How to Use Controversy to Get High-Quality Links

Controversy gets links. Brands that understand their audience can take advantage of taking controversial stands. If you know how your audience feels about a particular issue, taking a stand on that issue only reinforces your brand’s relevance to your target customers.

Savvy Brands Take Stands

Brands like Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, Heineken, Starbucks, and many others have successfully parlayed arguably controversial social stands into thousands of links from high-quality sites. And the links have come from not only relevant sites that cater to the brands’ supporters, but from high-quality sites that cater to those opposed to the brands’ social positions. In other words, they get links from their supporters and their detractors.

Stats Show Taking a Stand Can Be Beneficial

recent study by the public relations juggernaut, Edelman, states that more than two-thirds of worldwide consumers would buy or boycott a brand based on its social stance. Consumers are increasingly aware of brands’ social stances and they are acting based on their own beliefs.The Edelman study is conducted every year. In the latest study (2018), the increase in consumers that cared about a brand’s social stance increased by 13%, the highest increase in the history of the study. More than half of the people surveyed in the study believed that brands play a more powerful role in social change than the government.

Increasingly, consumers are going to want to know what the social stance of a brand is. And that will affect not only SEO, but sales and the bottom line.

Controversy Breeds Link Building

Obviously, if your brand takes a stand, the benefits (or, in the case of mistake, fallout) goes far beyond SEO and link building. But make no mistake: links flow to brands that are willing to stick their neck out and take a stand.

When I was a journalist, the saying was “if it bleeds, it leads.” Our job was to sell papers, and we knew that a car wreck or an accident would make the papers fly off the shelf. The same is true in today’s modern journalism. Journalists look for brands to take stands – particularly bold stands – either hoping for a trainwreck or a triumph. The journalist doesn’t really care which, as long as the clicks come in. And the best links come from journalists and online influencers.

The saying “I don’t care what you say about me, just spell my name right” has never been truer than in the battle for high-quality links.

But You Must Know Your Audience

In order to employ this tactic successfully, you must know your audience. If you don’t know how your audience thinks, you stand to lose a lot more than a decent search engine presence. If your core audience turns on you because of a social stance, you could lose your business. I’m not just talking about merely understanding your audience demographics and buying patterns.

You need to understand:

  • How your audience thinks.
  • How your audience votes.
  • The issues that are important to your audience.

Read the entire article in Search Engine Journal here: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/link-building-guide/controversy/

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