We all know that links are a big part of SEO don’t we? Regardless of what you do with your website, chances are you are going to need at least a few links to get those first few visitors, and unless your website is truly exceptional you’re going to need a solid link building strategy if you ever want to see page one of Google.
There are plenty of ways to get good links of course, but it has to be said that blogs are perhaps the best opportunity for links, firstly because good blogs have great authority, and secondly; blogs like to link out to quality content.
SO How do you get blogs to link to your website?
Building Really, Really Good Content
I say “building” because great content isn’t something that you can just write. You need to research and put together something truly outstanding. It’s actually not as hard as you might think though, simply because most people don’t bother doing it.
The difference between good and great is often as small as spending an hour researching and 10 minutes organising your thoughts before you actually start writing.
Your aim should be to include either:
- A completely new idea
- Some in-depth research backed-up with data
- A case study with examples
Or simply an extremely comprehensive guide to solving a problem or doing whatever it is that your potential visitors want to be able to do.
- Here’s a great post on brainstorming content ideas
- And another one giving a more detailed look at content creation
Building Great content takes time, and some practice, but if you don’t put in the effort, your chances of getting bloggers to link to you are so much lower.
Of course, another good idea is to monitor your Twitter feed and in particular look for Retweets that are promoting blog posts. Over time you will get a feel for which topics the influencers in your niche are most interested in.
I say to look for Retweets because a Retweet is by definition an endorsement of someone else’s post, so this is more likely to represent a topic that was well received.
If you notice that a particular post is getting an unusual amount of attention, see if you can think of a related idea to write about in response and try to ride on the back of the original post’s success. It won’t work every time but it will certainly improve your chances.
Start Building Connections
Of course, unless you are already an authority in your niche, it is still unlikely that a blogger is going to link to your site out of the goodness of his heart. You need to do some ground work first. This takes patience, but it’s worth the effort.
When you first come up with your content idea, you should start looking for relevant blogs. Try to find top authority blogs, but also look for some slightly more middle range blogs (these blogs will be much more likely to respond when you contact them).
One good place to start is by using Followerwonk. Many of their services are only available for Moz premium members, but even if you are not a subscriber you can use their bio search, so let’s look at an example. Start at their bio search page (click here).
Before you search, click “more options” and make the most of those filters. How specific you want to be depends on your niche, but in the example below I have searched for all users who mention Social Media in their bio and who:
List their location as the UK, England or Britain
- Follow no more than 10,000 people
- Have at least 1,000 followers
- Have sent at least 1,000 Tweets
Play around with these to see which combinations get the best results. Remember that you are looking for influencers who are active on Twitter (no point trying to connect with inactive users).
Making The First Connection
You should follow all of your target bloggers on Twitter if possible, also subscribe to their RSS feeds and start commenting on every blog post. This will get you on their radar and will also give you a nice traffic bonus.
Once you have commented a few times, you can consider sending them a message, either by email or Twitter. For now, just ask them a simple question and thank them for their time and their expertise.
The bloggers who reply will be your best shot of getting a link later, but for now, just thank them sincerely for responding and ask them if it would be ok if they email again at some point. You can also ask them to email you if they ever need any help with whatever your area of expertise is.
How To Get A Link
[Avoid sounding like this...]
First of all, I should say that just emailing a blogger that you barely know to ask for a link isn’t going to get you anywhere good and they will probably just ignore you and blacklist your email. This is a bit where you have to be very tactful.
Hopefully though, you have already built some connections…
Once you have published your amazing content, send a message to the bloggers that you have built a connection with. Don’t ask for a link, just tell them that you thought they might enjoy the content and tell them that you would really appreciate their feedback if they have a moment.
One particularly awesome way to get a blogger’s attention is to write a post that responds to or follows on from one of their recent posts. This will be far more likely to attract their attention and possibly flatter them a little too.
If the blogger responds with good feedback, you might ask them if they would mind Tweeting it or mentioning it to their audience next time they publish a relevant blog post. Of course if they give you negative feedback, be polite and thank for doing so (and try actually taking it on board).
Of course, if your content is good and you put in the time to build a relationship first, you may not even need to ask for a link. A lot of bloggers genuinely like to link out to other smaller blogs.
If you have taken the time to build a connection and the content is up to scratch, you might find that you get a response or two. It doesn’t work every time, but just one response from the right person can be all it takes.