Attracting natural links building without working for them may seem like an impossible task for many new website owners, but it is actually quite simple. The more value you provide, the larger a percentage of your visitors will link to your site—through social media and on their own websites. They will link to your site not because they want to support it, but because they believe your site will offer value to their friends or website visitors.
If you have few visitors, naturally the number of monthly backlinks you attract will be low as well. What you need to resort to then is natural link building, which was the subject of the previous chapter. However, there comes a point when you have so many visitors that the value you receive from natural backlinks far exceeds the value from artificial link building. At that stage, you can stop manually building links and instead focus on strategies for increasing the percentage of your visitors that link back to your site naturally, which is the subject of this chapter.
Natural Link Building: Quality Content
Quality content is the number one key to natural link building. This is because the most important factor in getting people to link to you is to have something worth linking to—high quality content. Provided that you already have a decent amount of traffic, some of the best link building strategies you can employ are those involved in building quality content and improving the site for your visitors. Interesting, link-worthy content will naturally be passed along on social media sites, giving you more and more natural backlinks.
The term link bait means to create content that attracts natural link building by getting people to talk about it through social media. It can be one of the most efficient ways of getting backlinks, so you should definitely try it out. Although the average quality of the links from a mass link bait campaign is usually relatively low, the amount of links can be very high.
When attempting to create link bait, the keywords to aim for are interesting and relevant. You want the content to attract a lot of attention, while at the same time being relevant to your site’s niche. For examples of link bait content, visit the front page of Digg and other social bookmarking sites. Find out what kind of content related to your niche has made it to the top lists of these sites, and see if you can produce something similar.
There are some topics that are considered more or less universally interesting. For example, content that is funny, useful or controversial tends to fall into this category and makes great link bait.
Funny – Entertainment through high quality videos, pictures or stories can get a lot of people linking.
Useful – Genuinely useful online tools, free products, and automated services can be very link-worthy. Similarly, how-to guides and top-10 lists tend to work well as link bait.
Controversial – Articles about controversial topics dividing your commenting visitors into two sides can work wonders in terms of attracting back links.
Another idea is to tweak content you already have to make it more link-worthy.
There are a number of onsite marketing techniques you can use to encourage visitors to help market your site.
Social Media Links
You should make it easy for social media users to share your pages and to vote for them. This can be done by putting social media links at the bottom of your content and sales pages, which include the URL of the current page ready to be submitted. There are plenty of free social bookmarking plugins available.
Note Sociable* – This plug-in lets you add social bookmarking and networking buttons to your WordPress site.
Keep the number of social media buttons limited, so that you do not appear too eager for backlinks. Just stick with the four or so most popular ones—Digg, StumbleUpon, Facebook, and Twitter, for instance.
By allowing visitors access to a PDF or print friendly version of your text content, they may help market the site for you. For example, they may print the PDF and share it offline or distribute the file online, both of which are often in your best interest. Just make sure to include back links in the PDF or print friendly versions.
Note Print Friendly* – This WP plugin cleans your pages for printing and lets visitors download a PDF version of the content.
Link to Us Page
This page includes a set of links that you suggest people can use when linking to your site. On the page you encourage the visitors to share the site with others if they have found it useful. Provide code for a text link and some banner link alternatives, both with optimized keywords.
Support Us Page
The Support Us page includes a summary of all the ways in which people can support your site. You explicitly list these ways and provide reasons why the visitor may want to help out. The list can include supporting your site through monetary means—such as donating, buying your products or purchasing advertising space. It can also involve requests for indirect support—for example, by asking the visitors to link to your site, write about it or vote for it.