All bloggers are surrounded by their own blog communities. But the number of blogs within any given community is finite. It’s certainly not a walled garden, but growing thenetwork of people you communicate with regularly takes time.
As a result, bloggers often link to the same people over and over. That’s not a bad thing: the links still have value (for SEO, Technorati, and your audience) but there’s so much more to discover.
So the next time you’re writing a blog post, try finding new blogs and linking to them. It’s not always obvious – to go out, find blog posts relevant to your topic, and link to them – but it works well for breaking out of your existing community and reaching others. And it’ll help bring in fresh links back and new readers.
Here’s a simple blog hack to make it happen:
- Pick the link locations. Preview your blog post and look for key places where links would be valuable.
- In lists, try and put a link in every second or third point.
- Links work well at the beginning and end of posts when you’re hammering home key messages.
- Use links to other sites to back up the point you’re trying to make.
- Find important keywords throughout your post, and pepper them liberally with links. As David Airey, a graphic designer in Edinburgh points out, you shouldn’t use generic terms like “click here” for links, it completely devalues them.
With the keywords and phrases picked out for your links, it’s time to find new blogs worth linking to.
- Discover new blogs. Search for the keywords and phrases using Google Blog Search, which shows more recent content, and Google for a broader archive.
- Quickly pick promising results. Select a bunch of potentially relevant stories and launch new browser tabs/windows for each.
- Find relevant content. Scan each new blog for relevant content. Decide if they’re worth linking to for one of the keywords or phrases you’ve selected.
- Keep your eyes open for great quotes you can pull (instead of just links.)
- Don’t worry if the entire blog post isn’t relevant, the key is you’re linking to someone you’ve never linked to before.
- Add the new blog to your RSS Reader or make a note to check it out in more detail later.
- Change up your keywords. If you don’t find something worth linking to quickly, try changing your keywords and phrases a bit, but don’t overburden yourself. You don’t want to take too much time and there will always be more opportunities to link to others.
Finding and linking to new blogs isn’t something you need to do on every blog post. Pick a blog post each week that you think will be a home run and spend a bit of extra time adding links to it. The extra effort over time, will be well worth it.