Linking to your content increases its authority with search engines and triggers a flywheel effect that drives traffic by increasing visibility which in turn increases clicks and traffic. But how do you get more high-quality site links to your content through social media? The short answer is: you don’t. But the qualified answer is: Very carefully.
What is link building?
Linking is the practice of asking other sites of equal or greater authority to link to your site in order to rank higher on a search engine results page. Link building as a ranking strategy has been hotly contested in the SEO world for a long time, mainly because we just can’t get good things going when it comes to Google’s algorithm.
A long time ago, Google mentioned in a patent that backlinking was a ranking factor: the more high authority sites that link to your site, the more Google’s algorithms considered your site to be “better”. Spam link building, link building programs, and paid link strategies were the end result. Google has responded by threatening (and performing) manual actions against all of these inorganic linking tactics.
Today, mass link building is still frowned upon as it is nearly impossible to quickly build a quality link profile. But a more organic link building strategy, partially fueled by social media, is possible and can help marketers increase the authority of their sites.
What should you expect from a link building campaign?
A good link building campaign will directly reach contacts of high-value posts to suggest that they link to your content. Very high efficiency should not be expected from cold distribution of publications. I get hundreds of these requests per week and I send most of these emails to my trash because most of these requests are garbage.
However, when I get a link to a really good article suggested by a reputable vendor or publication associated with a request to be included in an article with a similar audience? I will at least read their article.
And if I feel particularly good that day, I’ll give them the link.
How can you increase your chances of getting a link?
But unless there is a perfectly written cold email, there are a few things a link builder can do to get me to link to their content:
They can form a relationship with me
When a fellow marketer contacts me directly on LinkedIn with a vague “login” request because we’re both marketers, I decline. Thank you but, no thank you. But my Twitter account is not private. Another marketer who likes my tweets, replies to a message, or even follows me is going to get noticed.
They can show a real interest in the topics I post
When sales and marketing professionals talk about “added value” in those cold emails, that doesn’t mean you’re offering a backlink in return or a vague promise of exposure to your audience. We know how to get these things, and there’s no guarantee that your audience will be of use to us. But when you add to the conversations we’ve started online or share your thoughts on a topic, you add value.
They can understand the market I’m targeting
This is extremely important in sending the aforementioned unfortunate cold email, but before you contact me with your vitamin supplement link or iPhone repair article, maybe read an article or two on my site? I write almost exclusively on B2B technology. Do your research before reaching out.
How to use social networks to create links?
Social media is great for building relationships, but not for making direct connections. So, to answer this question, we first need to talk about what is wrong with using social media for link building.
The hard truth about social media links
First of all, putting your site URL on your social media posts won’t link. These links are not followed or ignored. Even if a group of influencers find your product, not every link in their bio or LinkTree really matters to the algorithm. Sorry.
At best, social media is an indirect tactic to gain traffic, brand awareness, or showcase expertise. This is ideal for increasing traffic to an individual post through shares and clicks. But this will not have a direct impact on your link numbers.
Sharing is not the same as linking.
How can you successfully use social media to bond?
We repeat: Use social media to build relationships with other businesses, individual marketers, and your audience. Be a good social media citizen, share your content and the content of others, and build relationships with other members of your audience.
Consider that with social media you are trying to build a relationship with individuals, but you are also trying to get some of your most important, interesting, or valuable content out in front of readers. If you write great content, someone will want to use it.
Some quick tips:
- Share research and news, especially if you have a unique statistic or perspective. These are going to be good for link building.
- Use your relationships with your social contacts to promote your work, sometimes even sending a direct message to those who might be interested in your work.
- Don’t assume that spamming your audience with your own work will get you links.
Social media should be part of a whole set of marketing channels that you use to market yourself, build an audience, attract customers, and sell products. Mostly, you should use it to be part of the conversation and start new discussions.