Welcome to the lesson #9. How to build backlinks to your blog content Here's what we're going to cover in this lesson: The best link building strategies for blogs. How to get backlink ideas from your competitors. How to build links via guest blogging. And finally, a few simple guest blogging “hacks” for better results in less time. So let's go! Part #1. The best link building strategies for blogs The word “best” in the title of this section means that I'm not going to cover every link building strategy there is. Because there's just too many. So I'm only going to share a few of the most effective ways one could build links to their blog articles. Based on my personal experience. But before I give you my shortlist, here's a quick refresher of what we've discussed so far: You're unlikely to outrank the top 10 ranking pages for your target keyword, without at least as many good backlinks as they have pointing to your own page.
Popular blogs tend to get natural backlinks simply by broadcasting their content to a large audience of fans and expecting some of them to link to it. The pages that rank high in Google tend to get natural backlinks on autopilot. I call this a “Vicious Cycle of SEO.” And, finally, if you're just starting out, you should not wait for links to come naturally. You have to manually build them. Which you can do with these four strategies: Leaving comments; Replicating your competitors' backlinks; Guest blogging; And outreach.
Let me expand on each of them. Strategy #1. Leaving comments. You're probably rolling your eyes right now. But no, I'm not living in 2010. I do actually think that this is a great strategy to kickstart your link building efforts and help spread the word about your content. Notice that I didn't say “blog comments” but comments in general. That's because blogs aren't the only place where you can leave comments with links to your articles. We also have niche forums, online communities, Q&A sites, and even YouTube videos. For example, in our own niche (which is SEO) Reddit and Quora are rather popular places where people exchange opinions and link to relevant content. I have quite a solid comment history on both of these sites, so you know I'm advocating something that I'm actually doing myself. But if you take a closer look at my comments on Reddit you'll see that only a few of them have links to our blog articles. Reddit hates spammers and if you only post there to drop links – you're going to get banned.
But if you take time to consistently provide value to the community – no one will have a problem with you linking to your own content now and then. Which is exactly what I do there. Quora is a bit different in that sense. I have left well over 100 answers there and most of them have links to my articles. But that's not because Quora is suffering from a lack of moderation. Trust me, they're very strict with spammers too. But do my comments on Quora look like spam? Each one is unique, well formatted and above all provides a ton of value to the conversation, before asking readers to click on my link for some extra details.
And even though I haven't been active on Quora for quite a while, my answers still get thousands of views every single month, which results in some nice referral traffic to my content. So I highly recommend that you find a few popular communities in your own niche and start actively engaging in them. But what if you struggle to find any relevant online communities in your niche? Well, you can still leave comments on blog articles, right? As a fellow blogger, I'm sure you know how great it is to get smart insightful comments on something you just published. But on the other hand, no one wants to get comments from people who're only looking to promote their own stuff.
So my advice with leaving comments on relevant blogs in your industry is not much different from what I just said about community sites – it only works if you add the actual value to the conversation. And now it's time to acknowledge the elephant in the room. In 99% of cases the comments that you will post online will have nofollow links. And since nofollow attribute means that the link doesn't pass any SEO value to your website – why even bother? Two words: “Side benefits.” Look at the two of my latest answers on Quora. One has 800 views and the other 8,000 views. And because both comments have links to articles from Ahrefs Blog, I'm sure we got some nice referral traffic from them. And I have zero doubts that many people who visited Ahrefs Blog after reading my comments on Quora ended up becoming our regular readers. And as you already know, the bigger your audience of fans gets the more links you're going to acquire naturally, as a byproduct of broadcasting your content to them.
So did these links from my Quora answers helps my articles to rank better in Google? I don't think so. But did my comments on Quora help me reach a lot of people with my content, convert them into fans, and get some natural links from them afterwards? Absolutely! Leaving comments on relevant blogs has a ton of side benefits too! Check out the story of Ryan Stewart that he shared in his guest article at Ahrefs Blog.
Ryan posted a very insightful comment on Robbie Richards' personal blog. And at the end of the comment, he linked to an article on his own blog. Not only did Robbie not delete that self-promotional comment but he actually tweeted Ryan's article. But there's more. Later on he invited Ryan to participate in an “expert roundup” that was published at his personal blog. Which means that Ryan got a perfectly legit dofollow link from a perfectly legit relevant blog. In other words, one simple comment with a nofollow link set off a chain reaction of valuable events: referral traffic from a blog comment; a tweet from the blog owner; a dofollow link from that blog; some more referral traffic from that link, etc Not bad for a simple blog comment! You bet, Ryan! I hope that was a vivid enough example to persuade you that leaving comments online is not some kind of spammy old-school way to promote your content, which does more harm than good.
I honestly believe that leaving comments on relevant blogs & communities is the best way to kickstart your link building efforts, put your name out there and start making valuable connections with prominent people in your niche. But make sure you go after quality, not quantity. And that was the first link building strategy in my list. What about the other three? Well, we're about to cover two more in this very lesson: Replicating your competitors' backlinks and Guest blogging. And as for Outreach, I decided that this strategy requires a lesson of it's own. So we'll cover it in the next lesson of this course. Which is the last one. And now let's talk about replicating your competitors' backlinks, shall we?.