Lee Odden

12 Timeless Link Building Tips for Business Blogs

link building

Link Building for Business Blogs Doesn’t Need to Be Risky

As a key component of a hub and spoke online marketing strategy, blogs can be very effective for social media network engagement, online PR, customer service, and as search engine optimization assets. While there are numerous cases studies of business blogs (I like to think Online Marketing Blog is one) providing tremendous value, blogs are simply software tools and what you get out of them is in proportion to how well you know how to use them.  One of the common areas of lost opportunity with business blogs is link building.

Despite Panda, Penguin and maybe someday “Zebra?”, updates from Google to further filter out what constitutes useful content and links on the web, links will always be valuable for attracting traffic.  Some online marketers chase exploits, tricks or shortcuts only to get spanked by a black and white named-animal update from Google.  Why not spend that creativity on something of value and competitive advantage that withstands the advancing filters applied by search engines?

Here are a few timeless tips for building natural links that will attract and engage customers to your business blog:

1. Create content worth linking to. No matter how many tactics you find here and elsewhere, there simply is no substitute for creating content that others may find useful. With an Optimized approach to online marketing, understanding your market and customers is essential for developing an approach for content, SEO, Social and promotions that result in links. If you understand what content types, topics and formats resonate with influential link sources and the communities around them, your content promotion and social networking efforts can become more effective, more quickly and a “win” all around.

2. Competitive Link Research on competing web sites or blogs will help identify who is linking to competitor sites that are not linking to yours. This is back link analysis 101 and can still be useful for spotting opportunities of all kinds. For example, if another web site or blog is already linking to multiple competitors in a list of resources relevant to your product or service, there is a chance they’ll link to your blog about the same product/service category as well. Monitoring the competition using SEO link tracking and social media monitoring tools can reveal many, many different types of linking and content opportunities. They can also reveal what NOT to do.

3. Engage on other blogs and industry news websites that allow comments. Interactions should always be useful, timely and relevant.  Simply promoting links to your event or blog post as the first time comment does not provide much value. It’s like interrupting a conversation and trying to sell something to a group of people that know each other and you’re the stranger. Develop connections, ask questions, answer them, share resources and recognize others that contribute. When guided by topical themes and objectives, those behaviors can be instrumental and developing connections with influential link sources and the media.

4. Make Sharing Easy where ever you’re publishing useful content, especially on blogs.  While the social proof offered by Twitter, Facebook, Google+ counters is fairly superficial, they do work at attracting attention and validating to the reader that the blog post is worth checking out. Make the act of sharing easy by including sharing options but also by including titles that are social media optimized. Share titles will pre-populate a Twitter sharing window with text that is more interesting from a social share perspective.

Don’t leave it to the reader to write their own description of the blog post they’re sharing, although that ability should certainly exist. Of course, title tags should be keyword optimized for search engines. Sharing expands the visibility of your content on social networks and communities. Shared links can be a useful signal for search engines and the expanded visibility can catch the eye of another blogger or journalist that might link back to the source from their own website or blog.

5. Guest post on other blogs and include a link to your blog in the bio. In the course of getting to know blogs that already rank well on the keyword phrases you’re targeting, you may notice that they often accept guest blog posts from others. Contact the blog owner and suggest a compelling post that would be first and foremost, valuable to their readers. If it makes sense editorially to link from within the guest post to your own blog, be sure to use relevant keywords as the link text. Do not use the exact same link text every time. Make the anchor text relevant to the source and the destination.

6. Write testimonials or case studies for services and software that you use. They may publish with a link back to your blog.  Testimonials must be well written, genuine and specific in order to be useful for the service/product owner. Get at the essence of what’s great about the product or service and even add something unique. If you’ve written a review of the product/service on your blog, that can also get you a link from their press page.

7. Event and Job listings should always have a link back to your blog. Blogs can be useful recruiting tools that help candidates understand the culture of your company. When purchasing job listings on other web sites, add a link to your blog. The listings may expire, but may also introduce your blog to candidates that write their own blog and decide to write about a listing with a permanent link to the hiring company blog. The same goes for event listings, which like job listings, are often syndicated to networks that turn up in RSS feeds, as Tweets and updates on other social networks.

8. Distribute optimized news via a wire service with a link to your blog included. PRWeb, is a pioneer in providing competitive SEO value with press release distribution. It is essential the the release is well-written and offers compelling news worth sharing and linking to.  Many blogs and some news web sites will re-publish your press release exactly as it was distributed, including good links back to your blog. Journalists use News Search engines to look up past press releases and research on stories, which presents an opportunity to be found and included.

9. Contribute Op Eds or Articles to industry web sites, online newspapers, magazines and association websites. Your article can include a link to your blog in the credentials area.  If you suggest content to another web site such as a letter to the editor, why not keyword optimize the title? You might also include a link back to your blog where you’ve written many more articles on the same topic. Those links build credibility of your article and also for you as an author and subject matter expert.

Along the lines of op eds and contributed articles, be sure your media relations efforts include a link request when an industry publication decides to include you or your company in a story. Many newspapers and magazine websites have a policy of not linking out, but if you are diligent in asking and give a good resource for the link destination, it could pay off very nicely. News websites can be very useful to search engines and link sources.

10. ABN – Always Be Networking and growing your social networks, email lists and channels of distribution. Share especially useful content from your blog where relevant. Be useful to others and they will useful to you by promoting your content and attracting links. Don’t be gratuitous when sharing links to your own content, but when you have something particularly special and valuable that’s highly relevant to a particular network, then by all means, share it with them. Some are bloggers as well and may link to it from their own blogs as well as pass the link along to others.

11. Sponsor content on web sites or newsletters archived to the web that allow you to include a link. It may be a nofollow link, but it may not.  Many newsletters sent via email are archived to the web or have landing pages on the web. Ask those newsletters if you can buy an ad or even contribute a short article.  The article credits should include a link to your blog where there are more resources on the same or similar topic.

12. Hire bloggers to write content for you. They’ll often cross-post it to their own blog with a link back to yours. Of course, you should be considerate and simply mention that this is ok, don’t ask them or require them to do it. If you have regular contributors to your blog, those bloggers may be prone to promoting and linking to their work on your blog as a way to build attention to themselves.

 

Bonus tip: When others link to you, THANK THEM!  Building good will is one of the most underrated marketing skills online. Be genuine, thoughtful and courteous. Also be SMART and driven to get links where it makes sense.

What linking tactics for blogs have you found to be most effective? What challenges are you facing in attracting other sites to link to your blog?

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on integrated content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely on a beach somewhere doing absolutely nothing.

Comments

  1. Missy Diaz says:

    I quite fancy blog contests for linkbacks. A good and popular contest can yield a few good links on relevant blogs. Do you approve of blog contests for link building? I also use Blog Carnivals, an old stand by but still effective.

    Thanks for this solid post on SEO.

    Kindly,
    Missy

    • I think anything that creates value and excitement amongst a community is a great idea and if it’s a contest that results in links, great! If it’s a contest solely to generate links, then the results may not be as desirable or hold up to Google’s tightening standards. 

  2. Great tip, Lee!

  3. I really appreciate your post and you explain each and every point very
    well. Thanks for sharing this information. And I’ll love to read your next post
    too.
     

  4. Great list for authentic link-building (beats all that black-hat stuff).

    Thanks.

    • Thanks Doug – I don’t know if these are a substitute for black-hat tactics, but they are things that create value and website owners can implement them anytime without fear of being “caught” or excluded form a search engine’s index.

  5. Can’t wait to read more of your other blog post. I really learn a lot with what you have shared here.

  6. Wow, this was a great read.  I’m fairly new to the whole blogging & link-building strategy so this seriously helped me out a lot.  Question for ya… How do you go about finding the right people to guest blog on your blog? Or finding people willing to let you blog for them?  

    Thanks again, great article!

    -Phil Sanko

    • Hi Phil, those are good questions.  We get solicitations to guest post here multiple times a day, every day. Unfortunately, we don’t accept guest posts 🙂

      So if you’re active in your market and create useful content yourself, some of the guest posters will come to you. But you can also review top blogs in your category of interest and do a search on those domain names using Google with the site: operator and the phrase “guest post” to find people who tend to write guest posts for credible blogs. That same tactic can reveal whether the site your searching has accepted guest posts or not. 

      For example, despite our running policy at toprankblog.com of not accepting guest posts, a search on Google for:
      site:toprankblog.com “guest post”
      shows that we have accepted guest posts in the past. A clever person might review those posts to see if they can pitch in a more relevant way. 

      Kristi Hines is a guest post diva and has a very useful post about it here:
      http://blog.kissmetrics.com/guide-to-guest-blogging/

  7. awesome information 
    i like it

  8. Lee,

    Playing off your point about guest posts offering a way to create backlinks–

    What’s your view on including a link as part of a sign off to a posted comment?

    I appreciate this is a bad form if your posted comment is nothing more than a “attaboy.”

    But assuming the posted comment genuinely advances the conversation with a fresh POV, do you think a sign off like the one below is kosher?

    Lou Hoffman
    CEO
    http://www.Hoffman.com

    • Links in signatures for blog post comments are redundant to the link from a person’s name. In the vast majority of situations, such a link comes across as overkill, desperate. 

  9. ROBERT CONNOR III says:

    Great stuff for a newbie like me, thanks! Have a nice day on purpose..

  10. Nice Article, Congratulations!

    Henrique Troitinho

    CEO

    http://www.scoremedia.com.br

  11. All great tips, your bonus tip is something I always try to do when I see someone linking to me, but it’s amazing how little people do that, I’ve linked to hundreds or websites and rarely get a thank you, I’ll see more thank yous for RTs on Twitter than for in content links.

    • Thanks Jamie, if a site doesn’t get that many links anything new will (or should) really stand out. Sites that attract hundreds or more new links every week or month might not notice or be able to respond to them in the same way.  Maybe Twitter is more noticeable and useful for responding than other methods of link detection? 

      It’s a great practice that you do reach out and say thanks though. That’s something that will provide positive reinforcement to those who do and hopefully inspire more. 

      • I got a nice
        thank you from the P.R. firm for a large Internet company because I
        linked to them in an online article about email marketing. They wrote
        that they were “thrilled” that I mentioned them. That was cool. But when
        I tried to send a “you’re welcome” back to them, my email was blocked!
        Not very nice. I don’t think I will link to them again.

  12. Timeless indeed. No matter how many changes google implements, these tips will ensure that you are still visible. As long as you avoid spamming. 🙂

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  16. Guest post and testimonials or case studies are essential link building strategies but in my opinion finding quality sites to do them is difficult and its better that you introduce some of the best websites you know that can be used.

  17. I really appreciate you listing these “evergreen” link building strategies.  You made some good points.  The bonus tip hit the target.  It is very important to build relationships by simply thanking people for linking to your blog.  Thanks for this info.

  18. Edelstahlrohr9834 says:

    Many thanks for the article, it was interesting and compelling. I discovered my way here through Google, I’ll return one more time 🙂

  19.  Great article, in fact i learnt some new and interesting things from this.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

    Tech Marketer
    http://www.dincloud.com

  20. Eliteabt says:

    How Can i do guest blogging as i have no knowledge about about guest blogging i need your help and suggestion. i would like to get more back links and rank into search engine. 

  21. This is a great list and I have been looking for one that I can use for getting the best traffic to my content. I will be following your blog because it is packed with so many good tips.

  22. Right on, I’ve been guest posting, linking, networking & reaching out to other bloggers.  Looks like I’m on the right track.

  23. This is really super content and of course great advise. I have been following the advise on guest blogging and getting good results

  24. This is really super content and of course great advise.very useful, thank you

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  26. Good point. These are ways of natural link building which is the most important aspect in light of penguin update.

  27. cafenero says:

    Lee
    good advice generally, especially about guest posts and using PR to gain links

    optimised wires such as PRWeb have their uses link wise but as PR tools they are limited

    Rob

  28. Thanks a lot for such a nice post.These tips are very important for increasing high page rank web site in search engines.

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