How To Build Links Naturally Using Interactive Content & Social Media Marketing

With Google’s pending major algorithm update which is about to heavily penalise sites that have used ‘guest blogging’ and ‘guest posting’ stuffed with keyword and brand anchor text as a primary source of link acquisition on low value domain authority websites – there is an urgent need to change your link building strategy to one which acquires links naturally by producing brilliant content that other websites find so useful to their own readership and target audience that they’ll link to it naturally. Google has always advised on this kind of link building.  In their own words;

“The best way to get other sites to create high-quality, relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can naturally gain popularity in the Internet community.”

(Google Webmaster Tools)

A lot of websites are churning out content without a purpose; use; or value or simply churning out regurgitated news which people have already read something about.  It’s not totally unique, it doesn’t engage with your specific target market and gains little or no popularity through the major social media networks.  This kind of content is doing your site more harm than good – sites that churn out repetitive and useless content because they’ve heard that ‘content is king’ on their own or other peoples’ sites PLEASE take note!
Industry guru’s Matt Cutts and Rand Fishkin have both recently talked about the death of guest posting and how link building strategies need to change; instead of putting all of your effort into publishing great content on other peoples sites – you concentrate on doing it on your own.

We’ve recently come up with a ‘concept brief’ for a potential client in the car leasing industry who wishes to link build using interactive content and social media marketing; here is the concept brief;

1 – Client Need

To gain high value links and mass social media exposure for a new site concept.

2 – Idea: Car Leasing Cost Competition

The thinking behind the interactive content or app is to educate users about the costs of car leasing in an interesting and engaging manor.  It’s a quiz game with 5 questions that makes you guess the cost of leasing particular cars. If you get all 5 questions correct then your name will go into a daily prize draw of £20 worth vouchers as long as you have retweeted, shared and liked the game via your social network.  One winner out of the competition period will win a BIG prize of the latest iPad encouraging users to play the game and share over and over again.
The quiz / competition is playing on the game culture and hoping that the people playing it will desire the BIG prize enough to want to play again and again. If it is a big enough prize then this won’t be an issue, the fallback is that people will also want to get all the questions correct and will use the app to find out what the costs actually are.  This will run for 1 week and should gain momentum over the 7 days. We also ask them to share the competition to get another entry. There is a winner daily and final day highlights the BIG prize.

3 – Concept Design

The app works when the user clicks the ‘click here’ button and is taken to the first question in the quiz: A)

Car Game First Screen

The user is then given an amount for example £300 and shown 3 cars. They are asked to select which car matches the amount that you would pay monthly for leasing. When the user hovers over each car a mouse event will be triggered e.g.) black glow turns to white glow on each vehicle hovered over. When the vehicle is clicked it will be highlighted and the ‘next‘ button will animate to prompt the user to click ‘next’ to move to next question. B)

Car Game Screen 2

This then brings up the next question C) and so on, until all four questions have been answered.

Car Game Screen 3

The last stage D) is that the user sees their score and is asked to enter some details in order to be included in the daily prize draw. Then they click ‘send’ and are taken to E).

Car Game Screen 4

The final stage thanks them for entry and offers a number of visual links to results on the Main Dealer Offers car calculator. For example: the Audi would appear in the results along with a list of other cars that cost the same.

Car Game Screen 5

4 – Entries

These will be dealt with on a daily basis and a winner chosen by 4pm each day, this individual will then be emailed that day to tell them that they have won and they will find out by 4.30pm Friday what they have won. They will also be asked if they agree to having their name mentioned on the client’s Winners Page.
We will have 5 prizes all of differing values and will be given away at random to the winners. The winners page will be uploaded on the Friday by 5pm with all the winners and what they have won, whether it is the iPad Air (or other gift) or £20 Amazon voucher.
All entries can be handled externally to save client the trouble, this will be done daily for 5 days.

5 – Promotion

The targets for promotion are: Car fans, Auto Journalists, Female drivers, Business Magazines. This will be pushed through a number of car blogs, eg) Autoblog, Luxist etc. will be targeted. Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Reddit will be targeted and a number of car focused forums will be used. Tech and business sites will also be approached given their readership will be the right economic class for the app.
We will be looking at direct access to the app via URLs and also hosting the quiz on other sites and shared links via social networks.

6 – Follow-up

Data collection: each entry will tell us which car they prefer which is interesting data; we will have a nice collection of emails.

7 – Technical Specifications:

The quiz will be built in HTML and Javascript (ideally hosted on the client site). Integrated spam prevention will be used to stop spambots entering the quiz multiple times. The generated entry email that is sent at the end of the quiz will be fixed with a subject header worded something like “MDO car quiz entry”.
The quiz will be hosted on clients website but it can be displayed (and fully functional) on other sites via an embedded iframe that we can provide.
The T’s & C’s will be available via a clickable link on image d), it will state that the entrant must be 18 and over and must not be connected to the client or those involved in the project.

8 – Reporting & Analysis

We’ll set up advanced ‘dashboards’ in Google Analytics to monitor your business goals and online objectives. This will allow us to monitor and track your websites performance in great detail.

9 – Summary

Our new content strategy is put together to adhere to Google Webmaster Guidelines so that our clients receive the best overall search marketing campaign available. The above example concept of one of our new content marketing strategies shows the new approach we are taking to content and is our response to the industry changing theory that guest posting is dead.
The idea we have demonstrated above is just one of many ideas that we can use to get your brand in front of entire new audiences as well as the audiences that serves you best. One of our content marketing strategies could be exactly what your company is missing and could help take your company to that next level.