In the online marketing world, there are many different ways that you can attract the audience you need to grow your business. There are several schools of thought on how to best achieve company growth through the Internet, and two of the most commonly-used tactics are link building and content marketing. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses, and which one you choose to use is dependent upon what you believe can best suit your business’s needs and the market you want to reach. In this article, we will discuss what link building and content marketing are, their benefits and drawbacks, when to use one instead of the other, and the futures of both practices and the likely direction that they will take as marketing progresses and evolves.
What is link building?
Link building is related to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) content. SEO content includes commonly-used words or phrases that people search for while using Google, Bing, Yahoo, or any other search engine. The idea is to create content that will appear high in the search results on these sites, directing people to your own page. Link building is the process of getting external sites to link to your own website. This process can often be laborious, as you want to make sure the links you’re building are from reputable and popular websites. In order to do this, there are several steps you must take. You need to, first and foremost, create compelling and thoughtful content and/or a good product that will entice reputable sites to want to reference your page. You also need to promote your work and submit it to various sites to get noticed by influential bloggers, internet personalities, marketers, and more. Once you gain a reputation as a site with valuable information, your link building can begin.
What are advantages and disadvantages to link building?
As with any marketing strategy, link building is not an exact science. An advantage of link building is that it helps you get page views, sometimes many of them, if you are able to get reputable websites to link to your own. It also can enhance your reputability. This is seen sometimes in the media, where one publication will link to another (Pew Research linking to Washington Post, for example, in their analysis of political trends). The mutual relationship helps benefit both parties. Link building does have its disadvantages: it’s arduous, requires a lot of work, and you are dependent upon another party. That dependency can be hard to control, as you never know what someone is going to post or what content they will use your link in.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a way of distributing and promoting content that is more information-based than a direct sales pitch. It is a form of marketing that has taken off recently. Content marketing relies on creating useful, valuable, and popular content that isn’t so much product-promotion as it is information dissemination. You are helping your consumer become more knowledgeable about not just the product, but the sector of the industry that your business is in. The goal is to build a relationship with the consumer by giving them the information they need in hopes that they will then become loyal to your brand. Companies who launch their own magazines are examples of this (John Deere’s “The Furrow” is content marketing, as is businesses that have adjoining blogs or publications). They are providing consumers with information relating to their product without actually selling their product to them in a direct, overt pitch. You want the consumer to take the information they have learned and apply it, while also directing their loyalty towards the company (yours) who provided such valuable insight to them.
What are advantages and disadvantages to content marketing?
Much like link building, content marketing takes a lot of work. You have to hire bloggers, copywriters, and other people that will assist you in getting your information out there to attract clientele. This is laborious, and the extra effort requires both time and money. However, the benefits that the success of this approach brings are immense. Providing information to consumers means that you will build trust, longer-lasting relationships with them that aren’t solely reliant on their affinity for your product. Your reputation is enhanced by this provision of vital, valuable content.
When should you choose link building over content marketing (and vice versa)?
It basically comes down to your website’s needs. If you are just simply selling a product, and you have the manpower and time to promote this product to websites and other publications without needing them to actually buy anything from you, link building is a good choice. It simply diverts traffic to your site and allows for organic page-views. If your product doesn’t really have adjuvant information that you can share, or you don’t have the time or money to hire writers, link building is still an excellent way to get noticed.
Content marketing is for businesses that have the capability to introduce their own blog or magazine to people. If you are selling a product that doesn’t already have a multitude of this information readily available to the public, and if you are able to hire writers to produce quality, valuable articles, you should do so. Content marketing can also help you link build as well, as people will want to connect to your site if you are providing valuable insight on a certain topic.
What is the future looking like for link building and content marketing?
Currently, they appear to be neck-and-neck in terms of which has the best SEO value. However, the projections by publications such as Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Journal show two trends. The first trend is content marketing overtaking link building because people are getting inundated with more common forms of advertising. Common “click here!” advertising is something people are so used to seeing that it is failing to move them to action. The second prediction bodes better for link building and content marketing alike, as it makes the case that the two SEO strategies need one another and mutually benefits from each other. Content marketing can increase link building, and link building can assist you in building your content’s audience.