Written on October 17, 2010 by  /  with 4 comments  /  in the Blogging, SEO category.

Link Building Guide for Bloggers

Okay let’s get 1 thing straight. Link Building is important. If you want your content to be visible to more people on Google you need to get some links to get ranked higher. But as a blogger if you are too aggressive in your link building tactics in will backfire big time! That is why everything a blogger does must be natural and helpful to it’s community.

But before I dive into this topic any further, I want to make sure I clarify 1 very important thing. Link building is a complete waste of time if your content sucks! And i’m not the only person who says this. Read Copyblogger’s article on Link Building Strategies. Not only is important that your content doesn’t suck, your content is also your #1 most used link building technique. The better your content, the more natural links you get. It’s really that simple.

But what about creating more links so your content can get seen by more eyeballs? Here are 8 Link Building Strategies specifically for Bloggers.

1. Write Valuable Guest Posts

Guest posting on other blogs is not a new idea by any means. But just like with many things in life, it’s all about how you do it and the effort you put in. The more effort you put into your guest post the more you will get out of it. You want to find high authority blogs in your industry/niche that will be worth your time. Then once it’s time to actually create your guest post, plan on putting in about 2x the amount of effort than you normally would to ensure it’s a post that will attract as much attention as possible. Here are some tips I have for writing Guest Posts:

  • Write something that you know will increase the overall value of the blog you are writing for
  • Understand the overall tone, voice, and messaging of the blog you are going to guest post for and write your content accordingly
  • Once posted, submit article to your favorite social media outlets
  • Link within your guest post to other articles within the blog you are guest posting on
  • Don’t forget to include a link back to your blog

2. Design Infographics in your Niche

This is quickly becoming a notorious link building technique for blogs. Unfortunately many are starting to abuse this technique and are giving infographics as a whole a bad reputation. Rather than just quickly throwing together a graphic with some statistics and calling it a day, you could spend some serious time researching various data points and working with a professional designer to put together something rad! These can generate literally hundreds of links overnight if done right. Here are some quick tips I have for creating Infographics:

  • Get some design inspiration from other infographics or popular magazines (e.g Wired)
  • Put some deep thoughts into the data and the overall layout of your infographic
  • Create your infographic to be between 500px and 600px wide. That way it can fit on most blogs with no problems
  • Create some link code so that others can easily place your infographic on their blog

3. Create a Super Amazing Free Ebook

I only say “super amazing” to again illustrate my point that if it is not valuable, nobody is going to link to it. Ebooks take time and usually are sold by most providers. But if you can provide a short 6-12 page Ebook free to download that helps provides solutions to people’s problems, then you my friend are going to get a ton of natural links!

My favorite example of this is what ScribeSEO and blogger Brian Clark did with a free Ebook called ‘How to Create Compelling Content That Ranks Well in Search Engines‘. The Ebook is so good it’s practically a crime that it’s free. And you see that’s the point. I just linked to their ebook download page because of how valuable it is as a resource. Imagine if that was your Ebook download page I was linking to?

4. Giveaways and Contests

People love giveaways and contests. For me I only like the ones that have the best prizes. Giving away a T-Shirt? Uh… i’ll pass! Giving away an iPad? Now i’m interested! Invest some money in a contest or giveaway and you will reap the rewards. But make sure you encourage linking and social connecting along the process to make sure you get those links. Here are some practical tips I have for running a successful giveaway or contest:

  • The prize needs to be something substantial. i.e an iPad, airline tickets, sweet pair of Nike kicks. You get the picture.
  • Have people provide you some sort of value in return for entering the contest. You could have them retweet you, follow you on Twitter, link to you through a blog post, leave a comment, write a guest post etc.
  • Broadcast the winner to all your readers, so people know your contests are for real!
  • Broadcast the crap out of your contest so that as many people hear about it as possible. Facebook, Twitter, Digg etc.

5. Connect with a Journalist

Twitter provides perhaps the most efficient way of connecting with a journalist or publicist than ever before. What does this have to do with link building you ask? If you can connect with journalists in your niche and notify them via Twitter of new compelling content that you are writing that relates to what they cover, there’s a good chance you could get cited in one their upcoming pieces. Assuming of course your content is valuable enough.

A couple years ago I wrote an article on my NBA blog called 101 Reasons Why Kobe Bryant is Better than Lebron James. After writing it I notified one of the sports writers at the LA Times of my new article and he proceeded to reference it in one of his next articles. Boom baby! Just like that I had a link from the LA Times Lakers blog. That 1 link is better than the thousands of low quality links Black Hat SEO experts go after every day.

6. Submit Your Site to DMOZ

Aahh the Directory of all Directories. DMOZ! This is one of the best links for SEO that you can get. DMOZ is tough to get listed in and takes a ton of time to get accepted, if at all. Don’t waste your time trying to submit a low quality blog. I would recommend putting in at least 6 months of dedicated content creation before requesting to be listed in the DMOZ directory. Remember you don’t want to present them something to weak or you won’t get accepted at all. And once you do submit your listing, know that it’s going to take some time (months) for your new blog to get listed.

7. Develop and Maintain a high quality open source WordPress plugin

Often times you’ll hear SEO experts talk about building tools for link building. Useful tools that people will use and link to. This often results in poorly coded, hardly ever used web applications that cost money to make and never get any links. Here’s my solution to this problem.

Instead of building some tool to place on your website that nobody will use, create an Open Source plugin for WordPress (again… that is useful!) and create a download page for that plugin along with installation and usage instructions. Also submit your plugin to the WordPress plugin repository so that it can be downloaded from there as well. If your plugin is valuable this will result in a ton of natural, high quality links back to your blog. But remember if you are going to do this you MUST MAINTAIN THE PLUGIN so that it remains useful with each new version of WordPress. Some tips I have with this include:

  • Provide well documented installation and usage instructions with your plugin
  • Search through the WordPress plugins directory and get an idea of what’s NOT out there
  • Find a way to create a plugin that is in some way relevant to your blog
  • Hire a PHP programmer that can properly code your new plugin
  • Provide support for your plugin by quickly responding to problems and questions

8. Sponsor a Charity

Talking about “killing 2 birds with one stone.” Involving yourself in philanthropy and SEO link building at the same time. When you look at it this way it’s hard to pass up on this SEO technique. Often times when you have your blog/company sponsor a charity you will get a link back from that charity’s website. Many of these Charity sites carry huge SEO value. But remember to think Good Deed first, SEO link building second.

If you are a web designer/developer you may even want to consider building a website for a charity for free. This would provide you a link and allow you to help out a charity that needs the help. Whatever the case I would just contact a few charities (start local) and ask what you can do to contribute. If you have the cash you can just do a financial sponsor. If you don’t have the cash you can get a bit more creative.

More On Link Building for Bloggers

To further illustrate the point I made at the beginning on how important it is to link build properly, I want to refer to this infographic on SEO from DataDial: (notice I just linked to them. just sayin!)

So after all this I have one last recommendation. Take the energy, creativity, and time you would spend finding ways to generate more links and direct all that towards creating new content! If you do this you will find yourself enjoying this blogging thing more and your organic rankings go through the roof! BTW I added this article to my Free SEO eBook called the SEO Blackbook.