The power of niche relevancy
As impactful as Digital PR campaigns can be for boosting organic visibility, it is all too common to see campaigns go live with very tenuous topical relevance to the business. In this scenario, the lasting benefits are often limited, however well the campaign does. This is because:
- The content isn’t that relevant to the business or its users
- The websites – and their link profiles – aren’t that relevant
- The links are quickly pushed deep into the architecture of the colossally large media site they reside on, meaning that minimal link equity is passed through
When it comes to link acquisition in 2022, your focus needs to be on quality, not quantity.
“The quality over quantity conversation continues to be rife with brands and indeed within the industry itself, and it’s very clear that more work needs to be done to overturn continued misconceptions. On surface level it may seem like your competitor is outgunning you because it’s got more links, but chances are it’s down to the quality and relevance of those links, alongside the two other core pillars, technical SEO and on-page.
Digital PR, off-site teams and internal advocates must continue to champion the importance of quality, and take the time to educate in-house teams, particularly more senior stakeholders, otherwise we stand to jeopardise organic performance in the long-term”. Olivia Wiltshire, Head of Digital PR, Builtvisible.
There are a variety of different techniques you can employ to generate a solid list of prospects for flexible link building. One of our favourites is to perform a bulk link intersect.
Performing this analysis at scale will enable you to get a whole market view of link acquisition. This in turn will help:
1. Surface links that your competitors have which are easily replicable
2. Demonstrate the strategies that are likely to work within your sector
3. Identify industry-specific media sites to outreach to when you do your next large campaign
If you’re searching for further link opportunities, other approaches to consider include:
• Link reclamation
• Link realignment
• Journo requests
• Local link building
As an example, let’s look at the caravan insurance niche. A quick link intersect (which involves pulling together all the websites linking to a competitor site but not your own) highlights that caravan clubs, parks and associations are a big opportunity, as many have links and resources pages.
This type of business-as-usual (BAU) link acquisition receives a lot less attention than larger campaigns – let’s face it, a few links on a caravan site doesn’t sound that glamorous – but something being boring doesn’t mean it isn’t effective, and some of the link profiles really speak for themselves.
Ultimately, it’s worth remembering that Google is building a link graph of the web and using it to rank websites. With such a heavy emphasis now placed on relevance for both off and on-page SEO, there are some sector-specific websites that it simply expects to see within the profile of a site.
If an industry publication links to all your competitors and not you, then what does this say? How can you claim to be an authority if you have no presence here? Filling this gap within your link profile will be far more impactful than another two no-follow links from the Mail Online.
Creating effective campaigns
Whichever way you look at it, investing in larger campaigns can be a risk. Both the costs and time commitment involved can be high, and there is no guarantee that the campaign will succeed.
However, to stand a chance within such a competitive marketplace, the reality is that the bigger campaigns are often necessary to secure larger injections of equity.
What is needed is a risk mitigation strategy. This can be achieved by asking yourself a series of questions and by being objective when you evaluate your work:
• Is your idea genuinely useful for the target audience? E.g., does it provide a practical element?
• Is it surprising?
• Is it hot/topical?
• Does it provoke an emotional response?
• Does it have longevity? Or can the data/material be refreshed?
• Can we provide journalists with robust material?
• Does it have multiple angles and headline potential?
• Is it novel?
Another step we would recommend is conducting preliminary outreach. This will further reduce risk and can often help secure interest in a piece at a very early stage.
Fantastic financial services campaigns
As with any industry, some tactical items of content are more suited to financial services than others. In the list below, we’ve picked some recent standout examples of performant or award-winning content.
Towergate Insurance – SMEs and cyber attacks
First released in late 2015, this animated infographic provides an excellent summary of the cyber risks faced by businesses in an engaging and accessible format. The brand has continued to refresh the piece over time with new examples and statistics, resulting in a fantastic source of passive and BAU links.
Not only is the piece relevant for the target audience and Towergate’s cyber insurance product offering, but it also adds value for the user, containing a series of interesting statistics and genuinely helpful information. Consequently, it has been widely referenced by other sites writing articles on the same topic, including HP, Engadget and KPMG.
This is the beauty of producing genuinely helpful content for link acquisition. If you can get it ranking for long-tail keywords, you have an asset that will continue to drive value long after than initial campaign outreach ends.
Trussle – mortgage calculators
Within the mortgage brokering industry, tools and calculators are an extremely valuable link acquisition strategy.
This series of mortgage calculators from Trussle are a great example of this and have collectively achieved links from 151 domains.
Calculator related queries in this industry have good levels of traffic, and the consumers searching are likely to already be at the consideration phase of the purchase funnel. So, Trussle’s success here has benefits that extend beyond the link equity it has gained.
Sage – a business readiness assessment tool
Sage’s ‘Are you ready to be your own boss’ is fantastic example of creating an engaging yet genuinely useful campaign that hits a sweet spot between audience need and brand expertise.
In this case, through a survey, the brand established that there were three core areas preventing people from starting a business in the UK, namely finance, self-belief, and administrative aptitude. The solution to this was the production of a multi-channel marketing campaign ‘Are you ready to be your own boss’ which provided a personalised bank of resources in line with those aforementioned barriers, this included a quiz component for people to self-assess themselves and be led to tailored materials.
To date, the piece has achieved 12 million in social reach, 28,000 unique visits, built numerous relevant and quality links which in turn has driven 7,500 quiz views and 2,000 quiz completions. Additionally, 19 target keywords are capturing answer boxes – the much-coveted top spot in SERPs!
MoneySense – a free financial education programme for 5-18s
NatWest’s flagship financial education programme Moneysense has been recognised by the Professional Publishers Association (PPA) in its annual digital awards.
MoneySense provides engaging and interactive digital content that supports teachers and parents as they help children and young people learn about money. This innovative content hub provides resources to equip young people with the financial skills they need to manage money now and later in life.
This particular content hub has an extra layer of cleverness in its delivery because it targets specific demographics, rather than trying to be a ‘one blog fits all’ attempt. Good content is relevant content.
Fundamentally, it’s a great example of a campaign for social good and has accrued many relevant links from sites like Good Housekeeping, TES and news.
NFU Mutual – rural crime report
NFU Mutual’s rural crime report serves as part of a flagship resources section for the farming insurance industry.
Whitepapers and downloadable PDFs are an often overlooked tactic in organic marketing, but NFU Mutual is a great example of these kinds of resources at work. This item won coverage in various press organisations, including The Guardian and BBC.
Because the piece contains unique data, it has continued to be quoted overtime by those looking for statistics to include in rural crime articles, and annual refreshes ensure a yearly injection of fresh links.
Off-page SEO opportunities can be extremely lucrative for boosting organic traffic.
While often overlooked, off-page links and referring domains can be a valuable addition to FS on-page content to help you maintain growth within the highly competitive marketplace.
Using the consumer research undertaken as part of your SEO strategy and on-page content production, you will be able to identity relevant topics to base your Digital PR efforts on. This will help large campaigns perform well and further drive quality traffic that converts.
Carrying out business as usual flexible link building is a great way to support your growth between bigger campaigns.
Our final SEO for FS guide will cover Technical SEO, an important factor in supporting your on-page and off-page growth and further improving your organic rankings.
If you’d like to talk to Builtvisible about any aspect of our work for financial services companies, in the UK and internationally, just get in touch via our contact form and we’ll get back to you for an exploratory discussion.
We recommend the following resources to continue your research: