shiny silver trophy to display for the top performing SEO specialists. Still, the reward for implementing a championship link building strategy can be just as satisfying as winning hockey’s most coveted prize.
There is a reason why television ratings for professional sports’ playoffs skyrocket, compared to the regular season. The product on the field or on the ice is top quality, and the fans always appreciate top-tiered competition.
Search engine specialists need to have a playoff mentality when it comes to their link-building tactics. The content they create needs to be championship quality so users will be eager to read the articles. Just as a hot goalie is key to winning a Stanley Cup, stellar content is the backbone of a championship link-building strategy.
Follow the five steps below and your link building strategy will be poised for a long postseason run. A champion strategy will lead to more links back to your site, which in turn will generate more referral traffic, organic traffic and ultimately more leads and conversions.
1. Create a digital PR strategy
All companies should have a digital PR strategy in place to improve their online exposure. This allows your business to earn more web mentions while bringing top stories about your company to light.
Imagine if your favorite hockey player scored a hat-trick, but there was no media outlet on-hand to write about the game. It would be a shame for this tremendous accomplishment to go unnoticed.
This is the equivalent of not having a digital PR strategy for your business. Your company should be able to record and share its many exciting accomplishments as it expands into new territories or donates part of its profits to a local charity.
Signing up for a service like HARO or ProfNet is a great first step to connect with media outlets to share your story. These services provide business experts with perfect opportunities to be quoted in well-known publications.
2. Create an outreach strategy
Businesses need to write down and create a “dream list” of the top ten websites where they would like to contribute content within their industry. By providing articles to a reputable site within your field, it will establish credibility for your company and lead to more online exposure.
For Scarborough East Tennis, a tennis club in Columbus, a site on their “dream list” was TennisNow.com. This tennis site has over 695,000 Facebook fans and includes a readership base of avid tennis fans from all over the world.
Using Site Explorer, the tennis club was able to determine that TennisNow had an Ahrefs Domain Rank of 53, which meant any backlink pointing to their website in the “Author” section would be extremely valuable for their SEO strategy. They were also confident that they could drastically increase their website traffic with solid referral visits.
When creating an outreach strategy, one of the most important components of outreach is the pitch that you intend to make to the site on your dream list. The head tennis pro of Scarborough East Tennis, who happens to be a PTR certified instructor, would write the articles for TennisNow.com and provide “tips and tricks” for recreational players. This strong pitch provided a greater likelihood of the article being picked up by a powerful and reputable site.
By contributing quality content to one of the most well-known tennis sites, Scarborough was able to further solidify itself as an industry expert while achieving amazing referral traffic back to their own site. This relationship could not have been forged without a stellar outreach strategy.
3. Championship Content
In the previous paragraph, we briefly alluded to creating awesome content. Too often, we see generic, boring content created for blogs, which has no potential of being shared.
One of hockey’s most popular blogs is Yahoo’s Puck Daddy. A Zamboni driver was able to contribute a clever article to this extremely popular blog by writing about “Confessions of a Zamboni operator.”
This is a perfect example of creating championship caliber content. The article was witty and unique, and because of the blog’s creativity, Gerald Morton was published on one of the most popular hockey blogs out there.
If Gerald’s article linked back to the ice rink where he works at in Vancouver, this would have provided an extremely valuable backlink to the ice rink’s website! Nonetheless, by writing for Puck Daddy, Gerald was able to establish his credibility and expand his readership base.
According to Unbounce, 73% of people prefer to get their information about an organization through a series of articles rather than in a traditional advertisement. This is yet another reason to create championship content, just like Gerald.
Let’s say you are creating championship-worthy content and have forged relationships with highly respected websites. In order to take your game to the next level, consistency is a huge determinant of your future success.
According to HubSpot, companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website. Creating content regularly and consistently is crucial for generating links. Impact BND states that companies that increase their blogging from 3-5 times per month to 6-8 times per month almost double their leads.
Your company needs to start creating championship content on a consistent basis. So much time is spent on the outreach process of creating content for reputable sites; make sure that after the relationship has been established, you continue to create content for them at least on a monthly basis.
A trick to success when it comes to consistency is to schedule a content calendar for all of the articles that you plan on writing. Prior to each month, write the dates, topic ideas and outlets where your content will be published.
The great part about writing content is that it can be done at any hour of the day. For me, I personally enjoy writing early in the mornings before anyone else is in the office. I also like going to coffee shops on the weekend and hashing out new articles.
Find a time where you will be productive in writing your content and follow a content calendar each month to stay on course.A calendar should also be followed for your outreach strategy.
Dedicate a timeslot each day for reaching out to different websites to forge relationships where you can contribute championship-caliber content.
5. Creative Research
It takes creativity and research to find great online outlets where you can contribute your content. The Zamboni driver knew from reading various hockey blogs that Puck Daddy was one of the more popular ones.
A dental practice in Dayton, Ryan Long Dental, reached out to some of the most well known dental blogs, like dentalbuzz.com and brightnow.com. A lawyer in Tampa, Denmon & Denmon, seeked a content partnership with Lawyerist.com.
Make sure to follow various industry leaders on Twitter and take the time to read at least three news and business articles each day. You will be amazed how many different ideas you can get for content just by reading new material. Then make sure to reach out to those sites that you have on your “wish list.”
If you just read a blog about a Zamboni driver and found the content appealing and you are passionate about the field, don’t be shy to reach out to the author. This can potentially lead to contributing content on their website and establishing another solid relationship!
In conclusion, quality content is the backbone to a championship link building strategy. If you are consistent in creating your articles and reaching out to new sites, your search engine optimization strategy will continue to improve.
Don’t forget to implement a digital PR strategy, as this will diversify your backlink profile and bring attention to all of the great activities taking place within your company.
If you follow these five steps to implementing the perfect link building strategy, at the end of the calendar year, your business will be hoisting the Stanley Cup of link building!
Jason Parks is the owner of The Media Captain, a search engine marketing and web design company.