Making a blog exceptional means doing more than just writing. Use these link-building strategies to grow your blog traffic.
Sometimes it seems bloggers spend money on all the wrong things to make a blog successful and make money blogging. Just about every blogger I know spends money on a social media management tool and many pay virtual assistants to help work through the mountain of emails they receive.
But very few spend money on link-building strategies, whether researching link opportunities or hiring a VA to do outreach, to help their blog grow.
It’s too bad because there’s good reason to believe that a link-building program will make a blog much stronger than the temporary traffic you get from social media. I’m not talking about black hat link-building or the now-penalized spam links bloggers used to get away with but legit link-building that will boost your search ranking and drive tons of traffic to your blog.
Three Link-Building Strategies to Make Money Blogging
Normally very secretive about its algorithm, Google has said that content and inbound links are the two most important factors for a page’s search ranking.
It makes sense, right? Google wants to send people to quality pages that are closest to the info for which they were searching. A post with tons of information, measured in breadth and depth, is more likely to answer a reader’s question. Inbound links are a confirmation of the quality of that content.
I’m not going to be the millionth person to tell you to write great content. Making a blog a great resource through content takes time and there’s no way around it…unless you’re willing to pay lots of money to hire quality writers. Barring deep pockets, the faster way to make your blog stand out is by getting lots of inbound links to validate your content.
There are a lot of link-building strategies from guest posting to roundup posts and simply asking for a link. A lot of them may pay off over time but aren’t good strategies because they’re not scalable, i.e. guest blogging will only get you one link at a time for a few hours of writing. The best link-building strategies to grow a blog are the ones where you can get dozens and even up to hundreds of links quickly.
Working through the link strategies below, remember that you’re not necessarily trying to get to the first position in a Google search just from the inbound links. The idea is to get enough links to rank highly for a really good post and drive a lot of traffic. From there, people will naturally link to the content and push you further up in the search ranking.
My three favorite link-building strategies for making a blog jump in search and driving traffic are the skyscraper technique, infographics and scholarship pages.
Make a Blog Post Awesome with the Skyscraper Technique
This one comes from Brian Dean of the site Backlinko, an excellent resource for link-building techniques and ways to make a blog stand out. The skyscraper technique is the hardest and most labor-intensive of the three strategies but really works to make awesome content and draw lots of inbound links to your blog.
Brian summarizes the skyscraper technique in three steps: finding link-worthy content, make something even better and then reaching out to the right people.
- Finding link-worthy content is easy, just search Google for the keywords for which you want to rank. Look through the top ten or 20 search results and really analyze the content. Why is it ranking so highly?
- Is it visually great, meaning strong graphics or design?
- Is it a huge resource, sharing hundreds of ideas and possible solutions to a reader’s problem?
- Does it share different perspectives, the pros and cons of the issue?
- What’s missing from the top ranking posts? Is there any topic within the keyword phrase that isn’t addressed? Is some of the info from the top posts outdated?
- Make something better is just like it sounds. If you’re going to compete for a broad keyword that gets lots of traffic, you better make an amazing resource.
- Don’t settle for the easy solution in a huge number post, i.e. 101 Ways to Make a Blog Grow. Don’t get me wrong, your post can include a lot of list ideas but don’t rely solely on the list to make your blog post shine. Add an infographic to it and try adding something more to the argument that’s missing in other posts.
- How big should your link-building post be? Research on the top ten posts in Google search shows an average word count above 2,000 words. Some of my highest ranked posts approach 5,000 words. It’s no substitute for quality but size does seem to matter in making a blog post rank higher.
- One of the best ways to do this is to start with existing content. It takes time to write super-content but it’s a lot easier if you’re already starting with a 1,000-word post with some great info.
- Reaching out to the right people is really the driver behind the skyscraper and all link-building strategies. Your super-content will eventually draw links and put your blog in search but giving it a push through outreach will make a blog a super-search star.
- Use the URLs of the top ranked pages you used as models to create your super-content in a tool like ahrefs or MOZ to find the inbound links to the page. You know the bloggers that linked to the page are interested in your topic and may be interested in your new content. Have a VA look through each of these links to get contact details of the blogger.
- It used to be as easy as reaching out to each of these sites in an email with something like, “Hey, I noticed you linked to this other post. Thought you might like this post I put together.” That was before the technique became popular and everyone started using the same generic email for outreach.
- Instead of a generic form letter, try getting on a few of the blogger’s radar through social media first. Share a few of their posts and comment for a week or two. Then email them asking for their opinion on a new article you wrote, something you’re really trying to turn into a great resource.
Like most scalable link-building strategies, you’re likely to get maybe 20% of your emails answered and less than that will actually link to your post but that’s all it will take to make a blog post jump in search. Just ten or 20 inbound links can really boost a post high enough to start getting natural links.
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Infographics Still Work in Getting Blog Links
Infographics may not be as novel as they once were but still work well for getting links and making a blog visually persuasive to readers. People are visually-driven and they will share things that they find visually appealing.
Most people brainstorm an idea that they’d like to turn into an infographic on their blog. That’s ok but it’s not the best way to get huge blog traffic from your infographics.
Instead, start with one of your posts that is already getting good search traffic. Something that is ranking on the first page of Google or close to it for a bunch of keyword phrases. You find this by looking at your Google Analytics (Behavior – Site Content – All Pages) to find your most highly visited pages. You can then match these top posts with your most popular keyword phrases from your Google Webmaster tool to find your approximate ranking for different keywords.
Create an infographic for each post, using the data from the post or new information you research. Add the infographic and republish the post using the process we outlined last week, a process that helped me almost triple blog traffic for each post. Besides the boost from republishing, you’ll also start getting links for the infographic which could help push the post’s ranking into the stratosphere.
Beyond just promoting your infographics out as regular content, make sure you submit it to the infographic submission sites. These are like social sites and directories specifically for infographics. Some will require registration and not all will be dofollow links but it’s pretty easy to submit your graphic and all will help make a blog infographic stand out.
- Infographics Showcase
- Infographics Archive
- Love Infographics
- Submit Infographics
- Infographic Site
- Infographic Post
- Daily Statistic
- OMG Infographics
Scholarship Pages and Huge EDU Links
You should never buy links or you risk facing Google’s wrath and getting penalized but there is one powerful way to get links by giving money away. Understand that Google loves .edu and .gov inbound links. The educational and government sites aren’t just going to link to anyone so a lot of inbound links to your site makes your blog look like a trusted source.
One of the easiest ways to get a lot of .edu links to your blog is through offering a scholarship. Many colleges have pages on their websites linking to scholarship and financial aid opportunities for their students. Before you write off an annual scholarship of $500 or $1,000 as too expensive, how much would 50+ .edu backlinks and dozens of guest posts be worth?
- Put together a scholarship page and put it in your footer menu. You can model it off of my personal finance scholarship on PeerFinance101. Be sure to include the amount, eligibility requirements, deadlines, contact details and what’s required of students. Treat the page as any other an optimize for a keyword or two, writing at least 500 words.
- Search on Google for ‘Outside Scholarship Opportunities’ to find a few college scholarship pages. Copy the link to five or ten of the scholarships on the page that are from commercial websites or blogs. Through a tool like ahrefs or MOZ, you can find all the .edu pages that link to these scholarship pages.
- You can also do a Google search for different terms like ‘scholarship page’ or ‘third-party scholarships’ for .edu pages that might link to your scholarship page. You’re going to want to build a huge list of colleges, at least a couple hundred. Have a virtual assistant go to each of these pages and find the contact information for the administrator.
- Reach out for inclusion on the school’s scholarship page. You can expect around 20% of the pages will link back to yours. Building up 50 or so .edu links has the potential to really make a blog rock higher in search. Requiring that participants submit an essay is also a great way to get content for your blog.
Making a blog unique means doing more than posting good content for readers. Blogs push out nearly 59 million new posts every month. If you want to make your blog stand out, you need to go farther with link-building strategies. These are just three of my favorite link techniques, a great blog is made by getting the most of multiple strategies over many years. Stick with it and you will be rewarded, I promise.