Thanks to Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, getting your blog to appear on the first page of search results is trickier than ever. Building links is frowned upon, but you still need links to rank well. So what kind of link building strategy can you use to get the high-quality links you need without incurring the wrath of the Google gods?
The answer: a strategy that focuses on building relationships and benefiting readers. When you focus on people instead of links, a few things happen – your content gets better, you earn a good reputation, and you actually help people. Then you start attracting links naturally because people want to share your great stuff. And search engines love all that, so they rank you higher. When you focus on people, you deserve to be on the first page of search results. Google rewards the people who deserve it.
9 People-Focused Link Building Strategies That Work
1. Create awesome content that other bloggers and webmasters want to link to.
And why will they want to link to it? Because it helps their audience and makes them seem more reputable and valuable. Examples of the kind of awesome content other bloggers will want to link to include:
- beastly resources like ultimate guides and case studies
- in-depth interviews with industry experts
- crowdsourced articles with quotes from experts on a specific subject
The great thing about interviews and crowdsourced articles is that the featured experts will often link to the post and do a lot of promotion for you, helping you get even more traffic, links, and exposure.
2. Write guest posts for blogs in your niche.
There’s a reason guest posting is the new link building strategy: it works. If you do it right, guest blogging can help you increase traffic and subscribers exponentially and build valuable relationships in addition to getting high-quality links to your blog.
3. Allow guest posts on your blog.
As your site grows, accepting guest posts helps you fill up your editorial calendar with great content your audience will love and less stress.
Bloggers often link to the post they wrote for you on their own site to increase their own exposure, which gives you a good link and more traffic.
Accepting guest posts also allows you to rub shoulders with others in your niche, and has the added benefit of making your blog appear bigger and more authoritative than it actually is.
4. Grow your network.
Use social media, blog commenting, forum participation, events, and other techniques to grow your network and build lasting, valuable relationships. People who actually know you are more likely to link to you, whether they’ve met you face-to-face or have had conversations with you on Twitter. And the more people you know, the more links and exposure you can get. If you want to ask movers and shakers in your industry to link to you, talking with them and building a relationship with them first is a must.
5. Create content for a specific community.
In addition to creating stellar content for your own readers, you can earn links by creating great content for specific websites related to your niche. For example, if you’d like to get links from a .edu domain, you might be able to write curriculum for a college course or create an in-depth tutorial for a university department’s website.
6. Interview and be interviewed.
Interviews are great ways to increase your exposure and earn links. When you interview others, they link to the post and do promotion for you. And when you are interviewed, you seem like more of an expert, increase awareness of your name and brand, and get good links.
7. Attend events.
Image source: zigazou76 / Flickr
Going to industry events like conferences and seminars may not seem like a sound link building strategy, but it can be. Events are powerful fodder for the awesome content your audience wants, especially because most of them can’t attend the event themselves and depend on you to share what you learned. You can do that by live blogging during the event, writing recap posts afterward, and sharing other content (such as your presentation or photos) on your website and other channels. Creating and publishing event-related content on your blog and social media gives you lots of links and traffic, and plenty of opportunities to earn more. Events are also excellent ways to build your authority, which can help you earn even more links. Being a presenter at an event means you’re going to get links from other attendees who write about being there, and rubbing shoulders with the big names in your industry makes you more likely to get lucrative links from guest posts, interviews, and more.
8. Build partnerships with related, non-competing bloggers and businesses.
This link building strategy takes some creativity to implement, but it’s well worth the effort. In a partnership, you help yourself and your partner, as well as both audiences, over a long period of time, so you both get more benefit than just one guest blog post could ever offer. The classic example is you create something special for the other’s audience that they couldn’t create themselves, and vice versa. So a graphics whiz might create an infographic for their partner’s audience, and the writer they partnered with could create a special white paper to help the graphics whiz get more clients. Partnerships like this often extend to more than just links, such as trading “ads” in each other’s email newsletters or sponsoring contests together.
9. Create lots of different types of content to appeal to all members of your audience.
What type of content you create most often depends heavily on your particular audience and niche, but one thing holds true across all industries: the same thing over and over again is boring. Creating several different types of content helps you alleviate your readers’ boredom and appeal to more people. It also helps you build a wider variety of links by using a greater array of promotion methods. For example, you could:
- embed videos in blog posts and publish them on YouTube
- publish photos, images, and infographics in blog posts and share them on Flickr and Pinterest
- embed your presentation decks on your website and share them on SlideShare
- create a podcast your audience can subscribe to in iTunes
- write white papers and research articles and publish them in relevant directories
Doing these things gets you more traffic as well as links to your own content, and makes you more authoritative and credible by spreading your name all around the web. Even better, “being everywhere” like this helps you earn more links by appealing to the tastes of more bloggers who could link to you.
More Link Building Strategies That Work
If you’re looking for even more ways to build links for your blog or website, PointBlank SEO has a huge list of techniques to try, which you can sort by time, cost, value, and other factors, that is definitely worth checking out: Link Building Strategies – The Complete List. What tactics are in your link building strategy? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!