The first rule of blogging is that you must deliver timely, well-written, interesting content. That is a job in itself but it's only half of the battle. Because of the way search engines work now, you absolutely must understand how to use inbound and outbound links to make your blog more visible to those search engines.
Google, for example, determine how authoritative a blog is based on the number of links
leading to it. It has been an incredibly successful formula for Google but it is not always the best way to tell if a site is truly authoritative. Regardless, you have to know how to get those necessary links
or you will struggle to get traffic.
Here are four steps to get started:Find the Bloggers You Want to Befriend
Before Google dominated internet searches, the quality of your content was the most important thing. These days you still need great content. But, to obtain new readers you also have to be connected.
Start by finding established bloggers who cover topics related to your blog. It can be as simple as performing a few searches and reading the posts that you find. Subscribe to the blogs that you enjoy and who write content that you appreciate. It's important that you focus on the writers who interest you because you are hoping you will be able to do the same with them.
There is no magic number you're looking for here. If the blogger interests you and you have time to read the posts and leave thoughtful comments then you should subscribe. Don't expand your network past what your time allows. Now Make Friends with Them
It's critical that you read several of their posts before you try to engage them. It's a bit like making friends offline; it's easiest to find what you have in common and then build the relationship from there. Once you feel that you have a good grasp on what they are about, you can engage them.
- Help them promote the entries they are trying to push, whether it be on your blog or sites like Digg and StumbleUpon.
- Write a quality guest blog.
- Leave comments that elicit a response from the blogger.
- Interview them and post the podcast to your blog with links to theirs.
- Attend conferences where you can meet many of the bloggers you like in person.
You Scratch My Back...
At the same time you were building this network and engaging them, you should have been posting quality content to your blog. If so, you will be in a position to offer something in return for them helping you. After all, they're always looking to expand their reach, just like you are.
Before you consider asking for anything, you have to find a way to make yourself useful to them. For example, if they get a question from another reader and they don't seem to have the answer, you may send them a private email with the answer so they can provide it to their readers. That is much more tactful than providing the answer yourself or linking to one of your relevant blogs because then it seems like you are attempting to steal their readers rather than working with them.
Gauge the relationship and, when you are comfortable enough, provide them with a link to some of your best work and leave it up to them how they want to use it. Do not assume it is okay to post links to your site because you can ruin all the goodwill you've built in an instant.
Use Each Relationship as a Foundation to More
Now that you have a handful of bloggers in your network, use them to interact with their closest "friends." You basically want to repeat the same process but it will be much easier since you are now coming to them as a "friend of a friend."
They may have noticed that the others bloggers are linking to you and that you provide useful information but don't assume they do. Approach every new blogger with humility and make sure not to give the impression that you expect them to help you or that they are obligated to you.
You have to be patient at the same time that you're persistent. If you come across as a likeable person who will return favors, that will get you just as far as posting great content.