Why are ‘Links the Currency of the Internet’?

And why as a B2B marketer, you should take a minute and go back in time to one of the founding documents in search…

An important question for you as a B2B marketer to ask is, why is Inbound Marketing so successful? The answer is, because it aligns with how people, and organic search actually work. If you immerse yourself in the study of Inbound Marketing, you are likely to come across the phrase ‘links are the currency of the internet’.

If you are like me, you find it hard to take statements like "links, the currency of the internet" at face value. I have to ask, why is that? Why is it important to B2B marketers? What’s the reality underneath this idea that we are leveraging so that we can be sure that we are really gaining competitive advantage when we apply it?

Very, very early on, when Google was pretty much just an idea, the idea of ‘relevancy’ and ‘importance’ began to take shape.

When you perform a search, the millions of pages that show up, even for seemingly arcane searches like this one, are web pages that Google has determined are ‘relevant’.

hockey search

When we do on-page SEO (search engine optimization) we are trying to communicate clearly to the search engines what types of searches this content is relevant to. Done well, this gets your optimized page somewhere on the list of millions of pages that a searcher might be interested in.

the complete b2b content marketing workbook download

The far more difficult factor to affect is ‘importance’. Importance is what moves your page up this list into or near the coveted number one spot. One of the primary ranking factors that Google identified early on, and still heavily favors, is inbound links to a page.  

The original paper: The PageRank Citation Ranking: Bringing Order to the Web explains how they extended the concept of organizing research papers to organizing more broad categories of web content.

Let’s start with the hypothetical that if you were starting a project and had a stack of 1,000 research papers you wanted to quickly organize to review, it would be handy to be able to see if particular words are included in a given paper. Words included in the text might be useful to put a paper into the ‘maybe I should read’ stack. Words included in titles would probably be more important than words included in text, and within limits, words that you were looking for that occured more frequently might indicate content that’s closer to what you need for your purposes. Using these as rough guidelines, you could order the stack for reading.

But what if your quick review produced a list of hundreds of relevant papers? How would you determine which of these to review first? One measure of value in the research paper world is how many citations within other papers a particular paper has. A paper that is cited multiple times by other papers is often considered more valuable.

It is obvious to try to apply standard citation analysis techniques to the web’s hypertextual citation structure. One can simply think of every link as being like an academic citation. So, a major page like http://www.yahoo.com/ will have tens of thousands of backlinks (or citations) pointing to it.”

If you extend the idea of ‘citation’ to the reality of ‘inbound links’, Wahlah, by looking at links that point to your page, both the volume and quality of links, Google can produce a quick judgement of how important this page is from a very large list of potentials.

Not all citation links are of the same quality of course. The paper notes that links coming from pages that themselves have lots of inbound links are more valuable than unlinked reference pages. How Google does the math on this one without circular logic I have no idea! Also, as you can imagine, links from .edu domains are more valuable than .net domains. Now you can start to visualize how Inbound links are used, and how you might leverage this knowledge to improve your post’s importance and your overall website Domain Authority.

This knowledge should be used as you shape your content editorial calendar. You should be balancing volume (getting lots of relevant, good enough content out there as part of the numbers game) vs quality (is this something truly original and valuable that people will reference?). Both will affect your ‘Domain Authority’ which is a KPI that you should be reviewing quarterly with your marketing partner.

So how does this knowledge affect our publishing strategy you might ask? Well, there is no question that the right approach to publishing will drive more business value then ‘random acts of content’. However, there is something to be said for generating volume.

At AMPED, our best advice is this. Create a production pace that is realistic and sustainable for your baseload blogging publishing. This publishing is driven by a solid Persona-based strategy and is focused on high editorial quality posts. Augment this base load production by inviting others within your organization and larger circle to produce content that is based upon their area of expertise, timely newsjacking or musings on the industry. This content will be naturally attractive to search engines and will increase your publishing volume, which unfortunately is also a ranking factor for your domain.

Before you invite others to the table, have a process in place to proof and approve posts in a timely manner so that people don’t get frustrated. Also, we recommend a short publishing guideline document and a workshop to introduce potential authors to best practices.

This is a great post on this topic that we encourage you to read.

By producing content that is so useful that others will reference it, you can accelerate your search visibility. (This is also the reason that Google likes to see links internal to your blog. It demonstrates to Google that some of your content is ‘foundational’ and others are more ‘advanced’…in other words that you are assembling a useful body of work).

So how does Inbound Marketing achieve search engine visibility and help to drive website traffic? Well, firstly, you take the time to understand your Personas (part of the ‘how people work’ referenced above), what is a day in their life, what are their goals and challenges, what types of problems are they trying to solve today?  

You use these insights to shape a keyword strategy focused on LTKWs (LongTail Keywords). LTKWs are words and phrases that are far less competitive searches, and therefore generate far shorter ‘relevant’ page lists. This means that you are competing on a far easier hill to climb to get visibility then highly competitive searches (this is part of incorporating the ‘how search engines work’ referenced above).

You also endeavor to create enough very high quality content that others will want to link to pages within your blog, raising your domain authority and lifting both the ‘cited’ page as well as your entire blog domain. 

How do you get your hands on some of this internet marketing quan?

Start with getting your publishing house in order with a Blog Editorial Calendar.

Send us a note @ Jason@AMPEDPipeline.com. We'll take a few minutes and walk you through how it works, send you copy and you are on your way!

the 30 greatest lead generation tips tricks and ideas download

New Module

Add content here.