In today’s guest post, Blueclaw’s Marketing Director Martin Calvert examines the impact of quality media coverage on visibility and search performance.
Links remain the lynchpin of off-site SEO strategy, but not all links are created equal.
Google’s commitment to rewarding sites that provide the most value to human visitors, means the search engine is looking for indications that your site is organically featured and linked to by high quality sites.
As Google’s Matt Cutts states –
‘…the objective is not to ‘Make your links appear natural’; the objective is that your links are natural.”
Natural links from great website and publications help your site – unnatural links from poor quality site do nothing or actively damage your rankings.
Unlocking that higher tier of coverage and winning over publications, blogs and influencers takes great content, aligned to your SEO strategy.
However, lessons can be drawn from other disciplines – including PR.
Content Marketing, SEO and PR
“What sites can I be featured on? What would their readers find compelling about what we have to say? What topics would capture their interest? Where can I reasonably expect to win coverage?”
….are all questions that professionals in another content-centric industry are very familiar with – PR.
As SEO becomes ever more like PR in terms of these questions, the more marketers can look to the established habits of great PR firms to guide their content strategy, while also incorporating the SEO criteria and metrics they need to drive rankings.
As in PR, the more authoritative and discerning a publication/site you target, the better your content must be. Remember, these publications thrive on maintaining high standards, and have their own SEO and readerships to consider.
SEO is a bit of an arms race in that with so many companies attempting to implement a link-earning strategy, the best sites have become more discerning about who they link to.
Meanwhile, more ‘accessible’ sites lose value quickly – and could even result in a penalty.
Higher Value Links, Greater Results
The gold standard of leading industry publications, mainstream media and .gov and .edu domains remains in force.
The effort to produce this content of a quality that will win coverage (and links) from this type of outlet can be off-putting.
For some companies, they will continue to suffer from the fatal half measure of lacklustre content generation leading to lacklustre results.
Breaking out of that routine and really taking your SEO strategy forward, requires creativity, insight and authentic content of unambiguous value.
The good news is the better your content is, the further it can travel and the greater results you can anticipate.
This is particularly the case if there is an element of virality – content that people cannot resist linking to and sharing on social media and elsewhere.
Manning the Pump
The internet is awash with mediocre content, churned out on a timely schedule.
The written word is vital but engaging, entertaining and insightful visual elements also increase the value of content as the delivery mechanism for the crucial link to your site.
A vanishingly small number of companies can produce content on a consistent basis that retains high standards of quality – and some will choose never to invest that time, effort or money.
We know that Google loves new content, are hungry to index it and will give a boost to fresh material on the assumption that newer = more timely, relevant and interesting.
That’s something to bear in mind when producing content for your own site, but it’s also at the forefront of the minds of savvier website owners. Your great content helps their site – so they’ll be willing to scratch your back in turn with a follow link.
Consistency in Content
Consistency in content creation in terms of timeliness and quality is just as important for the mainstream media.
Though they may be less concerned about their own search rankings, they do demand dependable partners who can be relied upon to help with a quote, a bit of insight or a meaty piece of content that makes their story or their site that much better.
In short, your SEO programme will suffer and winning, retaining and expanding your media relationships will be harder without regularity of great content – that crucial connective tissue – to keep the reciprocal relationships working well.
Differentiating on Content for Next-Level SEO
Content marketing is the delivery mechanism for off-site SEO – and the better your content, the greater leeway you have to engage and negotiate with the sites that fit the ideal profile for your SEO strategy.
What qualifies as great content will vary depending on your industry, and demands of the press, industry publications, sector-specific sites and influencers.
Content marketing is in a hype phase at the moment, meaning that there is a flood of sub-par content.
Differentiating is critical, as is creating a reputation for quality and consistency – looking to PR for inspiration is just one route.
Martin has an 11-year career as an international researcher, speaker and client and agency-side practitioner in the field of online communication and influence. Drawing on his diverse experience, Martin provides a practical, personable and data-driven view of digital marketing and SEO.
Having recently joined Blueclaw as Marketing Director, Martin is responsible for enthusing major brands and challengers alike about the new art of the possible in digital marketing.
Martin’s session at next week’s Search Leaders Masterclass at Etihad Stadium, Manchester: Earning media coverage, social shares & engagement for next-gen SEO