What if link acquisition sat at the centre of everything?

Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows I talk about links, a lot.

“No shit” says anyone at Tank.

There’s no denying the passion of the thousands who use #digitalpr, follow @DigitalPREx, or obsess over Louise Parker’s all-too real TikToks.

The reason we are this obsessed is the power links have for a business.

A well-optimised site with a strong backlink profile will rank ahead of its competitors – we all know this. It can save companies £millions on ad spend and other marketing tactics that generate ROI – provided they stay out in front – just by sitting higher up on Google.

Digital PR is now a tactic that isn’t just understood by marketing teams and agencies, but at board-level too. I would argue still not quite at the level it should be compared to factors like “I can introduce you to…” or “Our advocates are really on brand!”, but it’s rising and rising fast.

The creativity that goes into digital PR campaigns is brilliant, but for a moment, ponder this: What if link acquisition went deeper and sat at the centre of everything in business? 🤔

What if… link value was a major factor in tenders?

Tenders are wonderfu-… nope, I can’t do it.

They’re awful things.

They will often rank operational factors and ‘best value’ (read: cheapest) over the direct qualities (read: the point of the tender) of the company (read: agency) that is going through this bureaucratic hell.

But, what if… the business issuing the tender made link value a major deciding factor? And I don’t just mean in digital PR tenders (I know that’s what you were thinking you scamps!).

What if a construction business that operates 100 developments across the country – each with 20 individual sub-contractors – set a minimum standard Ahrefs domain rating, or LinkScore, in its tendering process?

All of those 2,000 contractors would suddenly have to consider the value of the domain for the prospective client. Then, ideally invest in digital PR campaigns (we can only dream!) and provide their new customer with value beyond their day-to-day capabilities.

Suddenly, the contractor has 1,000 high quality backlinks and 1,000 more digital savvy subcontractors. 👷‍♀️

Fun, right? There’s more…

What if… suppliers could generate you links, simply by partnering with them?

Before any of you chip in, I don’t mean digital PR agencies… you clever lot.

What if you could generate links indirectly from a supplier with a specialism completely unrelated to digital PR?

You may choose to sponsor a stadium or competition not only for the increased exposure on offer, but for the multiple link opportunities available in related media coverage.

Taking this even further to the design world, companies with new brands will generate links because a particular creative agency handled their work. 🎨

Hear me out.

For instance, I read Brand New by Under Consideration, a design blog that reviews and highlights brand design. The likes of Pentagram, Moving Brands and Wolff Olins feature often, their work heavily scrutinised by the site and those who comment. For better or worse, each agency and their clients benefit from the hugely authoritative backlink from the site.

And Brand New is not alone.

Each time these major creative companies publish their latest case study, design websites across the world jump to attention to offer reviews, praise, or criticism.

If you’re a liquid startup, or investing in a major rebrand, could investing in a design agency with the recognition to be regularly reviewed also be a boost your backlink profile?

It’s not just suppliers either…

What if… customer value went beyond their purchasing decisions?

‘Lifetime value’ – a phrase that would have definitely been discussed remotely at Sky Sports when there’s no football for three months and everyone wants to cancel their subscription…. and, other less important places as well… I guess! 🙄

What if your customers could provide even more value beyond that single, or monthly, investment?

Certainly a harder scenario to implement for B2C brands, with most customers unlikely to own a domain, let alone host a site – but B2B is different. What if your agreement for investing in a service came with the pre-requisite that they would link to you? Maybe through a case study? Or you even ‘paid’ with a link?

What if locally, the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker – all suppliers to my local pub 🐄   (if you know, you know) linked back to its website? We all know how important and unique local SEO is, for example.

Could this see local brands ranking more effectively and securing more business in the area because of this new tactic?

Is the discount essentially a paid link? Is the local link network a village PBN? Is my local pub going to open soon? Questions for @JohnMu…

What if… new hires were also new links?

How do you separate two employees with exactly the same skill?

Ever thought about their link value, either from their own site(s) or their ability to generate links as an individual?

Of course this happens in digital PR – if individuals can build links for themselves without the presence of a ‘brand’ then it makes sense for them to do it for clients. I say, why not?

But it will not be considered in other industries. 🚫

Your potential imaginary employees might do wonders for your brand perception and media mentions, but if they don’t create any assets does the media have anything to link to when they’re mentioned?

Do they write with authority on a personal blog that consistently adds link value? Do they produce ground-breaking reports that are the ‘go-to’ in their specialism? Do they ask really nicely?

If they publish regularly then they can do it for you too.

What if… your event speakers were chosen by backlink quality?

We’ve all attended events where one speaker stands out well and another just… ‘stands out’.

You sit there with your sponsored lanyard, muttering, “how the hell did they get a spot in the lineup?” 😡

What if an event, or a key event sponsor/organiser, chose its speakers to bolster its own search performance?

If an event ranked and hired its speakers based on a minimum DA, would their lineup quality reflect of their backlinks? Or would regular content stealers still get a spot?

Either way, I want to see a DA-led conference, or Zoom, where everyone walks around with a live DA score floating above their head.

What if… links didn’t have to be links?

Unlinked mentions anyone? 😢

What if… it was “no backlinks, no entry” to pubs and bars?

Less ridiculous than the no trainers rule tbf.

What if… you could only Tinder match dates based on DA?

Only girls with a Moz DA of 45 can Date Mark. 💘


I’ll stop now.


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Dad, digital marketeer at Tank PR, Derby County fan, film buff, book worm and husband. In that order, but don't tell the wife.

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