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How Depending on Quality Content Can Actually Cost You Links
“Content is king.” If you’re like me, you’ve heard that phrase more times than you can count. And for the most part, it’s true. Truly unique content can make or break your link development campaign. If you have it, you’ll find attracting quality links takes minimal effort for exceptional results. Without it, you’ll find link development to be a daunting and uphill battle. But while content may be king, you’d be well advised to remember that even the best king can be dethroned.
Build it and they will come
I’ve heard it many times: I’ll just write quality content and the links come without effort.
If you’ve uttered that statement, or if you truly believe it, let me tell you one thing: You are not developing links via that method — you are losing them. And depending on how good your content is, you could be losing them by the thousands. If you think I’m nuts, read on.
Competing with compelling content
Earlier this month, one of our websites got an amazing scoop about a consumer electronic product that was about to be released. We were given the details of the product, along with some photos with the requirement that we protect our source at all costs and not release the information until a certain date. We had no problem complying. We knew this scoop would be a big deal in our industry.
On the date we went live with the story, we quickly saw the largest site in our niche was linking to the story. We were crushed, however, when we went to their site to see they had amended a post they had done two days earlier about the impending release and added a few photos that linked to ours because we had additional angles on our photos that they didn’t have.
Our scoop was no longer a scoop. Curious as to how we hadn’t heard about them breaking it before us when it was live for two days, we started doing some searching. Not a single news site had picked up the story and only one of the industry forums had.
The website that had scooped us had long become complacent with being the largest in our niche. Their promotional efforts, while probably a little inferior to ours since we focus on promotion of multiple websites and not just one, were almost none. Their site was king, their content was king, and their content always attracted links with no effort.
Get the story out there
Their dependency on their content requiring no promotion to eventually develop links turned out to be a big break for us. We quickly contacted every large tech blog we knew would be interested in the story. We tipped off some of the other niche blogs that had yet to blog about it (which were all of them), pointing out our post. We hustled our content to any party who might be interested.
The result was that we hit the front page of Engadget, Gizmodo, Crunchgear, and every other tech blog in the industry that day. We developed over 1000 links to that story over the next two weeks in the trickle-down effect that followed. The competitor whose content was king? They developed 40 links to their story over that same time period and none were of the quality of the web’s largest tech sites that were linking to ours.
Build it, then tell them about it, and they will come
Their complacency on depending on their quality content simply doing the promotional work for them cost them 960 links at face value — not counting the authority, true Pagerank, branding, and, more importantly, the tens of thousands of unique visitors that resulted in hundreds of new feed subscribers to our site.
You can’t depend on quality content alone. Doing so can cost your site in the same way it cost our competitor’s website. Even the best content should start being promoted as soon as possible upon publication.
The following tips should be able to help you start to develop effective promotional methods for quality content:
- develop a media list for the topic area you’re working in to be able to push your best pieces to (be highly selective)
- become active in the community by interacting on forums, blogs, and with writers for the big industry sites (aka, develop contacts)
- learn about social media and become knowledgeable of, if not involved with, social media sites, and be aware of their demographics
- learn how you can take angles on pieces to receive traffic and citations from big sites your site may not normally appeal to with straight niche writing
- link out when it makes sense and follow up with notifications to companies or people who have been mentioned or cited in the article once it has been published
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.