Linking to other blogs builds relationships and gets you noticed in the content marketing world. When content generators see they are receiving links from you, they are more apt to visit your site, and possibly link back to it. But, be advised that linking for linking’s sake is not recommended. Search engines have made it clear that content needs to offer readers value and not a plethora of junky links.
Consider these six tips to building community by connecting to others when the connections fit your content:
1) Link to those in your network: Regardless of your industry, you’ll likely have peers worthy of referrals. Providing a positive endorsement or a link to a colleague or vendor builds community and ultimately drives traffic to your site.
2) Link to fans: If you have an active readership, linking to their blog or other social media account is an effective way to foster engagement. Plus, it never hurts to thank readers for their loyalty.
3) Link to supplemental/complementary information: In general, anything relevant to your blog topic is worthy of link consideration. Driving readers to other links can provide context and supplemental information on the topic to your readers. In time, readers will come to view you as an expert in your respective field. As a word of advice, limit these types of links to five per post. It’s possible to overwhelm readers with too much content.
4) Provide link explanations. A good way to encourage visitors to click on external links is to provide a brief description about the content. Readers will be more apt to click than if the link lacks an explanation. No one wants to click on a link to find it’s really a virus or not what they expected. You could lose credibility or trust. And that translates into less traffic, and perhaps a shrinking bottom line.
5) Make friends. If you’ve found a compelling blog post, why not contact the blog owner and inquire about exchanging links, or even guest posts? If your site is a source for relevant, high-quality information many will be willing to reciprocate to reap the rewards. Another scenario: Link to the other blog, then email the blogger to introduce yourself, mention the link, and ask them to consider linking to you.
6) Another pro tip: Set your links to open in a new window. This keeps visitors on your site longer, and helps maintain fluidity in reading. For example, if you’re linking to a story about analytics, they might be interested, but want to keep reading your post. Opening the story in a new window allows them to browse to that tab or window–on their own time.
In short, linking is one of the many activities you can do to help better your SEO. The links should literally stand out and entice readers to click them. Make sure the links are relevant to the rest of your content and not too cluttered on the page. Finally, familiarize yourself with the Penguin update, if you haven’t already, to ensure that you avoid exact match anchor text. When you properly link in your blog, you offer the reader other avenues to explore your topic more deeply.