We’ve already optimized our blog to rank well for search results of certain keywords that we’re targetting, but here comes the sad news – it affects your ranking in only very minor ways. However, don’t skip this step as every little bit helps when you’re competing for search engine rankings!
Now, we’re moving on to offpage search engine optimization. That is, factors that are not on your blog but affect your search engine rankings very greatly. There are a lot of offpage factors, but we shall study them one by one. The first and most obvious one is the number of links to your blog.
As a general rule of thumb, the more links to your blog, the more the search engines think you are an authority in that particular niche and hence the higher they rank you. However, take care to observe the quality of the links. For example, a thousand links from totally irrelevant sites like online dating sites would not help at all because your blog is a technological product blog. In contrast, a single link from a highly authoritative site about technological gadgets will get the search engines crawling about your blog like the Feds storming a crack den…
Anyway, the most cost effective way of getting high quality links from authoritative sites is simply to ask for it. If your blog contains high quality content that is original and will provide valuable information to the site’s readers, chances are the webmaster(s) will link to your blog or even write about you!
Let’s talk about how we should ask these webmasters of authority to link to your blog. We’re discussing this based on the presumption that your blog is really content rich and offer high quality information to anyone in your niche or topic of discussion. The most viable option would be to send an email directly to the webmaster.
First, let’s look for the top sites in your niche. Simply search the major search engines for the term that you’re targetting. In this case, let’s search for “technological gadgets”. The first few results, http://www.t3.co.uk and http://www.acarplace.com/brands/gm/gadgets.html are commercial sites, so don’t bother asking. We’re looking for community-based sites and other blogs that are more accessible to a complete newcomer like you. Seems like http://www.gizmodo.com would be a good option!
So, compose an email to the webmaster of http://www.gizmodo.com (whose email address you shall find on the site). They even have their AIM contact there, so it’s also a good choice if you use AOL Instant Messenger. Start by stating how you came across their site (i.e. “looking for gadget information”, NOT “looking for link partners!”) and how you think their site provides valuable info. Basically, try to say something really good about their site honestly.
Then, suggest that so-and-so content on your own blog will be a nice complement to their site’s content and vice versa. Put a link on your blog to their site and ask subtly if they might be able to do the same to weld a mutually beneficial relationship between the site and your blog.
Along the way, you might find people who won’t even respond to your email, so forget about them and move on. Remove the links from your blog to their site if they have not responded to your email within two weeks, which is a pretty long wait.
Keep doing this for the first 30 search results that pop up, and before long you should have quite a few good sites all linking to you. In the next article, we shall explore further the more advanced offpage factors, and ways to improve them!