Some global brand names, already enjoying prominence in the marketplace, seem to think link building is not really necessary. But even they have a lot to gain from adopting a strategic link building campaign.
Link building is a vital component of SEO. While some experts have questioned the true significance of the practice today, there is still plenty of evidence to support the idea that link building is a critical part of a successful online marketing campaign. And yet, some major global brands seem to be reluctant to embrace that fact.
While many SMEs pay close attention to the intricacies of online marketing techniques, looking for a way to build their market share and (of course) revenue, those that might have been expected to be on red alert to new challenges do the exact opposite.
In a way, it’s understandable. Leading Brand Names, like Apple, IBM, BMW and Nike, are the major players in their sector. They often are a byword for important values like excellence, style and quality.
Do major brand names really need to be concerned about link building? Or is link building relevant only in the realm of startups and small businesses?
This article explains why business size is not a factor for a successful link building campaign. A big business can benefit from link building in exactly the same way a small business can.
Link Building Is Still Important
Of course, you already know what external links are, and that they include links from other sites to your own website, as well as your links to others. Links are valuable marketing tools for several reasons:
- Create greater visibility in searches
- Create greater visibility on industry-specific sites
- Help direct qualified traffic to a site
- Help build brand awareness and reputation to a wider internet audience
- Establish meaningful connections and relationships with which to expand markets
Link building helps to keep your site (or product page) connected and in tune with the outside world. Its essence, therefore, is “staying relevant”, and all the experts agree that relevance is important in any competitive market, whether we are talking about a large multinational clothing brand or a small local craft store.
As GE’s Business Innovation vice president, Beth Comstock, puts it: “We all are emotional beings looking for relevance, context and connection”. Adding fresh links plays a big role in keeping a business relevant to and connected with readers, as well as gaining sound grounding in search engine algorithms.
This runs against warnings that link building is dead. It’s definitely not true.
Recent surveys have proven that link building remains a key aspect of a successful online marketing campaign.
For example, Moz.com conducted a study of the “Relationship Between Google Rankings and Links”. They examined the top 50 Google search results for 15,000 keywords. The study revealed that
99.2% of the sites examined had at least 1 external link; and
Most of them have significantly more than just one link.
Why a Name is Not Enough
There is false security in being a major brand name. Sure, such names may be popular. Ask yourself to name 5 sodas. Is Coca-Cola in the list? Name a motor company? I’ll bet Ford, Ferrari or Mercedes are in there? A fashion brand? Is Gucci, Prada or Tommy Hilfiger amongst the first mentioned?
These are all brands that dominate magazines and TV advertisements, and have a strong street presence. But there is no guarantee that simply having an aesthetically striking website will create an equally impressive online impact for these giants.
Of course, as major brand names, they do enjoy a high level of visibility. But the fact remains that a global brand, such as Gucci, is just one of the millions of available options online. And unless their online marketing campaign is tailored to keep them on top of search results, they will be reduced to no more than just another number.
In his article entitled Search Engine Land, content marketing specialist Andrew Dennis illustrates the “Unfortunate Consequences of Ignoring Links” with some examples of major names that failed for assuming their name alone will attract traffic to their site.
The most prominent example is Netflix, now a name synonymous with online-sourced home entertainment. Their ISP Speed Index tool wasn’t getting the desired amount of exposure. According to Majestic tool measurements, the site had a Trust Flow rating of just 32, a Citation Flow rating of 44, and almost 11,000 External Links. But the saddest fact is that they only had 753 Referring Domains, a low figure considering the visibility of Netflix itself. In effect, a sound product from a world-known name was failing.
“Links are foundational to the Web, and they’re simply too important to overlook within your digital marketing. If you don’t account for links, it diminishes the other marketing tactics you’re implementing.”
Benefits of an Effective Link Building Campaign
So how can big businesses benefit from link building? The answer is simple: exactly the same way a small business can. But because a large brand name approaches a campaign from a different angle, there are some benefits specific to them.
1. Build Brand Affinity
By getting inbound links from the right websites, even an established brand can further enhance their reputation and market authority. But the reputation of a brand is not automatically positive. Think about it. Are you completely convinced that the major brands always deliver on their promise? Success breeds suspicion, and so keeping a positive reputation alive is important. Links maintain a connection with unconvinced communities, providing them with a route through which to seek reassurance of your brand’s value and integrity. Most importantly, it helps to build brand affinity which, in turn, drives more customers to buy, speak positively, and link back to your brand.
2. Discover New Markets
No business can afford to stand still, so finding new markets is very important. An external link building campaign is a perfect way to introduce your brand to a new demographic target. For example, if Bentley decides to launch a low-cost family car and enter the mid-salary market, an inbound link from a high-traffic automotive website is a good way to start. Not all links will spark the perfect response, but new links from a previously irrelevant income demographic can help create a new market, build brand awareness and generate sales.
3. Developing Relationships, Connections and Partnerships
No man is an island, they say. Well, no business can afford to be one either. Collaboration can be hugely beneficial to a company of any size. Many of the large brands have grown successfully with the help of strategically chosen partnerships. Since link building is a key method of building relationships online, it can play a part in developing online collaborative initiatives and partnerships as well.
- New Marketing Partners – there is nothing new about businesses collaborating to enhance their market shares. Think fast food chains with movies, or fashion houses with tourism in cities like Paris, New York, Milan or London.
- New Brand Advocates – bloggers are an influential force when it comes to spreading the word (good or bad) about a product or brand. Links from them can result in a review, a big thumbs up and, most importantly, a higher level of trust amongst their followers.
- New Social Media Partners – again, links can lead to social media opportunities, with Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. Powerful influencers favour these networks. So the benefits can be huge.
4. Strengthen Online Marketing Initiatives
As already mentioned, the relationship between links and Google ranking means no company can afford to ignore link building as a part of their overall online marketing strategy. Topping the search results page is an obvious advantage for increasing brand or product visibility. Of course, global brand names are already busy with marketing initiatives, but link building is an extremely good way of enhancing a marketing campaign’s impact. So, if an already successful campaign incorporates link building into its strategy; that will only serve to strengthen the campaign and lead to greater success.
Overcoming Big Business Challenges
It is no secret that success can breed complacency, and with that an increasing risk of eventual failure. So it is only logical that big businesses should pay as much attention to link building as SMEs and start-ups do.
But since they are coming from a different angle than smaller companies, there are specific challenges that they face:
- Managing An Established Brand Equity – unlike newly introduced products, existing products will have an already successful image that has to be maintained. It’s only natural that they want to protect it. But that can affect strategy, and sometimes encourages an overly conservative campaign that keeps SEOs away.
The Solution? Use carefully selected links to enhance your brand’s relevance, allowing it to rise to the next level, and get introduced to a new type of consumers.
- Higher Competition Level – competing with their main market rivals requires a lot more investment since those rivals are major brands too. An SME can afford to adopt a small-scale general campaign because progress is likely, but a similarly sized campaign for a large company is likely to have minimal impact. So, the scale of a link building campaign larger companies need is likely to be extensive.
The Solution? A bigger effort is needed to ensure the campaign’s effectiveness. Link quality will always be significant, but a long-term campaign coupled with a slow-but-sure approach is required to achieve any real success.
- Achieving Campaign Integration – the larger the company, the more red tape exists, and the harder it is to develop a unified and integrated online marketing campaign. So, each department needs to know what the others are doing.
The Solution? Well, it all comes down to improving communication, and incorporating link building into the overall strategy. So, it’s important to get the departments together and brainstorm a viable strategy.
Getting the Campaign Right with eTraffic
Leaving link building out of your marketing campaign is a big mistake. In fact, it’s a bit like going kayaking and leaving your paddle on the shore. Sure, you’re going to move forward by using your hands, but not as efficiently as you would have if you had brought the paddle with you.
Of course, getting an online marketing campaign right is not a simple thing, considering the many variables that influence the development of a viable strategy. And if you are a large company with established equity that needs to be both protected and enhanced, you need experts you can trust to take care of the task.
That’s where eTraffic Web Marketing comes in.
We have already established ourselves as one of Australia’s most successful web marketing companies. With offices in 9 cities across the country, we offer expertise in SEO, SEM, SMO, eCommerce SEO and Video Optimisation and Production.
For more information on how eTraffic can help you build a successful business, simply drop us a line. Fill out our online enquiry form, or call us on 1300-887-151 and speak directly with one of our experts.