Yet, just linking isn’t enough – at least for me. I want to link to posts that are highly relevant and complementary to the topic I’m writing about. And specifically, I want the text I’m linking from to be a lead-in to what my readers will find when they click-through. In other words, I want people to clearly know that when I link from the word viral marketing, for instance, they’re going to see content about viral marketing.
Now this isn’t always easy to do. Sometimes it’s hard to find a good post about a topic you’d like to link too. Other times, it’s just hard to find a good, current post. But whether it’s easy or not, linking out from your blog definitely has benefits. As Michael Martine added during my last post, “Linking does two big jobs at once: it certainly does help build relationships, and it helps us to provide the resources our readers seek. That’s a big reason why they find us, why they stay and why they subscribe. Then the conversation really begins!”
So how do I find quality, relevant links that will compliment your post?
Basically, I have two methods for finding links. First, my feed reader. Sometimes I may find a post or two that I want to link to there. But really, what’s in my feed reader is so hit-or-miss that I only use it as a secondary method.
My primary method for finding posts to link to is good, old-fashioned search. I use Google & Google Blog Search regularly. While Google’s search will give you the most popular/relevant links based on your search terms, Google Blog Search will give you the most recent posts, based on your search terms. That’s why I use both.
From time to time I’ll also use Technorati, IceRocket and BlogPulse. The latter I like in general because of its trend search which can help track ‘buzz’ over time for a set of keywords. I use this sometimes to see how hot or cold topics have been.
How I use the search engines is I search for relevant key phrases that relate either specifically to my post topic and/or to the word(s) in my post I want to link from. This can be where the hard part comes in. Sometimes it’s just not all too easy to find really good, relevant posts that will add to my reader’s experience. So what do I do?
Sometimes, I don’t link. Other times, I link to a post that’s close, but not exact to my linked text. But the guideline I keep for myself is that the link has to add value and has to be relevant.
So I’m sure you’re wondering how much time this takes. Well, it took me about 20 minutes to write this post. But it took me 25 minutes or so to add in the 27 links. Is the time worth it? I think so. Could I link less and still get benefit? Absolutely. That’s the trade-off; how much time to spend looking for links versus the benefit to your blog and your blog audience.
Oh yeah, and one more thing…write your posts all the way through and edit them first. Then go looking for links. I’ve tried to link as I’m writing – it takes even longer. So write first, edit, then link.
Linking has been one way the ways I’ve build relationships with other bloggers. And it’s certainly one of the ways that I’ve gained readers. There are other ways to find relevant links, of course. What do you do?
Hi, I’m Dawud Miracle. Professionally, I’m a blog and marketing consultant, business coach, educator and web developer who helps people use their websites to grow their business. Personally I’m a devoted husband and father to two, soon to be three, children. Please let me know if I can help you in any way.