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Calculated Content Promotion: 5 Ways to Earn Links

Alicia Lawrence

At the end of the day, most business decisions are driven by the desire to make money. That’s no different when it comes to content marketing.

There’s really no end to the amount of statistics that highlight just how necessary content marketing is to business success. For starters, websites that have blogs have 434 percent more indexed pages and 97 percent more indexed links compared to their blogless counterparts. What’s more, B2B companies that have blogs generate 67 percent more leads per month than non-blogging companies.

Businesses that move forward with content marketing strategies wish to build meaningful relationships with their customers, providing them with content that adds value. But that relationship, businesses hope, will ultimately be financially lucrative to them.

Brands might very well create the best content. But if that content is not drawing eyeballs, what's the point?

It’s no secret that crafting content marketing strategies with SEO optimization in mind is important to ranking higher, and thus getting more readers to your content. But it’s only half the battle. Google also cares about how many other people are linking to your content and encouraging other people to read it.

Let’s take a look at some examples of how you can earn links.

Five ways you can earn links to your content or website

  • Build broken links. Pages on the Internet are relatively transient things. We’ve all patrolled the Web enough to have encountered the dreaded number 404. By regularly looking for broken or dead links on pertinent content and having a substitute for that content readily available, owners of other websites might very well replace a dead link with your link if you ask them. You can use tools like Broken Link Finder to find broken pages.

It’s important to do the research before creating your content. By using specific keywords in the Broken Link Building tool, find pages that would have potential for this tactic. You can use Wayback Machine to see what was originally on the page and then make a better resource for all the pages that linked back to that now dead page. Before creating the page, make sure the sites that did link to it are relevant for your company and are in “good neighborhoods.”

  • Steal competitor links. If you come across content that has links to a resource you know you can do better than, it’s definitely worth your while to reach out to the website owner and ask whether that person would consider using your revised resource instead. Do a little research to make sure that the link is organic first, because paid links will not be changed.
  • Let the right people know. If you write a white paper on cloud computing, for example, send that white paper to bloggers and journalists who cover cloud computing. You just want to get the word out about your resources, and if the content you create is thorough and comprehensive enough, you can bet that it will be linked to.

This works best if your content is an infographic, video or some other form of comprehensive up-to-date research. Take for example, a journalist who recently wrote an article on the upcoming 2015 Mustang specs. New specs were released this week, and you made sure to update your company’s page with the latest information including an infographic. In order to get a link from that journalist you could: 1) offer to write an article about the latest research or information for the writer, and then slide in your relevant link, 2) let the journalist know of the latest specs and send him or her your link via email, or 3) suggest to the journalist to update the old link they had in his or her article with your new updated one (which hardly ever happens when it comes to journalists, but bloggers are more flexible).

  • Go to the source. It’s all about networking, so build relationships within a niche market. For example, find the movers and shakers in the construction industry and engage them regularly. Find out where top construction sites like EHS Today get their news. Go straight to the source and then try to become the source by positioning your company as a thought leader and developing relationships with these influencers.

In doing so, people will listen to what you have to say and actively follow your content streams. It’s important to keep in mind that you shouldn’t only talk about your brand, but rather the industry as a whole. Covering all facets of the industry shows that you really have your fingers on the pulse of what’s going on. Once you have established yourself as a thought leader, you can rest assured that people will be linking to your resources regularly.

  • Reclaim links. Sometimes, people simply forget to link to your resources, but will mention them nonetheless. By setting up Google Alerts for specific terms, you should be able to ascertain whenever someone mentions you. If they aren’t linking to you, it could be a mistake or it could be something that just slipped their minds. Reach out to them in a friendly way and ask if they wouldn’t mind linking back to your content.

It’s important to keep in mind that there are certainly more than five tactics you can employ. Luckily, there’s no shortage of information on the Internet if you want to consider more strategies. The more comprehensive your approach to getting people to link to your content, the more links you’re likely to get.

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Alicia Lawrence is a content coordinator for WebpageFX and blogs in her free time at MarCom Land. Her work has been published by the Association for Business Communication, Yahoo! Small Business and Muck Rack. Her last article for SEMrush was “How to Persuade Customers to Follow the Call to Action: Part 2.”
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Simple tactics but they're what really work in the white hat world