There have been hundreds if not thousands of blog posts on the net that attempt to answer the question ‘what are the best ways to get links?’ Most bloggers have every intention of giving you good advice, but everyone’s opinion differs. And now that Google has decided they are going to let all the animals out of the zoo, it is more important than ever to build good quality links to ensure your spot on top of Google’s SERPs.
However, because of those black and white critters (Google Penguin), it has become a harder, more time consuming task. You can no longer get easy links with online directories, spin articles for mass submissions and stuff keywords on all your content to move up the rankings. On the contrary, if you are currently doing that, or have done those things in the past, Google has probably already caught on and penalized your site.
So what is the best way to get links?
Simply put, create content that people will want to share. How you do that is up to you, but here are some suggestions that actually work!
Yes, I know, this is the obvious one, but not everyone is doing it correctly and one of the big reasons that Google decided to release the Panda and Penguin updates. Thin content filled with keywords and links, created with the sole purpose of the search engine NOT the user will not help you with SEO.
The user should always be the number one priority.
Google isn’t the one reading your blog, signing up for your newsletter or buying your product. The people that are visiting are looking for something specific and if you don’t catch their attention immediately, they will click away and find what they are looking for elsewhere.
So what are people looking for?
Create timely newsworthy content. Have a new product or version of a product coming out? Write a teaser with the new specs, videos and features.
Look at all the hoopla that the iPhone 5 has created and all of the bloggers that are talking about it!
How about something big going on in your niche?
Write an opinion piece explaining your point-of-view. This can create shares from both sides of the arguments. The people that support you will want to share for the obvious reason, but the opposing side will also want to share it, it just may be accompanied by a nasty status update.
Cats, Zombies, Memes and More
Let’s face it, cats are like 80% of the Internet. The other 20% is a mixture of zombie related material (11%), memes that don’t involve cats (7%) and actual useful information.* So, if you can’t beat them, join ‘em. A clever headline that involves the word cats, zombies, LOLZ, or some other Internet phenomenon is bound to get a few extra clicks. And if you are actually able to relate that information back to your niche, more power to you.
*The percentages are my personal opinion, I’m sure cats are really only about 50%.
The Third Person
I don’t mean to be that jerk who only refers to themselves by name alone, but a little self-promotion isn’t a bad thing. If you have something to be proud of let the world know about it. Blogging about awards you’ve won, partnerships you’ve made or things you’ve participated in are topics that give you credibility and show the human side of your company.
This type of link building strategy has become very popular after the scare of Panguin. This type of outreach takes some time though. You have to research which blog would be a good fit; taking a look at things like PageRank, Domain Authority and traffic. Then you can to try and make contact with the blogger or webmaster, with no promise they will never respond. Determine a topic, write it up and on top of that, still no guarantee is will get posted.
That’s why it is always a good idea to be upfront and personal with the person you are reaching out to. Take some time to read their stuff. A compliment on their site/posts never hurts. Show them examples or your previous work and make sure that you would be a good fit, before wasting any more of your time.
However, in the end, if your article is posted, your site gets a nice link or two at the bottom of your post – like this one.
Finally, infographics. We all love them. They are like the Internet’s version of watching the movie instead of reading the book. They have all the information we need, with some cute graphics, charts and graphics and it takes a whole 15 seconds to digest.
Infographics go from very broad subjects to incredibly specific and a huge range of topics. Like guest posting, they have become more and more popular after some of the latest Google updates. One that is done well can create an enormous number of shares, yet the content is becoming thinner and thinner because of lazy people just trying to get a link. SEO experts are predicting that Google may discount infographics, yet if done right they will always succeed because of the huge audience they reach.
In other words, add value to the web. I agree though that the user should always be the number one priority. Do that and do it well, then the links will come.
Thanks Matt you offer some great strategies here. Regarding infographics. In an earlier post on here by Tom Sizer James he made the argument that the effectiveness of infographic links won’t be devalued because they are editoraial in nature. I think it all depends on the information and artwork contained in the infographic. Just like a shoddy guest post a 2nd rate infographic is not worthy of a link on a quality blog.
I admire how you’ve put together this post, Matt. It’s quick to understand and direct with your tips for your readers to follow. With guest blogging however, in relation to Google’s recent address on their stance, definitely go with quality for added value to your audience. From there, promote your post via social media and all your other tools – it’s all about having a strategy that integrates everything.