This is a guest post by Marc Andre.
Creating great content for a blog requires a lot of time and effort, but if no one sees your great content it won’t really matter.
Building links is one of the most important things you can do to increase exposure to your blog, but if you’re busy creating content, it’s hard to find much time for link building.
Here are seven ways you can attract valuable links, even if you don’t have much time to spare:
1. Prioritize Quality Content
Getting natural links to your blog is much, much easier with high quality content. If you don’t have content that other people will want to share, you’ll have to work far harder to get links.
While creating great content isn’t really a link building method, it does drastically increase your chances of getting unsolicited links and social networking shares, and when you make specific attempts at getting links, you’re far more likely to be successful.
Prioritize quality over quantity when it comes to your blog posts. Publishing one really awesome post per week will give you much better results than publishing several low quality posts that don’t stand out.
Think of your blog’s content as the foundation of any link building efforts. Brainstorm post topics that will interest of your target audience and that haven’t been over-done in your niche. If you’re struggling to find content ideas, check out this post from Copyblogger: 50 Can’t-Fail Techniques for Finding Great Blog Topics.
2. Use Linkable Graphics
Blog posts are typically very text-heavy, but don’t ignore the potential impact of photos and graphics. Adding an image to your post can help grab the attention of your visitors, and it’s also a great way to attract some links with little effort.
Social sites like Pinterest (and to a lesser extent, Google+) tend to be rather visual, so having an eye-catching image is great for encouraging visitors to share your post. Plus, posts with great images tend to get more clicks from social media users.
Using images can obviously help you to get links from social networking sites as visitors share your content. Some of those links will be nofollow, but there is still some benefit to having them. The added exposure that your post gets via social media can also lead to bloggers and other social media users seeing it and linking to it (a viral effect).
You don’t have to be a graphic designer or Photoshop whiz to create graphics for your posts. There are free programs like PicMonkey that you can use to create your own images, or you could even find someone at Fiverr to create one for just a few dollars. For tips on creating effective images see 5 Ways to Create Highly Shareable Pinterest Pictures for Your Business.
3. Link Out to Others, Particularly Influencers
Linking out to other blogs and websites can help increase the number of links and social media shares that you get for your own posts. Bloggers that you link to will be more likely to link back to you when the opportunity arises, and people also like to share links to posts that mention them or link to them.
The concept of egobait involves mentioning others in your posts in effort to get them to notice you. For example, if you blog in the travel niche you could write a post titled “10 Must-Follow Travel Bloggers.” You would then include links to their blogs and a description of each.
After publishing the post you could email them to let them know that they have been featured in your post. Some of these people will likely share a link to your post from their social media profiles, or possibly link to it from their own blog.
Even the social media shares can help you to quickly build some links, and may even have a viral effect leading to more shares and links. The more exposure your post gets, the more likely it will be to attract some natural links from people who come across it.
With Google+ it’s very easy to mention other Google+ users in your posts. All you have to do is use a “+” or “@” before typing the person’s name. If you leave a link to your blog post at Google+ and mention users that you mentioned or linked to in your post, hopefully they’ll see it and share it. You can also use “@” on Twitter, but with the character limits it’s not always easy to get everything in your tweet.
If you’re able to get social shares from a few influential people the result can be more links from social media sites, and maybe links from some blogs or sites that come across your post as a result.
4. Master the Art of Creating Compelling Headlines
While the content of your blog post is obviously important, the headline (or title) is equally important. It’s not only important to visitors who are on your blog and browsing excerpts of your recent posts, but also for getting clicks from social networking sites and from RSS subscribers.
Writing headlines is not easy, and personally it’s something that I find to be a challenge, but it is definitely something that you can work on and improve. Also, it’s possible to follow a formula or re-use the same types of structures for your headlines to make it easier on you.
The headline will help to get your post noticed, and being noticed by more people can lead to better odds of attracting links. Posts with creative and compelling headlines are also much more likely to be shared via social media, which can lead to more links.
5. Ignore Low Quality Link Opportunities
Many of the link building methods used by bloggers will really only allow you to get low quality links that won’t have much impact, or that may even harm your rankings. Rather than spending the limited amount of time that you have available to try and build lots of links from low quality bookmarking sites and directories, take that time and use it for content creation.
That great content that you create can allow you to attract higher quality links without as much effort. For more on creating highly effective posts, see the Guide to Epic Blog Content.
6. Set Aside Time for Networking
Networking should be a priority for any blogger, even if you’re very short of time. Every successful blogger is well connected, and having a strong network can open up all kinds of opportunities, including some that will help you to attract links.
Networking can be helpful for link building by opening up possibilities for guest posting, increasing social media shares, interview opportunities, and general links within blog post content. Most bloggers tend to link to people that they like and respect, so as you build your network in your blog’s niche you’ll be more likely to attract links from those people that you know.
Make networking a priority by setting aside some time in your schedule for it, even if that’s just 15 minutes a few times a week. Connect with other bloggers through social media, or send them a message through their contact form.
Make it easy for others to contact you. Have a contact page with a form or your email address, and make the page easy to find. Also, have active profiles at the major social networking sites and link to your social profiles from your blog so people can easily find you if they want to get in touch.
7. Write the Occasional Guest Post
Over my 6-7 years as a blogger I have found writing guest posts to be one of the most effective ways to network with influential bloggers and editors. Guest posting has some other significant benefits as well, like being able to get a link to your blog, increasing exposure, and branding yourself as an expert. But from my experience, the most important long-term benefit to guest posting is the connections that you can make.
If your time is very limited you obviously won’t be able to execute a massive guest posting campaign where you write for a lot of different blogs. However, it’s still beneficial to occasionally write a guest post to build a few links and to make some valuable contacts.
What’s Your Experience?
What methods have you found to be effective for building links with a limited amount of time? Please share your ideas in the comments.
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