Creating and implementing link building strategies aligned with Google’s best practices presents a considerable challenge. This complexity arises because Google’s stringent spam policies permit only those links where their formation is a natural outcome, not a primary objective.
Therefore, adhering to this fundamental principle is essential when formulating the blueprint for any link building campaigns. This is precisely where the role of strategy becomes paramount.
Nonetheless, there’s no need to navigate strategic design in isolation. The field of strategy has a rich history within marketing and business planning. Notably, in 2004, a game-changing book titled “Blue Ocean Strategy” transformed how strategy is approached.
Upon its release, this theory sparked great interest among marketers seeking ways to set themselves apart from competitors. While the Blue Ocean Strategy wasn’t initially crafted with link building in mind, there’s an unmistakable demand for link builders to draw inspiration from sources beyond their immediate tactics and guiding principles.
This article acts as a tool for fostering a fresh perspective on link building.
What Is the Blue Ocean Strategy?
The “Blue Ocean Strategy” is a business planning methodology that W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne developed. It centers on exploring new, untapped market domains, referred to as “blue oceans,” instead of competing within existing, saturated markets, referred to as “red oceans.”
In red oceans, businesses encounter fierce competition, often leading to diminished performance outcomes. In contrast, blue oceans represent uncharted market spaces ripe for innovation, free from intense rivalry.
This strategy encourages companies to introduce fresh solutions that deliver exceptional value to consumers, bypassing conventional competition and promoting growth and, ideally, enhanced returns.
What Is the Blue Ocean in Link Building?
Applying the concept of the Blue Ocean in link building involves departing from the well-worn and saturated link building tactics and venturing into innovative, less competitive, and more value-centric approaches to acquire backlinks that enhance your website’s reputation.
A prime example of a link building strategy that discovered a “blue ocean” while many link builders operated in a highly competitive “red ocean” is the Skyscraper technique.
If you aim to devise a strategy similar to the Skyscraper approach, consider examining these key areas. Analyzing these “levers,” the controllable variables that enable action, will guide you toward uncovering a path to the blue ocean in link building.
Pioneering Content Generation
Rather than generate content that mirrors your industry peers’ offerings, direct your efforts toward crafting distinct, valuable content that bridges market voids.
The skyscraper technique relies on pioneering content generation to cultivate backlinks. This approach centers on creating content that outshines the quality of currently top-ranked content within a specific subject area.
In broad strokes, this approach entails discovering popular content, elevating it to a superior standard, and engaging with pertinent websites for link acquisition.
Instead of fixating exclusively on conventional link building methods such as guest blogging, delve into avenues that remain unburdened by competition. These paths involve disseminating link-worthy content on niche forums, emerging social media platforms, or partnerships with complementary industries that don’t represent direct competitors.
Rather than resorting to transactional link-building methods such as paid links or link exchanges, prioritize cultivating authentic relationships with industry influencers, bloggers, and competitors.
This approach can pave the way for organic link-building opportunities over the long term.
When pursuing link-building opportunities, ensure your outreach is grounded in providing undeniable value. This might manifest as original research, expert insights, or exclusive content tailored to the linking site’s audience, delivering clear benefits.
Broadening the Horizon
Rather than depending on just one or two approaches, broaden your link-building strategies to venture into various blue oceans. This might encompass a blend of digital PR, collaborative efforts, podcasts, and other diverse tactics.
Why Embrace This Approach?
Psychology Today has noted that “openness to experience is the fundamental attribute of creative individuals.”
When you restrict your link-building endeavors to simplistic techniques, you confine your creative capacity to a narrow range of challenges.
For instance, if your primary focus is on paid link building, your focus is narrowed down to addressing the ongoing changes in Google’s algorithm. This demands continuous algorithms and AI study to keep pace with the latest updates.
While it’s an intriguing field, the intricacies of dissecting and testing a dynamic target can consume valuable time. You might find your talents better suited to an engineering role if this is your preference.
Nonetheless, Google offers valuable guidance on optimizing visibility within your niche through the Google Search Essentials:
“The Google Search Essentials encompass the foundational elements that render your online content (such as web pages, images, videos, or other publicly accessible materials that Google discovers on the web) eligible for favorable performance on Google Search.”
To enhance your presence in search engines, it’s imperative to craft informative content grounded in experience and expertise that garners trust from recognized authorities in your field (considering this term broadly).
Hence, keeping your creative energy channeled into tackling this challenge is wise.
How to Implement Link Building: Comprehensive Stages
The forthcoming approach outlines my process and stages for link building, designed to assist you in identifying a niche-specific method.
Step 0: Gain a Clear Perspective
This initial step, often disregarded, is crucial. Begin by defining your objectives for the campaign.
This entails acknowledging that links stem from the creative marketing of your content, with the ultimate aim being not just the immediate links acquired through outreach.
As such, a well-executed campaign should yield both direct and latent links.
Step 1: Discover Your Foothold
Commence by pinpointing an arena where a substantial victory is attainable.
Scrutinize your content resources to identify either 1) existing materials that are readily distributable or 2) fresh content that can be reasonably created within a practical timeframe.
When determining the appropriate strategy to employ, I strive for equilibrium among the following factors:
- Level of Effort: How much time will be invested in completing it?
- Level of Complexity: Is it a straightforward, step-by-step process, or does it entail intricate elements with loose interconnections?
- Level of Expertise: Does anyone on the team possess previous experience with a similar strategy?
The most “achievable” strategy will involve manageable effort and complexity while also drawing upon internal expertise.
Step 2: Form a Multidisciplinary Team
Assemble an internal advisory team comprising PR, content, SEO, and technology experts. This team can serve as consultants to help formulate the approach, request necessary tasks, collaborate on strategies, and offer insights on optimizing their workflows for incorporating links and mentions. Link building should be viewed in collaboration with other marketing teams.
Consequently, it’s essential to maintain transparency and share your approaches with this team to prevent conflicts of interest.
Step 3: Grasp the Present Landscape
Compile a list of strategies sought by direct competitors or those in search engine rankings.
For this purpose, I’ve developed a “Proven Content Marketing & Link Building Models” tool to walk you through identifying established strategies. This tool aids in planning your distinctive approach and differentiation.
Step 4: Unearth Challenges and Discrepancies
This is an aspect I excel in and take great pleasure in. My approach involves diligent inquiry to unearth underlying challenges.
More often than not, individuals are unaware of their pain points. What does this imply?
Complex issues require precise definitions, but pinpointing the problem can be daunting.
To identify the pain points:
- Construct a user story map: While it might seem thorough, comprehending users’ narratives helps pinpoint specific pain points.
- Ask probing questions: Leverage the expertise of a specialist to generate and ask particular questions.
- Formulate a problem statement: Clearly articulate and present the problem to peers or experts. Their insights will confirm the problem’s validity.
Pro Tip: Genuine pain isn’t always readily apparent and requires extensive investigation. A well-crafted problem statement can unveil many pain points that individuals were unaware of.
The Final Word
The Blue Ocean Strategy presents a distinctive viewpoint on link building.
Transitioning from well-trodden “red ocean” techniques to inventive “blue ocean” approaches opens doors to fresh opportunities for business growth.
The Skyscraper technique is exemplary, underscoring the significance of original content and varied strategies.
This isn’t merely a novel technique; it’s a mindset transformation centered on creativity and inventive solutions.
Applying the Blue Ocean Strategy to link building extends beyond its original purpose, becoming a guiding philosophy that fosters innovation within your content strategy.
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