A beginner’s guide to gaining organic outbound links
Known as a number of names from outreach marketing to advocacy, creating and executing campaigns with the sole purpose of earning natural links is an underappreciated and underutilised SEO skillset.
Whether you’re working for a global conglomerate or running your own small business, outreach marketing is an economical and effective way to improve the performance of your website. Gaining outbound links is an important ranking factor in Google’s algorithm, therefore giving you more opportunity to outperform your competitors.
Now, some of you might still be a little vague on what gaining off-page links actually means, so let’s define outreach marketing.
What is outreach marketing?
Outreach marketing is a technique to increase brands’ online presence across multiple channels through creative campaigns by creating content that compels other websites to link back.
Why do we do it?
Increasing the online coverage of your brand is very likely to have a positive impact on your organic search results. As you earn quality links to your website, Google recognises these and its algorithm will interpret these links as an indicator of how trusted and relevant your website will be to users. The more relevant, high quality links you have; the more likely you are to add value to Google’s users therefore appearing higher up the SERPs for relevant keywords and phrases.
SEO content campaigns can also increase and improve brand awareness by putting the business in front of target audiences in a way that is either informative, entertaining or emotive and above all, not directly sales led. Appearing as an authority on your industry or taking a standpoint on a particular issue helps your brand to resonate with users and makes it more likely that you will be front of mind when they reach the consideration phase of a purchase.
Organic and high authority links can deliver:
1. Increased rankings
2. Traffic uplift
3. Value add
4. Cost effectiveness
5. Increased brand awareness
Here are some strong examples of outreach campaigns:
Who knew banking could be so provocative?
An infographic on relationships and money may seem more appropriate for a dating website, but Greater Bank, a customer owned Australian bank, challenged its brand by creating informative, clever and entertaining content for readers. By creating an infographic to illustrate the results of a national survey they conducted, this offered credible information, new insights and attractive visuals allowing the content to gain organic links naturally.
Who knew trade websites were educating kids?
A free handout for kids to educate them on how to be environmentally friendly is another great example of creating beneficial and worthwhile content. Created by hipages, an online service directory in the home improvement and trade industry, this can be a fruitful source of links for parent’s blogs, teaching websites, eco-friendly blogs and more. For this reason, it is always important to keep publishers in mind during the ideation stage of your outreach campaign and be willing to think outside the box.
Who knew post-it notes could be art?
Another creative campaign that has brought the links, is Viking’s campaign to combine post-it notes and Star Wars to enhance SEO value. Viking; a UK based office supplier encompassed creativity and originality in this campaign, which resulted in over 85 links back to the Viking’s website (many from authoritative and influential websites).
A few things to note before you start your outreach campaign
Links from websites with high domain authorities are more powerful and reliable. Gaining links from your brilliant content can be challenging and drawn out, so to get it off the ground you may need to do a lot of leg work. This could mean contacting publications to see if they would be interested in sharing the content and even writing articles and guest posts yourself with links to your content.
I don’t have the resources to create an outreach campaign!
If you want to gain links, but are trying to avoid the pressures of creating your own content campaign from scratch, then try getting your company involved in initiatives.
Here are three examples of simple ways you could gain links:
1. Target award campaigns in your nominated industry. From winning an award to just making the short list, this can be a great way to gain coverage and consequently links.
2. See if any of your high profile staff members are alumni from any educational institutions with an online presence. You can build out their business profiles and contact academic websites to offer a write up on your employee; allowing you the opportunity to incorporate the link.
3. Finally, you can get involved with charity and fundraising events and organisations. This can be positive coverage for your company, a morale booster for your staff and an effective way to gain links.