Throughout the whole of the history of search engines, even from the very first day, your link profile has mattered. Your ranking depends largely upon the number of incoming links to your site, as long as those links come from relevant, quality sources. How can you go about expanding your link profile without going out and creating those links yourself? Leverage your traffic to earn new backlinks.
Before you can leverage your audience and turn them into backlinks, you need to figure out who they are. With every website, you have a wide range of users in terms of quality. You have the low-quality viewers who bounce easily and don’t much care for your content. You have your mid-quality viewers who stick around and read, but don’t do much more. You have your high-quality viewers who read, engage and share your content on social networks. You also have your ideal traffic, the other bloggers who run sites related to yours.
You want to target those last two demographics. Engaged users sharing your content on social media help spread the word. Sure, social media links aren’t quite as potent as editorial links, but they can still be quite valuable.
The content creator is your best asset, however. A link from a relevant blog is incredibly potent; second only to a high quality resource citing you as a reference. If you have the opportunity, you should certainly try to pursue those as well.
Research the types of engaged users and engaged content creators you have attending your site. Find out as much as you can about them, including their perspectives and interests. Your goal here is to find ways to subtly encourage them to link to your site.
Ego baiting is one of the best ways to get content creators to naturally give you backlinks. Examine the blogs of the people in your industry and pick a popular piece of their content. Write a piece of content with their content in mind, tailored for a specific purpose. You can disagree with them and attempt to strike up an argument – with support and facts, of course – or you can write a companion piece supporting them and calling them out as a thought leader. Either way, done properly, you’ll find the content creator in question is likely to link to your piece.
Any time you have something you want shared, make it as easy as possible to share it. Use social media sharing toolbars to enable one click sharing of your posts and your website on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and any other social network that’s useful to your site.
You can even take it one step further. Use Twitter plugins to allow users to tweet a select quote with a single click, as long as they’re logged in. Use these selectively; there’s nothing worse than trying to read a site where every third sentence is followed by a “tweet this” link. Well, there are plenty of things worse than that, but it’s still an annoyance that drives away traffic. Likewise, you can use a Pinterest plugin to allow users to share your images – with your article attached – with a single click.
Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to provide a one-click link from blog to blog, but that’s probably a good thing. If such a plugin existed, it would create an instant unnatural link profile, causing more harm than good.
This is an interesting technique, very similar to broken link building. Essentially, what you want to do is keep an eye on all of the old resources in your niche. If you find one that drops out – the domain expires, the content moves, etc – you can create your own version of the content. Once your version of the content is live, you can approach anyone who linked to the old version. Send a press release to them informing them that X link on Y page no longer points to valid information, and that your new content at Z fits the bill as a replacement.
Note that this works even if the original owner of the content simply rebranded rather than removed the old content. As long as the URL changed, you can step in and present yourself as a replacement.
Among a certain demographic, memes are the most shared content online. They have several benefits to go along with your content. They tend to be nothing more than images with captions, which makes them incredibly easy to integrate with a larger piece of content. They’re most successful when they’re funny, but they can be funny within a narrow niche – so long as the people you want linking to you will think it’s funny, it’s funny enough. Memes share incredibly well on social networks and forums populated by millennials, including Tumblr and Reddit. One good viral explosion from either of those sites can result in dozens or hundreds of backlinks.
The caveat to this is that memes are incredibly easy to get wrong. They’re a fast-moving, specific form of pop culture. If you’re not capable of keeping up with the culture or analyzing it at a breakneck pace, you might just be left behind. You really need to be agile and in touch with the Interent generations to succeed with memes.
All of this, of course, comes back to one thing; your content. Your content has to be good. It has to be great. It has to be worth sharing. Give it something to kick it over the edge; actionable tips, a sense of humor, a bit of ego bait or whatever else you think up. The better your content is, the more places people will be able to share it because of its value.
How can you easily make sure your content has value? Just do a search or two for the subject of your article. Identify the best articles covering the same topic. Strive to make your content better than their content. You might even consider using their content as references, linking to it to gain the attention of the content creator as well as build off their conclusions.
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