The Death of Link Building and the Rebirth of Link Earning – Rand Fishkin
In this week’s episode we continue along our Content Marketing theme and drill down on the SEO aspect, specifically how the search engine optimisation practice of ‘link building’ is transitioning into ‘link earning. My guest this week is Woj Kwasi from Kwasi Studios. Woj had the great suggestion of getting out of the office and recording this interview out at Morialta Falls in the Giant’s Cave which was a stunning location (see pics below).
Some of the points covered in this episode;
- How do you know what kind of content people are likely to link to?
- Once you’ve created a piece of content, how do you actually get the links?
- What does the future of ‘link building’ and other authority signals look like?
- What are some steps business owners can take right away to start earning links?
Links / mentions;
- Woj’s business: Kwasi Studios
- Woj on Twitter: twitter.com/WojKwasi
- The K-team (the Kwasi Studios team)
- Rand Fishkin on the death of link building and rise of link earning
- Some recent creative content from Kwasi Studios: 6 Cool Tech Acquisitions, How to Rank PDFs – SEO Guide & Inbound Marketing Town
Bonus points: Listen out for the following;
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Nick: Welcome back to Episode 19 of the Web Marketing Adelaide Podcast. As always you can find out more about all of the shows we have done in the past on our website www.webmarketingadelaide.com.au.
This week’s show is going to be in the same vein as all of our previous episodes. So we were talking about content marketing in the past and this episode also deals with content marketing, but more specifically as it relates to SEO, and the ideas around creating links. Now, if you’ve listened to our previous episodes related to SEO, you’d know that creating links or link building is important, as this is a signal or a key signal that Google uses to actually determine which are the best websites, which are the websites that should rank high in the search engines that look at the number and the quality of incoming links.
This week’s episode was recorded in Morialta Falls, in the Adelaide Foot Hills, in the Giant’s Cave, a suggestion by my guest for the week. I have to say, it certainly beats being in the office or being in a coffee shop. Brilliant view of the valley and a nice sound of wild life in the background, so you can hear those.
My guest this week is Woj Kwasi from Kwasi Studios and as I said, the topic relates around link earning. Now, Rand Fishkin from SEO Moz describes the death of link building and the re-birth of link earning. So, he’s talking about the transition from the old way of doing things. When you think of building links, you think of going out and getting links to the new way of doing things, where you create content that’s good and that earns links on its own. So, the real idea is creating that good content links.
Woj Kwasi, my guest, he’s had over 14 years in the RT industry and after bouncing back and forth between Adelaide and Sydney, decided to launch his business, Kwasi Studios in July 2011. Now, he tells me that the first year was pretty difficult, he was working 12 hour days, 8 days a week, although there was a silver lining because he was working from home and he didn’t have to wear pants but after getting married earlier this year, he set himself the goal of doubling his business over the following 12 months, but ended up doing it in 1 month. He’s since opened an office in Modbury, hired 3 employees dubbed the K-Team and he was featured recently in the advertisers’ business section.
So, before I launch into the interview, I just want to say congratulations to Woj on his recent success with growing his business, getting married and opening his office. So, it’s really good to hear with Adelaide business being successful. We’re going to sort of launch into the interview where Woj is going to be telling us how business owners should know what type of content is going to start earning them links, so how do they get into that. Let’s go to the interview now.
Woj: There’s a number of different ways to sort of ascertain that. You can run some experiments, look at the industry trends. Sometimes you can use your gut, instincts I guess, based on past experiences but I think it really depends on your audience and really depends on what you’re targeting. So, really if the content‘s right, it should sort of earn the links naturally, providing useful resources, just providing sort of, you have to get imaginative with the content as well.
People tend to get stuck in this loop where web pages need to be text and a photo, and maybe a video but you can actually be quite creative these days and provide something quite small, even something that is a process in your own business. You can make that into a tool. It makes your life easier, then why not share that to the rest of the world. They will link to it, they will use it, they’ll be happy for it, they’ll talk to their people about it, and sort of be shared. So, there’s lots of different ways of producing content. I’m pretty sure that’s not what you’re asking.
Nick: No, I was just, how do people sort of know what good content to create? I think you hit a note pretty well, something that business owners often miss out or they don’t really see because they’re so familiar with how their business works. They feel like it’s boring, it’s not particularly interesting, their processes, but they might not realize that from an outside perspective how that particular process for doing something like creating a tool that does something useful or maybe some video or some stuff from within the company that can be interesting content which can be relatively easy to create and also difficult for competitors to copy because it’s sort of your process.
Woj: Exactly and also, don’t talk about yourself, don’t self-promote. If you are going to talk about yourself, do it in a transparent way. Talk about things that are happening in your business rather than, don’t chest beat and I think you get a lot of success out of that.
Nick: So, the focus being providing value as opposed to advertising. really.
Woj: Yeah exactly because people are getting more savvy. People don’t have that custom preference anymore, like they used to. People aren’t loyal to brands. Things get commoditized over time, so it’s really important to stand out and be memorable at that first point of contact. So, I think you can produce stuff from within your company that can sort of reflect that.
Nick: Yep. Absolutely. You mentioned creativity and again, I’ll put some links in the show notes. You’ve got quite a few creative things on your website with your robot-sort-of logo and your characters and stuff you’ve done within your posts.
Woj: We’re trying to practice what we preach. We’re doing things for our clients, but we’re doing things for ourselves as well. We’re being transparent. It’s a little bit strange, but it’s actually quite worthwhile and it’s interesting because I have some clients that are quite dubious about being transparent, because there is a lot of fear about online world. You have some clients are quite paranoid about identity theft and that sort of thing but you don’t have to be transparent in that kind of way, I mean you can be transparent by just taking photos of your backyard pretty much, figuratively speaking.
Nick: Yeah, it’s sort of almost being real, being a person or letting people know that there are people in your business. It’s often talked about as the corporate face or the corporate wall that is sort of faceless company that people can’t really relate to and that is what you don’t want to be. You want to be sort of real and you want to be sort of friendly and being that, having that transparency is a way for people to sort of feel you out and form a relationship with you almost and feel much better and easier about becoming a customer of you.
So, once people sort of have this content idea, they’ve thought about some stuff in their business or they’ve come up with a great article, a great resource or a great tool, they’ve created it, they’ve got it on their website, how do they get it out there? How do they try to get links, how do they get people to see it?
Woj: So, I guess that’s an important part of the content strategy. So, if we talk about content strategy for a bit, it’s important to get that right, because you really need to plan. You can’t sort of expect a bit of content to work well on itself, it’s like firing fireworks, if people’s watching it at the time, then they will see it but if they’re not looking, they’ll miss it. So, it’s like Twitter, I think there’s like an hour gap for a tweet or something like that. I think there was a study or an article on SEO was from Tweet Deck, not Tweet Deck, Follow gram they did something recently.
You don’t really have much of a chance or if you haven’t planned, so there’s a lot of different distribution channels, you know, social media. Newsletters, newsletters are a really good one because they’re quite direct and it’s sent to an already established audience, but I think building an audience is probably the key. So, doing things like guest posting, but not guest posting in a gung-ho kind of way, putting yourself in front of an audience that’s already established.
Nick: So, guest posting, just a little bit of stop there, that’s where you write a blog post on someone else’s blog, and this could be like an industry blog or industry magazine, an online magazine or some of other related industry which we share similar sort of custom.
Woj: Yeah, exactly. It’s a bit hard because there’s not too many really good Australian ones out there or there are but they’re really hard to get onto but if you search hard enough, there’s ways to sort of get in there. You just have to be creative about things and you have to think outside the box. Nothing is easy.
Nick: If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, so…
Woj: Yeah exactly. There’s no kind of, this is how you get people to link to your stuff, because it depends on your audience but if you create that content strategy, plan things and then maybe even target some different personas, work out with frequent, maybe forums, maybe there’s some niche kind of sites, blogs, maybe influences as well. Get involved with some influences, let them do the work for you.
Nick: So, I think what you’re saying here, it seems like you’re saying, as opposed to creating the content and trying to promote it, more focus on building an audience first, maybe figuring out what kind of content they might like, then creating it and then sort of telling them about it.
Nick: And you mentioned influences there again, which is, sort of people within the market place who have a lot of influence.
Woj: Exactly, people that already have an established audience. If they’ve already got an established audience, then you already have a leverage of them. I think Tom Crutchlow did a talk, his final talk on SCM was sort of talking about that sort of thing. I can’t remember the guy, he mentioned but he used an example of this guy. He had a big audience following of people and they leverage, they got a guest post in front of all these people and it was very targeted and it was quite successful.
Nick: And so, for the average small business owner, should the audience be like local or should they be like friends within Adelaide or can they look wider to Australia, even if they’re sort of …
Woj: I guess it depends on the context of the article, but yeah, they can. It has to be relevant to the audience. If you’re a local pizza shop, you wouldn’t put an article up on menu log or something and target, talk about the best pizza in Bondi or something like that. You would want to make it local.
Nick: Yep, so you want to be targeting the local audience and probably something else to sort of, the thing about it is not necessarily the largeness of your business, the numbers, it’s really more of the quality. So, if you can have a small audience which is highly targeted, then that’s completely going to be better than the large audience that aren’t really sort of your customer.
Woj: So, it’s the whole kind of referral thing. If you’ve got clients, let them be your advocates and let them be your voice, because they’re already engaged so, let them kind of do some of the work for you in a way but it is hard to sort of initially establish that because it involves planning and finding the right kinds of target, but once you get it …
Nick: Alright. We’ve touched on this question a little bit, but it’s basically with the popularity of social media, it seems like people these days, don’t sort of link so much. They’re more tweeting and sharing on Facebook and sharing on Google Plus. Is this a problem for people wanting to build links?
Woj: Nah, it’s great. I think Google uses social metrics as part of the algorithm as well. I mean it’s a good way to, I mean people are a bit up in the air, some people say yes and some people say no, but I mean, it makes sense. If someone tweets something, then Google can crawl that tweet or even using Google Plus. It knows that it’s being shared and the way they’ve set up Google Plus, where everything is verified and, it’s reasonably hard to set up a fake Google Plus profile. So, I don’t think, I think social adds to link building, you should be out of, like once it comes to putting in front of our audience, then you could tweet the link and it could go quite viral but if you put up a guest post on, let’s go back to the pizza shop example, on pizzaloversgreat.com and there’s no one like reading that article, who’s going to tweet it? Who’s going to, and Google will see that signal and go, this isn’t great.
Nick: Exactly. So, really, people should be thinking about social signals certainly on the positive light as well as links.
Woj: They go hand in hand, because both are great deliverers of inbound traffic.
Nick: Absolutely. So, finishing off this episode, lets finish off with, what are some steps that my listeners can take, to sort of start getting into this link earning thing?
Woj: I guess it depends. If they’re business owners, then they need to start thinking about things differently. If you are already engaged in an SEO agency, stop quantifying your monthly spend by the amount of links acquired, start thinking about planning and aligning all your resources, whether it be your internal staff, external agencies or to a content strategy.
Everyone needs to be on the same page, you need to come up with a core idea and then basically work out a little bit of the work flow, who’s in charge, a core strategy statement that will enable people to be on the same page and also, start thinking about not just SEO but other channels, other free channels. We’re working on a guide at the moment called Inbound Marketing Town, which should be a little map. It will have little, we’ll try to explain I guess the different methods of inbound marketing as little town landmarks, so hopefully that should help.
Nick: Great, yeah. When is that expected to come out?
Woj: We’re working on the graphics at the moment, so, hopefully in the next week or so.
Nick: Great, this episode should be out after that, so I’ll try and put a link in the show notes for that and people can go check it out and just to go back summarizing some of the points we mentioned during the interview. So, audience is something that people should really be thinking about and thinking about early. Trying to pull that audience early and so identify some influences within the market place, and from there we flow into a strategy, mentioned strategy several times, so make sure you have a strategy in mind before you sort of go in there and start just creating content willy nilly.
Woj: Exactly and just make great stuff, be imaginative. Try to get creative, and if you can’t get creative, outsource.
Nick: Outsource, to a friend or person.
Nick: Great. Well I think that brings us to the end of this episode. We’re going to come back with Woj next episode and talk about some specific examples of link earning. So, certainly tune in for that episode to get your head around this topic a little bit further, but thanks very much for joining us this week and if anyone wants to find out more about you, that’s kwasistudios.com. How’s that spelled?
Woj: K w as i studios.com and you can follow me on Twitter at wojkwasi w o j k w a s i.
Woj: Thanks Nick.
Nick: I hope you found that interview useful. You can tune in next week for the second part of my interview with Woj. We’re going to be talking a bit about some examples of link earning campaigns, some pieces of content with links to sort of give you a little bit more of an idea of how the system works and sorts of content that can earn links.
As always, if you want to find any more information about this show, get links and any of the stuff we’ve talked about, links to Woj’s website and his details, head to our website, that’s www.webmarketingadelaide.com.au and there’s show notes for each episode. So, you can go to our index on the menu bar on the top, there’s an index link or you can just go back through the episodes one by one. You can actually listen to the episodes right in the webpage there or you can hit the links off to iTunes or to download the Podcast onto your computer and listen to them later.
As I said, tune in next week for next week’s episode and until then , have a good one.[/spoiler]