Generating online content is what builds links

Generating online content is what builds links
Nick Stamoulis is the President of Brick Marketing, a Boston based B2B SEO firm.

There are plenty of ways to market your business online.  Two important methods are content marketing and link building.  However, when it comes down to it, content marketing and link building are really the same thing.

Content marketing and link building are often considered separate entities, because at one point in time that was the case.  In the early days of SEO, nearly any link that you could get to a site was valuable.  Link exchanges were common and link farms were always popping up. 

Directory submissions were the main SEO go-to at that time.  All it required for any of these links was a link to the site and maybe a brief description.  Besides the time that it took to find these link opportunities, not a whole lot of effort was needed and content wasn’t really a part of the equation at all.

However, SEO and link building has changed a lot within the last few years.  The search engines are now more sophisticated entities and they are constantly tweaking the algorithms in order to deliver the best possible results. 

They want to display results that are relevant to the needs of users.  A bunch of links from random sites no longer conveys worth or relevancy to the search engine spiders that have begun to view web content more similarly to the way that an actual human Internet user would.  The best way to attract positive search engine attention is to create great content that will attract target audience member attention. 

One significant change to the way that the search engine spiders view and rank content is that they now take “social signals” into account and pay close attention to what is being shared in social media.  In order to improve your social signals, you need to create web pages that will be shared (and linked to) within social media. 

Think about what people typically share in social media.  They certainly aren’t sharing links to business profiles and it’s pretty rare for people to share a link to a product or service page on your site.  What people are going to share are blog posts, articles, videos etc. that are interesting and informative.  This is one more way in which content is intrinsically tied to link building. 

There is so much more to content marketing than creating a great website that has informative static pages.  Consumers are looking for more than that today in order to make decisions, and the search engines understand this concept. 

The search engines reward sites that are “fresh”, meaning that they are updated frequently.  The best way to ensure that your site is fresh is to incorporate a blog into the architecture of the site and keep it active (at least one post a week).  A business blog that is updated frequently establishes your business as a thought leader, adds additional pages that can be crawled and indexed, and can help fuel a social media strategy. 

While some traditional link building methods still hold value (a listing on a niche industry site), instead of focusing on “building links”, the primary focus should be on “building content that will generate links”. 

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