A new study from Moz emphasizes the strength of backlinks and natural links in SEO strategy.
Marketing SEO

Link or Sink: New Study Emphasizes Backlinks in SEO Strategy

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There has always been an element of mystery surrounding the process of creating the perfect SEO strategy. This is largely due to how search engines companies guard their algorithms to prevent overt, unbalanced manipulation. But through close research, marketers have a pretty clear picture of how search engines operate. Links have always played an important role in every model of SEO, though their exact importance has remained somewhat disputed, between conversations with Google’s webmaster and interviews with SEO experts.

Recently however, SEO giant Moz published a study that suggests backlinking may actually carry more weight than marketers might expect. The study examined the top 50 Google search results for over 15,000 keywords and tested each site against some 200 SEO variables. This mostly returned accepted behavior regarding searches, except that the correlation between high-ranking sites (first page results) and backlinks was considerably stronger than most of the variables, at .30. Combined with the finding that 99.2 percent of the high-ranking sites had at least one external link (keeping in mind that the remaining .8 percent fell within the study’s margin of error), this paints a clear picture of the importance of links in SEO strategy. How can digital marketers gain an edge?

Link or Sink: New Study Emphasizes Backlinks in SEO StrategyTypes of Links, and How to Get Them

Getting links can be hard, especially depending on the type of brand you have. With the suggestion that natural links are more ideal than solicited links (more on this in the Topdraw interview, linked above), this presents digital marketers with a question as old as search engines themselves: How do I get meaningful links?

Just ask.

Link request emails have always been a pretty recognized part of the SEO process, particularly for newer brands. Cold emailing isn’t fun, and certainly has it’s issues when it comes to actual returns, but even if you do have a model for successful cold emails, this still doesn’t bring in those coveted natural links.

How Content Boosts SEO

Content marketing acts as a partner to SEO here—and in many other ways. Rather than just sending out a request (which at its best might earn you a single link on a website), sending out content that specifically appeals to the target of your email can both improve your chances of a response to your email, as well as improve the chance of other people finding and linking to your site. A great example of this is Brian Dean’s Guestographic Method, which uses an infographic as content to interest sites into linking. But the principle behind this method is quite simple and not dependent on an infographic: If you want someone to do something of value for your brand, offer them valuable content in return.

How this looks specifically for your brand will depend on its visibility and the content it offers. But regardless of the content, or whether emails are the best way to deliver it, there is no question that links will play a vital role in securing your pages spot in top search engine ranking.

Looking for ways to optimize your content’s performance? Check out Skyword’s free guides on content performance management.

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