Believe it or not, you can create an amazing, informative blog post on a topic that interests many people, yet no one may ever find it. That’s because Google’s complex set of algorithms for determining which links pop-up first when someone searches for a particular term factor in how many other web sites and blogs are linking to your posts.
The logic behind this is that web pages cited on other sites have more authority and credibility than those that aren’t being referred to by anyone else. In the world of Google PageRank algorithms, this is known as backlinking. Basically, the more times other people are linking to your site, the better your chance of showing up earlier in Google search results.
Beyond just getting linked to, Google is taking into account a couple of other things:
- The quality and popularity of the site that is linking to yours (so, Bob’s Favorite Panda Pics will not carry as much weight as National Geographic)
- The quality and relevance of the anchor text in the link and it’s relevance to your site (so if the text of the link says “dishwashers” but the content of the page is all about chocolate, it’s not going to bode well)
So, your goal is to get other site to link to your posts, and you want those links to be relevant. That might sound like a full-time job (and it is for some companies), but there are some basic best practices you can follow that will organically generate some quality backlinks over time:
- Don’t try to hoard all of your readers to yourself – If you’re not linking from your own pages, why would anyone link to yours? You shouldn’t be afraid to link to other sites, just use the target=new tag in your HTML links or select the appropriate checkbox when adding a link in your blog editor (see below).
- Comment on relevant sites and posts, including a link to your own site – This will not only count as a backlink, it will also get you a few clicks from some of those readers and put your blog on the radar of the author so they might reference your content in future posts.
- Interlink your blog posts – Linking to previously written posts is a great practice, not just for search engine optimization purposes but also to show off relevant other articles you’ve written to the folks reading this one.
- Write content that people want to share – You should obviously be doing this anyway, but great content gets referenced and shared, and the SEO ranking improvement will be quick to follow.
While there are plenty of tips for creating backlink-worthy content, one thing that doesn’t exist are shortcuts. Don’t bother with link exchanges or buying backlinks, Google is smarter than you are and will sniff those out in a snap, punishing your site and damaging your reputation.
Have any other tips for getting quality backlinks to blogs? Tell us in the comments below.