Link Building vs. Content Marketing
A lot of businesses make the mistake of thinking that certain SEO techniques can’t possibly lose their edge. Ask any company that relied on blog commenting, forum signatures and other shady SEO techniques of yesteryear about this mistake and you’ll earn a few nasty looks and a lengthy tirade for your troubles.
The fact is that simple SEO techniques almost always become less effective over time, especially if they’re not quite ‘white hat.’ The world of SEO moves quickly, which means that tactics used successfully by a client two or three years ago are often not just out of date, but completely out of use.
As SEO’s, it’s unfair to blame clients for strategic shortcomings. After all, a lot of the mistaken SEO strategies we often have to clean up when dealing with new clients are due to other agencies pushing bad advice, outdated tactics, and thinking that’s only really suitable for the short term.
Because of this, we have an obligation – a responsibility – to make sure that clients aren’t just up to date with their rankings and the revenue that they’re creating, but the tactics that are creating those rankings.
One of the biggest SEO tactics of 2012 was guest blogging. It’s still an effective SEO technique, in certain circumstances. However, the guest blogging tactics of 2012 – a ‘spray and pray’ approach to marketing – a more likely to trigger a severe penalty than a lucrative first-page ranking.
An excellent way to transition your clients away from outdated SEO strategies is by explaining the value of content marketing. This explanation of content marketing is from digital marketing agency Custard Media.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is, essentially, building links the way Google wants you to. The guidelines issued by Google are simple: links should be created naturally by users, and not by site owners.
This means that instead of buying or negotiating links in the form of guest blogging campaigns (as many blog posts are ‘bought’ indirectly), marketers should focus on earning links by creating content that web users want to link to.
How much does content marketing cost?
Content marketing is all about quality, and quality doesn’t come cheap. In order to attract links naturally, your website content needs to be something that offers real value for readers, not just keyword-filled content aimed at pleasing only Google.
One of the toughest parts of content marketing is getting your promotional efforts on the move. Lay the groundwork for your content marketing campaigns by using Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks as a promotional tool.
While content marketing is undoubtedly more expensive than the ‘written purely for Google’ link building that worked a long time ago, it offers a big advantage for marketers in terms of value: unlike generic content, it doesn’t attract penalties.
What kind of results can content marketing produce?
Worried purely about your ROI? Content marketing can’t be tracked and measured to the exact precision of a PPC campaign, but it is an easy form of marketing to track and quantify if you look at the right metrics.
These three infographic campaigns are great examples of content marketing done the right way. All three are simple infographics that rely on interesting, engaging information – the opposite of the generic, bland SEO content of years gone by.
Sunshine and Happiness – 85 links and 154 Facebook shares
Guide to Social Media Success – 504 links and 476 Facebook shares
SOPA: The Internet Blacklist Bill – 5,018 links and 12,907 Facebook shares
Think about the amount of guest blog posts that you’d need to write in order to get even 85 inbound links. At 10 posts per month, it would be a nine-month campaign.
Worried that infographics are too expensive? Not so. Here’s an interesting thread that discusses the massive level of variation in infographic pricing.
5 key points for content marketing success:
- Old fashioned link building is a dangerous game, and Google has a very good track record of catching up with offenders
- Content marketing is a safer, smarter alternative that generates good results without the headaches
- Content marketing is all about valuable information and creativity – not just a big budget or endless patience
- In many cases, content marketing is a much more cost-effective SEO method than traditional link building
- Unlike traditional link building, which focuses purely on direct marketing, a good content marketing campaign also enhances your brand