5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Many small-business owners and SEO practitioners understand the importance of driving backlinks to their SEO-optimized content.
Backlinks are known as a “vote of confidence.” Backlinks tell search engines, particularly Google (which owns 92 percent of all searches around the world) to trust your content and rank it higher than pages and posts without many backlinks.
Of course, the on-site content should be high quality itself and contain all of the information someone wants when searching that query. Rather than a cure-all, backlinks are more like a head start in the race against other quality content.
The problem with expensive backlinks
From my experience working with large, scalable tech brands, many marketers understand the power of backlinks.
However, most marketers are building backlinks with expensive, tedious strategies. They’re either paying agencies a high cost per link (typically $300 to $500), or they’re doing old-school backlink outreach in-house.
Backlink outreach is when you send an email requesting that the content manager link to your content. You’ve probably received these emails yourself. It can take anywhere from 50 to 250 emails to get one yes.
When you’re paying a lot for each link (either with a teammate’s time or agency fees), you can afford fewer links each month. In turn, fewer links result in lower chances of ranking your SEO content.
Digital PR, on the other hand, provides much better results at any level of financial investment or time input. Here’s why.
Get an easier yes for digital PR requests
From my experience pitching for my own SEO content and my clients’, it’s easier to get a yes for a digital PR request than a basic link request.
Instead of asking websites to link to my site, I ask for digital PR coverage, which typically produces links anyway.
It only takes about five to ten emails to get a yes for a guest post or podcast interview. And often, you don’t even need to send emails. You can start by leveraging relationships with content managers, bloggers and podcast hosts that you already know.
Build relationships you can leverage
Digital PR offers more than just backlinks. You also build new relationships with non-competing companies, influencers, journalists and content creators.
You can leverage these relationships again and again. You might do co-marketing activities like webinars and virtual summits. Or, you might swap features in each other’s email newsletters. Your creativity is the limit.
Produce content you can repurpose and share
If you email someone to ask for a backlink, you might get the backlink if you’re lucky, but that’s all you’ll get.
When you use digital PR to drive backlinks, you also generate content that you can share with your audience to build your brand authority and stay top-of-mind with your leads.
You can share your best media features, podcast interviews and contributor articles across all of your social-media channels and in your email-nurture sequences.
Get more eyes on your content right away
A backlink might push your content to the top of search engine results, but it might not. The competition could be too fierce. SEO results are never guaranteed.
When you use digital PR instead of backlink outreach, you can make sure more people consume your content.
For example, if you mention an SEO-optimized resource page at the end of an interview for a popular podcast, you could get dozens or hundreds of direct views of that resource when the interview goes live. Listeners will click on the resource from the podcast show notes, search the name of the resource directly or type the URL you mentioned into a search bar. On the other hand, backlink outreach doesn’t necessarily drive immediate traffic to your desired page.
Gain links from sites with a high domain rank
Every SEO marketer knows that the quality of your backlinks is more important than the quantity. Getting a backlink from a website with a high domain authority (DR) is more likely to boost your SEO page in search engines than a backlink from a site with low DR.
When you use online media as your main linkbuilding strategy, you’ll rake in more backlinks from high DR sites. Many online publications have DR scores in the 80s and 90s, while the average DR of all websites is between 40 and 50.
Reuse your best topics
When entrepreneurs and marketers want to ramp up their PR strategy, they often wonder, How will I come up with enough ideas? Won’t I run out of things to say?
The good news is that your best ideas are scalable. You can talk about the same core topics on many different podcasts. You can get the same product covered in multiple online publications. You can write guest blogs with similar tips for different websites (avoid exact duplications).
It’s true that backlinks tell search engines to pay attention to your content. But when you use digital PR to drive those backlinks, you’ll get your target audience’s attention too.