Using Outbound Links to Improve Your Blog

Chain LinkYou probably have read a lot about how linking out to other blogs is an effective way for new bloggers to get noticed. The idea, of course, is that when other bloggers see they are getting a link from you they will visit your blog and hopefully like what they see. If they do, maybe they’ll subscribe or link back to you.

Have you tried linking to other blogs and seen little or no results? Many new bloggers link to articles on the most popular blogs related to their topic, see no results and conclude that linking out isn’t going to work for them.

If you’ve been in this situation, read on. We’ll look at some ways to improve on the results you’re currently getting from your outbound links.

Why is Linking to Other Blogs Important?

1 – It helps your readers to find valuable information and resources (and if you do this consistently they’ll likely remember you as a reliable source).

2 – It helps other bloggers by sending targeted traffic and by giving them a link (which may help with their search engine rankings and Technorati authority).

3 – It can help you to get noticed by other bloggers (as mentioned already).

4 – Your trackback may show up in the comments of the other blogs, which could bring some click-through traffic to your site.

5 – Outbound links can give you some content for a post when you don’t have time to write. Many bloggers, including me, use posts of outbound links on the weekends when posting is less frequent.

If you are looking to grow your blog and increase your exposure, linking out can help if you implement some of these tips:

1 – Always link to quality content. Your link to another website or blog is essentially an endorsement from you. Remember that your reputation is on the line if you link to questionable or poorly-written content.

2 – Link to smaller blogs, not just A-listers. This is the key. Linking to A-list blogs is not a bad practice, but they are unlikely to notice your link since they get so many of them. Smaller blogs are more likely to notice, take the time to visit your blog and leave a comment or link back to you.

3 – Link to those bloggers who are in your network. There is no better way to strengthen your existing networking relationships than by giving a positive endorsement or a link to a fellow blogger. Treat your friends this way and others will be lining up to be a part of your network.

4 – Link to some bloggers who you have never had contact with. If you only link to your existing contacts, linking out will not help you to expand your network. Find other bloggers that you would like to have as a part of your network and link to them.

5 – Link to those who participate on your blog. Providing a link to active commentators is an extra incentive for readers to get involved on your blog, and it rewards them for their efforts.

6 – Be the first to link to a post. If the blog you are linking to displays trackbacks, your link will be the highest one shown. If that post winds up drawing a good deal of traffic you could get significant click-through visitors.

7 – Provide additional information. If you want your visitors to get the most out of your links, tell them a little bit about the posts that you are linking to. They’ll be more likely to click than if they are unsure of the subject of the linked post.

8 – Use outbound links to strengthen your posts. Don’t simply use outbound links in posts that are designated as link posts. Use them whenever appropriate in all of your articles. Effectively-used outbound links will add to the value of your blog posts, as they will give the reader more resources. If you can’t say it better than someone else already has, just provide a link to them. If you’re afraid of the links causing you to loose visitors, set them to open in a new window.

9 – Ask for reciprocal links. When you’ve found a blog post that you would like to link to, why not email the blog owner and ask them if they are interested in exchanging links? If you provide quality content on your blog that is relevant for their audience, many will be willing to reciprocate (again, this will be much more effective with smaller blogs than with the most popular ones). Another version of this process is to first link to the other blog, then email the blogger to introduce yourself, mention the link and ask them to consider linking to you.

I have personally used all of these methods and seen the outbound links bring new visitors, subscribers and contacts with other bloggers. Try some of these yourself and I think you’ll see the same results.

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