One of the lifelines that keeps a blog healthy and growing is the incoming link. When other blogs and websites link to you blog they inject your blog with ‘juice’ that brings it real life in three main ways:
- Google Juice – incoming links are gold when it comes to climbing the search engines rankings. Every link is like a vote in Google’s eyes – get enough votes from the right sites and your blog will see increases in search engine traffic over time.
- Reader Juice – incoming links from even small sites will generally mean that people click the link and visit your site. New potential readers!
- Branding Juice - sometimes the real benefit of an incoming link can be the general branding and reputation enhancing that it can do. A link can be like an endorsement for your blog and on larger sites it can have profound impact not only by what it does with traffic and SEO but the impression that the link creates in the reader’s mind.
There has been a lot written about how to get links to your blog of late – but one thing that can be just as important is how you cultivate the relationships with those linking to you.
One of the things that I’ve learned in the last year particularly is that when a blog or website links to you once there is every chance that they’ll do it again.
As a result it can be very worthwhile to get to know the person who does the writing on the site and to build a working relationship with them.
This generally starts with an email and/or a comment on the post where they link to you.
Today’s task is to send an email to a blogger or webmaster that linked up to you recently. For some of you there will be plenty to choose from, for others just starting out it could be difficult to find any.
Some places to look for who is linking to you:
- Technorati – type your URL in and hit search and you’ll find any blogs linking to you
- Google Blog Search – another good tool for real time link tracking
- Your Blog’s Metrics – any worthwhile stats package will give you a ‘referrals’ stat that shows incoming links. I use Google Analytics but you could also use Sitemeter, Mint, AW Stats or one of many other metrics tools.
- Search Engines – type in ‘link:http://www.yourblog.com’ at Yahoo or Google and you’ll find incoming links to your blog – note: this isn’t a quick or immediate method of finding recent links.
Once you’ve found another blog or site that’s linked to you – simply drop them an email of thanks. You can do a comment also – but I find an email is a little more personal and often leads into a conversation and perhaps relationship.
Keep the email brief and simple. Don’t pitch the blogger ideas – simply thank them and let them know that you appreciate both the link and their site (if you do). You may also want to make some sort of a comment or ask a simple question that relates to how they linked to you to show you’re engaging with them. If you intend to keep following their blog tell them (eg – let them know if you subscribe to their blog).
If the blogger responds in some way then let the conversation flow. You might find that it leads you to suggest another post that you’ve written, you might find that you can help them in some way or that you can work on something together – however don’t rush this. If nothing more happens than you saying thank you then you’ve lost nothing and made a little impression.
On the other hand you could well find yourself with a new friend and regular incoming links to your blog.