Link Building for Bloggers

By Gregory Ciotti

In one of my recent posts, I covered 30 essential SEO resources for getting started in the world of SEO.

I realized that a lot of people who commented on that post were actually bloggers, and I’ve noticed (in general) that the biggest thing people struggle with in SEO is actually link building.

This includes things like:

  1. Where to build links to (besides your homepage)
  2. How to actually get links

That’s why today I’d like to talk with you about effective link building for bloggers.

3 Places Your Links Should Point To

One of the biggest things that many bloggers do wrong is that they only focus on building links to their homepage.

Best SEO practices actually dictate that you build links deep into your site, that includes resource pages, posts, and older content.

Understanding that, let’s take a look at the 3 main places bloggers should be building links to…

1.) Your Homepage

While the homepage isn’t the end all location for link-building, it’s still important to point authority links to your homepage.

When it comes to your homepage SEO, you should only be linking contextually from authority domains, as in when you are writing a guest post for an authoritative blog.

NEVER leave comments with contextual keywords (it doesn’t work and you just look like a spammer), and always make sure that you mix up your anchor text, sometimes just linking with your domain’s name.

Ex: If Dan was targeting ‘blogging tips’ for DailyBlogTips.com, he would sometimes link to hit homepage with ‘blogging tips’, but other times, he should just link to the homepage with Daily Blog Tips as too much contextual linking can hurt rankings.

Your homepage should target your most difficult keyword, or the keyword that has the most searches per month (use the Google Keyword Tool to figure this out).

This will likely be your most competitive keyword, so be sure to understand that it is going to take time to rank for it, but when you do, the results will have a larger impact.

2.) Resource Pages

Resource pages are pages on your site (surprise!) that define what your site is about, or are used to showcase your site’s best content on your main topics & offerings.

Check out how Copyblogger does resource pages:

They are targeting some of the toughest phrases in online marketing, but rank for most, as these resource pages offer some of the best content out there and the Copyblogger team is constantly building links to these pages.

In the slideshow, the ‘paleo diet‘ is used as an example.

If you were running a Paleo Diet blog, a few great resource pages would look like this:

  • Paleo Diet Recipes
  • Paleo Diet Benefits
  • Foods Compatible with the Paleo Diet
  • Paleo Diet Books

All of these resource pages would also target ‘paleo diet’ keywords, and would be linked to from your homepage.

They would likely attract a lot of shares and links, which is the point of resource pages.

3.) Blog Posts

The third place to build links is to individual blog posts.

These keywords are going to be less competitive, but they are “long tail” and you will likely target many of them, as you publish many blog posts.

If you are creating a giant “super resource” post or maybe an infographic, you can target tougher terms, but in general, blog posts are best suited for medium-to-light difficult keywords.

Be sure to link to your blog posts liberally in your guest blogging efforts, you can link to them contextually, but remember, anchor text variety is key.

How Bloggers Can Build (and Attract) Links

There are a number of ways that bloggers can both build and attract links to their blog and posts.

I’d like to discuss 5 of the best ways below…

1.) Guest Posting

If you’ve been blogging for a while, you’ll know that guest posting has many benefits.

While the power of guest posting for traffic seems to get less and less effective as time goes on (admittedly), guest posting is still an amazing tactic to build links.

This helps with SEO traffic as guest posts can get links from authoritative sites that have huge audiences and that have been around for years.

A guest post from Problogger may not bring in many visitors anymore, but the links from Darren’s site more than make up for that.

Just be sure to link within your content and don’t just get a link to your homepage.

Also be sure to not go too crazy with the anchor text, more than 50% of your links with exact match anchor text is going to get filed under “over-optimization” according to Google.

Guest Posting Resources:

2.) Interview Influential People

Interview people in your niche/community with more clout than you is one of the smartest things you can do, and this is outside of building great links as well.

Connecting with people is the number 1 thing to do in any business, but especially online.

Interviews allow you to do this easily, as you get to ask intelligent questions to very smart people, and you can post the outcome to your blog, which will likely attract links and shares.

Influential people have a following that goes where they go, and if they appear on your blog, their following will go with them (not in entirety, but you get the idea).

If you create a great interview, people will link to it, especially if you can land an interview with someone who doesn’t often get interviewed (or someone few people have thought to interview before).

Interview Resources:

3.) Create Widgets

For this example, I have to point to a guy named Matthew Inman, whom you may know from TheOatmeal.

What you might now know is that Matt used to work on a dating site, and was a member of the SEOmoz team.

He also ranked said dating site (Mingle2) for terms like “free online dating”, in competition with folks like Match.com and eHarmony.

How did he do it?

Embeddable quizzes were a main part of his strategy, among other things.

Other types of content that works well are on-site widgets (like WordPress plugins), badges (check out this simple SEOmoz example), infographics, and other media that can be embedded by other people and also link back to you.

Widget Resources:

4.) Massive Round-Ups

Big round-ups that are niche specific are guaranteed to get mentioned, and more importantly, linked to.

Check out the Entrepreneur’s Handbook by Kristi Hines.

With over 6,000 tweets and plenty of links, I’ll say it’s a round-up that worked pretty well.

If you could create a similar round-up for your niche (it doesn’t have to be nearly as extensive), you could likely get some great links and even rank for a good term.

Think this only works in the very “meta” marketing world?

I did a round-up of the best dubstep blogs for my music-focused site, and it was really popular with my readers (and was even featured on Reddit).

Point being, people love round-up posts, and it’s a tactic that works for getting links in practically every niche.

5.) Crowdsourced Posts & Ego-Bait

Uh oh, buzzwords!

Don’t fret, here are two quick definitions…

Crowdsourced Posts: Posts that include the opinions of many knowledgeable experts, such as Social Media Examiner’s “Predictions for Social Media in 2012”. Basically, get a bunch of short excerpts from influencers and put them all in one post.

Ego-Bait: Posts that focus on showcasing the talent/knowledge of one (or many) experts in your industry.

Combine the two?

Link bait heaven.

Check out how Jon Cooper did his crowdsource post in this Tweets vs. Links post with 24 SEO experts (3k+ shares).

Tom Ewer engages in pure ego-bait with his Leaving Work Behind 100, a list of the best marketing & entrepreneurial blogs in the industry (he later followed up with a top 10 list for even more links).

Over To You

Now that we’ve reached the bottom, here’s what you can do next:

  • Tell me what of the 5 ways discussed above is your favorite to build links. Are there any that you haven’t tried yet?
  • What other great ways have you found to build links to your blog?
  • Since you read all the way to the bottom, as a gift I’d like to offer you my free e-Book on ‘Conversion Psychology’ if you’d like.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the comments.

Gregory Ciotti is the founder of Sparring Mind and a regular columnist for DailyBlogTips. Download his free ‘Conversion Psychology’ e-Book today to learn the science behind increasing conversions.



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14 Responses to “Link Building for Bloggers”

  • Dean Saliba

    So blog commenting is dead now? It is something that I have been using for a long time but have noticed a huge drop in traffic since the two Google updates.

  • Michael Allton

    Excellent suggestions! I’m a new reader and stumbled on this specific article from another site, so I’ll be reviewing your other posts next. I blog myself and have often used variations of your Roundup technique, but particularly the like the idea of Crowdsourcing comments on topics. Thank you!

  • Suzanne

    My trick is to write a killer post for clients for their website and then put out a press release (through a decent site like PRNewswire) saying, “XYZ company has just released its report ‘California’s 25 Strangest Plumbers.'” So many news sites pick those up.

  • Brandon

    Greg, this is a fantastic article. I am definitely going to save this somewhere so I can go back and explore all of the links you have in here. As a recent graduate I have not had much time to seriously build links, but I am hoping to learn more in the next few months and really improve SEO for more targeted keywords other than my name.

    Thanks for the great post and I look forward to sharing this around my own networks!

  • Kuntala Rahul

    Few tips specially 3, 4 and 5 are unique they give massive results when they are done properly.

    Gregory I’m your fan BTW 🙂 You’re doing great with Sparring mind

  • Gregory Ciotti

    @Tom You got it bud, I know the list was put together to be a useful resource, as it should be, but it was also a great source of traffic & links for you and I just wanted to point that out. 🙂

    @Eshan Thanks man, glad you enjoyed this one!

  • Dmitriy

    Thanks! Great post. I really struggle with link-building. It’s the hardest thing for me. Your tips are so useful!

  • Ehsan

    I build links to my blog homepage but not all the time, sometime I build links to my specific blog posts with specific keyword in which I want to do SEO.

    This is really a great post. I will bookmark this page and will read it later clearly because I’m little tired right now.
    Thanks Gregory.

  • JJ Wong

    Recently I’ve been focusing a lot in Social Media Marketing & Social Bookmark site, been getting most traffic from site like Stumbleupon & Facebook.

    I’m more focusing on creating image contents, that people would love to share, and build the traffic/links from there on.

  • Tom Ewer

    Ego-bait…nice word Greg 😉

    I should add – my list was put together with the overriding aim of helping others to find blogs that I have found so helpful to me. When you put the benefit of your readers up front first, you’ll reap even greater benefits.

    Thanks for the mention 🙂

  • Abdul Rehman

    Hi Gregory,

    This is quite a nifty list of link building resources for blogger, but are you still sure if the widget bait strategy is working. I’ve recently heard that the Penguin update spanked many websites for such massive link campaigns. wpmu.org’s case is an important one on this matter. You might want to look it up.

    Cheers,
    Abdul

  • Graham

    I’ve found that interviewing people on a subject that is outside their expertise works well. They are generally happy to answer questions that are different than the ones they always get, and your readers get to see from a new angle.

  • Sarvesh@Blogging Tips

    Guest Posting is the best way to build links as they look quiet natural.. and when done on same niche blogs then they are one of the best way to build links 🙂

    Nice Post Gregory..:)

  • Jr Quest

    Blogging is not that hard, once you start blogging you will never stop, blogging is all about freedom of speech.

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