As a webmaster, one of my concerns is to ensure my website is associated with high quality original content. And I gladly share and promote content that I find are helpful, and that others from my circle might benefit from. And probably you do too. And how you wish everyone just cared as much and shared and linked to content sources more often.
Acquiring natural link backs to the website is one of the major challenges most webmasters are working on, as we speak. Content marketing has become one of the distinguished points of achieving this goal. (Refer to this insightful article for impacts of an effective content marketing strategy. Linking to content pieces is simple, but getting credit for the link – be it content, infographic, images, videos, whitepapers, case studies –anything at all, gets challenging (because our geeky friends can figure out ways to use resources without attributing it to the rightful owner/author). That’s when even though, despite tireless effort of producing quality content (and probably succeeding at it), you don’t see the fruits of labor.
You could follow some strategies that, for the most part, will give you positive results. The best part about this is the links, if you are able to establish them, will be the most natural link-backs of your website. But before you jump on, here’s a setback – these are not quick tips or easy link baits. You have to work for it. Now, dive in.
- Download the entire list of inbound links coming to your site from the Webmaster console. Now look at the link sources – browse every opportunity to see which links link to your blog posts, white papers, events section, a seminar or launch, or any other piece of text or media. Extract this list. Now you want to approach every webmaster that linked to your content without giving you the due credit. A simple email thanking them for using your content followed by a request to state proper credentials should work for majority of cases.
Think about it, you probably use content from different sources for references without mentioning the owner every time. It could be a slip, a miss or simply ignored because no one urged.
- There are some great guest posting sites, and no, these are not your run-of-the-mill content churning sites (It wouldn’t be fair to take names!) I personally do not recommend going to a blogging site that simply wants to connect different bloggers without a benchmark or verifying author credentials, and asks them to submit posts. They lack the quality and the credibility since they are open to all. Instead, find out websites that truly care about a high quality content culture. These websites have their own set of highly professional and acclaimed writers, who have achieved a certain level of expertise and hence authority in their respective fields before starting out to write and share perspectives. They are achievers, public speakers, consultants and entrepreneurs from different walks of life. And they write on topics under different broad segments, from entrepreneurship to telecommunication, broadband to gaming, automobile to micro finance – which means you will have ample choice of categories and there should be one category that is specifically meant for your business.
- Always believe this – quality beats quantity, at least when it comes to the power of your pen (or your keyboard!) You have to do your own research to figure out options that are your best fit. But you could explore these options – Forbes, Marketing Profs, etc.
- Remember, it is not an easy route. You have to build your way up. For many websites, they will not accept your content at the start, unless you have an impressive author profile. But that’s the best part – they differentiate average from good, and that’s a benchmark we should set for ourselves.
Ways to overcome this issue – start building up your profile on the web. You could start with leaving comments on websites of repute, participating in conversations on topics relating to your industry. Additionally, be regular on your blog. If you have pals in the industry, approach them and offer to write a guest post for them about one of your current technologies you are working on, or one of the latest trends that your industry is experiencing. When writing, instead of linking to your site directly, link to your one of your own blog posts that has another perspective or is a prelude or an extension of this topic. You have acquired a meaningful link there!
- Plan. Even before you write, make a plan to get the most out of that shot. Here’s how. Think of a content chain – select a topic, it could be a single fragment of a chunk, and then dissect it into three to four angles. Research. You will know there are so many people who have so much to say about it, and share so many perspectives. Now decide on what are the things you want to talk about. One – Your general view, two – a critical view, three – debugging common myths surrounding it, and four - top 5 dos and donts. Now set your target sites where you want to post them. Instead of linking them all back to one page, link them to each other, and link one of them back to your blog. You have a content chain – a network of content pieces that are relevant, high quality (you will personally look into it), and your link is a part of a meaningful content hub. Note, you may be very knowledgeable and an expert in your field, but may not necessarily write well. Do not hesitate to hire a good content writer – another investment worth the money!
This is just one way of going about it, but no one is stopping you from being creative!
- Check if your images/infographics are referred to. (In fact go a step back – use high quality informative graphics that others find useful enough to refer to). Approach them to credit your website for the source of the image. Embed videos so they link back to you. (Remember investing in a good video can give you great ROI than most of your other marketing tactics. And what’s best, no one can use the embedded video without linking to you!)
- Get sneaky; look for link opportunities that your direct competitors have explored, and go get them. If your buddies got hold of them, there are highest chances of you cracking those options.
You don’t always act in anticipation of favorable results (although it may turn favorable after a point of time). Build your network – find out authors, reputed writers, public speakers and connect with them on social networks. Read what they are writing, engage in meaningful conversation, and refer to each other when conversing on a forum. It builds a great network of like-minded people with some level of authority in the domain, and every one gains out of it. A tip here – when starting out, choose ,id level or other start-up writers who are equally trying to link up, instead of the big fishes who may care less about a new comer.
For those struggling to find the right connections – here’s a tip – find out one good article/blog post by a reputed author on a highly reputed website, look for him on G+ (for author credit, irrespective of the controversial and shifting credibility points from Google’s network, I always recommend to stay active on Google+). You can pursue him on other platforms as well like Tweeter, Linked In etc. Once he is added, look in his circles, and sort by profile names and designation. You can just target one author a day. (Please DO NOT SPAM them). Post your writings regularly and be sure to maintain quality. Soon you will develop a natural readership among your circle and will experience an increase in page views every day.
So engage, explore and share if you find out creative ways of establishing a foot print back to your site.