When it comes to getting traffic to your blog (or most other sites to that matter), the most important thing you can get are plenty of inbound links. Inbound links will both send you traffic from the originating site and more importantly they serve as a vote for your site which will influence your site’s position in the search engines.
There are various ways to generate inbound links:
- Buy them – using services like Review Me or Text Link Ads or source direct in forums
- Exchange links – this is were you link to one site and in return they link to you. You can contact similiar themed and sized sites or again use a forum
- Organic links – these are when other sites link to you on their own accord and what this article is all about.
Search engines like Google love organic links as they are natural votes for a site, they don’t like paid links (though whether they can detect if it’s paid is another matter) as this would mean sites could effectively buy their position in the SERPS (Search Engine Results Page) and I’m sure Google would rather you used Adwords for that. It’s debatable how much credit you get in the search engines for link exchanges, if they’re relevant and of interest to your readers they certainly won’t do your site any harm.
There are two main steps in attracting organic links:
- Having content that is worth linking to
- Said content being seen by people who will link to it
Creating Link Worthy Content
This is where content is king, nobody is going to link to crappy or spammy content. What you need to think about is what sort of content would you link to, if you write something that’s useful or interesting to your readers you’ll find other site owners will often think the same and share the story.
If you have a product based blog, being the first to report on a product is a great way to attract new links. The product doesn’t necessarily have to be new it just has to be new to your niche of readers. I write a fair amount in the gadget niche, as blogging niches go gadget and technology is overcrowded to say the least but by writing about original products will result in a flood of new links. However writing posts about products that have already been reported on all over the blogosphere, will result in very few if any.
Instead of writing new and original content you can always try producing a list of other peoples. You must add some sort of value to it, which could just be the research involved in finding it and grouping it together. The most linked to post we’ve done on SMM (so far) is the Feedburner Top 100.
Letting People Know about your Quality Content
Okay so you’ve written that killer post and you’re sitting back waiting for those natural organic links to flood in and what happens, nothing. It doesn’t matter how good your post is, if nobody reads it who’s going to link to it. This is especially true with new blogs (it does get a lot easier as you get established) and is a bit of a chicken and egg situation. So what do you do to get the organic ball rolling?
Leaving good relevant comments on other related blogs is great way to get the blog owner to check out your site and if they see something they like (or think their readers will like) that could mean a new link for you. When doing this it’s worth looking at how many comments a site is getting, if it’s a blog like Matt Cutts which can get hundreds of comments a day there’s a darn good chance he ain’t going to check every one (though if you’re reading this Matt then hi), so look for blogs that are established but not getting insane amounts of comments on every post. Always put time and effort into the comment and add to the original post, don’t leave comments like “you can read my article about blahblahblah on my blog” as that will just
piss off annoy other bloggers. I check out every single website that has been listed against comments on this blog, many of which I’ve added to my feedreader and will likely quote from in the future.
Link to other blogs, for me this has been the most successful way to be noticed and not only that it’s pretty damn ethical and good for your readers. Bloggers love stats (ok maybe a slight over generalisation there but it’s true ) and will often use service like Technorati to see who is linking to them and what do we do when we see somebody is linking to us, we’ll check them out and if it’s a quality (or interesting) post there’s a good chance of a link back.
This is what we did with our Feedburner Top 100, we linked to every site in the list, many of which visited the site and a proportion of them linked to us. I’ve also just seen Paula Neal Mooney doing this with her list of Blogger Salaries, who did I find her (for the first time) she linked to me on the list (not that my salary was correct but hey that’s not the point of this or that post).
I’m going to stop here on this post as I’m starting to go on a bit, though I do feel there’s a fair bit more to say and I’d be very happy to hear comments and other suggestions.