So in the previous 2 podcasts, I talked about link building campaigns (Why the Cost of Links Continue to Increase: Part 1 and Part 2).
I want to follow-up from them and delve into the outreach part of link building, and why you really should be using PR (Digital PR) for the outreach part of your link building campaigns.
Now, just to quickly recap, creating campaigns to earn links is the prominent way of earning links these days, and has been since Penguin.
With campaigns, there are 2 major parts to it – the campaign itself, and the outreach.
Now, before getting into the outreach, let me quickly state, the campaign itself has several identities.
Some SEOs regard it as Creative, some regard it as Content, others call it a Story, or Narrative. Others, simply call it, a Campaign.
Some SEOs simply use the term ‘Campaign’ because the concept of a campaign doesn’t always require a creative.
Organising a blogger event, for example, doesn’t require a creative. The event is considered the campaign part, and the outreach would be the relations with bloggers.
So, you have the campaign itself – whatever it may be – and then the outreach.
The outreach part of link building requires a person who constantly builds and nurtures relationships, if it is to be successful.
So, for this reason, I believe the Outreach part of off-page SEO should sit with PR, and not SEO.
Now, there was a time when SEOs could outreach successfully to bloggers – oh, and by the way, I’m using ‘bloggers’ as a catch-all for ‘website owners’.
There was a time when SEOs could contact bloggers and get them to provide a link to one’s website.
However, in 2021 and beyond, this is highly dangerous.
And I don’t use that word likely.
Link Building, or Link Earning, if you find it more palatable, is political.
It comes with the risk of going against Google’s guidelines.
These guidelines are broad, and open to interpretation.
As such, some would say, the very act of link building is against Google’s guidelines.
Yet, we all know the importance of ensuring one’s site has backlinks.
And if you’re in a highly competitive vertical, you know you absolutely need to attain links because if you don’t, you, frankly, won’t rank high in the SERPs.
So, there’s not much choice there. You simply have to attain links, in as safe of a way as possible.
Paying bloggers to link to your site is unsafe.
Creating campaigns and giving bloggers a reason to link to you, is safe.
Yet, outreaching to bloggers, by an SEO – not so safe!
Bloggers are aware of how links help websites.
They are also distinctly aware of Google’s guidelines on links.
As I mentioned, the very act of link building can be argued to be against Google’s guidelines.
Believe me, bloggers will argue this, especially if and when contacted by an SEO.
An SEO contacting a blogger for a link immediately raises red-flags.
And from a branding point of view, it’s not worth having to go through a link building scandal.
If you’ve ever experienced a blogger backlash, you know, ain’t nothing nice about it!
It’s an issue that goes beyond the remit of SEO.
It’s an issue that puts a brand at risk.
It’s an issue that can be regarded as a PR nightmare.
Just think of a PR issue you’ve had to address in the past.
Now, imagine having to go through another one, just from trying to get a link.
It’s not worth it.
And this is coming from an SEO person.
Outreaching is a task that benefits SEO but firmly belongs to PR.
Their expertise of having relations with bloggers is far richer than that which SEOs have, and that which SEOs will ever have, in my opinion.
You also have to consider this…
PR creates and builds relations with bloggers, continuously.
They do so for their PR activities.
Now, what happens when an SEO contacts a blogger who has a pre-existing relationship with PR?
A clash – that’s what happens!
Who owns the relationship – with the blogger? Is it PR? Or is it SEO? Or is it both?
Try explaining to a PR person why their contacts should have dealings with SEO.
I’m betting it won’t go down too well.
The idea, won’t be welcomed!
And frankly, I understand. And agree. The relationship with bloggers belong to PR.
They are better placed to manage this relationship.
Now, this doesn’t mean SEOs no longer carry out campaigns to earn links.
This is very much an SEO activity. But the outreach, specifically, should sit with PR – Digital PR.
And you know what this does…?
This presents the opportunity to have PR and SEO better integrated.
In 2021 and beyond, you really need an environment where SEO and PR can collaborate on campaigns for joint outcomes.
Having SEO and PR working together will actually be a better way to use your marketing budget.
Heck, why not even have a campaign that’s 360?
Wouldn’t this be a better way of marketing? Where all channels contribute to a campaign?
It would be. Of course it would be.
Take it from me: the best campaigns that garner links, are integrated.
You want to have more success with the links you attain, have a closer look at the approach you’re using.
If you find that SEOs are still outreaching to bloggers, this might be an approach that you’ll want to refine.