You may have seen a recent Moz post by Simon Penson from Zazzle Media, Forget Google’s Games: Make Social a Primary Traffic Source. This post brought to life the idea of driving traffic to your blog or website without relying on Google. Wow!! A bold statement but I truly believe in what he is saying.
For too long we have relied upon where we are placed in the search rankings. Anyone that has been in this game for even a short period of time will have experienced the constant flux in rankings and therefore the immediate loss in traffic, if all you had relied upon was Google.
I want to put forward a claim that a no-follow link is just as important as a followed link. Of course in an ideal content marketing campaign, every link that you receive will come from a highly relevant and authoritative source.
9 times out of 10 this is not the case. What you need to put all of your focus on is earning links from highly relevant, influential sites with the potential to pass you a large percentage of their current followers.
Instead of building links with no other objective than to augment your position in the search rankings, concentrate on content creation that is interesting and educational to your specific audience.
This is More Than Just Link Building
Sure, link building is a major part of any digital marketing campaign and at least in the near future will still have a big role to play. This is not just link building though, this is content marketing, and at its very best can help you, your business or your blog to reach the peak of your industry or niche.
I am going to explain why you should be concentrating on what traffic each link you build will pass on to your blog and how you go about executing this strategy.
Assuming that you already have a blog filled with fantastic content this method will bring you a lot of success in your niche.
Link building needs to be viewed primarily as a way of driving highly targeted traffic to a website and any rankings increase advantage is a secondary bonus. Google are getting closer and closer to using a ranking metric of time on site and consumer delight, if you will. I think blog owners need to concentrate on where their audience is and focus on reaching out to the people that really care.
Industry Influencers are your Number One Ally
Every industry has its leaders. Finding them has never been easier and if you can get in front of them and provide them with something of value then you should have no problem getting them to promote your blog and link to your work.
Influencers already have the audience that you need. The fastest way to grow your audience is to make your influencer’s audience, your audience.
Action Plan > Create Content | Find Your Audience | Build Relationships
Followerwonk is a program by Moz that quantifies Twitter influence. Just a few minutes of digging will find you the top influencers in your niche.
Open up Followerwonk and go to the “Search Twitter Bios” section.
Enter a keyword relevant to your niche.
Sort by “Social Authority”.
Add all of the people that you want to target in your industry. After a short space of time you will have a solid list of industry influencers.
Now, if you have read any blogs on link building in the past I know what you’ll be thinking. Yes, you’re right this does sound a lot like a technique used for acquiring link targets.
Well this is where we part ways from the work of a standard link builder and move into the business of content marketing.
Social Media & Building Relationships
I’m going to go out there and say that building relationships with key industry folk is the single most important part of driving traffic to your site when using in this method.
The point is it would take you years to build the following that Brian Clark, founder of Copy Blogger has. But building a relationship with him by sharing his content, engaging with him and influencing him with your content will ultimately lead him to share your content with his audience, opening up another avenue to market your blog or business.
Start off with 20 to 30 influencers from your list. This is where the building of those all-important relationships begins. Don’t expect this to happen overnight, remember that real humans are at the other end of your conversation. You need to treat this as if you were engaging with someone in person.
Twitter is awesome for creating relationships with your influencers. Add all of your shortlist on Twitter and monitor their conversations and the content that they are sharing. You might even be lucky enough to have a view of your influencers follow you back straight away.
If not you need to find a way of getting them to notice you. Create a list in Twitter that includes all of your top influencers.
Open up your target profile > Click on the options dropdown and add to list.
Create list named “industry influencers” and add a description. Make sure to keep the list private. Your followers seeing this list could have an adverse effect on your relationship building efforts.
Just be yourself and build relationships because you want to and not just because they are important to your business/blog. You’ll read a million and one posts instructing you on how to behave when communicating with people on social media. Social media is supposed to be a digital form of real life communication. Act exactly as you would in a conversation at work. Do not be false!!
Lets face it; the majority of social media veterans are going to be able to sniff you out for being false immediately. They want to build relationships too, so just speak to them about what interests you and be honest about which blog posts of theirs you have enjoyed reading. Don’t just skim a post and then lead them into believing it was the “BEST POST I’VE EVER READ ON CRO” It doesn’t work and if anything makes you come across as a little spammy.
It’s certainly acceptable to use outreach email examples as guides but be intelligent about it and turn it into something that’s unique to you.
Why is a No-Follow Link so Important?
Link builders will spend a lot of their day worrying about the quality of a link. Of course there is a direct correlation between the quality of the link and the quality of the site. If link builders spent a chunk of that time looking more in depth at the amount of engagement and quality traffic that site receives, we might see a reduction in the amount of unjustified penalties handed out by Google.
Okay, a no-follow link is just as valuable as a followed link because you wouldn’t build a no-follow link to your site that wasn’t going to pass on any traffic from an irrelevant site, but I bet almost all of you have been okay receiving a completely irrelevant followed link because it had a high PageRank.
We’ve all done it, so I’m not about to criticise you but what exactly is marketing about that? Nothing!
The web spam team at Google spends half of their time de-valuing the links that we build to our site. So once that random link no longer has any ranking potential, what use is it to you?
But the same link gets devalued from a highly relevant source that has been sending you referral traffic since the day you earned it, now what use is that link to you? Yes you could have lost a position in the rankings but you retained the hoards of traffic flowing in from the linking site.
See what I am getting at here? Lets stop looking at marketing as a solely technical exercise. It just isn’t! Its about the consumer and I believe that once the SEO industry can fully accept that, then we will be immersed in the departments of marketing and regarded as one of the most important attributes to any business.
I am enthusiastic in promoting the tactics of marketing without prioritising Google. I admit that Google will always have to play a large part in our strategies but I think that over reliance is a negative to anyone. Take a look at a recent post of mine – How to Gain Website Traffic Without Google