Every blog owner wants to see their blog grow to become more popular and more successful. To accomplish this, you can try to increase the quality of your posts or reach a new audience segment, but more often, bloggers rely on marketing and advertising to achieve more consistent, measurable growth.
One of the best strategies here is link building, the art of placing and earning links that point to your blog on other publications. But how does link building work, and why is it so effective for blog growth?
The Basics of Link Building
Let’s start with the basics of link building. The core idea is to generate more links that point to your site, hosted on other websites.
- Link placement. One approach is to manually build these links. Google penalizes websites that spam links or engage in other nefarious link manipulation practices, so to accomplish this, you must build links that are both natural and valuable to the community. Most modern bloggers build links by including them as natural citations in high-quality content that they write for external publishers.
- Link earning. You can also earn links more naturally by creating valuable content and encouraging other writers or authorities to link to you. In this way, you’ll passively “earn” links. However, this method tends to be less reliable and much less consistent.
- Backlink profile analysis. As you delve deeper into your link building strategy, you’ll need to use a backlink checker to conduct a backlink profile analysis. Here, your goal is to assess both the quantity and quality of links you’ve built thus far, and generate new ideas for where to build links in the future.
The Benefits of Link Building for Blogs
Why is building backlinks so effective for blogs?
- Brand visibility. Building a link to your blog, especially with a brand mention, can improve your brand’s visibility. Most of the people reading an article will at least partially investigate the hyperlinks in that article; when they see your blog listed as a citation, they’ll come to see it as an authority, and hopefully, they’ll remember the name for the future.
- Referral traffic. If someone wants to read more information, or if they want to see the full context of the fact or statistic you cited, they’re going to click through to follow the link you’ve built. Accordingly, you can use links to generate referral traffic. With a popular external publisher and smart link placement, you can sometimes generate thousands of visitors per month through this angle alone.
- Author notoriety. Over time, as you write guest posts for more publishers and attract a following, you’ll achieve more recognition as an expert in your field. People will see your author profile on other sites and follow you on social media, where they’ll have a chance to learn about your blog.
- Search engine rankings and organic traffic. Links pass authority; in other words, building links is a useful way to increase your site’s perceived trustworthiness, according to search engines. As you build and earn more links, your blog’s domain authority will grow, and you’ll rank higher in search results for relevant queries. Higher rankings, of course, will lead to more organic traffic from searchers.
- Access to bigger publishers. As you build your skills as a guest author and increase the visibility of your blog, you’ll gradually get access to bigger, more prominent publishers. That means even more authority, referral traffic, and visibility.
It’s also worth noting that link building is a relatively low-cost strategy. Whether you build the links yourself or rely on the help of a link building agency, you’ll almost always see a powerful return on your investment.
Are There Any Downsides?
There are a couple of weaknesses to link building as a blog growth strategy, but they can be mitigated with the right approach.
- Bad link building (and penalties). First, understand that if you build backlinks the “wrong” way—in other words, if you violate Google’s terms—you may face a Google penalty that reduces your blog’s visibility in search engines. Fortunately, this is rare, and if you follow best practices for building high-quality, natural links, you won’t have to worry about it.
- Long–term optimization. Second, link building is a long-term strategy, designed with long-term payoffs in mind. It’s not the kind of strategy that can give you immediate results. If you’re going to commit to link building, you need to be prepared for several weeks to several months of ongoing effort, at minimum.
For most bloggers, link building is a valuable tool that can improve your blog’s visibility, improve your reputation as an author, and generate more traffic simultaneously. As long as you’re methodical and quality-oriented, you can see significant growth from this strategy.