A large component of effective SEO is to acquire links from authoritative sources that are relevant to your brand. Getting a link from a respected source validates your domain in the eyes of search engines, thus increasing your chances of achieving greater visibility for your website and ultimately driving an influx of qualified traffic to your site. Respected sources can be traditional news outlets, blogs, and even the social media pages of relevant industry thought leaders. As an SEO professional, a question I get asked quite often is, 'Greg, our competitors are outranking us because they have more links and/or better links. How do we acquire more links?'?
What people should start realizing is that link building is essentially public relations. Most companies already employ a PR team, which essentially serves the same function as link building. For the past couple years, search engines have been devaluing irrelevant links, and recently there has been a crackdown on sponsored links and advertorials. Valuable links come from relevant content and relationship building that maximizes connections with authoritative sources. PR is essentially relationship building. Link building comes from relationship building.
Just to hammer the point home, I'm going to put this in layman's terms by outlining other things that are essentially the same.
Cheez It/Cheese Nips
While essentially the same thing, I don't know one person that likes Cheese Nips more than Cheez-Its. In fact, as a child I was always a little saddened when my mom would cheap out and bring home Cheese Nips from the market. With that said, I would always eat them'?¦because cheesy crackers are delicious.
Any Fast Food Burger
Sure there are slight differences in taste, but at the end of the day, they are all delicious and they are great ways to get diabetes.
AJ McLean of Backstreet Boys/Chris Kirkpatrick of NSync
I would challenge you to remember these two members of their respective 90's boy bands. Therefore, they are the same person.
Ok'?¦you get the point.
Link Building and PR are 'two peas in a pod'?
You might already be employing people to build relationships and broaden the trajectory of your company's message, so why not educate them on basic SEO practices and reap the rewards of their efforts? They already did the hard part, so now all they have to do is ensure that their outreach efforts include a link back to a relevant part of your website (preferably with well optimized anchor text). As an SEO professional, there is no greater frustration than seeing that a client got covered on a well respected website, only to find that there is no link back to their own site.
Guest blogging can also be a great way to acquire links as well. Neil Patel wrote a pretty great post on guest blogging best practices, so be sure to check it out. In short, here's how it works. Your company creates compelling content that can help a blog owner add value to their own site. In return, the well-respected blog owner posts the content on their blog and links back to your company. Now, instead of having your social invalid of an SEO person establish that relationship, you should leave it to your seasoned PR professional. That PR professional can also help to get authoritative people to talk about your company on their social networks as well.
You COULD trust this person:
But you'd probably rather have this person do it: