Search engine optimization (SEO) is often conceived of in a one-dimensional way. I used to think that the only things I needed to do to get page views were A) write web content in a way which would connect with my brands’ audiences, and B) use the same keywords they would use to find the content.
While those two things are incredibly important, there’s another key technique that encourages Google to rank your content higher in search results: B2B backlinks.
For those unfamiliar, that term describes when another website links to something on your website.
HubSpot, an international thought leader on SEO, has stated many times that backlinks are just as — if not more — important as using the right keywords if you want people to see your content higher in Google searches.
So how should you go about landing backlinks on other websites? Here are the most common ways of going about it.
The first step is all about determining which websites are the best for you to land links on. While part of your audience likely reads some blogs on your competitors’ websites, those are obviously not where you’ll want to look.
You’re looking for websites which offer credibility and a sense of thought leadership on the topics you’re hoping to also rank for — for marketers and public relations folks, that likely means a Pro AV media website.
For example, I used to work with the My TechDecisions brand, a website targeting the technology decision-making, IT, & managed service provider audience. Even though it would be great if larger, similarly-focused websites like TechRadar or ZDNet referenced one of our articles on their site, the likelihood of that happening was incredibly small.
It was more likely to earn a backlink by building relationships with manufacturers who targeted the same space (especially those larger companies which make very in-demand products that TD’s audience was searching for), or by targeting well-known but independent bloggers in the technology space. Likewise, the reverse is true for you: you should be targeting those websites, and, in the case of pro AV, Commercial Integrator.
Luckily, our sales department already had contacts at the manufacturers we were hoping to target, so it was often easy to request a backlink with them when we were already creating sales-driven content which mentions them.
Know that this only works when you begin a relationship by offering the other party something which benefits them. Offer freelance journalists or bloggers a guest post or content idea pitch; you’ll make their lives easier while also gaining an opportunity for a backlink.
Create content people would want to share
Cranking out great blogs and pitches is only half the battle; you also want to create content with sharing in mind.
Is there a way for you to create a graph or short video which illustrates the same thought as that paragraph you just wrote? Do you have access to data from a previous sales or marketing campaign that could be interesting to your audience? Wherever possible, it’s great to turn that data into an infographic or video.
Visual content is more likely to be passed around on social media or, even better, embedded into other websites. As long as those other sites provide a link back to your own website, you should encourage other people to use this content. Journalists like to keep their audiences’ attention, so the more attention-grabbing content you can encourage them to share (which links to your website!), the better.
Whenever you interview someone for your own web content, you should ask them to make a post on their website which links to the article they are mentioned in. This gives them publicity on their own channels (“I was proud to be recently mentioned on MyTechDecisions.com….”) while also providing you that key backlink.
The other B2B backlinks strategy: guest posts
Another way to position your brand for growth involves landing guest blogs on others’ sites.
Example: Pizza Today could find a pizza blogger or podcaster (preferably one with many followers…and, yes, pizza bloggers & podcasters do exist!) and pitch a story with industry insights gleaned from the corresponding trade show and other trends the brand covers (something like “The New Pizza Topping We’re Seeing Customers Go Crazy For,” or “The State of the Pizza Industry in 5 Numbers”).
An editor (or editors) from Pizza Today could act as a discussion panel on the Pizza City USA podcast. Or maybe one of the recipes from Pizza Today’s “Recipe” section could be detailed in a collaboration video with a manufacturer that provides ladles or hot plates to the industry.
As long as the blogger/podcast/manufacturer website agrees to provide a backlink to your brand, it’s worth the time.
Journalistic brands aren’t the only ones which should use this strategy — in fact, they’re not even the ideal candidates for it.
Event-focused brands, such as Swim Collective, could approach media companies who might be interested in related topics.
Example: pitching topics like “10 Swimsuit Trends We’re Expecting This Season” or “The Edgiest Swimwear of 2020” to a fashion or lifestyle magazine/website could land that brand some recognition.
What’s more, the content for articles like that could very easily be collected/scouted out by an intern during the event — the pitch being that “one of the largest swimwear exhibitions recently concluded. Here are some of the most cutting-edge designs we noticed at the event that could trend in retail soon.”
Whatever you do, don’t make your pitch or your content “sales-y.” It’ll be thrown out pretty quickly. You want to make this an easy “yes” for the website that ultimately publishes it; a piece of content they can easily get lots of pageviews with. As long as they link back to your brand in the post, it’s a win-win.
This strategy isn’t just good for SEO. It’s a great way to expose your brand to new audiences and build its credibility.
Putting even a little time into these strategies will help your brands’ websites continue to build relevancy in your target audiences over time. Good luck!