Need more page views? Better search engine visibility?
Okay, those are rhetorical questions—all of us do. But a recent trend could be making this more difficult than ever. Let me tell you about a conversation I had last week with a part-time blogger friend of mine.
He’s had his website for more than a decade and it’s always been a pretty low-key operation. In fact, he doesn’t get a lot of page views; that’s not the purpose of his site. But out of the blue over the last few months he’s been inundated with random requests to place links within his published articles.
This has never happened to him before.
He’s involved in internet marketing, so he knows why these people want to place links on his site: More backlinks to a site tend to increase its authority in the eyes of search engines, resulting in better search engine placement. It’s one of the fundamental building blocks of a successful small (or large) business website. His comment to me was that if people are coming to him for backlinks, the competition for backlinks must be getting very fierce.
You need a backlink strategy
This puts a premium on devising a winning strategy to convince website owners—bloggers and other informational site owners—to agree to place a link to your site within content already published on their site. A variation of this is to actually take content created by you and publish it on their site. Then, within that content or within an introduction to the content you provide, you’re able to place a link back to your site.
Outreachxpert, a company that specializes in this kind of marketing, outlines its general strategy, and it’s a good starting point for anyone interested in DIY link placement:
- Pull together a detailed brief about your project. What are your goals? Who are you targeting as prospects?
- Analyze your industry influencers. Who are your prospects listening to in the social media? What blogs are they reading? What YouTube channels do they subscribe to?
With these two steps under your belt, according to Outreachxpert, it’s time to start “the hard work: writing, pitching, and connecting … with the top influencers in your space.”
Let me inject a word of warning here: While it’s great to identify the top influencers, they may not be the first people you go to in DIY link placement. If I can rewind the tape for a second—if my part-time blogger friend is getting beaucoup requests for link placement, you can imagine how many requests the top influencers receive every day.
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However, if you want to try, go ahead but be persistent. I’ve discovered that the squeaky wheel gets the oil and that some influencers will place a link just to get a requester off his or her back for a little while. But this brings us to our next critical point: Your content must be undeniably superior. Let’s look at a specific strategy to illustrate this.
Do thorough research
You should have a pretty good idea of who your successful competitors are, so scouring the web to discover backlinks to their sites is a good place to start. Free services like Ahrefs’ backlink checker will help with this. As you uncover your competitors’ links, analyze the content that is being linked to.