Link assets are pieces of online content that help a company gain higher authority in Google’s search results by earning backlinks, particularly from other authoritative or reputable sites. Backlinks like that are an important factor for Google’s ranking algorithms.
5 steps to building and promoting link assets
Links from authority sites
Links from authority sites require high-quality content assets. Sites that contain a lot of great content, such as .edus and .govs, are ideal. The more backlinks you earn, the more direct traffic you’ll get and the greater your chances your site will rank highly.
In recent years there have been many updates to the Google algorithm – specifically Penguin – and old techniques now no longer work. Since the updates, tactics such as placing articles on content farms or sites where the content is poor quality or duplicated from other site no longer works.
Penguin was designed to lower the ranking of websites based on their poor backlink profile. One of our clients, Colonial Pest, a pest management services company based in eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire, experienced severe problems because of Penguin. The attached image illustrates the problems caused by Penguin. You see that after a Penguin update, Colonial Pest’s search traffic dropped and didn’t recover until we went through a process of Penguin repair and fixed the issues for the following year’s season.
How to come up with linking ideas
If the goal is to get links from authority sites, how do you gain backlinks? Create content that people really want. That means start off with a plan, research your keywords. Here are some examples of great content that produced links:
- Moz Web 2.0 Awards. Moz, the search tools vendor, developed awards for success in social media. Those awards attracted a lot of links in the community.
- Bruce Clay’s Search Engine Relationship Chart. The chart is interactive, and in the early days of search when there were many more search engines to navigate, SEOs relied upon the chart to understand the interrelationships between those search engines. Today the chart is not as relevant because there are only a handful of search engines in business. But it’s still interesting and gaining links for Bruce Clay.
- McDougall Interactive developed Woodman’s “100 Fun Facts about Lobsters,” which in 2014 was the third most visited page on their website. It was easy to make – John McDougall was once a lobsterman in Gloucester – and fun as well.
How to create link content
Sit down and create a creative brief for the piece of content. Find a writer who has experience in the topic area. Select pictures that support the content, and create a page that’s just for that piece of link content. Make the page easy to share. If it’s an infographic, create an embed code so other people can share and use your content within their own sites when they see that great piece of content. Lastly, put a link to the page on a resources page, or within a topic area to make it easy to find.
Share with community and outreach
Extend great content by making it work within other media. Take a series of quotes and create a slideshare presentation, or distill an article down to a picture and add notes to the image for Facebook. Target and share the content with specific influencers, building personal, relevant messages to each influencer, making sure the content is relevant to their audience and interests.
Use Google Analytics to track the results of the content piece. Determine if you received additional traffic from the piece or, more importantly, conversions as a result of the interaction with the content. Track your rankings over time for relevant terms and determine if your search traffic is increasing or declining. If you see a significant drop in traffic that aligns with a Penguin update when tracking your overall search traffic in the acquisition section of Google analytics, that may mean you have a Penguin penalty and need to do something about the issue.