Six Top Linking Strategies

Links are the backbone of traffic. The more links you have coming to your blog, the higher your traffic level. Search engines, like Google, place an extremely high value on links. Google’s PageRank system is largest based on how many sites are linking to you – the more links, the higher the PageRank.

In my never-ending quest to get more backlinks I have tried many methods, which I will share with you. These link building techniques have so far generated 7,218 links from 1,952 blogs, according to Technorati. That’s good enough to rank me 413th most popular blog on the Internet. Moreover, this is just the number of blogs linking to me. According to Yahoo, over 58,000 websites link to John Chow dot Com.

The effect of all these links has been a tremendous amount of Google love. Nearly 1/3 of this blog’s daily traffic comes from Google and I am predicted to go to a PageRank 6 on the next update, which should be happening around March/April.

Here are my top six linking strategies for getting more links to your blog.

Linking Strategy #1: Write Great Content

This one should be a no-brainer. Everything begins with content. If you don’t have content, you don’t have a blog. Not only must you have content, but also your content has to be good enough for others to want to link to.

You will be amazed by the power of one compelling article. The Internet’s Biggest Google Whore has been linked to by thousands of sites – enough to rank me on page 1 on Google for the search term “whores.” To this very day, I still get new sites linking to that article.

Linking Strategy #2: Visit Your Fellow Blogs

If you want other blogs to link to you, you need to get to know them. Therefore, pay them a visit and leave a few comments in their posts. Generally, that is enough to get the blog owners to give your blog a visit. If your have great content on your blog, there’s a good chance they’ll link to one of your posts.

Join the blog’s MyBlogLog community if they have one. I check my community page all the time to see who has joined. It is all about getting your name out in the blogsphere. If people know you, they will visit and if you have great content, they will link.

Linking Strategy #3: Give And You Shall Receive

One of the best ways to get backlinks is by giving them out. When you link to others without expecting anything in return, others will link to you. My Showing Some Community Love post got a bunch of backlinks even though I never asked for any.

A good habit to get into is doing a weekly or biweekly “Top Links” or “Things I saw while browsing the Web” post and sending a pingback to all the blogs linked. The bloggers from these sites will appreciate it and they’ll be more inclined to link to you when you have an interesting post.

Linking Strategy #4: Try Some Link Baiting

I wrote about The Art of Link Baiting back in October. Many people think link baiting is a negative thing but when done correctly, it’s a good thing and a great way to get tons of backlinks. My review my blog for a free linkback offer is the best link bait I’ve ever done. The link bait accounts for over 220 of the 1,952 blogs that links to me. The key is to make the bait so attractive that the targeted blog cannot pass it up.

Linking Strategy #5: Send Out A News Release

If you haven’t done so, you should be building a news list of blogs that cover the same niche you cover. When you have an interesting article, you can send out a news release to your fellow bloggers telling them about it. If your article is good, most blogs will link you. This is how The TechZone operates. We maintain a list of over 1,000 technology news sites. When we have new content, we send out a news release and BOOM! Traffic and link heaven.

Linking Strategy #6: Work Social Networking Sites

My traffic building strategy for this blog was to create compelling content and get them on the front pages of social networking sites like Digg. If an article is enticing enough, it will get enough votes to hit the front page. That not only sends you a lot of traffic but it will also get you a ton of links because many sites and blogs link to Digg stories.

The strategy worked really well. I would write an article, have it submitted to Digg, hit the front page, get tons of traffic and links, rinse and repeat. 30+ front page Diggs later, I got banned. However, by then, it was too late for the haters to stop my rise.


56 thoughts on “Six Top Linking Strategies”

  1. Great advice, the underlying factor behind each of the strategies is content I guess. So the #1 linking strategy and an indirect sort of way is to learn how to write great articles, I should find out more about that!

  2. Nomar says:

    Good article, I will try the news group point !! interesting

  3. Ryan says:

    I think people are so worried about “losing PageRank” by giving out links that they’re just harming themselves.

    Having links out is almost as important as links in, so you might as well link out and get a little love in return.

    I’m still impressed with how many review batches you’ve got, and I finally created a blog that I can use to write a review of your site, so I expect many more batches to come. 😀

    1. HMTKSteve says:

      If having outlinks is so bad for your PR how does Digg have such a high PR? That site is nothing but outgoing links!!!

      1. narrowband says:

        I think it’s Digg’s RSS that people subscribe to. RSS feeds contains links. That’s how people keep updated. In the world of blogs RSS is an important source of incoming links because its contents are refreshed so quickly that readers need feeds to keep up.

        Btw John, great article!

  4. Rex says:

    What about for sites that don’t produce a lot of new content. How can you get more links to them?

    1. Mr. Gary Lee says:

      Content is King Rex! That’s why it’s always the #1 to-do item on every “How to create a successful Blog” list known to man! . . but if you find out how to get links without producing content, you’re the man!

      1. Walter Vos says:

        Ofcourse content is king Gary, but suppose you have a corporate presentation website, or a portfolio website. Those won’t be updated often and, more specifically, are not social websites (contrary to f.i. a blog). I think that’s what Rex is talking about.

        Getting links is probably what I need to work on most. I’ll try to put some of these strategies to use!

        1. Marc says:

          There’s always room for additional content. It doesn’t need to be a blog for that to be true.

          That being said, it is a lot harder to get links for those kinds of websites. That’s where link baiting can come into play.

      2. That would be great! No one is actually writing the content, everyone is just linking to everyone else, who is linking to nothing – how funny would that be? One big giant dog chasing his own tail.

        John, glad to read this post – useful, and well written. I’m sure with the huge publicity (well-deserved) that you are probably bombarded with people asking for Reviews, links, etc..

        I’ve been fortunate to have good dot-com mogul-type mentors who have also found profound success online, and I’ve asked them what has been one problem that they’ve encountered.

        They’re answer was intriguing: Believe it or not, the biggest problem WAS gaining success online. The reason is because they have to spend more time dealing with publicity stuff, that takes them away from working on the core content that attracted the people in the first place.

        Keep up the good work, but don’t forget to keep up the good work. 😉

        1. Jane May says:

          I agree, you can get caught up in the marketing of your blog that the content gets sacraficed and vice versa. I think that’s why not too many succeed. But these tips are straight forward and tell you how to climb up the latter, the hard part is actually doing it.

  5. Mike says:

    Hey great advice! This one of the reasons why I keep coming back to John Chow!

    Im definitely going to be making a note of your strategies and trying to implement them in my blog!!!

  6. Ronald Lewis says:

    John —

    The more I read your blog, the more respect I have for what you do and stand for. I believe you understand that blogging is, first and foremost, a community. Keep it human.

    Anyway, great list of ideas you have here. Curious as to how many folks are linking into my own site, I registered in at almost 6,100 links on Yahoo. Of course, there are a lot more on Google, but not nearly as many as you have. Good work.

    I think the countless hours I spend online each day attempting to draw more folks to my website is evident in the links I have. For example, on Technorati, there are more than 160 blogs linking in to my site. To take advantage of this (as they’re linking to the root of my domain), I recently migrated (to the root) my entire blog and website to WordPress.

    Social networking is a mixed bag. I had quite a battle with the digg community a few months ago, however, I still managed to get my story told about a podcast interview I produced with Digg’s Kevin Rose.

    My best success to date with mass blog linking would be my Google story a few months ago about discovering 16 GB of storage in my GMail account. That created a lot of discussion and was a nice shot in the arm traffic wise for a few days. If only to get more hits like that everyday.

    With regard to attracting more people to your content, it’s a daily pursuit. One cannot rely on the “if you build it, they will come” mantra, because it takes time and work (or just sheer luck) for people to discover what you do. I’ve got all of these podcast interviews with the likes of Craig Newmark (Craigslist), Kevin Rose (Digg), David Farber (“The Grandfather of the Internet”) and all of these other amazing people, but it’s still a challenge to get the word out about them. It’s like having a bank account you can’t touch, because there isn’t a sponsor (yet), and there isn’t enough traffic to drive some decent ad revenue (yet).

    Meanwhile, I am always looking forward to the next day as another opportunity to gain a new reader and maybe someone that will discover the hard work I’ve done over the past year in podcasting. It’s a labor of love. There are “ups and downs”, but there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing. The Internet is a wonderful place and I’m glad I made the decision 13 months ago to make it my full-time vehicle for a living.

    1. Jane May says:

      Geez…this is a blog post in its self! 🙂

  7. BlueFur.com says:

    I noticed that Shoemoney, ProBlogger and Dosh Dosh do speedlinking. Is this another technique to build link backs?

    1. Nomar says:

      Speed linking? What is this ??

      1. Sania Wyatt says:

        It is a post whereby the blogger points out to relevant and interesting posts other bloggers have written. I first saw this on problogger.

  8. I’ve been working to utilize the first three points you make but hadn’t really considered the others. Recently I joined MyBlogLog to try and take advantage of your last point and I have actually seen a nice little bump in traffic from there.

  9. Jeff says:

    “Too late for the haters to stop my rise”

    I LOVE IT!!! HA

    You rock.

  10. Ricco says:

    In addition to #1 I’d say that chosing headlines and intro text is a good idea. Using keywords that cover your site in headlines can give you that extra step on Google. I’ve been experimenting with this on my own blog and I saw lots of hits from Google when I deliberately put keywords in my headlines.

    About the news release – how do you do that without being marked as a spammer?

    1. John Chow says:

      This is where the “Getting to know your fellow bloggers” come in.

  11. Chris says:

    I clicked the Google search link for whores and you were 6th! Not 1st! :p

    Anyway, great article. I’ll try and make some use of these tips.

    Chris
    http://www.chrisgill.me.uk

    1. John Chow says:

      I said I was on the first page, not the first result. 🙂

      1. HMTKSteve says:

        Some folks even tried to steal John’s mojo by scraping that particular post and putting it on their blog!

  12. JosefVirek says:

    Great list once again. I also think your “blast from the past” strategy also helps specially for people new to your blog.

  13. David says:

    Great read. It is always good to read posts like these. Lots of learning on my part, thanks John!!

  14. Bryan Le says:

    Meant to tell ya John…

    Happy New year! I can’t spell it, but…for what it’s worth…

    “chup mung, fa choy”. Right?

  15. Gregg says:

    Great post, Ill be sure to try some of your techniques!! I sometimes have a hard time figuring out what I want to write about though 🙁

  16. Avinio says:

    Hi John,

    Great article, as always!
    i must admit, that your blog is one of my favorites one 😉

    And about Digg, hope you will contact me.
    i’m arranging something and i would love to hear your advice.

  17. John,

    Does link building help that much? Why am I not on the first page of google under promotional pens?

    According to yahoo I have 123,000 links.

    http://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=A0oGkifae9tFaxYAketXNyoA?p=linkdomain%3A1234pens.com+-site%3A1234pens.com&ei=UTF-8&x=wrt

    1. Marc says:

      The quality of the links matter more than the quantity. There are a significant amount of variables at play in “quality” as well.

      You’re also in a competitive market segment. It’s quite likely that your competitors are working just as hard as you are to rank well for the money terms.

  18. Pingback: Getting Links
  19. Nick says:

    John, what if I wrote about a website in my niche, and email the webmaster telling him that it would be nice if he returned the favor? Would that work?

    1. John Chow says:

      I would just email him and tell him you wrote about him and leave it at that. Then when you have an interesting article, send him news about it. If he’s nice, he should post it.

    2. HMTKSteve says:

      One of the resaons I switched over to WordPress is thetrackback feature.

      If the website you write about is another WordPress blog your blog will let them know about the linkback!

  20. chaunceysmith says:

    Its a Nice Product to use.

  21. Dblogged says:

    A lot of the latter ideas you said, all require the number one thing… write great content.

    Unfortunately, several people tend to forget this minor detail and try to promote content that isn’t worth reading, let alone publishing.

  22. I wouldn’t care much about the pagerank. I mean, my old crappy blog has a 5 and it’s far from being popular.
    I guess having a wikipedia user page since 2003 and seeing it being mirror a million times helped a lot 🙂

    BTW: two things doing the same?
    [ ] Subscribe to comments via email
    [ ] Notify me of followup comments via e-mail

  23. mister scruff says:

    i found johnchow.com via his “google whore” article about a week ago. now i’m a regular reader of this blog , and it check it out at least once a day.

    just goes to show that john is dead right – quality and compelling content is absolutely the key here.

  24. Great post – too bad you’re banned from Digg because this is definitely Digg material.

    I have to try sending out news releases – it would be great if you could write a post on that: How to approach sites, how to structure the news release, etc…

  25. Jose says:

    John,

    I believe in the first 3 points. Great content is always important for attracting readers. I’ve posted 2 entries on the importance of leaving comments on blogs you visit. I’m a grass roots kind of a guy and I believe that thoughtfully commenting on other blogs is a good basic way of attracting visitors back to your own blog.

    I’m amazed that the inspiration from the comments I’ve received since I started blogging, and as a result one of my goals as a blogger is to give to the blogging community by thoughtfully commenting on as many blogs as I can and by giving backlinks to fellow bloggers, especially when they’ve given one to me with out telling me.

    I’ve not yet tried link baiting, nor have I ever sent out a press release, and as for the Social Networking sites I’m starting to join those, and I’m seeing results.

    Thanks for the post!

    Jose

  26. zw says:

    When a true master speak, the world should listen..

  27. Aris says:

    I don’t know which one is higher? Master Chow or Chairman Chow? 😆

  28. TJ aka says:

    Hi,

    Those were very good advices. I have just created my first blog, and now I am learning different kind of techniques to get more visitors to my blog. You got very good topics in here.

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