In an ever-evolving digital landscape, adapting is a necessity. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) changes as the search engine algorithms at its core do, rapidly or over time. However, as much as it may change, there are a few constants that provide timeless, universal value. Most notably, content marketing remains essential, and link building always remains valuable as a source of organic traffic. What’s more, the two can synergize; there are many ways to build links through content marketing. Thus, let us use this article to explore this match made in heaven.
What is content marketing?
In brief, content marketing is exactly what the name suggests. It’s marketing strategies that aim to produce and distribute content to select online audiences. Understandably, its primary goal is to create traffic.
The vast majority of digital marketers attest to content marketing’s value. To remain brief, content marketing works for a plethora of reasons, as it offers the following, among others:
- Exposure and trust-building
- Increased website traffic
- Lead acquisition and conversions
- Enhanced SEO
Even the best content requires marketing to reach your audiences and serve its purpose. As such, it’s a crucial, fundamental aspect of online marketing.
What is link building?
Similarly, link building refers to strategies that produce links to your website.
Naturally, link building increases website traffic; links produce traffic by design. In turn, however, it also produces such benefits as:
- Increased page authority (PA) and domain authority (DA)
- Opportunities for professional relationships
- Increased trust through informative, quality citations
For these reasons, link building is a common SEO practice that is always beneficial. Even if search engines devalue backlinks, which is highly unlikely, they will always provide traffic and enhance content quality.
How to build links through content marketing
Having addressed both components of this question, let’s now delve into how exactly you may build links through content marketing.
#1 Create high-quality content
“Quality is king”. This famous tenet of all digital marketing is a fundamental prerequisite to all content marketing strategies and thus link building. Therefore, the cornerstone of building links through content marketing, or succeeding in content marketing at all, is producing quality content. Quality content is what both search engines and audiences care for and what readers and viewers share.
Quality content hinges on a plethora of factors. From keyword research to your final copy, many elements can elevate your content:
- Substance, accuracy, and freshness
- Content structure and formatting; headings, subheadings, bullet lists, etc
- Visual content; images, video, infographics, etc
- Tone and style, in accord with your intended audience
- Lack of grammatical and other mistakes
Thus, at the very beginning of content creation, you should ensure you offer substantial quality.
#2 Offer guest content
Your own content aside, creating content for others, or “guest content”, is a tried-and-tested strategy. An oft-cited study from Hubspot found that blogging offers tremendous value to businesses – but not everyone has the time or resources to do so.
Thus, guest content benefits both sides. Websites that publish your content enrich their content libraries while you get the opportunity to build links through it.
However, as you provide guest content, remember the fundamental rule of content and SEO; quality matters. Guest content can’t be overtly promotional or merely a lengthy excuse for a link. Websites won’t accept this, and neither will audiences.
#3 Create pillar pages
On the internal side, a way to build links through content marketing is to create pillar pages. Pillar pages are, essentially, larger, thorough pieces of content on a subject that then include links to related subtopics.
The reasons why this is an effective strategy are numerous. For one, it strengthens your internal linking, an important aspect of SEO. In turn, it enhances your page structure and increases traffic to your other pages. Similarly, it provides more value to readers, as they get the opportunity to explore particular topics of interest in depth. Finally, it increases your page authority, which in turn improves your rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs).
#4 Remember the skyscraper technique
The skyscraper technique, first coined by Backlinko’s Brian Dean, is an equally valuable strategy to consider. It’s a reasonably simple technique at its core:
- Find popular content in your niche or industry
- Expand on it, adding value
- Promote your content to sites that host your competitors’ content
This technique builds on the freshness factor of SEO, as well as the basic tenet of content quality. By finding such sites, you’ll have identified demand; all you will need then is to supply. By doing so, you won’t only build links through content marketing but also provide valuable, engaging content.
#5 Engage in social media
Few strategies offer as much outreach as social media marketing. If you already have a social media presence, social media can also provide immense link-building opportunities.
Sharing content on social media is no new practice; it helps websites gain traffic. However, such exposure can also help build links, improving your overall reach considerably. Consider, for example, how adding internal links to your content can let it serve as a gateway to your website. Your bio and profile description sections act as permanent links too. Finally, social media platforms see massive content sharing; provide enough quality and audiences will share your links, too.
#6 Address broken links
Finally, this lesser-known technique hinges on the undesirable broken links all pages sometimes have to face. But while fixing your own broken links can improve your website’s health, fixing other sites’ broken links can build links for you.
For this strategy, simply identify broken links on another page and offer to replace them with links to your new content. Site owners will benefit from it in terms of SEO, and you will get new links with minimal effort. Simply put, it helps both parties without inducing unnecessary risks.
To summarize, there are multiple ways to build links through content marketing. Whether through guest content or skyscraper content, pillar pages or social media posts, or even plain broken link replacements, opportunities are endless. Remember that “quality is king”, and your content marketing will do the rest.
About Author: John Miles is a freelance web designer and digital marketer based in NY. He’s a frequent blog contributor on sites, where he discusses SEO, PPC, and other subjects of interest for fellow digital marketing enthusiasts.