Link acquisition isn’t meant to be done in a vacuum.
In the past, link building was often done separate from other marketing activities, since all links moved the needle. It didn’t require any marketing prowess to go out and build links that made a difference on sites meant only for search crawlers.
Today, only real links meant for humans will move the needle, both in search and in marketing. Earning links should be part of a cohesive online marketing plan.
Link building isn’t magic; link building is promotion and marketing.
Links Are A Important Online Marketing KPI
Links should be a key performance indicator (KPI) for any digital campaign focused on exposure, visibility, or branding.
You can’t silo link acquisition. Links are an important metric for gauging the success of your overarching online marketing strategy. For example, if you’re pursuing a content marketing initiative without the involvement of an SEO, you’re going to miss link opportunities. And that leaves equity (and marketing value) on the table.
Links are immensely valuable in search, as a core ranking signal within Google’s search algorithm (and other prominent search engines). But there are a variety of other reasons beyond SEO value that links should be tracked.
Links are an important KPI for all digital marketing, because:
- Links support brand building strategies, increasing authority and improving reputation.
- Links provide in-roads to new audiences and communities.
- Links establish positive connections and partnerships, creating further marketing opportunities.
- Links assist and bolster other marketing strategies such as publicity campaigns and content marketing projects.
As more and more folks outside the SEO industry begin to realize the incredible value of links, they will only become more prominent as a KPI. Cory Collins noted this trend in a recent post on Search Engine Watch:
“I have noticed an increasing trend during the second half of 2015, which I believe will further increase in 2016: the recognized importance of links within online marketing by those outside SEO.
Specifically, this recognition is happening by those higher up the marketing food chain: CMOs, VPs and marketing managers.” – Cory Collins
Links should be secured in conjunction with other marketing activities and strategies. Don’t silo link acquisition; links are an important KPI and impact all online marketing.
Links Support Other Marketing Initiatives
Link acquisition improves the efficacy of other marketing practices.
You limit your overall marketing when you isolate link building. This is a self-inflicted problem that can be resolved through open collaboration.
Links aid other marketing efforts primarily through increased visibility – making individual campaigns more visible within search and on the web as a whole. Visibility is essential to any marketing success, because even the most well-crafted, convincing marketing messages and ideas can’t be effective if they don’t reach your audience.
Links can amplify the reach of a specific marketing campaign by tapping into new audiences and communities. For example, a link from an influential blog pointing to your new content initiative can bring a fresh (and relevant) audience to your content and website. Links increase the amount of strategic pathways and routes your audience can find that lead to your marketing.
Links also add credibility to your marketing initiatives. As endorsements online, links signal trust. A link from an influential site offers exposure, but it also provides validation because authoritative sites don’t link to other sites unless they trust them.
Building Links is Easier with Collaboration
Integration is key to successful link acquisition.
Just as link building can support other marketing, strategies such as content marketing can aid link acquisition. Quality content is one of the baseline requirements for a successful link building campaign, and having fresh, new quality content makes link acquisition much more fruitful.
Publicity campaigns can also generate numerous link opportunities. These campaigns naturally lead to your brand being mentioned around the web, and you can capitalize on these unlinked brand mentions by converting them into links.
Ongoing marketing (including offline strategies) will continuously generate link opportunities in a variety of ways. Without integrating link acquisition into your holistic digital strategy, you will miss these opportunities because your SEO team or link builders will not be aware they exist.
Collaboration between all your marketing can only happen if all the parties involved buy-in. You must clearly demonstrate how everyone will benefit and better achieve their individual goals to obtain this support.
Modern Link Building is Marketing
If your company is investing in online marketing, you need to monitor links in some meaningful way. It’s very likely that will mean involving an SEO.
Your online marketing should involve links as a KPI. If you ignore links, you’re missing important opportunities to grow your brand, your reputation, and search traffic.
Search is a can’t-miss channel in the online spectrum. No matter what marketing you’re currently investing in, you should have some consideration of search. Search means links, and will continue to mean links until the web fundamentally changes – which isn’t in the foreseeable future.
Plan and invest in the long term: add links as a KPI to your online marketing strategy, and track them as metric of success.
To learn more about the various tactics for acquiring links, check out Anna Crowe’s “Every Link Building Tactic You Need To Know in 2016” on Search Engine Journal. Or head over to the “Tactics” section of Linkarati’s Link Building Resources Page.