We have seen a dramatic change in recent years where SEO’s have turned to a PR led approach when it comes to building links. Some industries have adapted to these changes easily, but some still struggle.
When it comes to the gambling industry, payday loan companies or even lawyers, it can be extremely difficult to gain Google friendly links within national publications. Because of this, some SEO’s are still using spammy techniques to improve their clients back link profile and this shouldn’t be the case!
Stop spamming and paying for those links!
It is still happening! Just recently, I saw a prolific fashion blogger share a post about white being the new black. She talks about how you can wear white at a christening, on the beach, as a casual day outfit and even as a wedding guest. And then she goes on to mention how to wear white in a bingo hall with a nice followed paid for link to a bingo website (not mentioning any names!).
It’s so obvious, Google can see this and will eventually lose trust!
Take the above, unnamed brand as an example. They invested heavily in spammy techniques in 2010, and clearly got away with it for a while (like we all did). However, in 2011, they saw a massive hit and lost a large chunk in search visibility. The site then continued to decline until 2013 when they decided to ‘cheat’ Google by buying a new domain and redirecting all the links.
Hurray! This worked – for a very short while. Google pushed them back to where they were visibility wise in 2010 for just a few months and then sent them on the decline again once they had realised what they had done.
So, the brand tried it again, bought another domain and redirected it. This time, Google had clicked on to what they were doing, completely lost trust in them and they struggle still to this day to gain the trust and visibility back that they once had.
This shows that spammy techniques may work towards a short-term goal, but long term can seriously impact your sites visibility and Googles trust in your brand.
So how do I build Google friendly links within a difficult industry?
Understand that creativity will always get you links
Do something outstanding and there will always be someone who wants to talk about it, share it, or link to it. Take Porn Hub as an example. No national newspaper is ever going to link to them in a positive and natural way unless they do something cool. So, what do they do? They run campaigns monthly, gaining links from high quality publications like Adweek for their creativity.
When thinking of campaign or content ideas to build links back to your clients site, stay relevant but stay away from being promotional.
Clients still to this day challenge us to push their products and build links to product pages but the truth is, it doesn’t work. Journalists won’t want to be pushing products and will lose trust in your brand if you ask them to do so. Users will not want to engage with a product page but instead engage with something interactive, something informative or creative in relation to the article they were previously reading. And Google are looking for links which encourage users to stay on the page and engage with the site further. If a user lands on a product page, they’ll simply click X.
Build relationships and trust
Building relationships with journalists that write for your desired or target publications is key. If your brand happens to have a negative reputation, then there’s a good chance it’s based simply upon what you do and how you do it.
As a result, there’s a good chance Journalists won’t trust you and we already know that Google probably won’t either. So, if you as a PR, SEO, or whatever you are can build the trust with the journalists by building solid relationships, this can help you massively when it comes to getting your clients site mentioned or linked to in the future.
-Interact with them on social media
-Give them something they need e.g. experts to comment on their stories, exclusive data etc.
-Research what stories they write about and think of a way you can add value to them
Link building is getting harder!
Yes, link building has become harder but it has become harder for all of us, and not just those in gambling or the loan sector.
First, we have seen an increase in no followed links. More and more national publications and even niche sites have made changes to their sites policy, with many introducing no followed links. If you can get a followed link on the Daily Mail, then you can give yourself a huge pat on the back, as it’s tough!
Secondly, some journalists now have a no external link policy all together. Coverage is on the rise and getting that link is much more difficult, costly and time consuming.
And lastly, you are battling against thousands of other PR’s, potentially from bigger and cooler brands, doing bigger and cooler campaigns than you, so you need to do something that not only gets you noticed, but also gets you that all important HTML link from the article to your clients site.
So, when running a link building (or ‘link earning’) campaign for you client, ask yourself these three questions…
- Who do I want a link from?
- How can I get their attention?
- Why will they link to me?
This last question is the most important. Why will that journalist link to you? Does adding a link into their article to your website add any value to their story? Give them a reason to add that link, create something cool, interactive or informational which adds value to the user and acts as a resource which can be revisited multiple times.
If you are achieving media coverage for your brand but struggling to get that all-important link, read my post here on how to turn your coverage into links in 2017!