April 12, 2023

Link Building vs. Content Marketing: How to Well-Time Each Strategy

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Michael Jenkins
Michael Jenkins

CEO - Shout Agency
[email protected]

While there are many different layers and aspects of SEO, there are two different strategies that tend to get used and discussed most often: link building and content marketing

As with many things in business, it helps to have a balance between a few different tactics. However, this is a little bit more difficult with SEO. Seeing SEO results takes a long time and it takes a lot of effort no matter which strategy you’re using most. Finding that balance is difficult, and in some cases, a balance isn’t even going to bring success.

For some companies, one strategy is more successful than the other. You have to ask yourself a few questions: How do I know which strategy is best for my company? Should I try to find a balance between the two, or is it best to flip-flop between the two? If I should be moving back and forth, how can I time it correctly?

How Link Building and Content Marketing Strategies Differ

The first step in figuring out your goals and how SEO relates to them is, of course, understanding the classic SEO link-building method versus a content marketing approach. Below explains how each of these different plans works:

Classic SEO: Keyword targeting and link building

This is considered the classic SEO approach because it has been effective for a long time, and in the past, this was the number one way to improve your rankings in Google. 

It is all about researching different keywords to target and then going out and actively trying to build links back to your website by talking with publishers and monitoring each time you earn a link back to your website.

There is also a lot of research and competitor analysis that goes into a classic SEO approach and on-page optimization considerations. There are lots of different tools out there to help you analyze your links, where others are earning links, etc. 

In the end, this approach should help you climb your way up a Google SERP slowly but surely because link building is still a huge part of Google’s algorithm.

Content Marketing: Targeting your audience and their connections

This approach puts a lot of emphasis on your target audience and their connections, particularly regarding social media. Businesses using this approach have to determine their target audience and then figure out what types of ways those audience members are getting their information.

This essentially means who they are following on social media and what social networks they use most, what blogs they are reading, and what types of content they like best (video, infographic, traditional content, etc.). 

Once your company can figure this out it’s time to create content that will cater to all of these different things. You’re writing specific content and putting it on specific mediums all for your target audience. SparkToro is the tool that can give you some initial insights:

The goal here is to connect with your audience as well as those who can influence your audience. You are seeking social shares and engagement amongst everyone, and this might involve even reaching out directly through email marketing or targeting specific keywords. 

Once you start to see increased growth in your social circles, there will be organic links flowing in and Google will begin putting your articles and your company at the top of related SERPs. Your domain authority should grow, you should earn more clicks and slowly make your way up in rankings.

How to Determine Which Strategy Works Best for Your Company

Many SEOs are moving toward a content marketing option as authenticity and authority become more important in the Google algorithm. This method also helps your business uncover more marketing channels to depend less on Google’s algorithm whims.

However, there is nothing wrong with sticking with link building, a classic SEO approach, if that is what works best for your company. If the people you are targeting are not really reading blogs or engaging in social media, there is nothing wrong with nixing the content marketing strategy.

However, your company mustn’t be following a classic approach just because it works in the “now.” You need to think about the future and think long-term. Relying too much on Google rankings is not the best approach. It’s important to understand that there is another approach available.

The best digital marketing approach is well-balanced: You need to keep exploring all the available and emerging options. If you don’t have time, there are marketing companies that can do that for you:

  • Keep an eye on your advance on-page SEO and content
  • Create new content that targets new trends
  • Update your existing content
  • Monitor your competitors to understand which marketing tactics they are focusing on
  • Explore new link building opportunities
  • Invest into PPC management services to balance your traffic generation sources
  • Connect to niche influencers and bloggers
  • Keep an eye on local marketing opportunities (connect to local non-profits, editors and journalists)
  • Brainstorm viral content ideas to generate shares and links naturally
  • Give away free tools to engage your site visitors
  • Build up your email list to attract return visitors and customers

It is not just classic SEO you need to be investing in, even if it has been working for a while (and still is!) Your marketing strategy should be diverse and well-balanced.

So how do you choose?

You have to think long-term. Just building links might not work as Google continues to advance its algorithm (which is slowly lowering the value of a link). 

They’re using lots of signals now, including semantic SEO and AI, so all of your hard work could more or less disappear as links become less and less important in rankings. 

The moral of the story: It’s OK to use a classic approach, but don’t forget that you should diversify your marketing channels. To start, consider investing some budget into social media advertising to identify how your audience engages with your messages and value proposition.

It’s all about what is going to work for you long-term, and content marketing is likely going to be the way of the future. We are a leading Melbourne based SEO marketing agency that can help your long term content, outreach link building strategy and marketing needs. 

Book a free 45 minute consultation today.

    Book a free 45 minute consultation today.

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      As Founder and Director of Shout Web Strategy, Michael Jenkins is at the forefront of digital marketing. Since it’s inception in 2009, Shout has built a strong reputation as one of Australia’s leading strategic SEO agencies, assisting online businesses to formulate, implement and track successful marketing strategies. Michael is a respected thought leader and digital strategist, specialising in online strategy, corporate SEO, Google retargeting, email and conversion rate optimisation, and online reputation management. Follow Michael on Google+, connect with him through LinkedIn or visit the Shout Web Strategy website.

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