For years, businesses and SEO agencies alike have been debating the importance of link building.
Let’s begin this article by clearing up any misconceptions that might be hovering in your mind regarding the value of external links. According to Google, links are absolutely necessary for ranking content. Period.
The problem is that few SEO agencies and internal organic search teams know how to create link building strategies that actually help their clients and organizations achieve defined growth goals.
In most cases, people invest in SEO (which includes link building) because they want to increase sales. The idea is that if they can rank content high enough in the SERPs, more people will click, and the more clicks you get, the greater the chances are your sales will shoot up.
Spoiler alert: this is BS. More clicks don’t equate more sales. What does matter are the quality of the clicks. In other words, in order to hit your growth goals, you need to rank audience-targeted content (with the aid of link building) to increase the contact your content has with the right kind of buyers.
The best SEO company Los Angeles has to offer to growing businesses has mastered the ability to create growth-driven organic search strategies that combine link building with custom content. Finding such an SEO agency is easier said than done.
This article is intended to help inform C-Suite and corporate leadership teams about the value of growth-driven SEO that utilizes advanced link building and custom content as a way to help organizations hit their growth goals by increasing sales through increased buyer cohorts buried in organic traffic.
First, What Differentiates Good Links from Bad Ones?
The definition of “good links” is ever changing. Since Google launched Penguin as an effort to reward high-quality websites that abide by the search engine’s best practices for link building while punishing those who use link schemes and keyword stuffing, SEO has become increasingly harder to perform well.
Then Hummingbird came out, followed by RankBrain. Now Google has the ability to learn searcher intent and self educate itself as it strives to rank the best content to meet the unique needs embedded in every search query.
Basically, Google crawls website content, any internal or external links associated with the web page, and the search query itself to determine who gets rank gold and who bombs. This is why high-quality links and content matter, in a big way.
So what constitutes a good link in today’s era?
• Trust Rank – The referring domain needs to have strong trust rank in order for the link to have maximum value.
• Follow Attribute – The majority of your backlink portfolio should have the follow attribute. “NoFollow” passes along zero SEO juice to your website. However, Google is known to frown on sites that have tons of “follow” links, as this can give the appearance you’ve paid for those links. I ran a research project across 500 domains and found that those with backlink portfolio consisting of an average of 20 percent “NoFollow” ranked better than comparative sites with almost all “follow” links.
Here Whiteboard Friday shares five tactics to help you earn equity-passing followed links using traditionally nofollow-only platforms:
• Domain Authority – The link should come from a site with a high domain authority.
• Relativity – The referring domain content should be related to your site’s own content in terms of subject matter. Gone are the days when you can slather low-level directories with your links.
• Anchor Text – Your anchor text should contain your main keyword and use specific buyer-focused context.
In order to perfect your sales enablement through organic traffic, any SEO agency you partner with should treat link building in this regard. Otherwise, you are speaking to someone who has failed to evolve their skills with Google’s demand, and your buyer’s needs.
On-Site Content that Reflects Off-Site Link Strategies Increases Sales
Utilizing SEO to hit high-revenue targets and sustain year-over-year growth means reaching the right buyers with the right content.
And the semantic relationship between your blogs and web pages with off-site articles and their links pointing back at your site will be THE biggest deciding factor in your capabilities for ranking content for your ideal customers.
Context and topic is everything. Once you have completed buyer personas, your content needs to address topics in the right context that feed directly into the kind of content buyers consume that lends to their purchasing decisions.
In other words, any SEO agency your organization partners with needs to engineer a strategy that calls for web page optimization, a blog that utilizes the topic cluster model with defined pillar pages, and have strong backlinks from relative content that aligns with your on-site messaging.
Remember, your buyers have a specific pain point that’s driving their need to make a purchase. Topic and context will play into ranking the content they are looking for that will help them make an informed purchasing decision.
Google awards websites that have this type of high-quality content, and especially if the linking strategy supports the strategy.
The Best SEO Agency is a Growth Marketing Agency
So long as your sales cycle makes sense, SEO may not be the solo answer to your growth needs but instead a vital piece to a larger strategy. As a member of the C-Suite and executive leadership team, your goal is to invest in marketing initiatives that foster high revenue returns.
When vetting SEO agencies, look for growth marketing companies that offer SEO as a means to drive top-of-funnel traffic alongside other strategies such as PPC and paid media. SEO becomes even more powerful when the leads it generates can be nurtured through marketing automated messaging and lead scoring systems.
This is why marketing stacks are valuable so long as the fit is there. In addition to SEO, other strategies and technology pieces are offered in a marketing stack customized to help organizations hit their short-term and long-terms goals.
SEO alone can be performed in a way that nurtures leads if you partner with a ninja agency. But if your organization’s goals and sales cycle create a need for something bigger, working with an agency that offers an organic strategy with link building alongside other strategies and tools such as the inbound methodology and marketing automation can be game-changing for your company’s growth potential.