It is hardly a secret that most of today’s businesses (except perhaps that bakery around the corner that has been serving the same neighbourhood since the 1950's) have migrated online in their efforts to reach out to their client base and secure a viable portion of the market. If you are not online, you should be; and if you do get online, it’s best to have a strategy and do it properly.
Links are important…
Early on, online marketing professionals understood the power behind being linked to. In the organised chaos that we call the World Wide Web, links are like tips from a tour guide, informing you on shortcuts that will lead you to the desired information or service sooner and more efficiently, so that you don’t have to spend your day wandering around on your own. That is why there is much more at play with link-building than the sheer amount of links that you manage to establish. Think about our tour guide example: would you place the same weight on a restaurant tip from a trusted food connoisseur as on one from a shady food blogger with lots of restaurant chain suggestions on their blog? This is what we call "domain authority" in SEO: identifying the websites that are perceived as more trustworthy – especially in niche markets. Achieving one backlink from them will go a long way towards influencing a potential client. Domain authority is also a factor taken into account by search engine rankings when they evaluate links to a page.
...but they are hardly enough
Which brings us to the pertinent question: is link building enough to properly boost your business in the long run and establish yourself as a major contender in your field? Certainly not. Even within the link-building industry, there is concession that quantity cannot compensate for quality. Google’s successful crusade against Black Hat SEO – techniques that focused on getting a link out there at almost any cost and which were seen by many (and rightly so) as a perversion of healthy link-building– only serves to illustrate the point that simply securing links won’t carry you a long way. Instead, digital PR focuses on actually engaging the target audience and creating an interesting and fruitful discussion about a brand. As such, it encompasses the best of both worlds: it puts the complex and powerful force of metrics and statistics into good use but is steered towards building stable and mutually beneficial relationships rather than (or in addition to) links. Digital PR is all about enhancing online presence through establishing a network of key content writers and online journalists to gain high quality backlinks. It focuses on trust flow, brand relativity and domain authority and can yield wonders for increasing referral traffic, brand outreach, search engine visibility and ultimately, sales. In essence, without digital PR, your SEO and digital marketing strategies are missing out on probably the most valuable, targeted and long-lasting tools out there.
In an era where social media shares (Tweets, Likes, and Plusses among them) are on the rise, it certainly will be interesting to see how this new landscape further affects rankings and traditional link-building. In this context, digital PR outreach techniques might be even more urgent than you think!