A Link Building Strategy That Works Hard — So You Don’t Have To
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An inbound link that fails to accomplish a business goal is like your cousin who graduated from a private liberal arts college. It might have a prestigious pedigree, but it doesn’t have a job.
In the olden days of SEO, inbound links didn’t have to be workhorses. They just had to exist in large quantities, and every link you built worked in your favor.
Link Building Strategy
Today, building backlinks takes more time, and your time is precious. It’s not worthwhile to invest in building links that don’t accomplish these three tasks:
1. Direct traffic from sites relevant to your blog
2. Add prestige to your blog
3. Get something done for your blog
An inbound link’s first task is to refer visitors from sites relevant to your blog. If you blog about motorcycles, a link from a blog about collecting Beanie Babies has nothing to do with your topic. A link from a really popular Honda or Harley Davidson blog, however, is highly relevant to your topic. If the other motorcycle blog has high domain authority, Google interprets it as a vote of confidence toward the quality of your content. In other words, the inbound link has relevance to your blog, and it also adds prestige.
Not every link to your blog will come from high-authority sites — and that’s okay. Work to earn a mix of inbound links from sites with medium to high domain authorities. If you’re not sure about a site’s authority, use the free version of MozBar, which is available for Chrome and Firefox. You’ll see basic domain and page authority metrics for any site linking to yours.
Choose Sites That Deliver
As a blogger, you have different marketing goals than someone who’s running a straight-up e-commerce site. You want more traffic, more engagement, and more clicks on ads and affiliate links. You also want readers to join your mailing list, download your content assets, and, if appropriate, go from your blog to your business website or e-commerce site. When you come up with your link-building strategy, target sites that will drive quality traffic back to your blog. Remember:
- Visitors who click your links and boost your page views widget number are nice.
- Visitors who stay a while, read multiple pages, leave a comment, and share your links on social media are nicer.
- Visitors who click your ads and affiliate links or sign up for your email list? Those are mighty nice.
- Visitors who become subscribers or revenue-generating customers are the nicest of all.
Brainstorm a list of great places to put inbound links in front of high-quality visitors. The best visitors often come from:
- Other publications popular with your audience.
- Influential niche publications in your industry.
- Blogs or social network shares written by influential thinkers.
- Human-edited directories people actually use.
- Relevant local and community sources.
- Your own reader community.
- Social networks highly popular with your target market.
Start Building Links
Now that you’ve chosen target sites, it’s time to ask for the links. In some cases, getting a link is easy, but in other cases, you’ll have to work for it.
Easy. Sign up for a directory listing, such as a listing in a local directory relevant to your site or an industry directory. If you blog for a business, register your company with Google My Business while you’re busy building links.
Medium. Commit to building a social media presence. Don’t just share links; ask your readers to share them, too. Start getting into conversations with potential influencers, and become a part of their communities. At the right time, share existing content with them or with the people in their networks.
Challenging. Pitch guest posts to publications that could direct excellent visitors to your blog. Look into syndicating your existing content on popular publications.
As you build links, check frequently with Google Webmaster Tools or free tools like Moz Site Explorer to see who’s linking back to you. Monitor Google Analytics, WordPress Site Stats, and other measurement tools to look for increases in visitors generated by new inbound links.
Finally, learn which backlinks contribute to your bottom line by attracting leads or generating revenue. The more time you spend building links that work hard for you, the less you’ll have to work — period.
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