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Grow blog audience with link building

Blog SEO: Grow Audience Organically with Link Building

Table of Contents

How are you doing in podcasting as a guest, host, or both?

This is a four-part series that will provide you with a thorough guide on how to grow your blog traffic organically without having to turn to paid advertising.

Part One: Optimization
Part Two: SEO Tools
Part Three: SEO Keywords

Aside from writing great content, link-building is the most important ranking factor.

In fact, it’s so important right now that even if you had the other Google 199+ ranking factors done better than everyone else on the planet, you’d still rank LOWER than them if they have a better link-building strategy than you do.

We’re going to talk about the following in this final section of the series:

  • Internal links
  • Broken links
  • External links
  • The power of external links
  • How to win the external linking game

Let’s get started! BUT FIRST… Let’s define some different link terms:

Backlinks are incoming links to a webpage. When a webpage links to any other page, it’s called a backlink.

Nofollow link
Nofollow links are links with a rel=”nofollow” HTML tag applied to them. The nofollow tag tells search engines to ignore that link. Because nofollow links do not pass PageRank they likely don’t impact search engine rankings.

Internal Link
An internal link is a type of hyperlink on a webpage to another page or resource, such as an image or document, on the same website or domain.

External Link
External Links are hyperlinks that point at (target) any domain other than the domain the link exists on (source). In layman’s terms, if another website links to you, this is considered an external link to your site. Similarly, if you link out to another website, this is also considered an external link.

Internal Links

Internal links, also known as links within your website, play a crucial role in keeping visitors engaged and navigating through your content. The idea is to provide accurate solutions and recommend additional resources related to the topic at hand, thereby ensuring people stay on your website.

A strong internal linking strategy involves seamlessly incorporating relevant links within your content. For instance, if someone is reading a blog post on my website about effective exercises for achieving a shredded 6-pack at the gym, I would include an internal link to another blog post I’ve written on the same website, focusing on proper dieting while striving for a 6-pack.

That’s an example of a strong internal link – it keeps the reader engaged and offers valuable information. A helpful way to approach internal linking is to never lead your reader to a dead-end. Always provide a related post or additional resource for them to explore. It’s important to remember that not everyone has the same interests, so including multiple internal links in every post is a good practice. Typically, I aim for 2-3 internal links per 700 words of content.

Here are some guidelines to follow when working on your internal linking strategy:

1. Fix orphaned pages: Orphaned pages are those that lack internal links to or from them, making them difficult to find within your website. Using an SEO plugin like Yoast can help identify these pages, allowing you to add relevant links to and from them.

2. Use links to help readers explore related topics: Whenever I mention something briefly in a blog post that may be of interest to the reader but isn’t the main focus, I include a link to provide more information. For example, if I’m writing about exotic cars and mention a cool motorcycle made by the same manufacturer, I’ll add a link to another post I’ve written specifically about motorcycles. This approach helps me keep my blog post focused while allowing readers to explore additional interests they may have.

3. Avoid linking to similar or identical posts: It’s crucial not to link to other pages or posts with the same or very similar focus. This can confuse search engines like Google, as they may struggle to determine which page is more important. Instead, aim to use internal links to help readers explore related topics, expanding their knowledge and engagement.

By following these guidelines and implementing a strong internal linking strategy, you can enhance user experience, increase engagement on your website, and improve your website’s visibility in search engine rankings.

Broken Links

Do you know what’s interesting? Broken links! They are one of the easiest, most important, and yet most ignored ranking factors for Google. Let’s dive into it.

So, what are broken links?

These are basically links on your website that don’t work anymore. It could be because the page was removed (either by you or the website you’re linking to) or maybe the URL got changed. Either way, those links lead to nowhere.

Now, here’s the thing: having a lot of broken links can really hurt your ranking on Google. It sends a message that you’re not taking care of your website, and that’s not good. Surprisingly, about 90% of websites completely ignore this issue, and it’s holding them back from ranking higher.

Fear not! Fixing broken links is actually quite simple. All you need to do is update the URL of the link to a valid page or external website.

It’s a small effort that can go a long way in maintaining a healthy website.

Now, you might be wondering, how do you find these broken links? Well, it’s just as easy as fixing them. You can simply search for “Broken Link Checker” on Google, and you’ll find some great options for programs that can scan your website and test every link to see if any of them are broken.

Here’s one option that I personally love: It does a fantastic job of helping me identify broken links, and I make sure to regularly check and fix them. In fact, I even have a calendar reminder to revisit this task every month. By consistently staying on top of broken links, I never let them pile up and cause any significant issues.

I strongly recommend that you do the same. Make it a habit to check for broken links on an ongoing basis and promptly fix them. Trust me, it will give you a huge advantage in the SEO game because so few people actually pay attention to this aspect. It’s one of those little things that can make a big difference.

So, take a proactive approach, keep those links in check, and watch your website’s SEO performance soar!

External Links

Let’s talk about external links, the opposite of internal links (pretty obvious, right?). These are the links from your content to other websites, as well as the links from other websites leading back to yours.

Now, here’s the deal: the number one ranking factor for Google is all about high authority external links pointing to your website.

When it comes to linking externally in your content, similar to what I mentioned about internal links, you should avoid linking to content that has the same exact focus as yours. Instead, go for related topics. It’s important to keep Google from getting confused.

Now, I’ve had some people say, “Alex, I’m going to gather as many external links as possible from wherever I can, so my content will rank higher.”

It sounds like a good plan, but here’s the thing: it doesn’t work that way. You see, Google evaluates the relationship between the linking website and the content from both sites.

Translation: If Google finds the websites and content to be unrelated, the link will be ignored by Google’s algorithm. Essentially, the external link provides no value.

So, when should you link externally?

1. If you’re referencing someone else’s material, go ahead and link to it. Share the link with them and see if you can earn a backlink in return. It’s a win-win situation.

2. Target websites that you specifically want to partner with or those from which you’d like to earn backlinks. Focus on building relationships and collaborations that can benefit both parties.

As a general recommendation, aim to include at least one external link in every blog post you produce. It adds value, credibility, and shows your readers that you’ve done your research.

Remember, external links play a significant role in boosting your SEO efforts. So, be strategic, stay relevant, and watch your content climb the ranks with the help of these valuable connections.

An Analogy

To summarize, consider this analogy before we conclude this section on the importance of links in SEO.

Imagine you’re in a new city. After landing, you ask strangers, a taxi driver, and someone downtown for the best coffee shop. Each time, they point you to “Coffee Café” as the top choice. This scenario reflects how external links work in Google’s ranking system. Just like multiple credible sources endorsing something as the best, external links play a crucial role in determining rankings.

But what if the title of “best coffee in town” is already taken by Coffee Café? Here’s where an opportunity arises. As a new coffee shop owner, think about what else people are looking for. Some travelers prioritize finding a cozy space with good WiFi to relax and catch up on work. By positioning yourself as the coffee shop with the best WiFi and comfortable seating, you can attract a different audience and establish your own unique appeal.

The same principle applies to the content you want to rank for. Find a distinctive aspect that sets you apart, think creatively, and become known as the go-to source for that specific topic. By doing so, you’ll gain recognition and attract the right audience to your content, much like the coffee shop with the best WiFi and cozy seating stands out in a crowded market.

There you have it, our four-part series on how to grow your blog audience.