What Happens When An SEO Specialist Pivots their Backlink Strategy Due to Market Changes?


    What Happens When An SEO Specialist Pivots their Backlink Strategy Due to Market Changes?

    In the ever-evolving landscape of SEO, 17 digital marketing experts, including CEOs and Founders, share their experiences pivoting backlink strategies in response to market changes. From adopting the 'Stat Page Technique' to the strategic shift towards 'Organic Outreach for Earned Media,' these professionals reveal the outcomes of their dynamic approaches.

    • Pivoting to Stat Page Technique
    • Quality Over Quantity Post-Update
    • Active E-Commerce Link-Building Shift
    • Adopting the Long Game
    • Investing in Indexing Software
    • Organic Link Building for Sustainable Growth
    • Pivoting for Google's Helpful Content Update
    • Mobile-Optimized Backlink Transition
    • Social Media Amplification for Backlinks
    • Quality-Focused Backlink Profile
    • Rotating Source Request Platforms
    • Adapting to Pandemic Market Changes
    • Shifting to High-Quality, Relevant Links
    • Targeting Niche Sites for Backlinks
    • Creating Content for Authoritative Backlinks
    • Voice Search Optimization for Backlinks
    • Organic Outreach for Earned Media

    Pivoting to Stat Page Technique

    What springs to mind is the content type I would promote and make outreach campaigns for. A hugely popular but no longer as effective method was using skyscraper content. This did work great until a couple of years ago. At which point the market changed, and I had to pivot my campaign strategy. With the centerpiece now no longer working as well, I evolved away from using the skyscraper method and instead opted for the Stat page technique. I've found this method works much better as your content can be snipped into smaller sections, allowing for a far more personal email as I can highlight the outdated stat and provide the updated one. I have managed to find an increase in engagement since making this pivot. Also, as a side point, I have managed to network and connect with more businesses via this method, allowing relationship building to become more prevalent. As of now, I can gather a quote from one of my clients and send it to relevant journalists who can use it in their content from the comfort of my LinkedIn inbox. I would highly recommend using this method if you haven't, and don't forget... network, network, network. You won't regret it!

    Cameron Harvey
    Cameron HarveyDigital Marketing Executive

    Quality Over Quantity Post-Update

    There was an instant when the software environment that I was working in turned totally upside down due to the search engine algorithms' modifications. At the early stages of my backlink strategy, I prioritized quantity over quality, and I was trying to gather as many links as possible without focusing very much on the relevance or authority of those linking sites. When the algorithm update went live, our former approach proved to be no longer viable. Sites that were previously ranked using irrelevant and low-quality links were severely penalized, regardless of how lucrative it was.

    I understood the importance of pivoting, so I went another route of developing powerful, relevant backlinks from authoritative sites within our industry. We had to create something that others would want to use and naturally link to. This also meant engaging with industry leaders and sharing our thoughts on relevant forums and discussions.

    The result? It was transformative. Not only did our website stand up to the first floor, but it climbed up the rankings and surpassed its previous place. This change in direction demonstrated how resilient I was, and more importantly, how essential it is to ensure that quality and relevance are key parts of your backlink strategy. This was a sharp wake-up call, showing that in the field of digital marketing, which is characterized by constant change, the only way to succeed is by always being well-informed and ready to adapt your tactics.

    Anup Kayastha
    Anup KayasthaFounder, Serpnest

    Active E-Commerce Link-Building Shift

    During my tenure at First Pier, an E-commerce Growth Agency, we faced a pivotal moment when market dynamics and algorithm updates necessitated a fundamental shift in our backlink strategy. This came at a time when we observed a diminishing return on our traditional backlink acquisition methods, which were predominantly passive in nature, such as relying on foundational links from social media profiles and business directories. Our realization was clear: to stay ahead in the e-commerce domain, we needed to adopt a more active, hands-on link-building approach.

    Our pivot centered around two main strategies: actively pitching products for inclusion in gift guides and launching targeted PR campaigns. Prioritizing gift guides was based on the understanding that these guides not only provided high-quality, relevant backlinks but also directly exposed our products to targeted audiences, particularly during high-intent shopping seasons. Meanwhile, investing in PR campaigns offered a dual benefit of acquiring authoritative backlinks and significantly boosting our brand's visibility in the market. This strategic shift required a considerable amount of outreach and collaboration efforts, setting a new direction for our link-building endeavors. The result of this pivot was nothing short of transformative.

    By securing placements in well-curated gift guides and gaining features in reputable media outlets, we witnessed a substantial increase in direct traffic, which translated into higher conversion rates and sales. Notably, these efforts contributed to a marked improvement in our SEO rankings, as the quality and relevance of backlinks to our Shopify store significantly increased. This experience underscored the importance of agility in digital marketing and the need to adapt strategies in response to changing market conditions. It was a testament to the power of proactive, targeted link-building efforts in enhancing e-commerce growth.

    Steve Pogson
    Steve PogsonFounder, First Pier

    Adopting the Long Game

    In the past, many website owners or webmasters didn't know much about NoFollow versus Follow in terms of external linking on their web pages. Because of that, getting links from social media profiles, directories, and other easily made profiles was king. Now, these sites have caught on, and the low-hanging fruit opportunities that were once a given are no longer available. Either they got dinged by Google due to an algorithm change, or they are trying to prevent themselves from the possibility of that.

    Since we are a marketing agency, we are up against other experts who are on top of link building more than any other industry, which makes it extremely difficult to build links given our competition. Instead of spending countless hours scouring the web for easy wins, we've taken on the long game, which is building high-quality content that will naturally obtain links over time. Most people have shifted to guest posting, but with Google's stance on it, and again the competition, it's not worth the additional effort. The reality is that most people don't want to put in the time and effort for this, nor do they have the patience, but it's paid off. Some of our best-performing content has already gotten us 15 links so far this year, and we expect it to continue to organically get us links for years to come.

    John Sammon
    John SammonCEO & Founder, Sixth City Marketing

    Investing in Indexing Software

    Considering my agency's field of work, we regularly have to switch up our backlink strategy if we want to remain competitive.

    For instance, when we were just starting out, we were much more focused on the quantity than the quality of backlinks to our website. We sought collaboration opportunities from various sources without much scrutiny of their domain authority. As our site grew, it became evident that this approach was no longer effective, and now we're only seeking high-quality, relevant backlinks.

    Also, due to algorithmic changes with Google, it's been challenging to get some of our guest posts indexed, which is significantly slowing down our growth. That's why I invested in indexing software that allows me to submit and bulk-request the indexing of multiple pages at once. I'm still testing the full potential of this strategy, but so far, I'm pleased with how quickly things have started ranking since I adopted this method.

    Nikola Baldikov
    Nikola BaldikovFounder, InBound Blogging

    Organic Link Building for Sustainable Growth

    As the head of marketing for a software company, I initially focused our backlink strategy heavily on guest posting and outreach to tech blogs and industry publications. This approach was effective in the beginning, helping us gain visibility and credibility in our niche.

    However, we noticed a shift in market dynamics as more competitors entered the space, and search engine algorithms evolved to prioritize quality and relevance over the quantity of backlinks. This meant that our previous strategy of simply acquiring as many backlinks as possible was becoming less effective.

    In response to these changes, we decided to pivot our backlink strategy toward building more organic and natural links. We invested more resources into creating high-quality content that provided value to our target audience, such as in-depth guides, case studies, and whitepapers.

    The result of this pivot was a more sustainable and long-term approach to backlink building. While it initially took more time and effort to see results compared to our previous strategy, the quality of the backlinks we acquired was significantly higher. This not only improved our search engine rankings but also enhanced our brand reputation and authority within the industry. Overall, the pivot led to more consistent and sustainable growth in our online presence.

    Alex Taylor
    Alex TaylorHead of Marketing, SEO Specialists, Digital Signage

    Pivoting for Google's Helpful Content Update

    Google releases multiple algorithm updates, but one time where we had to pivot was during the Helpful Content Update. To address the needs of our audience and create value, we shifted our backlink strategy significantly. This change meant moving away from measuring success by the sheer number of backlinks to focusing on the quality of those links, prioritizing those from reputable and relevant sources.

    The impact of this pivot was clear: our organic traffic grew stronger, and our engagement metrics increased noticeably. This strategic adjustment not only aligned with the principles of Google's Helpful Content Update but also led to a more sustainable and audience-focused online presence. Our team saw the potential in this market change and used it as an opportunity to reevaluate our backlink strategy.

    We conducted thorough research on our target audience, their interests, and the type of content they engage with the most. This informed our decision to prioritize creating high-quality, informative, and relevant content that would naturally attract valuable backlinks. As a result, our website's authority and credibility increased, leading to higher rankings on search engine results pages. We also saw an increase in referral traffic from reputable sources, as our content was now being shared and linked by influential websites within our niche.

    Furthermore, this pivot allowed us to establish stronger relationships with other industry leaders and experts who appreciated the quality of our content and were more willing to collaborate or feature our work on their platforms. This not only expanded our reach but also solidified our position as a reliable and authoritative source within our industry.

    Tristan Harris
    Tristan HarrisDemand Generation Senior Marketing Manager, Thrive Digital Marketing Agency

    Mobile-Optimized Backlink Transition

    In response to your query, a notable pivot in our backlink strategy occurred during the rapid rise of mobile browsing. Recognizing the shift, we transitioned from prioritizing high-volume websites to those optimized for mobile users, focusing on relevance and user engagement rather than sheer numbers. This approach not only aligned with Google's mobile-first indexing but also significantly boosted our clients' organic traffic and engagement metrics. A specific example includes a lifestyle brand that saw a 30% increase in organic traffic and a notable improvement in bounce rates, directly attributable to this strategic shift.

    Roman Borissov
    Roman BorissovCEO, SEO-Migration.services

    Social Media Amplification for Backlinks

    When social media platforms began to heavily influence SEO and web traffic patterns, we noticed a shift away from traditional backlinking tactics towards content virality and social shares. Initially, our backlink strategy was more focused on direct outreach and guest posting. However, with this change, we pivoted towards leveraging social media to amplify our content's reach and earn backlinks organically. We started creating more shareable content, such as infographics and interactive posts, and engaged with influencers in our niche to boost visibility. This shift not only diversified our backlink profile but also significantly increased our content's reach and engagement. The result was a more robust online presence that benefited from both direct backlinks and the indirect effects of increased social media visibility. This pivot taught us the importance of staying agile and embracing new trends in the digital landscape to keep our backlink strategy effective.

    Bhavik Sarkhedi
    Bhavik SarkhediGrowth Head & CMO, Content Whale

    Quality-Focused Backlink Profile

    It was obvious that a shift in approach was required as our rivals increased their dominance in search results through aggressive link-building strategies. After giving our experiences some thought, we came to understand how crucial it is to put quality before quantity. We purposefully concentrated on obtaining backlinks from really relevant and reputable domains rather than pursuing every connection that was accessible. This change was made to create a more durable backlink profile that would be less vulnerable to algorithm changes, rather than merely trying to stand out. By adhering to this strategy, we managed to set ourselves apart from the competitors and strengthen our online presence over time.

    David Boyd
    David BoydCo-founder, Frequent Flyer Credit Cards

    Rotating Source Request Platforms

    We regularly re-evaluate and shift our backlink strategy. One example of a change we made was changing link-building platforms. We utilize a variety of link-building communities, including HARO, Help a B2B Writer, and Featured. When we see a decrease in topics relating to our expertise or an overabundance of outlets we've already been published in, we take a break from that particular website and focus on other platforms for a time. This puts our attention on the channels with the most opportunities and prevents us from grinding away with minimal results. We've seen great success with this strategy—since we started rotating among multiple platforms, we've been able to gain quality backlinks twice as fast.

    Michael Alexis
    Michael AlexisCEO, teambuilding.com

    Adapting to Pandemic Market Changes

    We often change our backlink strategy. If we see that some sources aren't getting back to us, we switch our approach to focus on sources that are more open to us.

    During the pandemic, we had to pivot our strategy a lot. We noticed that many usual sources were either too busy or not relevant anymore because of how things were changing. So, we started reaching out to new types of websites and sources that were more in line with what was happening. This shift meant we had to do a lot of research to find the right contacts and understand what kind of content they were looking for. The result was really positive—we got more backlinks from these new sources than we had been getting from our old ones. These new backlinks were also from higher-quality sites, which helped our SEO efforts a lot. Adapting our strategy to fit the changing market during the pandemic was key to keeping our backlinking effective.

    Precious Abacan
    Precious AbacanMarketing Director, Softlist

    Shifting to High-Quality, Relevant Links

    As a marketing manager, one time I had to pivot our backlink strategy was when a major algorithm update devalued low-quality backlinks. We shifted our focus to acquiring high-quality, relevant backlinks from authoritative websites within our niche. This involved conducting thorough research to identify potential linking opportunities, building relationships with influencers, and creating valuable content to earn natural backlinks. The result was a significant improvement in our website's search engine rankings, increased organic traffic, and enhanced credibility within our industry.

    Kartik Ahuja
    Kartik AhujaCEO & Founder, GrowthScribe

    Targeting Niche Sites for Backlinks

    The moving industry's market is always changing, so our team knew we needed to change how we do backlinks to stay noticeable online. As the market evolved, we turned our attention to smaller, more specific sites. Professional movers can relocate businesses, transport art and antiques, and be pet-friendly. People wanted these services, which prompted these requests. When we noticed these trends, we adjusted our backlinks to point to specialized sites that cater to these groups. We searched extensively online for communities, groups, and blogs focused on moving. People who worked in offices, appreciated art, and owned pets all had their own sites. New opportunities for targeted backlinks arose when certain topics were discussed in these forums.

    By engaging with platform management, community leaders, and other key individuals, we became well-known in these niche communities. We discussed relocating offices, transporting art, and ensuring pet safety. We exchanged advice and tips. Being an active member of specialized groups helped us build trust. We altered our content strategy to better serve each area of expertise. We created educational pieces, guides, and case studies because relocating dogs, offices, and art can be challenging. This content was useful to our target audience and provided excellent backlink material.

    Ryan Carrigan
    Ryan CarriganCEO & Founder, moveBuddha

    Creating Content for Authoritative Backlinks

    In my work at Raincross, a key moment of pivoting came when we noticed a shift in how Google evaluated backlinks, especially with the emphasis on quality and relevance due to algorithm updates around 2019. Historically, our strategy leaned heavily on broad, volume-centric backlink acquisition, which needed reevaluation. We decided to target high-quality, authoritative sources in niche areas related to our clients' industries, focusing on creating valuable content partnerships. This meant producing insightful, well-researched articles and resources that would naturally attract backlinks from reputable websites within those niches.

    For instance, for a client in the environmental sustainability sector, we developed a comprehensive guide on green living that was picked up by several leading eco-conscious blogs and news outlets. This approach not only improved the quality of our backlink portfolio but also drove targeted traffic to our site, which was more likely to convert than the broader audience we previously attracted. The result? A marked improvement in our search engine rankings and a noticeable uptick in both the quality of traffic and conversion rates.

    By focusing on generating high-value content that appealed directly to our clients’ target audiences and leveraging those to earn authoritative backlinks, we saw a compounding positive effect on our SEO efforts. This pivot reaffirmed the importance of agility in digital marketing strategies and the continuous need to adapt to the shifting SEO landscape. This strategy has solidified our approach moving forward, prioritizing quality and relevance over sheer volume when it comes to building a backlink portfolio.

    Kevin Watts
    Kevin WattsPresident & Founder, Raincross

    Voice Search Optimization for Backlinks

    Reflecting on the dynamic digital marketing landscape, a strategic pivot in our backlink strategy was necessitated by the rise of voice search and natural language processing technologies. With a growing number of queries coming from voice-activated devices, our focus shifted toward optimizing for conversational keywords and obtaining backlinks from content that provided answers to these voice searches. This shift meant creating more question-based content that could easily be picked up by voice search algorithms and seeking backlinks from domains with similarly structured content. We prioritized featured snippet opportunities, aiming to become the go-to source for quick, spoken answers. Successful adaptation to this new trend resulted in increased visibility for voice searches, capturing a new market of users interacting with devices through spoken language. This not only solidified our reputation as a forward-thinking entity in our field but also enabled us to diversify our traffic sources, reducing our dependence on traditional search and preparing our strategy for future technological advancements.

    Ivan Brozincevic
    Ivan BrozincevicOwner, freeaffiliatemarketingbusiness.com

    Organic Outreach for Earned Media

    During my time as a digital marketing strategist, I've learned that having a nimble and adaptable backlink strategy is crucial for long-term success. There was one situation where we had invested significant time and resources into building high-quality backlinks from a network of industry blogs and publications. However, a couple of years into the strategy, Google updated its algorithm and really cracked down on 'unnatural linking patterns.' Many of the links we worked hard to acquire were now being devalued or even penalized.

    We had to pivot quickly to more organic outreach and shift focus to earned media instead of negotiated backlink placements. It was a tough transition, but we identified relevant trade associations, networking groups, and conferences where we could build authentic relationships with industry influencers. From there, we were able to secure impactful backlinks that arose naturally from our expertise and thought leadership, without forcing any unnatural links. Although it took time to regroup and rebuild, the eventual outcome was an organic, scalable backlink profile that could stand the test of time and algorithm changes.

    Example: When our travel website relied too heavily on backlinks from similar blogs that all networked together, a core update wiped out 90% of our traffic overnight. By connecting directly with mainstream media and industry experts, we built a more diverse and authoritative backlink profile that restored our rankings.

    Abdur Tamim
    Abdur TamimCFO, Power Your Curls