As the world’s biggest and most influential search engine, Google wants to ensure that it stays ahead of the game by maintaining optimum relevance and authority in the results it provides to its users. In order to achieve this, Google updates and develops its algorithms every year to ensure they are sufficiently sophisticated to deliver the best experience to its search engine users.
As such, we are never really aware of what search engine developments are coming, how these will work and what impact they will have on SEO. As marketers, therefore, we need to adapt to each of these updates where possible, but we need to ensure that we base our work on a fundamental principle which is relevant regardless of the current algorithm update. The key to this is to guarantee that you are providing up to date, relevant information that is unique to a website, and gives the user direction so that they can complete a desired action onsite.
Moving into 2018, we should keep this principle in mind as we work on link building campaigns. I would suggest that rather than concentrating on the most up to date link building techniques out there, it would be better to focus on the following:
1# Your target audience
Going back to basics and taking your audience as your starting point is always the best option, since they are the ones you are trying to attract. If you have this group in mind throughout your planning and decision-making process, you are much more likely to reach them when it comes to launching your campaign. When considering your product or service, it is essential that you understand what their interests are and look at what your competitors have done to target them. Off the back of this, it will be useful to build a mind map of the topics or subjects that will engage their interest and to think of creative ways that you can use these to interact with your audience.
2# How this audience best consumes information
Depending on the demographics of your audience, they will consume media in various ways. For example, you may find that a younger target audience is easily reached via social media outlets such as Facebook or Twitter, whereas a +35 male homeowner may be better targeted via content sites offering new ideas and product reviews. It will be of great use if you understand how your audience most commonly hunts out and consumes information related to your product or service, so that you can build pages and contacts with these platforms, and use these different mediums to ensure you are visible to those you are targeting.
3# Performance review of campaigns you ran in 2017
Unless you are new to marketing or launching a start-up, you will have previous campaigns that you have run this year. Unfortunately, these are often overlooked, but there is much to be gained from reviewing your previous campaigns. Realizing what went well and should be repeated in 2018 is equally as valuable as recognizing elements that need to be improved. This is a standard process for an SEO agency, however client-side marketers can also do the same. Now is a great time to review these campaigns and understand what went well and how this can be reapplied in 2018, as this data applies specifically to your business and is therefore highly relevant.
4# Informed decisions on campaigns for 2018
Using this information and keeping in mind your business goals for 2018, you will be able to make informed decisions when constructing your marketing calendar and link-building campaigns.
In order to reach your target audience most effectively, your SEO campaign will need a solid and coherent structure, which should incorporate information about your target audience and the media channels they use most frequently. Putting this plan into practice will make a huge difference to the amount of exposure your business gains from your campaign.
5# Performance monitoring: being clear about what you want to achieve and how you will measure it
Link building campaigns are usually run for the purpose of passing authority and thus increasing rankings. Whether this is your goal or not, it is essential that you are familiar with all the different metrics, what they can tell you and which ones are most helpful for measuring success in your business. Whichever ones you decide to focus on, make sure that you measure consistently by these metrics so that you are easily able to recognise patterns over time and across different campaigns. By doing so, you will gain a much clearer understanding of the extent to which a particular campaign has been successful. This can otherwise be extremely difficult because link building campaigns cannot be easily quantified in monetary terms, and so you need another metric to measure by. The most common metrics used for this purpose are domain authority, rankings for specific keywords, referral traffic, brand mentions and, of course, backlinks.