Live From #BrightonSEO
Workshops, conferences, and lectures, for me, have always been a source of inspiration. I consider myself privileged to attend talks and discussions conducted by thought-leading experts that reflect their passion for high-quality content with every slide they present. What an excellent time to be a writer!
Content is alive. It is not only something that writers create, but that creates on its own and leads change. This message was clearly present within the seminar "A Practical Guide to Content that Generates its Own Links" run by Liz Graton, Senior Content Marketing Executive at MacNaught Digital within the conference series organised by Brighton SEO.
If you were to see my face during this session, you’d probably find it reminiscent of Mikey from The Goonies, when he saw the long-lost treasure of One-Eyed Willy. It indeed was a moment of inspiration. Liz went through some of the successes she’d achieved with her campaigns, explaining the complex in a clear, accessible way; I was sold.
What is link building?
Believe it or not, SEO experts are not usually experts on all-things-SEO! They tend to specialise in focusing on staying at the top of their game for a specific SEO practice. For example, my knowledge of link building is very minimal! I have, in contrast, always enjoyed learning about it as I have always seen it as a bit of a dark art (Accio SEO!).
In layman's terms, link building is the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own. Good content drives links, but this content does not need to be neither complex nor expensive to produce. If your content's quality is good enough, high-authority sites will want to link to your content to help tell their story.
Let's try to illustrate it with a quick example. Imagine you manufacture low surface temperature radiators. You decide to research how many primary schools in the UK don't have low surface temperature radiators. You understand that your research efforts bring valuable information and choose to use this data in one of your blog articles.
Meanwhile, a journalist for the Guardian is doing a piece on primary schools and stumbles across your research. That journalist then decides to use your research in their piece to link back to your website. As the Guardian is such a high-authority site, this will significantly positively impact your SEO.
Another way to generate links
Whilst cases like the above explained happen, expecting high-authority publications to reach out to us can be a little bit too ambitious and, in fact, not necessary! Especially if you offer your product or services within a particular area, you may prefer to reach out to local publications or push it under the nose of editors, so your research is featured on high-authority platforms.
Making the most of the technology available, you can also use link building software to identify which sites are linking to research similar to the research you’ve conducted. If they are using outdated statistics, you may be able to email them and kindly ask that they use your more up-to-date research instead! In fact, you could happen to have the data they were looking for!
It may sound cheeky, but you’d think they’d want to use more authoritative content on their own piece of content, right?
Collecting your data
The data you collect should be relevant to your offering. Like a low surface radiator manufacturer would research the use of this type of radiator in schools, fire door manufacturers would need to frame their research towards businesses that are currently lacking fire doors in their offices or work installations.
Whilst obtaining data might seem a daunting task, there are different approaches that you can adopt when seeking for data to build your authority and create compelling reports. Despite what most people will think, most data used for reports and statistics are widely available, free for anyone enquiring to access and use!
You could, for example, reach out to the police, to the council of your city or town, as well as to the NHS with a Freedom of Information Request. Freedom of information (FOI) gives any citizen the right to ask any public sector organisation for information they hold. You can also ask for information about yourself under data protection legislation.
You could also use sources such as Office for National Statistics, KWFinder or Google Trends. Surveys such as Censuswide and Eopinion can enable you to carry out the relevant research to formulate your story and bring new data into your industry. Through your research work, you are not only gathering information that will improve your brand, but also improve your sector!
Every day is a school day, and Liz's conference reminded me of the enjoyment of continuously learning. I have always believed that the moment you stop learning is the moment to give up and that is why I value sessions like Liz's that make me think very differently about the content I’ll be producing in the future.
The concepts brought by Liz highlight the opportunity content creators have when producing new text, encouraging them to deliver something that can have a real and lasting impact. SEO is perfecting its scope and making sure that the quality of the content created reflects the time, passion, and effort that are invested in each content creation strategy.
Thank you, Liz. Great session.