How To Drive More Links To Your Content
You want articles that you post on your site to get links. Not just permanent links on other blogs, but distribution links on people’s accounts on Twitter and Facebook, too. While you can always pay link brokers and promotion specialists to get that going for you, it’s not exactly the most feasible solution — especially when you want to build a large audience of people who are actually interested in your content (rather than coaxed into it by marketers and SEOs).
If you’re struggling to get those links organically, here are some things to consider improving on:
1. Your Headlines
If readers can’t wrap their heads regarding an article’s subject from reading the headline, there’s a good chance they won’t read it. And if someone doesn’t read your content, then there’s an even smaller chance they will link to it.
Work on your headlines, making sure they’re both descriptive of your content and interesting enough to command attention. Additionally, use language and phrasing that your target readers will use — that’s how they’ll know it’s what they’re looking for, after all.
Avoid headlines that require context to be understood. Headlines that try to be clever or creative often fall in this category. Don’t sacrifice clarity just so you can be witty — prioritize headlines that actually inform.
2. Your Hook
The internet is littered with content covering just about any subject in the world. As such, there are very few chances that anything you produce will be treated like a special snowflake. So how do you differentiate yourself from the mass of content out there?
That’s where your hook comes in. What is it about this particular piece that entice readers to actually stay on the page and read through? If they see it in a list of articles about the same subject, why would they choose it over all the other links on the page? Your hook, whatever bait it is you’re dangling, will be the deciding factor. If you have a good hook, readers immediately have good reason to link your way.
4. Your Angle
Even the oldest subject can be attacked from a different angle to make it feel fresh and relevant. The most common of these is offering up an off-topic subject with an angle aimed at a website’s core readers, such as when a tech blog writes a post called “A Hip-Hop Guide For The Silicon Valley Set” or when a diving enthusiast blog writes about “10 New Gadgets To Make Your Diving Life More Fun.” Finding interesting angles that aren’t played out is the challenge and that’s where your creativity will come into play.
5. Your Article Length
There was a time when all people could tolerate to read from the web were articles with 500 words or less. I believe that time is long gone. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can now inundate your readership with 4,000-word mini-novels and get consistently fruitful results. It works for some subjects because people will link to quality material. Make sure the length is warranted, though, such that you really need that many words (instead of merely being repetitive and dragging) and it makes more sense not to split the information up into separate articles.
6. Your Choice Of Topic
There are just some topics that people don’t care about, regardless of how much you enjoy writing about them. If it’s not within most people’s sphere of interest, then they won’t link to it. It’s just the way of the world.
If you’re interested in maximizing the amount of links and social media mentions your content gets, then choose topics that people actually care for. Sure, put in your share of passion pieces. For building the profile of your website, though, you’ll want to focus on topics that people will actually link to.
Choose interesting topics if you want to draw interest. Writing about your company, your business and yourself may be interesting to your friends, but it’s doubtful how many other people give a crap about them. Do research on your target readers and survey your blog’s existing readership if you need help finding topics they’d actually like.
7. Your Writing’s Coherence
A lot of articles on the web aren’t produced by writers with years of training up their sleeves. Instead, a lot of tech articles are written by tech enthusiasts; a lot of game reviews are written by gaming fans; and so on. Couple that with the lack of an editorial hand in many content sites and the result is a predictable flood of incoherent content.
You don’t have to write like a Pulitzer candidate. Just write enough that you can be understood and your ideas can be communicated effectively.
8. Your Focus
The narrower the focus of your content, the easier it is for readers to mentally file them, making it clear exactly how to link to it and where to use that link. Articles with a wider focus tend to be a little more difficult to promote, especially with the character limits inherent in many social media sharing platforms.
9. Your Page Layout
This has nothing to do with your writing and everything to do with how the article is laid out on a web page. If your layout is poor, the article is tough to read. While a lot of people will persevere through poor layouts in printed matter, most people usually equate the same thing with garbage websites on the internet. Chances are, people won’t even give your article 30 seconds of their time with a stinker like that.
10. No Promotion
You can’t just buy a domain, throw on WordPress, write a couple of features and expect people to show up. For the most part, you’ll need to do some promotion if you want people to visit your content.
Having a social media presence and getting your content seen by the right people is one of those crucial steps. Figure out a way to insert yourself in the conversation for the subject matter you want to write about and leverage that to promote any new material you produce.
When you want to attract links, you need to give people a reason to give you the link. You can’t just throw up anything that comes to mind, then pray that it sticks. Think about why people will link to you while putting together your content. If you can’t come up with one, then you’re probably missing something essential. Find that and make it the highlight of your piece.