The moment you create a new blog, you should focus on building backlinks. Not on a new pretty logo or a sidebar advertisement, but on earning links from other quality sites in your niche which point back to your own website or blog.
Sure, “all link building campaigns must start with something worth linking to” – Yoast
But after working long nights you’ll inevitably have this “worthy piece of content” and at that very same time you’re ready with content I want you to have a strategy laid out to get people reading your stuff. That’s where backlinks come in.
In this post, instead of just talking generally about link-building strategies, I’ll walk you through exactly how I got the first 10 backlinks on my first ever blog so hopefully you can replicate the process to get a few more backlinks too.
Why do more backlinks = more traffic?
The theory is that when someone links to another website, they are effectively saying it is a good resource. Otherwise, they wouldn’t link to it, much in the same way that you wouldn’t send a friend to a bad restaurant. – Moz
In other words, Google uses links to 1. discover new webpages (just like you would discover a new restaurant from your friend) and 2. to determine the quality of a webpage and how well to rank that page in their results (just like how if 10 friends of yours recommend Tao for Pad Thai, for example, you’ll be more likely to go there Friday night).
When a high-profile website creates a hyperlink (a link, or a backlink) to your blog, Google notices. Google notices because they automatically crawl the web daily. That link contains “link juice” a little bit of which passes from the authority of the high-profile website down to your website. Get a lot of links, get a lot of link juice, and become a high-profile website yourself.
In Google’s perfect world, people read the web and link back to things they love just out of good natured kindness (organic link building). However there’s a lot more manipulation which actually occurs (black hat link building). But that’s not the focus of this post. We’re focusing on the organic ways to build links.
The process is pretty simple. Google and the SEO community who worship it still maintain the consensus that backlinks account for the top 2 largest criteria in deciding how a piece of content (a blogpost you write, for example) will rank in the Search Engines.
We want your posts to rank in Google, so more people find them, which means more traffic. So you need links.
What should I focus on as a new blogger?
In simplified form, what you should focus on as a stay-at-home blogger or small business owner is a 4 step process:
- Create the best content possible
- Get backlinks pointing to the content (see steps I’ve used below)
- That content ranks higher in Google for related Search queries
- More clickthroughs from Google means many more eyeballs on your blog post over time
Sometimes we will create content well in advance of building links. You might write the best article ever on how to lose weight, or who rigged the election, or why Tiger Woods will win another major. You might do so without ever even wanting such an article to rank in Google. In fact, if you were the only person ever to write such an article, it would likely rank #1 when people looked for that sort of information, assuming you had indexed your website to Google.
However the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages, which you see when you errr Google something) today are much more competitive. It’s much more likely that any resource you see is trying to be there, and is trying to beat out other similar resources. Given this increase competition online, we can take into account the following 10 link building strategies in order to strategically get your blog posts and website pages read.
10 link building strategies to get backlinks organically
- Guest post for a large blog
It’s good to shoot high. When I launched this blog I read all of ProBlogger.net’s posts, commented often, interacted on Facebook with their SMM, and eventually sent one well-timed email with a guest post that got accepted.
- Guest post for a medium-sized blog
Cast your net wide. I always loved landing guest posts on sites like 12Most, BrazenCareerist and CheapSholar (to give you some ideas) because it filled my slower weeks with backlinks and good solid networking.
- Guest post for a small blog
You’ll also need to stomach your pride at times. Writing incredible posts for small blogs will still gain you marginal increase in link juice, even more so if that small blog becomes a big authority some day. Did I bore you enough with the guest-posting strategy? Probably, so let’s move on.
- Host guest writers on your own blog
Invite other bloggers, writers and just plain friends to write a your blog. This complements your blog with another voice and they’ll be pretty likely to share the finished post on their own site, if they have one. Backlink, check.
- Get featured in a weekly roundup
Plenty of content managers and SMMs send weekly link roundups to my inbox each week. By getting on a few of their radars, you can get your links in roundups. It doesn’t even matter if your site is way smaller than theirs, these people often just need original content and it makes their job easier! The effect here is quicker but similar to expert roundups. Boom, backlinks.
- Create a sister blog and cross link
Not exactly helpful if you have two blogs with zero traction, but it can take the pressure off one. Especially if you want to write on a topic that fits on but not the other. You might build your content quicker.
- Get your friend who is a well-known writer to feature your blog
Sort of a lucky unicorn tip here in that if you have it, you’d better use it, but not necessarily talk about it at your coffee chat. If you have a friend with influential powers on a larger website, encourage them to feature your new site. Take them out to dinner for crying out loud. People love being pursued for their strengths.
Trade sidebar or footer linksOffer Testimonials!
In the olden days we could email people asking to swap sidebar links and this method of trading link juice actually worked. Nowadays you’re better off emailing them with a glowing testimonial you wrote and published on your blog. If done well enough, they’ll want to feature it (who doesn’t love more good testimonials about their service or content?) on their own website. Backlink, check!
- Acquire author bio pages on other websites
If you guest post more and more, you’ll get better and better author bio pages. You may have to ask/remind the author to setup the page for you.
- Start publishing your content to other mediums
The most places your content exists the more chance you have of being found. For me, moving to YouTube in early 2014 was a big step which scared me but also one I’ll never regret. There’s much more opportunity for traffic, and because now I get to focus on YouTube SEO! 😜
Does everyone need to get more backlinks?
Not really. Huge websites like Huffington Post, Time Magazine, Business Insider, Vogue, Forbes etc. etc. can spend their time creating high-quality content (not backlinks) because their content is already likely to be linked and mentioned on other websites and blogs. Their large readership and huge reach sort of carries this process of getting mentioned out on it’s own.
Smaller bloggers do need to build links. Especially if you just now create a blog and want it to hit your niche with a bang. You need to launch with good content on your blog, and have other websites mentioning you to speed up the process of Google noticing what you’re doing.
Position yourself as fresh and different as you can in your niche, swallow your pride, and get out there and build more backlinks. It’s largely helpful to how we blog for a living later on!
Are you in the process of building backlinks? Have you had some recent success you’d like to share? Post a comment, it takes 4.5 seconds and can help someone tremendously!
Image from Pixabay