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DOMAIN / INDUSTRY: Content Marketing

THEME: A Founder sharing his journey about building traffic for a website and how other marketers can use the same tactics to build similar traffic.

OBJECTIVES: To establish the Founder as an authority in Content Marketing and get people to sign up for the email list.

For one of my newer websites, I am just about to hit the first milestone of 1 million organic sessions a month. Here’s what the stats looked like:

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What makes me feel happier is the fact that this is the 4th website for which I was able to hit a million sessions milestone. And with every newer website, the time to go from 0 to 1 million sessions is coming down.

What’s more interesting is that for each of these 4 websites, I have spent exactly $0 on paid marketing. It’s all through an organic channel, primarily search traffic.

Anyways, the other day I thought to myself, let me write about 2 quick things I learned while taking this new website from 0 to 1 million organic sessions a month in less than I think 15 months. There’s another reason I wanted to write about this thing.

Years back, when I started my first blog, I did all that SEO / Traffic Generation experts suggest. Write amazing content (10x better) and promote it via various channels (now as a newbie, in my case, I promoted my content tactically via channels that were accessible to me). But the traffic didn’t grow as much as I was expecting. Tell me if this doesn’t sound familiar!

So, here you go!

Do Backlinks Really Help?

Over the last several years, I have heard of several SEO / Content Marketing pundits talking about not worrying about creating backlinks. Just create some good content and backlinks and traffic will follow. Now, that might have been true until a couple of years back, when most of the people out there were churning out mediocre content. And at the risk of sounding cliché, I’d say where the focus was more on numbers of articles published per week vis-à-vis how are they moving the key metrics for you.

But here’s the hard truth. It took me several weeks to accept that. You are not the only one who reads about content marketing and SEO. And what this translates too is – everyone out there is focusing on creating good content now. Don’t believe me. Ok. Think of content around startup marketing, team building, product management, etc. And you can come up with at least 20+ sites in each of these areas that are known to publish great… engaging content.

So, the approach of ‘just create good content and backlinks will follow…’ no longer works. When I realised this, I made a promise that it’s ok if I create one lesser content piece a week, but will focus on getting backlinks. Religiously.

Now, after working with several brands on their SEO strategy for the past several years, I can tell you that there’s hardly anyone who loves building backlinks. Because it’s damn boring almost all the time, and highly cumbersome too. But if you still do it, that’s when you can create what we all can call the barrier to entry. In the latter part of this email, I have mentioned a practical way on how to make backlinks creation job a bit more interesting.. and a lot less cumbersome.

That’s what helped me get backlinks from the likes of qz.com, thequint.com, several other reputed web publications as well as some .edu sites (known to help increase domain authority).

So, no matter what SEO pundits say, focus on creating backlinks. It’s important, necessary and sooner or later you have to do it.

Stop Creating Content That’s Only Valuable To Your TG!

I know several eyebrows have been raised on reading this. But hear me out for the next 5 minutes and you will find logic in what I’m saying. And I can tell you from my experiences with these 4 sites that it works. Every single time.

I feel that almost everyone out there just talks of only thing – Create the content that will genuinely be of value to your users. Fair Enough. But the problem is that marketers have engrossed themselves so much into this holy grail that they miss one thing:

“Your potential TG are less likely to give you a backlink.”

Now before, we get on to how to get those valuable backlinks, let me give you an example. Which one of the following is the content that an influencer in SEO / Content Marketing domain is very likely to link back?

How many clicks do the first 10 results on Page 1 of Google SERPs get? Data backed results basis study of 1000 keywords

vs.

A simple guide to Rank from Page 3 to Page 1 on Google within the next 45 days?

IMHO, a good chunk of influencers will prefer to link back, refer and share the first topic.

Here’s one more example. Imagine you run a blog that shares some amazing Pizza recipes (my favorite… that’s gonna be dinner for tonight :)) Now, I’m sure if you share some amazing pizza recipes with mouth-watering photos (heard of Manchurian Pizza?), you will surely get lots of eyeballs from homemakers, pizza lovers, etc. But a larger set of them won’t have an outlet for giving you a backlink.

Now, let’s not jump the gun here and say one should never create content for end users. You should create it because this content can act as a hook for your TG to trust you, gives you positive WoM and a large enough audience over several years.

What I’m simply saying here is also create content for people who are very likely (or more likely) to link to your content – people within your domain.

Yes, you heard that right. Create content for people within your domain.

Let me give you one more example. Think of you being a SaaS company that turns GA data into beautiful reports. Now, which of these two is something that an influencer in the Product Marketing domain will link back to:

The 30 Minutes Guide to Know The Important Metrics inside Google Analytics OR The 5 GA Metrics that every e-commerce Store should track

vs.

Omni-channel Analytics 101 – The Guide every member of your marketing team should read

Is the first topic helpful to the TG (busy marketing managers) of a GA Reports App – Definitely!

Assuming they link back your site, does it really move the backlink authority needle for you – Very likely Not.

Does the 2nd topic attract influencers in a Product Marketing domain – Yes. Omni-channel analytics is a hot topic and understanding of it establishes you as a domain expert.

Also, let me also mention that there will definitely a lot of topics that will be equally appealing to influencers and your TG alike.

So, how do you find these topics?

There are several ways to go about it. Here are 3 to help you get started:

Approach 1:

Find the Twitter handles of influencers in your domain and use this search operator (inside Twitter Search field) to know the kind of links they are interested in sharing:

filter:links -filter:images from:<twitterhandle>

Approach 2:

Keyword based-approach (and one of my favourites)

  • Search for the keywords related to your domain. For instance, Google Analytics Setup, Advanced Google Analytics Setup, e-commerce Funnel Guide in Google Analytics.
  • In a spreadsheet, copy the URLs on Page 2 and Page 3 of search results. If need be, you can go till 4th page too. If this sounds a bit tedious, use some tools that can export the search results to a spreadsheet. SEOquake can help you with this.
  • Repeat these for some primary keywords you want to be ranked for.
  • Then remove brand URLs, social network URLs, sharing site URLs, forum URLs, etc. For instance, Google Blog’s URLs, URLs from YouTube, etc.
  • You will now have a list of some 20-30 URLs. Go by gut-feel and pick up a few URL and check their backlinks in SEMRush.

If you find authoritative backlinks, understand the topic of the website they linked to. This way, you will have 5-6 topics at least.

One more thing. Ignore the following sort of search terms while performing the above-mentioned exercise:

  • product specific searches
  • brand searches
  • searches that give instant answers (for instance, calculator, $ to INR conversion)
  • navigational searches – where the purpose is to go to a particular website.

That’s it. Write some amazing content that you think these influencers might be interested in and once live, approach them to see if they would like to share it with their readers. Trust me. It gives phenomenal results.

For instance, this strategy helped me get almost 1.5 lakh sessions a month to a particular page.

There are several other ways too on how to get backlinks and automation you can do for the first steps. Will very soon write about them too. If you want me to buzz you, the moment I write about it, leave your email address below.

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