In the Ring: Link Building Vs. Content Marketing

by Desiree Baughman on January 7, 2013

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Content MarketingIf there’s one thing that every inbound marketing agency like ourselves knows it's that the key to having a great ranking in search engines is to have premium content, and like we discuss in our eBook “How To Be The King Of Content Marketing”, to have a number of good quality links.  Because of the combination of the two, many of our clients have approached us and asked which one is a better investment – link building or content creation?  If you’re asking yourself the same question, we have some answers for you.

Link Building: It’s Not That Hard

When we use the term “link building” we usually get complaints from our clients about how their link building strategy just isn’t working for them. But then we ask them how they’re trying to get links, and their answer is usually pretty bleak.  Through their blog, and maybe through their social media posts.  But there are other ways you can build links to your content, such as:

  • Make it easy for other people to syndicate your content and give your website credit by setting up an RSS feed for your blog
  • Link to other blogs on your own blog (if you do this, the other bloggers will likely return the favour)
  • Have press releases ready to go on announcements, promotions, new products, and more
  • Be the first to comment or write on a news story by curating some fresh content.  That new content will drive you straight to the top of Google’s search results and nab you some great links
  • Put together case studies featuring your best clients’ business. They’ll be sure to link to you
  • Write guest articles and post them to other sites or blogs, noting your own web address and business name

 Creating Quality Content: It CAN Be That Hard

If you’ve been in the game for a while, then you know that creating a good, steady stream of content on a regular basis is a pretty difficult task, especially as HubSpot noted that businesses who blog 3-5 times A DAY generate a significantly larger percentage of leads than those who post, say, once a week (HubSpot, 2012).  We get into how to write and find great content ideas in our free download, “How An Inbound Marketing Agency Does Blogging”, but even then it can be a bit difficult to do after months and months of pouring out quality stuff.

The Dangers Of Focusing On Link Building

There’s a problem that comes with focusing on just getting links to hook up to your content: you focus more on the quantity than the quality.  While this may have worked well in the past, it certainly won’t do you any favours any more.  As you’re likely aware at this point, the latest Google updates have made improvements towards giving more credit and higher rankings to content that’s of quality than content that’s just riddled with keywords and other junky SEO tactics.

What businesses and online marketing firms also have to realize is that when you create quality content, the links will naturally come on their own.  When you invest in good quality content, you’re creating web pages that your visitors enjoy, blogs that have a regular and growing readership, visitors who become leads after visiting your landing pages… it all just falls into place.

When Your Content Marketing Seems To Be Failing You

So now you may be asking, “But I have a quality content marketing campaign and I’m getting nowhere!”  However, content marketing should by no means be the only tool that you have in your hat of SEO tricks, but it should be the first tool that you have.  If your content doesn’t seem to be working for you, resist the temptation of resorting to bad black hat SEO tactics or going for quantity rather than quality, and ask yourself:

  • Is your writing still purposeful?
  • Is your writing directed towards the correct audience?
  • Have you looked at which posts are performing the best?
  • Have you looked at where your traffic is coming from?
  • Have you measured the success of the keywords that you’re using?

Usually once a marketer or business owner really digs deep into these questions they’re able to make significant improvements to their content and improve their online marketing strategy. Have no fear: after you've seen your link building strategy and content marketing strategy circle eachother for too long and fear that you're not going to be taking home that big gold belt, with a little more focus, direction, dedication, and purpose, you'll eventually have a victory.

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