Alright. So last week, I spoke on the early days of link building, and how the cost of links grew, relatively quickly.
The early days of link building led to Penguin, which then led to the current approach many SEOs use to generate links these days.
That approach is centred around campaigns – outreach campaigns, SEO campaigns, link building campaigns, it goes by several names.
This approach to link building, or link earning, is necessary.
This approach is expensive.
This approach, is not a guarantee of links.
So, let’s get into it. Let’s get into it.
Now, as I mentioned last week, link building used to be the default SEO services for agencies – pre-penguin.
Post-penguin, a lot of agencies were forced to adapt to a more campaign-based approach.
A campaign-based approach that aims to generate links but does not always generate links.
Why is this, you may ask?
Well, the days where you could contact a website owner and simply ask for a link are long gone.
If a website owner, let’s say a blogger, is going to link to your website, they’ll want something in return.
They most likely wouldn’t ask for direct payment for a link. If they did, the link would be considered a sponsored one, and would be ‘nofollowed’.
Now, of course, this is better than nothing. But ideally, what you really want is a link that’s ‘followed’.
How can you garner a blogger to link to your site with a ‘followed’ link?
This question is what led to the creativity of campaigns.
You see, campaigns are used to influence bloggers to give you a link.
In return, they (bloggers) get a number of things.
They get inspiration to create content.
An effective campaign will have an unlimited amount of narratives that a blogger can jump on.
They get their creative juices flowing.
Speak with any blogger and they’ll tell you it’s hard work.
Enjoyable, fun work. But hard work, all the same!
They get to have an experience!
This is why blogger events are highly popular.
You get a bunch of bloggers together to experience something that’s relevant to your business and you’ll be giving them the opportunity to create content based on the event that you set-up for them.
Bloggers get a whole-bunch of stuff these days.
All for the sake of influencing them to provide a link – at least from an SEO point of view.
What does all of this equate to?
What is the bottom line to all of this?
Or should I say, what does this mean to the bottom line?
It means the cost of acquiring a link has gone up!
Not only is the CPL, the cost per link, higher with campaigns, there is actually no guarantee you’ll receive a link with a campaign.
With campaigns, you pretty much have to rely on your ability to influence.
Just because you provide a product to a blogger doesn’t mean the blogger has to link to your site.
In fact, just because you have a campaign, doesn’t mean a blogger has to partake in it.
You firstly have to get them interested to want to be involved, right?
Bloggers receive an unlimited amount of requests. Believe me, your request for them to join a campaign you’re planning is just one of many they receive on a weekly, if not daily, basis.
Coming up with, and running a campaign, requires a lot of management of it.
And the core of a campaign is what…? The story! In other words, the content.
Ah, we’re getting to the crux of campaigns.
You see, there are several moving parts to a campaign.
The outreach to bloggers, is a big part of it. This can make or break a campaign.
Another part that can make or break a campaign is the content itself.
The idea of a campaign has to be within brand, be inspirational to the bloggers you want to partake in the campaign, and somehow, be of interest to the bloggers’ audience.
A campaign has to be a lot of things right just to get a link.
In other words, a prerequisite to having an effective campaign is to have an effective content.
What do many brands struggle with? Even to this day?
Now, if you’re an agency, that used to provide links for brands, pre-penguin, how would you have pivoted, post-penguin?
You would have gone from providing links to providing content.
Let me explain…
In order to attain links (or earn links) these days, you need to have content.
Your content is packaged as a campaign. You can consider a campaign an elaborate piece of content, if you like – an elaborate storytelling that involves bloggers.
By being able to zero in on this area of SEO, you, as an agency, can service brands with something they tend not to be very good at, and thus, have your billings be focused on content generation, rather than link generation.
When was the last time you were pitched on link earning without the word ‘campaign’ being mentioned?
What part of a campaign are you paying for – the content creation, or the outreach?
I’m betting it’s the content creation.
This is the preferred component of campaigns – preferred by agencies.
It’s a lot more beneficial to focus on the content than it is to focus on acquiring links.
Why, you may ask…?
Because the billings isn’t dependent on the CPL. It’s dependent on the ability to provide creative content.
You see, agencies have switched from link building, as the default SEO service, to them wanting to create elaborate content for brands.
Failure to generate links really serves as an opportunity to pitch for an increase in budget.
What does this all mean…?
It means, you, the client, ends up paying more for the potential to acquire links.
So let me ask you this…
What does your link earning budget cover?
Are you paying to earn links, or are you paying for content generation…?