Content marketing shouldn’t be done just for links. That said, if you are developing quality content, your content marketing can – and should – include the acquisition of quality links. In the day and age of Google algorithm changes and penalties, the real question isn’t just how to get links for your content, but rather how to get links for your content that won’t get you penalized. In this guide, we’re going to look the best ways to get links to your content, and how to assess the quality of those opportunities before pursuing them.
(Image Credit: http://photopin.com/. Used under creative commons licensed.)
Most of the links you will get from the top social media networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. – will be nofollow or redirect links. That said, they are still important to ascertain. The reason? The more exposure you get for any piece of quality content, the more likely you are to reach someone who would be willing to link to that content.
(Screenshot taken 01/22/2014 of http://klout.com/)
The following are the best social links you can get for your content:
- Share a link with your personal profile and business pages on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.
- Share a link in applicable public groups and communities on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. Do not share random links with just any public group. Also, when you share links within public groups on Facebook, your friends’ timelines may get cluttered with updates that you shared a link in a group each time you do it. So if you share your link in 30 groups within an hour, your friends may be bombarded with it as well.
- Pin an image from your content onto your personal and business Pinterest account.
Since the goal of social links is to get exposure, be sure to experiment with the best types of link sharing on each network. On Facebook, for example, you’re better off sharing links by posting a photo with a link in the photo’s description vs. a direct link itself. Of course, with Facebook starting to reduce the popularity of memes, the traditional direct link sharing might start to become more effective again. It’s all about experimenting with each network and seeing which approach gets the most engagement, and continuing to monitor that engagement for any potential changes.
When you network with bloggers in your industry, you’re opening the door to lots of great link opportunities for your content. In particular, look for blogs that regularly link out to great content in the form of daily, weekly, and even monthly recaps and digests. Great examples include SearchCap from Search Engine Land and Marketing Day from Marketing Land. If you get on the radar of authors of these posts (generally Barry Schwartz and Matt McGee), then you’re looking at some very valuable links to your latest blog posts. Besides these top sites there are other publication like upcity.com/blog, Contentmarketingdaily.co.uk, etc which comes out with a weekly top articles list and are a good way to build links. Links that will not only have great authority, but links that will drive some strong traffic.
The secret to getting links from bloggers isn’t a secret at all – it’s simple relationship building.
When you genuinely connect with a blogger in your industry that tends to link out to content often, they’ll notice your content more and be more likely to link to it on their site. If you build a good relationship with one of these bloggers, you can occasionally send them a quick email to let them know about a particularly amazing piece of content you’ve been working on in hopes that they will share it with their readers.
Social Bookmarking Links
Social bookmarking links are easy to get – simply submit the link to your content on a number of popular social bookmarking networks. Like any good source of links, however, there are good and bad neighborhoods within the social bookmarking world. In particular, steer away from services that offer to submit your link to hundreds or even thousands of social bookmarking sites. However, a lot of those sites will allow anyone to bookmark anything, meaning your great piece of quality content will have a link sandwiched between shady online pharmacies and casinos. So, proceed with caution.
The most popular social bookmarking networks of the past have included Delicious, Diigo, and StumbleUpon. StumbleUpon is still a great traffic generator, even after their network was completely revamped. Delicious no longer has the option of making content hot due to the lack of a public-facing homepage full of the top stories (you now have to login). Both Diigo and Delicious bookmarks can be accessed publicly without logins if you go directly to specific users’ profiles.
(Screenshot taken 01/22/2014 of https://delicious.com/stamen)
In addition to social bookmarking networks, there are also social voting networks. People submit links to be voted upon by other members of the network. The more votes a piece of content gets, the more likely it is going to become hot on the first page and get a lot of traffic. Some examples of great social voting networks to try include Reddit, Digg (if you have content on a well-known site like Gawker, Forbes, and Business Insider), Inbound.org (for online marketing-related content), and BizSugar (for business-related content).
If people are asking questions that you can answer using a piece of content as reference, then by all means share it. Quora is a network to try for this approach and, depending on your niche, so is Yahoo Answers.
The steps to implementing this strategy are simple.
- Search for questions with particular keywords matching your content.
- Read through the questions to find ones that your content answers.
- Share a succinct answer to the question, then leave the link to your post as further reading material.
(Screenshot taken 01/22/2014 of https://www.quora.com/)
The best part is, with Yahoo Answers especially, if it’s a question that a lot of people search for, that particular question has a good chance of ranking well in search. This will lead lots of people to the question, and hopefully to your answer – especially if it is selected as the best answer.
Repurposed Content Links
Another way to get links to your content is through repurposing. Let’s say you have a lengthy blog post. Think about the ways you can repackage your content on other networks. This includes things like presentations on Slideshare, infographics on Visual.ly and videos on YouTube and Vimeo. This strategy, of course, takes a bit of work, as you have to reformat your information into a different medium. It can be well worth it if you consider the fact that people like to consume content in different ways. Maybe someone who wouldn’t have linked to a blog post will link to a video or embed your Slideshare presentation.
(Screenshot taken 01/22/2014 of http://www.slideshare.net/HubSpot/)
If you want to repackage your content, but you don’t have the time or skills to make presentations, infographics, and videos, that’s ok. Use services like Fiverr to find people who can do these things for you for very little cost (but be sure to review them for quality). For the best results, look for gigs with high ratings and the option to add extras for additional value adds.
A Final Word of Advice
There is a fine line between promoting your content in a variety of ways to obtain links and spamming. Don’t tweet your post a dozen times a day, send impersonal emails to bloggers asking them to link to you, drop links on questions that have nothing to do with your content, or create substandard videos for a link on YouTube. Just like you want your content to be quality, you need your promotional methods to be quality too. This way, you’ll build a solid reputation – and links – within your niche.