The Content Marketing Institute in conjunction with Marketing Profs recently released a study showcasing what “worked” in 2011 in regards to B2B content marketing and what they project will work in 2012.
Two things in the report caught my eye: the fact blogs showed a 45% increase and case studies showed a 32% increase in perceived effectiveness compared to last year’s report.
The change in percentages made me go back and read the report a second time and that’s when my linkey senses started tingling. The fact blogs almost doubled in perceived value and case studies increased by a third is telling IMO and great information to have as a link builder.
Why? I have been known to say it’s not what you do that matters in linking, it’s where and I stand by that statement. You can have the best information filled with keyword anchors but if you put that content in a crappy article directory or on a two-bit blog, you will get no algorithmic benefit, no traffic and no brand boost. Heck, even if you have crap content sitting on those kind of sites you get no juice these days, Panda has taken care of that. The report points out blogs are being used with increased frequency and that’s great information to have.
You also know what’s turning bloggers on in terms of accepting content. An article titled
” The shopping habits of women over the age of 39“
sounds good and can be informative but market it as a case study and suddenly the information takes on a different light.
Think about it. If you were a well-known (translation: well or decently ranked) shopping blog or a news outlet looking for information on shopping habits, would you be more inclined to look at content labeled “article” or content labeled “case study” when researching for the story? Take the actual article out of the equation for a moment, if you had to go by titles, which would you choose?
Goes without saying the content has to be kick-ass and a real case study or the Editor of the national news outlet and/or blog will never give you a second glance (might even burn you publicly) but that’s a subject for another post. I know blasting the article directories and network blogs with content is still a viable linking tactic but I also know it’s getting much harder for those kinds of tactics to affect rank. Add to it the ties Google is (supposedly) creating between G+ and rank and now it really is about what you say. But don’t take my word for it, take a look at the report and note the uptick in white papers, print magazines, ebooks, it’s telling. No where does it say short articles from the article directories showed an increase in use.
Everyone is running around yakking about “quality content” to the point its become a joke. Well, fine, but keep in mind quality to you may not be quality to me so qualify it with a label and help make the content stick out.
So here’s something to consider when building links in 2012: how you label your link-filled, quality content can affect where it’s hosted and who recommends it. Having a case study sit in an article directory or a crap blog will do little for your rankings, having it on a national news site or well known blog however, will. Try to incorporate a label in your anchors or the text around your link(s) so it’s associated with the content, like this:
Case Study: The Shopping Habits of 39 Year Old (cough) Link Builder
Here are a handful of tips working for me:
- Tie your author bio to your Google profile as well as your website
- Link to internal pages of your site to support information in your case study/content.
- Don’t shy away from using keyword anchors, just use them conversationally rather than making it obvious they were hyperlinked to produce juice
- Don’t rely on content generation to produce all your links. Mix up your tactics, mix up your anchors.
- Point your anchors to pages within your site that have been optimized for those terms. You’d be surprised how something so simple has a profound effect on your rankings.
Link building will be super competitive in 2012 and you’re going to need an edge to succeed. Give it to yourself by developing and labeling the type of content marketers are looking for.
Before I sign off, a personal note:
This is my last post for 2011, I can’t believe the holidays are around the corner and the New Year close behind. I won’t be blogging until we come back in January but I will be posting all the cool marketing and link building tidbits I find (and I find a bunch of cool stuff!) to my Facebook and G+ account so come over and join the fun.
I sincerely wish you and yours all the best in 2012. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
images courtesy Content Marketing Institute