Link Building Ideas for Bloggers
Whether your blog is a marketing tool for your brand or a personal blog you started to share your passion, you want people to see it. For all the work you put into writing and editing regular posts and finding just the right images to put alongside them to pay off, you need people to find those posts.
And the main way people go looking for content like yours online is by searching Google or other search engines. For most blogs, showing up in the search results requires doing some link building.
Link building is one of the most important and hardest parts of SEO. Google sees links back to your blog as an indication that people like and respect your work. Each external link from a quality website is a signal to the search engines that your website is quality too.
It’s largely because link building is the hardest part of SEO to do well that it’s so important. Everyone can do the easy stuff; building high-quality links is how you become more competitive.
Here are ten link-building strategies you can use to help boost your blog’s authority and make headway in the search engines.
1. Do a Quote Roundup Post.
You’ve seen posts like this. They’re the ones that include quotes from a bunch of different experts on the same general subject. They’re popular for end-of-year posts (The Top <Insert Industry> Trends of 2018) or just any post that’s trying to pack a lot of different tips and insights into one place. We’ve even done a few of these here at HostGator.
Influencers in your industry are often willing to contribute to these because they get a link back to their site and a chance to show their expertise on the subject in question. That benefits you because they’re that much more likely to share the post with their networks and/or link back to it in future posts on their own website.
Quote roundup posts won’t guarantee you new links, but they’re a good way to get other influencers to help promote a post on your blog, thus bringing your content to a new audience. Those extra eyes on your blog may translate to more followers and new relationships, both of which are things that tend to correlate with more links.
2. Write Guest Posts.
A guest post is a blog post you write for someone else’s blog that’s valuable to their audience. As long as the other blog covers topics that are relevant to your blog and target audience, it’s a good opportunity to reach new people and include a link or two back to your blog.
Guest posting takes a lot of work – you have to identify the right blogs to pitch, convince them to publish your work, and write a really good post that appeals to their followers – and do all this for free. But if your post is good and the other blog is a good fit for the people you’re trying to reach, you could gain new followers and more traffic in addition to the links you build back to your blog.
One thing that’s really important to remember here is to be careful how much you self-promote or link back to your blog in a guest post. A lot of blogs won’t bother publishing your post if it’s seems promotional or spammy. Stick with one or two relevant links tops, and only mention your brand if or when it makes natural sense to do so.
3. Accept Guest Posts.
Hear me out – I know it sounds like this is the best way to let other people build links on your site, but each of those people is likely to then promote your blog.
As with quote roundup posts, this may not immediately earn you a bunch of new links, but it will help you build relationships with people who are more likely to promote your blog and link back to your posts over time.
4. Look for Resource Pages.
A lot of blogs and businesses will put together pages or posts that collect helpful resources their readers might appreciate. Any pages that do this for websites that are like yours could be an opportunity for a link.
To identify pages like this, think of the main keywords that describe what your website does and get to searching. If your blog is full of healthy vegan recipes, search for terms like vegan blog resources, vegan blog links and other variations on those terms. For every relevant resource page you find, see if you can find contact information for the site webmaster and craft a pitch for why your website deserves to be added.
You should expect for a lot of your emails to be ignored. You’re essentially reaching out to a stranger and asking them to do work as a favor to you. But if you send out 100 emails and get two new links on high authority websites, the effort will be worth it.
5. Find Broken Links.
Broken links are annoying for website visitors and owners alike. Every time someone clicks on one on your website, it’s a bad experience for them that reflects badly on you (unless you follow these tips to make your 404 experience a positive one).
Broken link building is based on the idea that by alerting a website owner to a broken link on their website and suggesting a good replacement, you’re helping them out. Where most link building strategies amount to asking other website owners to do you a favor, in this case the favor’s more reciprocal.
Finding examples of relevant broken links around the web can be difficult, but there are a number of broken link tools that help you find any broken links on a particular website, as well as SEO tools that deliver reports of broken links based on keywords or topic areas.
For each relevant broken link you find, you can either contact the webmaster to recommend a piece of content you already have that makes a good replacement, or create a new piece of content if you don’t already have one.
6. Create a Statistics Roundup.
Writers love statistics. They’re a good, solid way to back up any point they make in an article or blog post. As such, original research and data are some of the best types of content for earning new links. If you have the resources to create original research, definitely do that. But it does require a lot of work and the right tools and some bloggers aren’t up to the task.
In that case, the next best thing is to try to collect existing statistics your audience is likely to be looking for all in one place.
By bringing a large number of statistics together into one place in an easily accessible format, you’re providing value to the people (including writers) out there looking for that information. If writers find the stat they’re looking for on your website – even if you’re not the one that originated it – you may be the one to earn that link.
Note: a lot of writers will follow the link you include back to the original source to check its authenticity and will prefer to use that link instead in their post. But don’t let that keep you from including that link back to the source – a stat that doesn’t point back to its source is less trustworthy (and less likely to attract links).
In some cases though, that stat will be behind a form or shared in a format that’s less user-friendly than your post, which will make linking back to your blog post the better choice for their readers. This is especially true if you find a way to add value, such as with the helpful graphics HelpScout included in their statistics roundup.
7. Create and Give Out Awards.
You know what happens when a person or company receives notice that they’ve won an award? In most cases at least, they want to publicize it. They may write about it on their blog, send out a press release, or promote their win on all their social media channels – in short, send a bunch of links and promotion back to the source.
To be clear, well known brands or awards are more likely to get that response, but even little known brands or blogs that create awards can get a similar reaction, simply because people like getting awards. It gives them something to brag about and point to as evidence that they’re doing well.
Why not create your own award? Give it a snazzy name (possibly one that sounds something like your blog) and start looking for other blogs, influencers, companies, or people in your niche that you think should be winners. Create a logo (or hire a graphic designer to do so) and encourage them to post it on their websites. It’ll earn you both links and general goodwill in the community.
8. Write Reviews or Product Comparisons.
Whatever topic you cover on your blog, there are probably some products that your readers consider relevant. And product reviews and comparisons are very useful to readers who want to make sure they’re making the right choice when deciding which product to buy. They can always see what the brands behind the products have to say on their own website, but that’s worth less to them than unbiased information from a third party.
Somebody with a photography blog will have readers interested in information to help them buy the right camera. Pointing them toward a specific camera you’ve used and know is great, and explaining everything about it that works well and all the little (or not so little) things about it that don’t work well is exactly what they need to hear before buying. Even better, if you’ve tried out three similar cameras and can explain how they’re different and their relative strengths and weaknesses, you’re providing triple the information to help people make a decision.
Not only will your reviews or product comparison posts provide value to people in your target audience, but they’ll be likely to attract links as well. The brands selling those products have an interest in linking to any positive reviews of their products. And any writer working on content where they know that information will be valuable to their readers, such as say, a blog post on how to get started as a photographer, will have good reason to link back to your detailed post.
9. Use the Skyscraper Technique.
The search rankings are a competition and some keywords are much more competitive than others. If you can identify keywords that are relevant to your topic, but currently only have lackluster or mildly good content in those top spots, that’s a keyword you can easily compete with.
The skyscraper technique is about finding those top ranking blog posts that aren’t as good as your content, then creating a truly awesome blog post that’s obviously better.
Once you’ve got your awesome blog post done and published, you can reach out to the websites that linked to the mediocre content that’s currently ranking and recommend that they consider replacing that link with your more thorough and helpful content. If the original post has obvious errors or is outdated, make sure to include that in your case.
10. Connect with Other Bloggers.
You’ll notice that a couple of the earlier recommendations on this list prioritize building relationships. That’s because relationships are a huge part of link building. People are less likely to link to a stranger from a blog they’ve never heard of than they are to someone they’ve interacted with and know is legit. If you re-tweet other bloggers in your space, share their content, leave comments on their blog, or find ways to collaborate with them – then you’ll get on their radar.
Once they know you, they’ll be more likely to pay attention to your content and share it or link to it anytime they’re impressed by what you wrote or know the link will add something valuable to their post.
This is a long game. You can’t introduce yourself to a blogger in your space today and expect a link tomorrow, but starting to build relationships now and become a part of the larger community will pay off over time.
None of these strategies are particularly easy. All of them will require a time commitment and some significant work. But if you want your potential readers to find your awesome blog posts, this type of work is the difference between only being found by those who already know you, and showing up in the search engines for the topics you cover.
Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.