Now that we’ve all diversified, now that we’re link building experts or guest posting gurus or forensic SEOs or branding evangelists or PPC maestros, it’s time to stop specializing in Caribbean women’s menopausal health science and start being general doctors again, able to diagnose any issue or at least find somewhere to put you until we find someone to fix your problem. We need to become integration masters.
From a link building perspective, integration makes a lot of sense. As I’ve said (too often, I’m afraid) link building can only do so much. I’d be a crap link builder if I didn’t realize that. I’m lucky enough to have had a background that let me learn many pieces of the puzzle so that probably gives me a different perspective on all this, as when I started doing SEO I had to do it all from site architecture and coding to running the PPC ads. That isn’t the case with many people starting out today, as they can come in and quickly get slotted into an area, not needing to do anything else. If you’re specializing in building links, or any other specialty, while I don’t think you have to know how to do everything else, i do think that it’s critical that you at least recognize the need for integration and that you familiarize yourself with the basics of both what needs to be done, and who can do it if you cannot.
Link building absolutely has to work hand in hand with other forms of marketing, and this extends to offline activity as well. It’s also a very commonly outsourced part of marketing, which makes it quite difficult to integrate with everything else that’s going on. We have clients who are webmasters, or marketing directors, or SEOs, and no matter who we’re working with, we still aren’t properly integrating with everyone else. Most of our clients don’t give us access to their analytics, for one thing. Some of them also employ other link building teams with whom we have no contact, so other than seeing their links pop up, we can’t tell whether we’re stepping on each others’ toes. We can conduct SEO audits and make recommendations for clients but that certainly doesn’t mean that anything gets changed. Sometimes we just give up and do what we’re being paid for, and that is building links, some of which we can’t measure the effectiveness of because, as I mentioned, we can’t get analytics data.
I think it’s fantastic that people can specialize because it allows you to to truly dig into your niche and become much more knowledgeable about it. With all of the various methods of online and offline marketing, I can’t imagine that many people can successfully cover it all anymore. However, we have to start making sure that we talk to each other more. We have to stop being content with just doing our small jobs and start being more vocal about the need to get more information, to collaborate, and to all have a common goal. I could sit back, build links, keep quiet, and just get paid, but I can’t last if I only do that. Algorithms change, people launch new sites, brands encounter reputation problems, Google stops sending keyword referrers, link networks are devalued, new social media platforms emerge…this industry is anything but stagnant. If you can’t learn to adapt and integrate, you can’t last much longer.
7 Points which will help you better integrate your link building
So how can you learn to better integrate if you’re currently focused solely on link building?
1. Request either access to analytics or secondhand analytics data.
It’s nice to be able to see what traffic is being generated from your efforts and to get a better idea of the overall trends of the site. Without knowing how things are going trafficwise, it’s difficult to accurately plan your next steps.
2. If you aren’t sure whether PPC efforts are ongoing, do some searches and see if ads pop up for the site, or ask the client.
PPC is great for supplementing traffic loss due to ranking fluctuations, for one thing. If you’re building links and you get hit with a penalty or see a massive drop off in the SERPs, having access to the PPC manager could help keep things rolling while you adapt your link plan. If the budget gets tight for link building and you need to figure out which terms to back off from a bit, being able to coordinate this so that the anchors you slack off on still show up well in PPC will help the overall marketing campaign, for example.
3. Make sure you know what’s going on with the social media accounts for the site.
If you are guest posting for links and the social media manager isn’t tweeting these, make contact if possible and ask for a mention here and there.
4. Keep an eye out for offline marketing, too.
If you see that there are ads in the local newspaper for the site yet the URL itself isn’t mentioned, point it out to the proper people and explain how that, too, can help build links in a passive manner. Maybe you’ll see something in ad copy in a magazine and it will help you with link discovery.
5. Actually take a look at the site for which you’re building links, and read over it.
Use it so you can see it as a proper user would. Maybe you will find content areas that don’t seem to actually match the anchor text you’re been told to use for links pointing to that page. Suggest they be changed to better reflect the anchor, or suggest altering the anchor. Maybe the homepage doesn’t link to a page you’re targeting in your efforts. You’re building 25 links a month to it, and it’s a critical page, but it’s not linked from the homepage…suggest that a link be added. Going through a site as a user can be a great way to identify problem areas where you’re leading users to a page that isn’t converting.
6. If there are affiliates for your site, see how they’re doing their own marketing.
Affiliates are more than just sellers of your product. You can learn an amazing amount from these guys. So keep a close eye on what they are doing.
7. Read something other than posts about link building for a change.
There is so much more than SEO and link building. Read posts about other forms of marketing. It will help you understand more and thus get more out of your link building efforts.
Integrating successfully will take a lot of hard work, a lot of running around in pursuit of people who don’t want to participate or share information, and a lot of education and convincing. However, in the end, having an integrated marketing team on your side is probably what will ensure that you stay up and running. As I’ve said, I don’t think that you need to know how to do everything, but I do think you will soon see more of a need to connect with people who can do what you can’t.
Featured image source: http://www.washingtontimes.com/
About the Author, Julie Joyce
Julie Joyce (@JulieJoyce) is the owner and Director of Operations of Link Fish Media, a bespoke link building agency located in Greensboro, NC that focuses on helping clients in ultra-competitive niches all over the world.