In the session right before mine, Ruth Martin-Maude from Dandelion Web Design spoke about search engine optimization (SEO) strategies for WordPress. She made an important point about the SEO benefits of incoming links (having other sites link to your blog).
According to Ruth, if one site has 10 incoming links and another has only 5, the site with 5 links will still place higher in search engine results if those 5 links are from large, reputable sites like Reader's Digest or CNN.
That reminded me of a similar SEO lesson published last week in the IAC VOICE newsletter. IAC member benefit provider Sara Sims from CoachingWebsites.com wrote about how to "network" your website. She explained that by listing it in credible places such as IAC's Find a Coach directory, you boost your own site's credibility as well.
How to get credible incoming links
Consider which larger sites or blogs you'd like to be connected to. What sites or organizations are important in your industry? Which ones will be most relevant to your ideal client?
If those sites have a directory, get yourself listed.
If there are other service providers, products or industry experts that you would like to be associated with, follow them on social media and look for value you can give to the relationship, such as:
- Sending congratulations for a new book, product, client or anything else you've learned about by following the person or brand on social media
- Posting a sincere and relevant compliment via social media or email about something they've done, written or shared
- Sharing their materials with your network by retweeting, clicking "Like" or mentioning them in your newsletter
- Writing a positive review, either on your blog, the comment stream of their blog or a third-party site such as the Amazon book review page or a customer review site
Asking for a link – don't do it
Posting a review on your blog is just one example of the connective content you can use to keep your blog fresh, without having to write a new article every week.
When I mentioned this at WordCamp, an audience member asked me if you write a connecting post that links back to someone else's blog, should you then contact that person and ask for a reciprocal link?
Not necessarily, I said. While I definitely think you should connect with the person you wrote about in a blog post, I wouldn't jump right in and ask for something in return. Just as website traffic shouldn't be the goal of your blog, reciprocal links shouldn't be the goal of your post.
Let the links happen naturally. Maybe someone will thank you for a positive comment or retweet on Twitter – all of a sudden, their entire network will see your name.
Or maybe someone will check out your website when they read your comment, and then decide to post a link to your latest blog post from their Facebook fan page.
Over time, these connections can lead to guest posts or other mutually beneficial opportunities, as well as heightened visibility and credibility for you.
When your motive for blogging is to share useful, relevant and high-quality content, you don't have to worry about keeping good company. Good company will be attracted to you – and so will prospective clients!