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How to Successfully Build Links with Content Outreach in 2015

Say Hello to Neo Link Building!

We add “neo” as a prefix to a theoretical concept to indicate a shift from its traditional meaning. This applies, for example, to neo-liberalism and liberalism – two different approaches to the same idea.

Anthony Long recently wrote a concise article on “neo-content marketing” , a shift characterized by its extensive scale.
His example of the sneaker brand Vans and its House of Vans, a self-proclaimed “free creative space for all to enjoy”, illustrates these new dimensions. It is not the product that represents the core of this approach, but the customer.

Let’s transfer this idea to the increasingly popular method of link building via content outreach and online PR, a strategy I’d like to outline for you under the corresponding term of “neo link building”.

Why Neo Link Building is the Future of SEO

Google’s algorithm updates have forced link builders to rethink their traditional methods (often Black Hat SEO practices) and turn to a more holistic approach: a blend of link building, online PR and content marketing.

Many popular terms like “link earning” have been coined in this context. Still, the idea of “building” something better reflects the core concept behind generating links through content outreach. You foster relationships and engage with peers, thus building the foundation for valuable backlinks and a solid online reputation.

Implement the following two strategies in your company’s online marketing workflow for 2015 and profit from some quick-wins.

Neo Link Building #1: Monitor your Brand to Generate Backlinks

Brand monitoring is an easy and efficient method to identify relevant link sources and key influencers in your content niche. It helps you find and react upon real-time mentions of your brand on the web:

  • Is the mention part of a review published in your content niche? Then contact the website operator and suggest including a link to your website. If the webmaster agrees (because the audience obviously benefits from a direct access to the discussed brand), then: Congratulations, you have acquired a high-quality link placed in a context-appropriate surrounding and coming from a respectable source.
  • Is the mention part of a complaint? Then you should engage in the discussion expressing the wish to try and help. By additionally providing a link, directing the user either to the support or another relevant site of yours, you can leverage online reputation management for back link generation.
  • You can even find competitors’ mentions in order to contact the respective sites and point them to your brand as well. The ultimate goal is not only to acquire a link to your website, but also making yourself heard where your competitor is already known!

These practical tips combine link building with outreach/online PR and proactive networking. For the network will tremendously help you seed future online marketing campaigns and the high-quality links stemming from influential sites in your field will result in positive rankings in the SERPs. Besides you also strengthen your expert role.

Neo Link Building #2: Use Content to Boost your SEO Results

Content marketing and link building go together like peanut butter and jelly. The borders between “content marketing land” and “link building land”, as Rand Fishkin described it in 2013, are gone.

For generating backlinks and boosting rankings through material that customers care about, you need:

  • Extraordinarily good content. This implies in-depth research (both in light of the topic and the audience) and engaging posts that are well-designed and noteworthy. Add value by including actual help that your visitors can benefit from.
    The formula for creative neo link building: create exceptional content + ask your contacts to distribute it via links = increased traffic + visitors link back. Sometimes, a great piece of content “accidentally” goes viral. Then turn on the neo link building machine and make the most of the circumstances.
  • Offer the post to syndication sites. If there’s no link in the author-profile box, you can briefly introduce yourself in the comments pointing to the original article.
  • Create an updated version of your post. Add new findings, quote experts, consider repurposing, or think of a follow-up. If you’ve quoted people, ask them to share. This way, you will get the most of your content while actively building links.
  • Combine neo content marketing with neo link building by creating unique stories that trigger emotions.
    The “House of Vans” for example – which even hosts its own parties – is so noteworthy, that people are simply compelled to link to it. But it’s not all about the budget. A food blogger could start a blog parade for seasonal recipes with the response posts linking back. The incentive doesn’t have to be expensive but target-group-specific as is the chance to win a popular cookbook or a batch of home-made jam. Such interactive campaigns not only bring in more links, but also improve your online profile. Think outside the box and be creative!
  • Neo link building is all about the perfect timing. Before launching your next content campaign, reach out to multipliers and provide some first-hand information about your upcoming publication. Ask them to cover your work including a back link to your site.

It is crucial here to:

  • personalize the request
  • attach all the data necessary for easy sharing.

Such pre-launch outreach makes the influencers feel special and the shared content appear much more valuable and exclusive. As a consequence, you not only receive high-quality links, but also foster relationships.

Prepare yourself for Neo Link Building – Go big or go home!

Eric Ward stated that “in today’s linking environment, everything is a matter of nuance. Everything works and nothing works, depending on a variety of variables and intentions.”

Yet, neo link building as a holistic trinity of (traditional) link building, online PR and content, is something that in fact does work.

The symbiotic approach paves the way to natural links that can stand the test of time. This is the future of SEO and constitutes the direction we should be headed in 2015.