How to Use Content & PR to Build Deep Links
How to Use Content & PR to Build Deep Links
“Links to www.example.com/path/page are going to be a key metric for campaign success. We have always struggled to achieve money links.”
More clients are coming to us wanting deep links to pages that target their core keywords.
And the reality is, they are right to want deep links…to an extent.
Deep Links Matter
Deep links can drastically improve organic performance in the long term. You can see below the increase in clicks for a page on travel restrictions by state after we helped build over 220 referring domains to it:
Having said that, we ran a quick survey on Twitter to see how much time link builders spend building deep links to pages with commercial/ranking opportunity:
Calling the #seo #linkbuilding #digitalPR community – my colleague @tomjeffery8 is writing a post and needs your help. What percentage of time do you spend building links directly to pages with ranking/commercial opportunity each month? #prrequest
— Patrick Langridge (@patlangridge) September 20, 2021
Most respondents (44.8%) admitted to not bothering building links to core keyword pages at all. And just 8.6% are spending most of their time building these links.
But why are we ignoring them?
- Well, they are hard to get. Media hooks for existing content can be limited and as creatives we want to make our own content from scratch.
- On top of that, creating large campaigns are a better way of hitting overall link KPIs.
- They aren’t always needed. Raising the overall authority of a site will help all pages rank better too.
- It isn’t natural to link to commercial pages excessively and we can’t influence where publishers link to.
While all are true, the reality is that a client’s only end goal is increasing sales. And building deep links can have more benefits than boosting PageRank as they help bring in qualified referrals and boost commercial brand awareness.
How Can I Build Deep Links?
First, make sure it’s worth investing in deep links to your page. Consider the following:
- Does it target high search volume terms?
- SEO tool tip: Google Keyword Planner
- Do higher ranking competitors have more deep links?
- SEO tool tip: Screaming Frog SEO Spider
- Does it have commercial opportunity or provide value in the marketing funnel?
- SEO tool tip: Google Analytics
Themed Gift Guides
This is incredibly valuable for eCommerce sites. You should be creating product mailshots at key times of the year.
These should be a staple in your plan at Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day (and Black Friday if your brand offers discounts). Make sure you are including products which are under linked but well targeted and stocked.
You’ll likely have to give free samples to journalists to make the cut, but from that point, deep links are guaranteed.
If you can offer an enticing product or service, competitions are a fantastic strategy. They work particularly well for mainstream industries, e.g. travel stays, tech gadgets, health and beauty products etc.
You’ll need to create a new competition landing page with T&Cs. But be sure to link to this and your commercial page in your press release. Journalists usually will do the same in their articles.
In fact, many news sites have their own /competitions/ subfolder where they promote them. See the below example from Female First:
Be aware that competitions can be seen as participating in a ‘link scheme‘ – meaning publishers may indicate the link is sponsored by adding a qualified attributed to the <a> tag (e.g. rel=”sponsored”).
As a result, these deep links won’t be beneficial from a PageRank perspective, but they will help drive brand awareness and referrals.
Similarly, free giveaways are a great tactic for less expensive products. To maximise results, be reactive to events in the media.
For example, back in October 2020 Tesco came under fire for labelling sanitary products as ‘non-essential’. One of our clients happened to specialise in menstrual cups and we created a giveaway to the first 100 buyers struggling to get their hands on them.
Just be sure to set a limit on how many products you or your client is comfortable letting go!
Again, this is another tactic that can be seen as participating in a ‘link scheme‘. But the benefits of brand awareness and referral traffic are still there for the taking.
Directories & Citations
Not the most glamorous of jobs and not specifically content & PR but this is useful for business services.
Utilise tools such as Moz, Bright Local and SEMrush to identify new directory and citation opportunities. It’s also worth checking their current citations, to make sure they show up-to-date addresses and contact information.
If your website has lots of locations, this can work well. On top of using the above tools, it’s worth looking into local newspaper directories too.
Directories also have the benefit of bringing in qualified referral traffic as well as deep links.
If your content is informational, you can add new assets that have outreach value.
We do this for clients who want to improve traffic for informational-led keywords. We’ll consider if there are relevant ways we can add a new heading tag that has more mainstream appeal.
For example, if your client has a page on ‘what is travel insurance’, you could still incorporate any campaigns you have on ‘travel insurance’. Just be sure to keep things as concise as possible within the copy to avoid deterring relevance from the page’s core keyword.
See below both our client’s target keyword page and sections we embedded to increase media appeal:
- ‘How to spot a phishing email’ & the most impersonated brands in phishing scams
- ‘Homebuyers report’ & the top property concerns revealed
Thought leadership ideas shouldn’t be directly about your products or services but larger stories about your industry, utilizing an expert for commentary.
Try to use informational core keyword pages as your starting point for ideation. Ask yourself ‘what’s relevant to this that might be interesting to the media?’.
In your commissioned article, you should hyperlink to a relevant core keyword page either using your brand as anchor text or naturally within your copy. Journalists often copy this over. These links shouldn’t look out of place, as thought leadership should always relate to your brand.
Which Strategies Work For Me?
Remember not all the above will work all the time. Strategies depend on page type and your website’s offering.
You can’t use themed gift guides for a software company, just like you can’t embed assets onto a commercial page.
We’ve created this checklist so you can have a look at what might work for you:
Set The Right Expectations
It’s important to manage expectations. Building deep links is hard.
Clients will want to build deep links to pages that have the highest lead generating or eCommerce revenue opportunity. But you need to balance this with what is newsworthy.
You also can’t expect the amount of links you’ll get from a large content campaign. But the links you’ll get will be highly relevant and important for improving your rankings.
Create A Balanced Approach
It’d also be naïve to forgo any backlinks that go to pages that aren’t keyword targeted.
With large campaigns, be sure to internally link to core keyword pages – this will help with link equity. Then the trick is to make sure you are balancing building both generic links with large campaigns (to achieve overall link KPIs) and deep links to lead gen pages (to help with core keyword performance).
Doing a healthy mix is a sure way to keep everyone happy. Hopefully, as an industry, we can make 25-50% of our time building deep links the norm.