I recently took some time out to do a bit of travelling across East Asia (which was incredible!) and decided that I would, along with a group of friends, set up a travel blog. Knowing that I would be embarking on some amazing adventures, I thought it'd be a waste not to blog about them. Plus, the idea of bringing in a little extra cash to go into my travel fund helped in my decision.
After a month or so of development the site was finally ready and I wanted to start thinking about how to get some traffic going on the website. Whilst paid advertising and social media were a huge part of the strategy, I knew that appearing in the search engines for a wide selection of long-tail phrases was going to be instrumental to the blog's success. This is when I began developing my link building strategy and, after trialing out some very successful approaches, I've decided to now share my link building tactics with you all - you can thank me later :)
As a brand new blog it can be really tough to gain links from high authority sites. Unless you have something particularly unique or special (and even then you might struggle), it's an uphill battle to get your content in front of anyone. With this in mind I decided to start off small. However, the general rule of thumb that I kept for any links that I was looking to build was this:
"The link must have a genuine potential to generate traffic back to the blog"
Many blogs and other websites have 'useful links' or ' useful resources' pages. These pages generally list partner websites, relevant blogs or other sites that they work with. Although these types of links aren't going to result in ground-breaking link building wins they could, if you prospect correctly, provide a link that will not just give you an SEO boost, but actually generate traffic to your site as well. These types of links are particularly relevant for the travel industry.
A lot of people write-off these types of links, classing them as 'spammy' or 'low quality links'. Now, whilst I agree that they aren't enormously powerful, I disagree that they are useless. To find the pages where I wanted to get a link placed back to my blog, I followed these quick steps:
- First, I ran this query through Google - intitle:travel blog inurl:"links" OR "resources".
- I then went into Google's search settings and selected to view 100 results per page instead of 10.
- Once I had 100 listings, I scraped all of the URLs using the 'Scrape Similar' plugin for Chrome and exported them to a .CSV file.
- I did a bit of manual work to remove irrelevant links and then grabbed the domain/page authority for each of the links using MozCheck.com and pasted this into the sheet. I could then sort the links by page authority and remove any that had a PA lower than ~25. This helped to find higher quality targets.
- After witling the list down to around 40 targets, I scanned the amount of outbound links on the pages using Niels Bosma's SEOtools plugin for Excel and sorted the list by pages with the lowest number of outbound links on them. This not only improved the power of the link by it also meant that there was more of a chance that I would get some traffic from the page.
- Finally, I got in touch with webmasters from the sites to see if they would list my site on theirs (using only branded anchor text) in exchange for their site appearing on the 'Our Friends' section of my blog.
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