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Links from quality sites are the currency of the web. They directly send you traffic and they improve your search engine rankings, which increases your traffic even more.
However, link building can be a frustrating process. Most search marketers will tell you that it’s one of the most difficult parts of their job. Quality links are not easy to get, so here are 5 principles to help improve your link building efforts.
1. Target sites that link out.
Much of the frustration from link building can come from targeting sites that don’t link out often. If you target sites that historically have not been generous with their links, you will have a hard time.
Before targeting a site for a link, I look at their content and see if they regularly link to other sites. I check to see if they have a links section. For blogs, you can look to see if it has a blogroll. If a site doesn’t have many links to other sites, I don’t target them.
If a site does have outgoing links, check to see what kind of content their links point to. If you can create similar content, you have a great chance of getting a link from that site.
Also, I like to target blogs because blogs usually link out more than other types of sites.
2. Have a long term mindset.
Link building is relationship building. And relationship building takes time in the real world and on the internet. So, don’t expect too much too fast.
Profitable online relationships take time and effort to cultivate. But if you build these relationships, you won’t have to resort to risky tactics like “begging for links”. These tactics don’t usually work and often end up hurting your reputation.
3. Write quality content on a consistent basis.
If you want your blog to attract links, you’ll need to write quality content. Quality content can come in many different forms.
You can publish something unique and interesting. That’s always a good way to get links. Or you can cover a relevant issue in your industry that everyone seems to be talking about. A useful guide or tutorial is another type of quality content that works.
Also, consistency is key. Most website owners don’t like to link to blogs that haven’t been updated in a while. You should publish at least one blog post every 7-14 days. That makes your blog look alive instead of dead.
4. Get noticed.
Much of link building is just getting your blog out in the open. But you have to figure out how to do this without being overbearing.
Try contacting webmasters directly to start a conversation or give them something they would find interesting. Savvy business people have been doing this in the offline world for a long time. They will send an executive newspaper or magazine clippings. These clippings might be of an interesting article or a news item about the executive’s company. Or they’ll mail the executive a letter with useful feedback about his products.
To apply this online, find the website’s contact page and email the webmaster. If the webmaster is on Twitter, I would interact with them there by replying to their tweets.
With blogs, I would recommend leaving many quality comments. This will attract the blogger’s attention. They in turn will probably visit your site and hopefully, they’ll find something to link to. If you don’t get a link right away, you might get one later as the blogger might subscribe to your blog.
I talked about linking out as a link building strategy in my previous post. This strategy works because webmasters often visit sites that send them traffic.
5. Ask for a link.
If you’re applying the other four principles, you’ll have good success with this one.
But don’t ask for a link to your blog home page. Instead, write a quality blog post and point webmasters to that post.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask for a link. If you’ve gotten a webmaster’s attention and you’re pointing them to a quality blog post, they won’t be annoyed. Remember, you’re doing them a favor by giving them something good to link to. At the same time, you don’t want to overdo this as webmasters don’t like getting too many link requests. I wouldn’t send more than one link request per month to the same webmaster unless you know them really well.