When you first start blogging, the goals of your blog are pretty small and (generally) easily attainable.
- Figure out what to regularly write about
- Figure out how to get people to read stuff
- Figure out how to make some change for the effort
Once you have those three goals accomplished, however, the time comes to start expanding on each of those goals to improve your blog’s daily performance. For example, maybe you see a traffic spike every time you write about a certain subject, or maybe certain Adsense placements lead to better click rates. Whatever the case may be, finding every advantage you can to make your blog more worth your time is a good investment of effort.
The most common way bloggers start to increase the visibility and performance of their site is through SEO, and one of the best ways bloggers can impact the visibility of their site in search engines is through link building.
A few years back, increasing the visibility of your site through building links was pretty easy… just trade a whole bunch of blogroll links with other bloggers and you’re good. These days, bloggers need to be a little bit savvier about their link building efforts. If you are reciprocal linking, it could very well pay off for you. When used in bulk as a link building strategy, however, reciprocal linking is generally not a long lasting way to secure quality search engine rankings.
In contrast to reciprocal links, one-way links are the preferred link of choice. In order to acquire one-way links from sites of merit in your industry, creativity is required today to entice the other bloggers to talk about your site and link to it. One of the best ways to do that in today’s webiverse is to hold a contest that provides an incentive for bloggers to get involved.
Leveraging contests as a method of link baiting is not a new practice, yet it remains very effective for building buzz about your site in the blogosphere and across social media networks.
If contests didn’t benefit websites with more traffic, more RSS subscribers, or better search rankings, then bloggers wouldn’t host contests.
Below are four important things to remember when hosting a contest where you’re asking bloggers to work for a prize and the goal for you is building links:
- Make sure the value of the prize is equivalent to or greater than the value of the work involved.
A blogger likely won’t take the time to blog and link to you in exchange for a prize less than $50.
- Make sure that how you track the contest (whether its number of site referrals or number of links placed, etc.) is fair for all bloggers who get involved.
For example, say you’re holding a contest that is referral traffic based in a large industry with varying levels of interest and tons of blogs. Say it’s football. Bloggers who write about NFL football would have a direct advantage over bloggers who cover the CFL, simply based on popularity.
- While it is perfectly acceptable to host a contest involving link building and have a prize as the reward, do not give money as the prize. Paying for links is always a bad idea, especially when improving search engine rankings is the end goal.
- Whenever possible, request contextual links in a new blog post over blogroll additions or advertisements with text links.
Too many bloggers add/remove links from their blogrolls and take widgets or ads off their site. If you request that a fresh blog post be written and include a contextual link, however, not only are you getting the most valuable type of link for SEO… you also greatly decrease the likelihood of link attrition (aka losing the links you gained during the contest).
Anyone else have any great ideas for a blogger and link building contest? Have you ever been in one – how’d it go? I’d love to see some stories in the comments below.
Image Credit: Felicityblumenthal