So you want to start generating traffic to your blog? Well, as you’re probably aware, the search engines are going to be your best bet for long-term, sustainable sources of visitors.
One of the fundamental factors toward gaining higher rankings within the search engines is the number/quality of links pointing to the individual webpages of your website.
For blog owners, it’s not realistic to be manually building links to each and every one of your articles; however, there are a few great ways to generate organic links to homepage, category pages and individual blog posts.
I’m going to share with you a few of the ways that I do it…
Building links to the homepage of your blog is a good way to boost the overall authority of your domain. You can then filter all of the PageRank coming from these links through to the other webpages on your blog via internal linking.
Blog directories used to be a huge part of blog link building. Nowadays they have less power, and in some cases, can have a negative effect. The main thing to understand when building links from these kinds of websites is the quality of the site.
By quality, I don’t mean just looking at domain metrics like Domain Authority, PR, etc. – I mean looking at the traffic potential of the site. Websites that are likely to actually generate traffic through to your blog are a great indicator of a good link target.
Bonus: Here's a full list of blog directories that you can submit your site to.
Most blogs have a 'useful links' page where they list a few sites that they like or are relevant to their readers. These pages are a prime target for a quick and easy link.
Most webmasters will ask for a 'link exchange' for a link on their 'links' pages - i.e. you have to place a link to their blog within your site as well. This is something that Google started cracking-down on a few years ago and often devalues reciprocal links; however, you can get around this with a simple trick...
Set up your own 'useful links' page that you can use for your reciprocal links but add the following code in the head section of the page:
<META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW">
This will ensure that any of the links from that page do not pass any PageRank, and will avoid you getting your links devalued.
One quick way to find a load of links/resource pages that are relevant to your niche is through running the following footprints within ScrapeBox (replacing 'Keyword' with your niche):
intitle:KEYWORD inurl:links intitle:KEYWORD inurl:resources
Note: If you don't have ScrapeBox, you can do it the manual way and just search within Google using the same search queries.
A great way to gain contextual links is to be interviewed or quoted on other industry relevant blogs.
Once you have established yourself within your niche then you will regularly receive requests to give input into other articles. Until then, you might need to do a little manual outreach. This is where we can call on the help of ScrapeBox again by using the following footprints (again, replacing 'Keyword' with your niche):
KEYWORD intitle:interview with intitle:KEYWORD inurl:interview
This should give you a nice long list of sites that run interview articles that you can then outreach to. My advice is to upload all of them into BuzzStream and start dropping some emails their way to see if they'd be interested in running an interview around you.
Links to Your Content
The link building strategies for your homepage often use slightly less 'natural' tactics than to those going directly to the articles on your blog. Having said this, there are a lot of ways to gain good quality links other than just having your content 'organically' picked up.
If you run a blog that has a lot of your own imagery within it then there could be loads of quick link building opportunities that can be taken advantage of instantly.
All you need to do is take a trip over to Google Image Search and click on the little camera icon. You can then paste in the URL of an image on your website and Google will display a list of websites that have also used the image on their site.
This is a method very similar to the reverse image search method above. What this involves is for you to find webpages that have mentioned you, your blog or other writers on your blog and then ask them to link to you. Most people will link to the person they reference in an article but you'd be surprised to know the amount that don't. Not only this, but asking someone to link to you when they've already mentioned you will often yield high success rates.
All you need to do is sign up for a free or paid account on Mention.net and set up some alerts to find when you have been mentioned online. I have alerts set up for whenever someone writes 'Matthew Barby' or 'Find My Blog Way' (in the same way that a Google Alert works), so that I can reach out to anyone that hasn't linked to me whilst mentioning my content.
This works great and really takes no time at all - I spend about 5 minutes each day having a quick check and writing a couple of emails so it's more than worth it.
Get Your Content Translated
This is a tactic that I've used a few times in the past to get some awesome contextual links. All it involves is having on of your articles translated into a different language and then placed on a blog speaking the translated language, with a link back to your original article.
This can be scaled fairly well if you can build relationships with international bloggers. I was actually approached by a Spanish blogger recently who translated my link building case study on Moz and placed it on his website. Turned out to be a great second tier link from a DA40 website!
To find these kinds of opportunities it's often best to search for a writer first, rather than a blog. Most writers will have blogs themselves, or at least the capability to post on them, so you can pay them to write the article and get a nice link in the process - everybody wins!
Take a look through my Followerwonk tutorial video below to see a great method for finding writers:
Find Guest Blogging Opportunities
Guest blogging is one of the staple ways to get good contextual links to your content. The only thing is, it's a matter of time before Google cracks down on this kind of thing. Jason Acidre wrote an awesome article that looked at how to avoid the soon-to-be 'guest blogging penalty' - check it out.
In my opinion, the best way to scale guest blogging is to build long-term relationships with webmasters/bloggers and try to establish regular contributor agreements, rather than just one off posts. If you're writing for a small number of high quality blogs, it's going to bring in much better results than loads of lower quality targets. Not to mention it will be less resource-heavy.
Bonus: Check out my link prospecting method to find loads of high quality guest posting opportunities in minutes.
Broken Link Building
Broken link building involves finding broken links on a website and then reaching out to the webmaster with an alternative link to replace it with. The replacement link could be one of your articles (assuming it's relevant, of course).
I could spend hours writing up a huge process for carrying out broken link building, but instead I'm going to refer you to this amazing guide written by Anthony Nelson on Moz.
Competitive Link Opportunities
Competitive link research is another method that I use almost every day. It involves scouring through your competitors backlink profile to find links that they have gained that you could easily replicate.
Using a tool like Open Site Explorer (image above), Majestic SEO or Ahrefs, you can gather the backlink data for a few of your competitors. You'll be amazed at what you can find from having a quick look through this data (you don't always need to re-invent the wheel with link building!).
For a more detailed look at competitive research, take a look at this article I wrote on the Eat, Sleep, Search blog.
Weekly/Monthly Round-Up Articles
Another favourite of mine for getting a quick link building win is within round-up articles.
This is about as simple as it gets...
- Find niche-relevant blogs that write regular recaps of the best articles from each month/week.
- Gather contact details for the author of the recap articles.
- Reach out to them and let them know about your article.
- Basque in the glory of your backlink.
You can call in a favour from our old friend ScrapeBox to find a wide selection of blogs that run weekly round-up articles. Just use the following footprints:
"KEYWORD" intitle:weekly round-up "KEYWORD" intitle:weekly roundup "KEYWORD" intitle:weekly recap "KEYWORD" intitle:monthly round-up "KEYWORD" intitle:monthly roundup "KEYWORD" intitle:monthly recap
As a little bonus, I've pulled off 40 different blogs from within the online marketing niche that you can instantly use for your outreach (if you write online marketing related articles):