You’ve learned how important it is to link relevant blog posts to each other in Step 5a – we call this internal linking – to build authority and help Google understand what you do. Now we’re going to learn about the other 2 types of links: inbound and outbound.
What Are Inbound Links?
Inbound links are links that point from another website to yours – they happen when someone else finds value in your blog, and wants to refer their readers to you. Inbound links are one of the most important ways Google ranks your site. Why? Because they tell Google that other sites are relevant to yours, and that your site should be given a higher authority.
How Do They Help My Business?
Inbound links are weighted based on how important the site that’s linking to yours is. For example, if The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times are linking to your site, you’ll have a higher authority than if your mom’s personal blog is linking to yours (unless your mum is a stellar blogger, then lucky you!). The weight given to a link is known as “link juice.”
Now that you understand links aren’t just the paper chains you made when you were a kid, let’s jump into the different ways you can get inbound links!
5 Ways To Build Inbound Links
1) Key Point: Write Great Content
As we covered in Part 2: Getting Found Using SEO For Small Business, the best way to get inbound links is by creating content. Let’s say that again, because you might have sneezed, or taken a sip of coffee, and missed it. The most important way to generate inbound links is to create great content – the more remarkable your content is, the more people will read it and recommend other people to read it as well.
The best part is that you’ve learned how to create ideas for blog posts using keyword research, and how to engage your audience with blogging; as long as you use these skills and provide insight, analysis, or your own thoughts, someone will want to read what you have to say.
There is no short-cut to remarkable content – it’s the backbone of your link building campaign. This means it’s the foundation to finding new customers and creating a viable business. The next 4 steps are supplementary.
2) Share Your Insights – Comment On Related Blogs
A great way to introduce people to your site and inspire them to read your thoughts is by commenting on other business blogs related to yours. This may seem counterintuitive, as you’ve spent so much time on your own blog, but becoming part of an online community is a powerful way to connect with people.
Commenting on another blog is a chance to share your knowledge and increase your authority. If you are one of the first people to comment on a post, chances are people will read your comment. You can even leave a link back to your site after your comment if it is related, but don’t make it a hard sell – the goal is to add value, not to divert the conversation immediately.
If there is already a large thread underneath a post, it’s probably not worth leaving a comment, as most people won’t see it, and your odds of adding value to the conversation with something new is lower.
3) Guest Blogging – Yes You Can!
By interacting with bloggers who have similar interests, you’ll start to form relationships with them. After you know their style and insights, you may decide to offer them a guest blogging position on your blog, and even have the confidence to offer to be a guest blogger for them. This is a great way to increase exposure, show that you’re an expert, and repurpose your content for a larger audience. “Re-purposing” content is like making dinner with leftovers – what can you do with what you’ve already made to reduce time in the kitchen and create a delicious feast?
Remember when you write a guest blog for someone, make sure you ask for an inbound link back to your site in the article.
4) Respond In Forums
If you’re feeling adventurous, go ahead and use resources like Quora to answer questions related to your industry. If you find a question related to a blog post that you have written, feel free to include a link and give a quick explanation.
5) Ditch Press Releases. Hitch Up “Social PR.”
If you have big news, you can send out a press release to journalists and news companies. But chances are it won’t get picked up – they receive thousands a day (from people who are paid to do nothing but write press releases), so focus on connecting with bloggers and smaller publications related to your field. The marketing guys call this “Social PR,” we just call this “common sense.”
You can use a social media consultant company like Pitch Pen, where consultants bid on your job and you can hire them to build “social PR” based on their expertise and ratings.
You can also Help A Reporter Out – it’s a service that reports use to find stories from people like you. Sign up based on your field of expertise, and answer questions for journalists. Then, if you are quoted, they will return the favour with an inbound link. See the similarity between “Press Releases and Outbound Marketing” and “Social PR and Inbound Marketing?” Awesome, we do to!
Okay, So What Are Outbound Links?
Great question, but you already know the answer! Outbound links are the links that you use on your blog to help your readers find value on other websites. For example, the “Help A Report Out” link in the previous paragraph is an outbound link.
Outbound links and inbound links go hand-in-hand: the more you link to other relevant blogs, the more likely they’ll notice you, and return the favour. Not only is this good karma, but it also helps you build relationships with other bloggers.
We’re half way there! You’ve set up your blog, and learned about SEO and how to focus your writing so Google can find you, now we’re going to dive into our favorite topic – how to use social media for your small business in Step 6.
This is the “scariest” marketing area for most business owners, because it can be over whelming and time consuming. So have faith, our goal is to make it as simple as possible so you can focus on growing your business, instead of being an online marketing expert!
New to Spokal? This is part of our 12 Steps To Getting Customers Online guide. Feel free to check it out and let us know what you think.