Like so much, link marketing has changed a lot over the years. While it used to be the order of the day to leave a post in a forum and place a link in it with more or less effort, today the focus is on the user. The point is that you show the user new ways of providing them with a suitable guide or an e-book and not appearing in heartless link lists.
Don’t get this wrong!
A link in a corresponding partner section can also bring the desired success. However, your main focus should always be on the added value for your reader or consumer. After all, you always have two goals: on the one hand, to disseminate user-relevant content, which increases the awareness of your brand, and, on the other hand, to generate reach and improve keyword rankings and visibility on Google.
What Is Modern Link Marketing?
If you consider the advancing digitization and the steadily expanded media use with the associated lower attention span, it is crucial to convince with your own content and to attract attention. As mentioned earlier, building forum links (links in a post in an online forum), blog comments (comments under a post on a blog run by someone else), or links in lists don’t work. If you used to concentrate on the pure mass and therefore resorted to such methods, this is often no longer possible today.
Many forums delete unrelated links to commercial offers and bloggers in most cases not only want to keep their blog clean but also want to determine what is linked, when and how. Websites with the mere purpose of collecting links are not relevant for a better Google ranking and, in the worst case, even harm.
But how can you make your website better known? You should differentiate between two central options: Classic link marketing via guest contributions, interviews, sponsored posts or advertorials; Link marketing using an e-book, an infographic or other free user-relevant content.
In both cases, you definitely have to invest a lot of time and possibly money. With classic link marketing, you need a certain media budget to pay for the creation of the editorial articles and their placement. If you want to create an e-book or an infographic, you usually need even higher amounts. On the one hand, you have to collect data and possibly commission a study. The information collected is then evaluated and processed both graphically and editorially. Added to this are the costs for graphics and the layout by an appropriate agency. And you will find out: As always, the work does not go by itself.
As soon as you have clarified which approach is right for you, the task is to find suitable topics. Let’s just imagine together that you would choose an infographic or an e-book. Then you should ask yourself the following questions using a checklist:
- What is my budget?
- Who is my target group and what defines it?
- Which topic is the target group interested in?
- Has the topic already existed in this form?
- Can the topic be prepared in an interesting way?
- Does the topic relate to topicality (seasonal aspects and trends may have to be taken into account!)?
- Can I create a full-fledged e-book or a meaningful infographic with the topic, or is it too “thin” and doesn’t produce much?
- Are there one or more experts for potential collaboration?
If you can answer these questions satisfactorily, you can start creating the content. This process is essential for successful link marketing today. Such informative and high-quality prepared content should spread without much PR work and significantly increase your visitor numbers. If the finished product is now available, it starts with the backlinks. The following points are highly relevant: How do you find suitable websites and partners that not only fit your e-book or infographic and your target group but also link or mention the content?
Step 1: Find Suitable Cooperation Partners And Websites
In the best case, your content is suitable for social media and can be shared directly with all followers by many interested parties via Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or other platforms. To achieve this, you select suitable influencers and get in touch with them. Here you present your e-book – if it fits the influencer and his target group, the first stone is laid. In any case, ask him to let you know when he has set a link to your e-book. In the end, this will help you take stock and find out how successful the campaign was.
It works differently if you want to present your content to specific websites and thereby promise you a link. It is important to observe certain rules and criteria that will help you to find the right pages. First of all, it is advisable to enter the selected and treated topic in the Google search and to look at the first twenty results.
There may already be suitable websites here that you should take a closer look at. You may now be wondering which criteria are relevant to you. This is quickly explained using the following quality guidelines.
Criterion 1: Layout: If a page is attractively designed, the first hurdle has already been overcome.
Criterion 2: subject. Another look at the topic and the rough structure of a website is just as important. If a page has a suitable category, but otherwise covers all possible topics from cars to fashion, family and nutrition, this is less interesting for you. If you take a closer look at the individual categories and find that almost every post has a link to a commercial page, you should refrain. This is most likely a website that is solely there to place articles on it and make money from it. Another indication of this approach is affiliate links in large numbers. Make sure that a website serves the information of the user and not pure commerce.
Criterion 3: Publication opportunities. The website, therefore, needs a suitable area in which something interesting about your content can be published. This can be a blog area or a magazine. An advisory section or a suitable news section would also be possible.
Criterion 4: Imprint. If this is well maintained, up-to-date and no image file has been inserted, you can take a closer look at the page. There are website operators who say they want to protect themselves from spam with a picture imprint, but there are other options for this. For example, the e-mail address could be rewritten so that it cannot be recognized as such directly: info [ät] website [dot] de
Criterion 5: timeliness of the website. Another important point is that a website is up to date. There’s no point in promoting your content if the site posted its last post half a year or more ago. It is also counterproductive if several articles are published per day. This is perfectly normal for an online newspaper, but it shouldn’t be the rule for other sites. With high-frequency publications, your contribution to the e-book would be lost and seen by few users.
Step 2: Define Keywords And Increase Visibility
If you are sure that the website meets your requirements, the topic fits, the layout is appealing and you see the potential for a link, you should take a look behind the scenes. There are various tools for this – one of them is Sistrix. This enables you to quickly and easily find out a website’s keyword rankings and query their visibility. You could first check your own page and find out which keywords you are currently ranking for in which positions on Google. Those in positions 11 to 20 are particularly interesting, as these are the rankings of the second page of Google results. From them, you can then draw conclusions about which keywords are relevant for you and which you see the chance to improve on page one. After you’ve made this list,
On the one hand, you look at the visibility index (SI for short) at Sistrix. The value gives you a first impression of how “strong” a page is. If the value is high, it can be assumed that the website has many visitors. High traffic is of particular interest because if many users visit a page, many will likely also look at your content. With a backlink there, your own site will also be better known.
Let’s say you have a shop for speciality sports shoes and you’re creating an infographic with statistics on “Buying running shoes before, during and after the New Year”. This graphic will be published on a busy site and you can win new customers who have never heard of you.
Incidentally, your keyword running shoes has now improved in this example, as the infographic is well received and is distributed further. A few fitness bloggers have also become aware of this and link both your shop and the graphic on their blog and on Facebook.
If you’ve created content that is so popular with users that it spreads without you having to do anything, you’ve done everything right. Link marketing can work this way so that in the end you can only collect and check the links that have been set – for example using a backlink tool like ahrefs. If your infographic isn’t a sure-fire success, you’ve already read what a website needs in terms of keywords and quality guidelines.
In addition to the pure number that Sistrix gives you for visibility, you should take a closer look at the course: The curve from zalando.de shows a steep increase. If it goes like this or something like that, you should include the page in your closer selection. Because it attracts a lot of users and your content is shown to a lot of potential customers and prospects. On the other hand, if the curve has been going downhill for a while, you should find out why. You can quickly see whether, for example, a Google update has been rolled out and what percentage this has made up of the visibility. Sistrix shows the updates by means of pins so that you know immediately what a possible change is related to. If a page is less visited, this can also affect the visibility curve.
Step 3: Pay Attention To A Natural Backlink Profile
After you have dealt with the topic of backlinks, you should still be clear about what a natural backlink profile is and how you can find out which links already exist. What do you have to consider if you want to help with the backlinks and distribute your content yourself? First, you should take a look at what your competitors’ backlinks look like:
- How many backlinks do the competitors have?
- What is the percentage distribution by visibility?
- What is the percentage distribution of DoFollow / NoFollow?
- Is the one link marketing campaign known to the competition?
- Do you know whether your competitors are doing traditional link marketing themselves?
- Which pages are your competitors linked to?
You can use two tools to find out all of this: On the one hand, Sistrix, as you can use it to quickly carry out competitor analysis on the first three points, and on the other hand, the ahrefs.com mentioned above will help you. With this, you can, among other things, determine your own backlinks.
First, look at the first three points. How many links do my competitors have and how do I compare? If the numbers here are significantly different, then you should get to the bottom of the matter and find out why these differences exist. Linking according to visibility is also relevant in this context. If your competitor has many backlinks in the SI area over 50, it would be a worthwhile goal for you to penetrate these areas too.
The same applies to the distribution of the DoFollow / NoFollow links. For a natural distribution, look at the ratios of the competitors. You should place yourself on a similar spectrum. The best way to get DoFollow links is with the content you have created for the user, NoFollow links are set in a sponsored post. You can recognize this in the HTML source code by the addition “rel = nofollow”. If this attribute is not added, it is a DoFollow link.
At ahrefs you enter a domain that you want to investigate. The online tool outputs various values. You are interested in the backlinks. The “Backlink Profile” shows you data on the total number and the history of the links.
Under “Backlinks” you can also see at a glance which page the entered domain was linked to last. The article in which the competitor was linked is also visible. So you can see whether interesting content, the homepage of the shop domain or maybe a picture has been linked.
This also shows you whether the link to the competitor was deliberately placed via classic link marketing (e.g. via an advertorial or sponsored post) or whether an e-book or blog post was linked here. It is important that you always have your backlinks and those of your competitors in view. This is the only way you can think about new measures in good time and stand out from others.