There are several factors that search engines take into consideration when ranking your website. Aside from providing informative content that will answer your readers’ questions, you need to prove that you’re a credible authority on the topics you write about.
Already being a known professional in your industry circles can certainly help, but it probably won’t move the organic traffic needle much. Instead, you need a link-building strategy that attracts quality backlinks from reputable authorities and news sources, which will tell the search engines that they can trust your website.
However, obtaining quality backlinks can be difficult, especially if your organization is still in its infancy. With that in mind, the following article will discuss how to obtain the backlinks you’re looking for.
Get Press Coverage by Becoming a Source Magnet
When you have a question you need an immediate answer to, you probably turn to a search engine like Google, given that it provides nearly instantaneous results for any query you have, whether you want help picking out your next car or planning tonight’s dinner.
Articles that contain information relevant to your search query will, as expected, appear at the top of the results, but that’s only a part of the ranking factor. Behind the scenes, search engines crawl your pages to look for backlinks. A page with few backlinks is unlikely to crack the top ten search results, even if its content contains highly relevant information.
A page needs credible backlinks from highly authoritative sources, like news websites and industry-leading blogs, to increase its website’s rankings on Google and other search engines, but capturing the attention of such sources isn’t easy. You can’t simply send them a letter requesting a PR link to your website; instead, you must give them a reason to link to you. When you become a source magnet, you increase your chances of generating natural backlinks from credible authorities.
What’s a PR Source Magnet?
In search engine optimization (SEO) terminology, being a PR source magnet means you’re the primary source of information on a given topic. Few (if any) websites are available that can compete with or provide the content you do. Yours isn’t a facsimile of the other dozens or so in your industry — it’s unique.
Of course, not every article you publish needs to be a trailblazer in your industry, as Google considers other factors when ranking your website, like your site’s publishing frequency and the amount of content it contains. However, if you can dedicate yourself to at least one standout article every quarter or year, you increase your chances of obtaining quality backlinks, which can do wonders for your company’s PR.
One great example of a source magnet article is a study relevant to your business or industry. A news agency looking for facts or statistics to support an article they’re writing will link back to you, especially if you’re the only source available on the topic they can find.
How Studies Attract Press Coverage
Journalists require sources (HARO, for example) when they publish articles in a trusted publication. They can’t write factual articles based on their opinions or provide made-up statistics to add credibility to their story. Failing to source details in their article correctly can result in legal liability and diminish their standing as trusted sources of information.
However, finding sources isn’t always easy, and that’s where your website comes in. When you create a reputable study that contains clearly-labeled statistics and other information that is unavailable anywhere else, journalists and industry organizations will want to link to you. Your analysis provides them with the information required to support their claims.
Deciding on a Topic for Your Study that Brings in Good PR
You’ll need to spend time brainstorming a topic for your study. Ideally, you’ll find one that is relevant to consumers and businesses. There may be a few sources with relevant statistics, but it’s even better to find a topic that doesn’t have any competition.
You’ll want to look for topics that are likely to remain relevant in the long term rather than fizzle out as a bygone fad or a news story that quickly fades over a few weeks. For example, ‘cash stuffing’ was a finance trend that gained prominence after a TikToker went viral showing how she used the method to save money; however, it’s unlikely that people remember much of it months later.
The topic you cover should be relevant to your business, but it can also be tangential, meaning it covers subjects that aren’t directly related to what you sell but are still within your purview. They’ll concern issues people want to learn about and that journalists want information on.
There are at least three questions you should ask yourself when deciding on the topic of your study:
- Does the topic show steadily increasing interest over time?
- Is there a lack of data available on the subject?
- Is the issue tangential to your website?
Pick a Format for Your Study
Once you decide on a topic for your study, you’ll need to pick a format for it to follow. The format you choose will indicate how extensive your analysis will be. You can choose between a niche survey, an industry study, or a curated report.
A niche survey is the easiest to create. You’ll cover a minor topic related to your industry with a few simple questions that you’ll ask of a small audience that fits your set criteria. Once you have the data for your niche study, you’ll publish it in an article on your website.
An industry study requires a bit more work. Typically, you’ll research a given topic in your industry using your own resources. If you own an e-commerce website that sells athletic gear, for instance, you might run an industry study on the most supportive running shoes for people with a high arch.
A curated report doesn’t require conducting surveys or creating data from scratch. Instead, you’ll use data from various sources and present it in a new format. For instance, if you’re a personal injury lawyer, you might create a curated report on car accident statistics in your city. The data is already available through multiple sources; all you need to do is repurpose it to fit your needs.
Give Your Study Credibility
Receiving press coverage from major news organizations requires that you have a credible study, which means you’ll need to have a decent sample size and document how you came to your results. If you plan to run a niche study, for example, you’ll want to poll at least 250 people. The higher your sample size, the more likely people are to believe in your results.
The people you survey should also fit specific criteria. If your niche study centers on how many people put their home-buying plans on hold due to high-interest rates, you’ll want to study people with the means to buy a house. You won’t show up at your local junior high and ask teenagers how higher interest rates affect their plans to buy a home.
Lastly, an industry study should have a sample size of at least 1,000 individuals, and a curated report should include between 50 and 100.
Draft Your Study
With all of your data collected, it’s time to assemble your report. It should present what you’ve found from your study in an informative way to readers without sounding too dry. After all, a university isn’t going to be publishing your report; it will, instead, likely appear on your company website or blog.
Be that as it may, you need to remain objective to maintain your credibility. You shouldn’t use your study to promote your products or services; it should stand alone as an information source. Otherwise, people are less likely to believe the results of your research.
Promote Your Study Through Your Regular Channels
You very likely have other channels besides your website through which you can communicate with your audience, such as your social media accounts, email newsletter, and SMS subscriber list. These are all great platforms to use when it comes time to promote your new study, so use them to your advantage!
Start by sharing your article through your social media accounts, and include a caption that highlights something readers will learn when they read the article. You’ll want to do the same for emails and SMS messages that you send to subscribers. For instance, if you ran a study on how many people cut down on dining out because of inflation, you could use the subject line, “60% of Consumers Don’t Eat Out Because of Rising Inflation — Are You One of Them?”
As your study gains steam, it will naturally generate more backlinks. News organizations and industry leaders will find your research and link to it because you’ve created a credible study that lends credence to the topic they’re writing about.
Source Magnets Are a Great Way to Enhance Your Link-Building Strategy
Backlinks are often challenging to obtain, especially from authoritative websites like news websites and industry blogs, but you can give your link-building strategy the extra push you need by creating content that is a natural source magnet, like an informative study. While it may take some extra work, the results will pay off over time.
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