Case Study: How we earnt 121 links for one Digital PR campaign

Overview

The client: Patient Claim Line 

The campaign: Survey data uncovers how NHS delays are affecting Brits 

The results:

  • 127 pieces of coverage    
  • 121 links    
  • Average DR 56.67

Background and objectives

Patient Claim Line is the UK’s highest-rated medical negligence Solicitors, who currently deal with one in 10 of all medical negligence claims in England and Wales.

They needed a PR campaign to earn them coverage in UK publications, in turn generating links to their website to improve it’s authority. We were particularly focused on gaining links from new domains to broaden their link profile and improve their overall SEO.

In terms of the content of the campaign, we had four main aims:

  1. Create content related to the medical negligence field which the client can back up with their legal expertise
  2. Collect new and informative data that could used by journalists, and is relevant and therefore usable for months to come
  3. Ensure that the content is helpful to the British public and is sensitive to the current climate and difficult times within the medical sphere
  4. Make sure that the content can be reworked to have a number of different angles, and therefore can appeal to medical, national and regional publications

Strategy

After brainstorming and researching current topics related to medical negligence, we decided to delve into a subject that had gained some media discussion but was lacking hard statistics –   the effect of NHS delays on the British public over the past twelve months. 

To source new and reliable data, we worked with a survey provider to collect information on how patients feel like the pandemic has impacted or delayed their NHS treatment.

We analysed the data from a national perspective, as well as split regionally to see which areas of the UK were impacted more than others.

A survey report was created detailing all of the findings including regional splits, and also offered legal advice from Patient Claim Line’s experts on patient rights if their treatment has been delayed. This informative guide was published on Patient Claim Line’s website as a useful hub for journalists to refer back to. 

That’s the beauty of this content – it will be of use to journalists for months to come because it isn’t too time sensitive.

The content

We found some brilliant statistics that we knew journalists would love, including: 

  • Half of Brits have had their medical treatment delayed by the NHS since the pandemic started and 45% have seen their condition get worse as a result.
  • Almost a third of the population have opted to delay their own medical treatment since the pandemic started
  • Half of those who delayed their own treatment have also seen their condition worsen
  • 53% delayed their treatment due to fears of catching COVID, followed by 52% who don’t want to put a strain on the NHS
  • 78% of the UK appreciate the NHS more than they did before the pandemic


We created multiple press releases with different angles to target journalists in a variety of fields. We also coupled the data with expert comments from Patient Claim Line to make the content more helpful to the reader if they’ve been affected by NHS delays.

The results

The results were fantastic.

We achieved 127 pieces of coverage from predominantly new domains for the client. 121 of the pieces of coverage included a link back to the website, and these links were from sites with an average DR of 56.67 (compared to the client’s current DR of 27).

Some examples of the variety of coverage include:

The content was extremely relevant to the Patient Claim Line, helpful to the reader and even brought in leads through the website of those looking to make a medical negligence claim. We smashed all of our objectives, and the client was thrilled.

Check out another one of our client case studies in our blog ‘Backlinks and Brainteasers: a marriage made in SEO’ or find out more about linkbuiling on our Digital PR services page.

Why Are Links Important For SEO

Why are links important for SEO, and how can I get them?

If you’re in the digital marketing world, you’ve undoubtedly heard that getting backlinks from other websites is crucial for SEO. It’s important to utilise anything that can help to boost your website’s search ranking, so we’ll shed some light on why links are so important and teach you how to build them yourself.

Why are links important for SEO?

Building backlinks to your website (getting other websites to link back to yours) sends out a trust signal to Google that your website has good authority, and therefore should be ranked higher. However, this depends on the type and quality of the website that posts the link. Essentially, if a quality website which Google trusts links back to your site, Google determines that you too are a quality website, so should be ranked higher. You can work out the quality of a website by checking its domain rating on websites such as Ahrefs or Moz: the higher score the better.

However, Google can also penalise for backlinks which it sees as unnatural. For example, spamming forums, creating tonnes of directory listings, paying bloggers on fiver to link to your website are unnatural ways to build links, which in turn will lower your position on Google. It is far better for SEO to secure a few strong links a month than to build hundreds of low-quality backlinks in a short space of time.

Hence, you should always ensure that links have a natural connection to your business, which you can achieve with the following techniques.

Brand reclamation

 

It’s always great exposure when a publisher features your brand in their article, though sometimes they will mention a brand without linking back to the brand’s website. Whilst this can be frustrating, it’s easy to maximise this opportunity and secure a link from a high-quality website. Most of the hard work has already been done because a journalist has already noticed and written about your brand. Simply drop them an email thanking them for featuring your business and request a link to your website be added to the page in case their readers want to find out more.

Tracking brand mentions online is very easy to set up so that you don’t miss these opportunities. There are several web-monitoring tools that help you do this, such as Google Alerts (free), Ahrefs alerts and Gorkana. Some publications may have editorial policies not to include external links, but it’s always best to email and check.

Media tools

 

Now that GDPR is in place, media databases with opted-in contact details of journalists are more important than ever for sourcing good quality PR opportunities and contacts. There are a variety of tools you can pay for, as well as free databases that scrape public email addresses from across the web.

One relatively cost-effective way to find feature opportunities is through journalist alerts. These are email alerts that journalists send out to source contacts or information for the features that they are writing. You can then respond to queries that are relevant to your brand, offering information, images, product reviews or quotes. Not only do these tools allow you to effectively build links in a natural way, but they also allow you to develop relationships with key journalists in your market without the need of a pricey media database. Building your own database of journalists that you have successfully worked with makes it easier to work with them again in the future, as you can either contact them with valuable content or they may contact you with relevant upcoming features to you.

Local links

 

Big-budget content campaigns can bring in a lot of high quality links, but exploring your local link opportunities can also be a good cost-effective way to build links on a smaller scale. Investigate whether you have any current connections that you could source a link from. Is your Managing Director an alumni of a prestigious university? If so, perhaps they could make a donation or share their business expertise on their website. Is there a local charity you could work with? Or a local group linked to your industry? Explore current connections that your staff and management have to see if there are any natural links that could be secured by sending an email.

Competitor analysis

 

If a key competitor outranks you for several of your keywords, performing an analysis of where their links are coming from is a great way to see what kind of outreach work they are undertaking. Tools such as Ahrefs enable you to identify which publications your competitors are receiving links from, as well as spark ideas for potential outreach content.

Are there any high quality review websites that your competitor has a link on? If they do and your brand doesn’t, then this can be an area to explore. Do they have any links from high quality bloggers? Again, if they do then you can contact the blogger who wrote the article to introduce your brand and highlight what you can offer them, should they be planning any articles which you could contribute to.

 

Looking for more tips on outreach and link building? Check out these easy-to-action tips we picked up at Brighton SEO in how to secure links for your website.

10 Outreach Tips From Brighton SEO 2018

10 Outreach tips from Brighton SEO 2018

On 28th September, the Cedarwood Digital team travelled south to attend Brighton SEO, a huge one-day search marketing conference.

Here are 10 outreach tips that we picked up during the day:

Broken backlinks

Whilst many companies are familiar with fixing backlinks to their own websites, now is the time to start taking advantage of competitors’ backlinks. Screaming Frog, a website crawling tool, allows companies to find any inbound links to a competitors website that result in a 404 error. Once these have been identified, outreach teams can contact the journalist who published the article to suggest that they link to their company’s website instead. If the article contains content that the company’s website doesn’t currently have, then create this content first and then pitch it to the journalist alongside a link to the content.

Laura Hogan – Use Your Competitors For Freeeeee Links 

Reverse image search

This may be an old technique, but it is still useful for identifying new link opportunities. Find a graphic or image that a competitor had featured in national publications and then use this in a Google image search. This will show the websites that covered that graphic and the context that it was used in. Then work on creating a graphic with updated information on it and contact the publications to see if they would be interested in your material.

Laura Hogan – Use Your Competitors For Freeeeee Links 

Hashtags

Take a competitors URLs and paste it into a link tool such as AHREFS or Majestic and then identify their new backlinks. If there any hashtags in the articles they have recently received links from then make a note of these and simply Google these hashtags. This is a great way to find out which bloggers have worked with a competitor which gives an indication of the articles that they publish.

Laura Hogan – Use Your Competitors For Freeeeee Links 

Backlink analysis

A backlink analysis is a great way to understand where a competitor has been recently securing links – for example, using the SEM Rush gap analysis tool. This will not only show the domains that are linking to your competitor, but also exactly where the link is and its context. It is likely that your competitor has a large number of backlinks in their profile so it is recommended to compile a list of around 15 top opportunities to start with and then build this list up in stages.

Laura Hogan – Use Your Competitors For Freeeeee Links 

Set up alerts

Set up Google or Ahrefs alerts for your business and then set up alerts for your competitors. This will tell you when your competitors are being mentioned online, meaning that you can see if they are receiving links from high authority websites.

Laura Hogan – Use Your Competitors For Freeeeee Links 

News & media jumping

This is a technique that is used on Twitter by those who work in PR and it involves using a set of hashtags to request specific information. These hashtags are #PRRequest and #JournoRequest and journalists often use these when they are are trying to find someone to comment or interview for a story or feature. Sign up for email alerts so that you don’t miss out on a potential opportunity.

Charlie Marchant – Ways To Definitely Get Links For Your Business

Trade & industry publications

Industry-specific publications are always on the lookout for relevant content so use them as part of your outreach strategy. If you have any content that you would like to share that would be useful to others in your industry, then pitch this to relevant journalists. It is likely that the publication operates in print as well as online then this could also lead to some fantastic exposure for your business.

Charlie Marchant – Ways To Definitely Get Links For Your Business

Secure links before you produce the content

Time is very important and every second of an outreach campaign counts, so try to secure a link before you have produced the content. If you have an idea for a piece of content or infographic, check first that this is of interest to your target publications. You can find out by pitching your idea to journalists and writers to get their feedback. If you are able to compile a small list of publications that would be willing to use your content with a guaranteed link then you can go ahead and make the content.

Stacy MacNaught – Securing Links Before You’ve Even Produced Your Content

Surveys

If you want to create content or a press release on a certain topic that requires the public opinion, then try surveys. Google Surveys allow users to gather information in a short space of time, whilst Survey Monkey allows you to collect a large pool of data. Analyse this data, collate your findings and write them up into an interesting piece of content.

Charlie Marchant – Ways To Definitely Get Links For Your Business

Data outreach

If you have a content idea that requires data and statistics from reputable sources, then try government bodies. The  Office For National Statistics (ONS) and Freedom Of Information Requests are great for getting reputable data from government departments, such as the police force or the department for education. There are already requests available that other users have submitted but you can submit your own.

Charlie Marchant – Ways To Definitely Get Links For Your Business

So if you work as part of an outreach team and have been struggling for campaign ideas, then try some of these outreach tips to ramp up your link-building strategy.

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