What is a Natural Link? The Benefits of Earned Media

Jordan Arnold Director of Outreach
Key Points
  • Stimulate natural mentions to effectively and positively guide your brand’s web presence.
  • Ensure an audience is well-aligned and will be able to genuinely connect with and care about your brand.
  • Retain all one-to-one relationships and expand upon them to create a reliable larger network.
  • Harness the power and support of your community to both leverage and protect your brand’s reputation.
  • Avoid forced, spammy and out of place mentions to follow SEO best practice.

Positive brand mentions from credible sources are great for SEO. Or to put it another way, natural links help build website authority which improves rankings, and that means more traffic to your website.

Natural links can come in the form of a recommendation, a call to action, or any positive reference to your brand. Ultimately, natural links from earned media come without any financial cost and provide valuable return.

Let’s break it down:

Social Exposure

Gaining maximum traction on social media platforms can be a challenge. But don’t try to insert your brand where it doesn’t make sense. It’s unnatural, it’s awkward, and nobody can scroll down fast enough to avoid wasting time on irrelevant, thin content.

Want to earn a valuable placement? Make sure the audience is well-aligned with your brand first. When people are genuinely interested the call to action is inherent. That’s when the social shares roll in, because why wouldn’t you tell anyone and everyone you know about this new brand that influencers are raving about!

Positive social engagement is like the domino effect. Interactions often lead to more impressions, shares and sometimes broader media coverage. And those media mentions frequently come packaged with a natural link. If they don’t, you should definitely reach out and ask for one!

Exposure to a Dedicated Niche Readership

When a niche site in your industry mentions your brand, not only will you earn a natural link, but you’ll also be front and center with your target demographic. When your company is featured within actionable, compelling content, you’ll also build a reliable relationship. And that’s just the beginning.

The biggest opportunity lies in the potential growth of strategic partnerships. The long-term scalability and expansion of relationships results in a large network of trusted friends to rely on. In politics, you need a coalition of supporters and collaborators to spread your message. The same is true when building your brand online. You need to build relationships with niche communities if you want to earn natural links.

Introduce Your Band to New Customers

You know who’s reading those niche blogs? People who have never heard of your brand. One mention on a site could open the door to numerous new and interested consumers. That open door could additionally lead to qualified referral traffic. If these new audiences like what you have to say, and they recommend and properly source your brand, the referral traffic will flow in.

However, a simple increase in referral traffic doesn’t necessarily mean success for your brand. It’s quality referral traffic that you need to attract. Are your visitors engaging, purchasing, subscribing, and making multiple visits to your site? This is where it all comes full circle: If the initial relationships you’ve built for your brand are well-aligned, genuine, and formulated organically, you can be certain that any secondary aggregate connections that develop as a result are intrinsically qualified, and ultimately, the referral traffic will be qualified, too.

Create Trusted Brand Advocates

So, you’ve earned a network of natural placements on well-aligned, authoritative websites. Now you need to retain their interest. Give this network all the TLC they deserve in order to turn them into your customer advocates, or brand evangelists.

Immunize Against Reputation Problems

Every personal relationship built online provides immediate value. But in the unfortunate case of a future reputation issue, you can leverage your trusted network for support.

If your brand is around long enough, you’re likely to face some sort of issue that threatens its reputation at some point. Fortunately, you can activate your network of allies to help rescue your brand’s digital presence in the event of a crisis.

Not only will there be an existing conversation to help remove negative articles from Google, but your network can be called on to fight back with positive promotion. They’re your allies who have your back no matter what, like your own personal caucus of like-minded legislators who will back your bills when everyone else shies away.

SEO value

Natural links provide enormous SEO value. On the other hand, the risk of getting a penalty from an unnatural mention is also just as real. Do your backlinks appear forced, spammy and out of place? Or are they all genuine and properly earned through engaging content?

Conclusion and Takeaways

What can you do?

There are things you can do to spur online conversation in the right direction for your brand.

  • Leverage relationships
  • Produce amazing content
  • Run exciting social campaigns

All of those are excellent ways to spark positive natural links and brand mentions. If you need inspiration, check out these 29 quick content ideas!