Trying To Build Up Your Content Collaborations, And Backlink Profile? Data Can Help
In this article we will discuss:
What your backlink profile is really about
Companies, marketing teams, and agencies looking to build up a site’s backlink profile can become extremely fixated on Domain Authority (DA). While DA is extremely important as far as Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) are concerned, they should be a secondary concern based on my years of experience as a marketing expert in the technology space.
Your backlink profile building efforts should be first, and fore-mostly focused on high-value placements, such as:
- Websites considered to be ‘rockstar material’ by your target audience (e.g. Forbes in the financial sector)
- They should be incorporated in pieces of content that support your brand messaging, and narrative and written by individuals respected in your industry
- Unique niches you have identified that your competition is not currently targeting. I am all for going after competitive placements but more importantly you should be looking for new terrain where you are the ‘first to plant your flag’
All of this boils down to valuing quality over quantity. That’s not to say that quantity is not a valuable thing to have, but having worked for early-stage startups, the thirst to ‘be present’ often outweighs strategic placements that garner authentic ‘recognition’. Getting your content in front of a ‘high-intent’, ‘high-value’ audience will ultimately provide the monetizable value that you are looking for in the mid to long-term.
Data-driven backlink profile building tactics
Monitoring for unlinked mentions
This is one of the ‘easiest’ tactics that marketing professionals tend to overlook! By monitoring for brand mentions across the web on a regular basis, you can be alerted every time your company’s name comes up. More often than not, said mention is ‘unlinked’, meaning the person who has written about you has something to say but has not taken the time to add a backlink.
You can scan for these mentions on a daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly basis; it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you reach out to the people in question, and request they add a backlink. This requires minimal effort, and can have a huge impact on DA, and search results placement!
Scanning for competitive backlinks
I know I said that you should not only compete for backlinks but pave your own way, but first things first (more on paving your own backlink profile in a unique niche in the next section). You should definitely scan the web on a regular basis. Depending on what you are hoping to achieve you should be scanning your competition’s sites as well as content outlets relevant to your sector but not necessarily your ‘direct competitor’. You may not want or need to obtain every backlink that your competition currently has but this will help you ‘map the competitive landscape’. Once you know which entities are in the mix, you can reach out directly to those that seem highly relevant to the audiences whose attention you are trying to grab.
Paving your own niche
As mentioned, yes you should compete for rival backlinks when relevant. But to really hit a home run, you need to identify a space where your competition has a ‘weak presence’ or is completely non-existent. An example of this is establishing an entirely new website around content clusters that are extremely interesting to specific audiences (Finance, eCommerce, insurance etc..). What you can then do is backlink between your ‘home blog’, and this site, among other things. The results can be phenomenal, and it all starts with data. How? The way to identify ‘unchartered territory’ is by collecting backlink data on your competitors, other actors in your space, as well as user-generated data. The latter will indicate what users are looking for on search engines, and what content they are engaging with on social. When you cross reference your competitor’s marketing data to the user-generated data, you will be able to discover valuable content/back link gaps for you to swoop in.
Beyond helping you build up your ‘dry backlink profile’, which is ‘nice to have’, this tactic helps you go one step further. A really exciting, and beneficial occurrence is when an industry-leading publication picks up on one of your value-forward pieces, and republishes it with a backlink. Those are the most high value backlinks you can obtain!:
- Driving high-value traffic to your digital assets
Crawling Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs)
Collecting SERP data is super important both in terms of finding out which keywords are ranking best in search results, as well as which content is being highest ranked in the space in which you wish to operate, and have an impact. Keywords (both long-tail, and short-tail), are paramount to analyze directly from search engines, and not through third-party mediums who may distort results in one way or another – You may be surprised by what you discover. In terms of the actual results for target audience search queries. You can make better headway by getting backlinks from results that show up for your target audience’s top-10 searches, for instance, than from hundreds of obscure content clusters.
The bottom line
Backlink building goes beyond ‘dofollow’ links, and content collaborations. Establishing a systemic approach in which you regularly scan the web for strategic assets to target will have the kind of ‘industry hub effect’ you are most likely trying to attain. By using data to identify these opportunities, you will be able to build cross-site content clusters, and a presence that your target audience will find difficult to ignore.