Over the last couple of years, with the relentless Google search algorithm changes, digital marketers have had to change the way they carry out their link building campaigns. Google now distinguishes between high quality links and links from irrelevant sources that just point to a website without adding any real value. Today, there is a distinction between websites with authority and spam websites that use thousands of backlinks to find their way to the top of the SERPs.
So What Does that Mean for Online Business Owners? Is Link Building Dead?
To answer the question, link building is still very much a valued search engine optimization technique. What changed is the way digital marketers have to do it. Basically, the search engines and in particular Google wants to know that you are providing real value information for its users.
The SEO game has changed and social media is now a big part of successful link building campaigns.
Link Building using Social Media
1. Choosing the Right Social Media Platform
Right now, there is a whole spectrum of social networks that people and businesses use to connect with each other. There are the more popular sites that everyone knows about including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram. Then there are others that are less popular but still carry a lot of weight for link building.
Below are some of the social sites that businesses are using today for marketing and to implement their link building campaigns.
Depending on your business model, some social sites might be more appropriate for you to join than others. For eg – A website that focuses solely on fashion and lifestyle, having presence on Facebook, Pinterest, Flickr and Instagram will work wonders than having an account on G+ or LinkedIn.
2. Identifying your Audience
Before getting on the social sites and tweeting away or posting pictures and content, you need to know whom you are creating the content for. You need to know who your target audience is.
To identify your target audience, you can use either industry data or equally possible, social tools to get an idea of what people are talking about on the social sites. This information can aim you in the right direction when you are setting up your profile and sharing content.
3. Divide Your Social Contacts into Groups
Once your social media accounts are ready, you will need to create core groups to divide your target audience based on either demographic data or psychological insights. With different groups of people, you can then share different types of content based on what these people will be interested in. A few of these groups of people will be industry influencers who will post about your products on the social sites, effectively generating quality backlinks pointing back to your website pages.
4. Design an Online Persona
One of the most important changes to social media marketing that we’ve seen in 2014 is that businesses are now humanized as much as possible. On the social sites, before you start drumming about your products and services, you need to create a persona for yourself that people can relate to.
To create a persona for your business or brand, provide some information about your business on your social profiles and post content inline with your persona to establish your authority as a leading industry expert.
5. Content Creation
When it comes to digital marketing, success ultimately boils down to a few things and one of these things is content. To increase the number of likes and shares that your content generates, you need to need to create content based on a carefully pre-defined marketing strategy. Your content and links should always be relevant to your industry.
Remember, on the social media sites, if you spam people with all kinds of links, you will damage your marketing efforts. If you want people to take an interest in the things you say, you are going to have to say things of real value.
Content shared on the social media sites can be written content, photos and videos, infographics or links to valuable resources.
6. Link Building
So let’s get to the link building aspect of social media.
On the social sites, the more followers you generate across the various networks, the more your content will be shared. This in turn increases the number of links that you build pointing back to your website pages.
‘Shares,’ ‘likes’ and ‘tweets’ are all social signals and social signals now constitute an important part of the Google search algorithm. They are ranking factors and the more social signals you have pointing back to your website, the more likely it is that you rank in the search engines for specific keywords.