How to Run SEO Outbounding and Backlinking like a Top News Site

The alternative, less SEO friendly title of this article is “What the New York Times and Malcolm Gladwell have to teach us about SEO outbounding and backlinking.”

This is an article about SEO outbounding and backlinking, but it’s also an article about storytelling, and storytelling’s powerful ability to get out ahead of trends and create data out of thin air.

There are no outbounding and backlinking smoke and mirrors gimmicks that will beat Google in the long run. Bloated articles about “nofollow” tags and meta descriptions aren’t alchemical recipes for turning lead to gold (but they can turn gold into shinier gold). Use the tricks, but bolster the tricks with “good content.” 

The New York Times and Malcolm Gladwell have one simple thing to teach about outbounding and backlinking: storytelling. Anticipating trending topics and creating a story creates data that drives backlinking.

Proper outbounding links information and exceeds that information by making it tell an original story. 

1. Anticipating the Story

If you’ve ever read or listened to, well, anything that journalists like Malcolm Gladwell or Michael Lewis have ever done, you know that journalists often use disparate data and distant connections to tell a story that didn’t exist.

It’s not that they were “first” to the story, like detectives stumbling onto a crime scene and jotting down notes. They did their research and created a narrative where there wasn’t one. “Top 5 Vintage Suitcases” and “Best Lightbulbs for Outdoor Dance Parties” might be buzzwords, but they aren’t stories.

News sites rack up backlinks by creating stories, which means that they anticipate searching and beat the crowd to certain keywords. “Pope francis changes our father” wasn’t a top ranking search until recently (when he updated the translation) but since then the numbers have skyrocketed.

That simple piece of data (outbound link) was used to drive a story which generates massive backlinking and increases in authority. If you can find the right data and tell the right story about a trending topic, you create additional data which others will want to backlink.

That simple piece of data (outbound link) was used to drive a story which generates massive backlinking and increases in authority. If you can find the right data and tell the right story about a trending topic, you create additional data which others will want to backlink.

Now, there’s a huge difference from jumping on a keyword bandwagon and anticipating tomorrow’s keywords. Once you can track it with Trends, the first wave is over.

If you happen to see that Pope Francis made an update to the verbiage of the Our Father prayer, you don’t have to check twitter and do keyword research. Anybody with half a finger on culture’s pulse will know that the story is about to go through the roof.

2. Creating a Story

The recent Times article “Last Call: MoMa’s Closing and Changing” is an excellent example of using one data point from an authoritative source to tell a story. It shows up at the top of the front page of Google (at the time of writing) for the search “moma closing.”

The article contains a humble 9 outbound in-text links over its short 1,200 words. Three of those links are internal, to other Times articles on the same subject, 5 of those links go to the MoMa’s website, and Wikipedia gets a nice shoutout for an article on the description of an artist. And of course, none of the links receive a nofollow condemnation.

The Times article isn’t really about the temporary closing of the MoMa. That would be a headline, not a story. And the MoMa already made that press release.

Instead, the Times article tells the story of how the MoMa’s renovation changes the story of art modernism as a linear and male-genius dominated field. It provides relevant information to your summer while telling a compelling story.

It’s unlikely that you wield the domain authority of a New York Times, but you can still outbound and backlink like they do–with a story.

Your website might be an e-commerce blog, photography freelance site, or SaaS/PPC solution. Compelling storytelling has been a pillar of good marketing for years, but it is too often overlooked in SEO.

In fact, the word storytelling probably didn’t cross your mind when you saw that the title of this article was “How to Run SEO Outbounding and Backlinking like a Top News Site.”

You don’t have to publish news, you need to create stories. Link stuffing a blog article won’t rank you if the keyword is already a crowded ocean of hungry startup sharks looking to gobble up the crawl bots before they stumble across your links.

Take a look at those numbers from the Times article again. Outbound to an authority on the subject (MoMa’s website), internally link to relevant story content on your own site (the Times), and don’t be afraid to link to a less traditional source (Wikipedia). 

Tell a story that exceeds the outbounding, and you’ll drive backlinking.

3. Backlinks: Telling a Story

Storytelling is essential to outbounding and backlinking because it delivers data (which other sites want to link) in a compelling format (which readers want to read).

Top news sites take control of their SEO outbounding and backlinking by creating and telling a trending story with their content. Links are created within that format to support the story. 9 links in 1,200 words, and the top result for “moma closing” and “moma closed.” And remember, the NYT isn’t the MoMa. They’ve told a captivating story to outrank the official website. 

And remember, the NYT isn’t the MoMa. They’ve told a captivating story to outrank the official website. 

If you have a massive research department to create surveys and generate original data to post as backlink bait, that’s wonderful. If you don’t, telling a story creates data where data didn’t exist.

Stories aren’t just content, they’re new ways of combining numbers. When Malcolm Gladwell tells a generationally influential story about 10,000 hours he’s using a story to create new data.

The 10,000 hours data is based on the research of Anders Ericsson, but we don’t remember that name. Gladwell told the story. Gladwell got the links.

Outbound quickly to your source, like Gladwell and the New York Times, but then twist your source. “Twisting the source” doesn’t mean making stuff up, or stretching the truth, or going beyond the numbers.

Once you have your outbound links, tell a story that the links don’t tell. The MoMa’s website doesn’t tell the story of how modern fables of linearity and male-genius are being deconstructed in the renovation. The MoMa’s website says that they’re closing for the summer for renovations and have new exhibits coming.

The Times tells a story and creates new data. They outbound and twist. Anders Ericson didn’t write outliers, he did some research on skill mastery. Gladwell outbounds to Ericson but then twists the reference, telling a story of success, failure, and hidden influences. 

Conclusion

Like every good SEO advice article will tell you, there is simply no substitute for creating good content and helping the people of the internet.

If you need a tagline, go with that: “we help the people of the internet”.

Google and Amazon want to protect their brands and reputation, and they will continue to make changes to their algorithms to drive consumer success at the expense of underhanded SEO fluffing. Use the tricks and tips sold to you by the flashy web pages, but use them in tandem with story driven content. 

If Malcolm Gladwell doesn’t write for your site, you’ll have to get creative with freelance and content solution prompts to drive this type of writing.

That’s where the rubber meets the road, and the links meet the clickthrough traffic. If you can hack that, you can outbound and backlink like a top news site and drive authoritative backlinking.

Remember that everyone else is also trying to optimize their website for SEO, and trust me, they’re reading the same advice. They know how to use “nofollow” to block competitors, and they know to use only data-driven non-competitive sources for outbound links.

They’re also trying to score backlink networks from authoritative sites.


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