You know to succeed in link building, you can’t rely on shady tactics or automated placement. You have to do your best to build links in a natural way. You may use a blend of smart link building through guest posting or co-op opportunities, but for the most part, you try to attract links naturally. You’ve read all the advice that says if your content is good enough, everyone will want to link to you on their own -- you won’t even have to worry about it!
But if you’re like most marketers, you’ve found that this advice hasn’t quite held up. You only earn links occasionally, and even then they aren’t very authoritative. This means your SEO growth is floundering and you need better results if you want to keep going.
This is where I can help you. The concept itself is a bit misleading, but otherwise reliable -- so let’s dig into the five main reasons you aren’t earning enough links:
1. Your content isn’t good enough.
This is a tough problem to own up to, but “not good enough” here can mean any number of things. Remember, your content needs to be original, well-researched, detailed, concise, useful, entertaining and surprising -- all at the same time. That’s no easy feat, even for experienced content marketers. You also have to consider the relevance of your content for your specific target audience, the timing of your publication and the competitive environment in which you distribute it.
“Your goal has to be to provide valuable content that is relevant to your consumers," says Alana Schwamberger, Senior Digital Marketing Manager at YourHearing.com. For us, that translates to individuals living with hearing loss looking to purchase hearing aids. We want to get the right content to the right audience at the right time -- when they will benefit the most from it, and see us as a reliable resource, and qualified experts on a subject they may not be familiar with."
If any of these factors are off, even an otherwise good piece of content can be downgraded from a “linkable asset” to a basic article. Don’t take this as a statement that you aren’t capable of producing valuable content. You are. All it takes is a reprioritization of your goals and efforts. Namely, invest more time and energy into a single knockout piece rather than spreading it across several different works.
2. Your content isn’t linkable.
Let’s assume all your content thus far really has been “good.” You’ve done research. You’ve offered something new. You’ve offered something useful, and you know your target audience is interested in it. Yet for some reason, even though you get plenty of shares and comments, you aren’t getting any links. Why is this? It's because your content isn’t linkable.
People link to things that generate completely new ideas, offer concrete statistics or have some piece of media that they want to use on their own site. If you aren’t offering any of those things, people may love what they’re reading, but they won’t link to you.
3. You aren’t syndicating your own material.
The misleading element of the idea that “good content attracts links on its own” is that you can produce good content, do nothing with it and still wind up generating links. This doesn’t happen unless you already have a raving audience, at which point link building may not even be a priority for you anymore.
Yes, your interested followers should do a lot of the legwork of sharing and distributing your material for you, but you need to give them a jumpstart, or the cascading effect of viral sharing won’t take hold. That means syndicating your published material on your own social media channels and pushing it as far as you can on your own. Only then will your piece achieve a threshold of visibility and make way for further growth.
4. You haven’t scaled.
You can’t write the same types of content to the same audiences through the same channels and hope to see better and better results. If you want to earn more links, you have to increase your efforts. Produce better content for more receptive audiences and branch out in new social contexts, new groupsand with new distribution channels. Find new influencers to engage with, and increase your engagement with your own users. Strategies don’t scale by themselves. You have to put in the effort to get it up to the level you need.
5. You aren’t doing enough link building.
Manual link building often conjures thoughts of obsolete, black-hat practices, but modern link building is just a way of offering a link as a valuable resource in an offsite piece of content (a guest post). If the content is good and the publisher is authoritative, any manual link you build will immediately start passing authority. Plus, any external publication channels you tap will serve as valuable additions to your syndication and visibility network. In effect, you’ll be guaranteed more total inbound links, and at the same time, you’ll increase your potential for reaching new audiences and attracting new links.
The sad fact of the matter is that link building is a slow process. The more authoritative you are, the more experience you have, and the more resources you can tap, the easier the process becomes. This means there’s a steep learning curve for businesses new to the practice. Keep this in mind as you start correcting and adding tactics to your link building regimen, and remain patient as you nurture your backlink profile to further growth.