Link relevance outweighs SEO volume

30 second summary:

  • The media coverage you earn is more valuable than ever to your website
  • Digital PR is just as important as technical SEO
  • The goal is a large volume of links, what prevents someone from choosing the most interesting idea, even if it has nothing to do with your customer?

In 2022, it is impossible to deny the advantage digital PR as a tactic has over an organic growth strategy. The media coverage you earn is more valuable than ever to your website. You may be doing everything right for SEO, but if you’re not building links, you’re still missing out on the increased search visibility, organic traffic, and brand awareness that backlinks bring to your business.

Last year, that of Google John Mueller has finally taken over on digital PR as a tactic and confirmed what we have all known for a long time: that it is as important, if not more, than technical SEO.

As digital PR is still a “relatively young industry” that has only just sprouted over the past 10 years, many PR professionals have relied on “viral” campaigns to increase their clients’ backlink portfolios. These viral campaigns are often celebrated, but are often created with little consideration for how relevant or “on-brand” those ideas really are.

After all, if the goal is a large volume of links, what’s stopping someone from choosing the most interesting idea, even if it has nothing to do with your customer?

In 2022, link volume is no longer the target (or it shouldn’t be)

While many PR professionals were evaluating their success based on this key metric (link volume), others in the industry have long suspected that the relevance Link reach is a key factor that Google takes into account when assigning “value” to links.

Again, John Mueller solved the debate on the volume of links versus the relevance of the links, which will come out in 2021 and states that “the total number of links” does not matter.

This clarity has helped refocus the digital PR industry and has forced PR professionals to reevaluate which metrics and KPIs we need to focus on to drive true organic growth.

It’s not enough to be “popular” anymore, you also need to be relevant. Not just in terms of the publications you’re targeting, but also the keywords you want to rank for, audience interest, and most importantly, brand alignment to the story you’re pitching in.

Google is continually trying to get smarter through the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence. He wants to understand web content like a human and, therefore, through his use of natural language understanding, he is likely to not only look at the anchor text of links in third-party articles, but also want to understand the broader context of the article in which a trademark is inserted.

How to ensure your link building business is relevant to your brand

The first steps in coming up with relevant content ideas for your digital PR campaign are:

  1. understand your customer, e
  2. understand your client’s audience and their needs.

Any good idea will flow from these two pillars.

If Google’s primary goal is to show the best content to users through search, your job is to create content that supports your customer’s product or service or supports their customers.

It is more important than ever to not only create relevant, on-brand content in written form, but also to ensure that all supporting assets created (video, images, audio) are also relevant to the target keywords and services or products the brand is selling. .

Additionally, it’s important to create content that engages people, to further drive the buzz and positive sentiment around the brand, which contributes to greater brand awareness and affinity among your potential customers.

How to measure the relevance of your backlink profile

We now have the technology at our disposal to be able to understand and assign quantifiable metrics to the relevance of link reach (or even the relevance of any text-based content), which allows us to be much more data-driven and targeted during digital PR development, link creation and competitor and market analysis.

For example, natural language understanding tools like Salient measure the relevance of both off-page and on-page content. Tools like this help us understand how a search engine is displaying a brand’s content, but not only do they allow us to identify gaps in our client’s backlink profile.

At Journey Further, we use this proprietary tool to measure the relevance of off-page and on-page content to our customers.

Measure the relevance of your backlink profile

We can use this tool to understand how a search engine is displaying a brand’s content, not only allows us to identify gaps in our client’s backlink profile, but also helps us optimize its content on site. The result is a much more targeted, effective, and measurable digital PR activity that is better aligned with SEO goals and that delivers better ROI for clients.

Looking to 2023

Looking forward to 2023 and beyond, it is likely that Google will only continue to develop better technology for understanding web content.

All digital PR campaigns should reflect this and where possible be multifaceted, not just relying on a single press release to be cut. We need to think as a marketer, not just SEO professionals, and make sure we drive ROI as much as possible. Therefore, it will be essential to adopt a brand plus performance approach to SEO and digital PR.

Beth Nunnington is Journey Further’s VP of Digital PR and Content Marketing, the premier Digital PR strategy for the world’s leading brands. Her work has appeared in The Drum, PR Moment and Prolific North. Find Beth on Twitter @Beth Nunnington.

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