Despite what you might hear, backlinks are still a critical part of ranking well in search results.
One way to earn backlinks is through publishing high quality content. If you write articles that people want to share and link to again and again, then you’re well on your way to earning your website lots of authority.
But given that backlinks are so important for rankings, is there anything else we can do to earn more of them?
Asking Your Existing Network!
Asking your existing network doesn’t mean go and ask your entire address book to link to your website. You’re bound to come across as spammy, and irrelevant links won’t do you much good anyway.
Instead, make a list of websites where you’re currently mentioned and a separate list of websites where you ought to be mentioned, but aren’t yet.
Having trouble? Here are some common places:
Your company’s website
Your school/university website
An alumni organization
A philanthropic organization or charity
An author page from a web publication
Then, ask yourself the following questions about each website.
Do I have an ideal URL slug?
www.example.com/ryanerskine would be ideal
Do they link to my website or social media properties
Is it appropriate to ask for a longer biography or to have my name used more times?
I’m all set on Social Media Today. I have a link to both my website and Twitter, I’ve got a nice bio, and my URL slug is http://www.socialmediatoday.com/users/ryanerskine.
My company page is a mixed bag. I have a nice bio and my name is used several times, but there is no link to my personal website. (However there is a link to my BrandYourself site.) It would also be nice if I could get my URL slug to change from /rerskine to /ryanerskine.
My author page on the Bowdoin Orient is a good example of one with a lot of potential. There is currently no bio, no link to my website or social media, and my URL leaves a lot to be desired: http://bowdoinorient.com/author/685
Once you have your list, it’s time to reach out. For my company, it’s appropriate for me to just ask the dev team, but I’ll need to send an email out to someone at the Bowdoin Orient and see if they can do anything.
No need to defend or explain yourself. Start with a small explanation of who you are and keep the rest of it short and sweet. Remember, you want to make this as easy for them as possible.
As an example, here’s the email I sent to the web developer at the Bowdoin Orient:
I’m a ’12 graduate and a columnist on the Bowdoin Orient. I was wondering if it would be possible to make two small changes to my online author page:
2) Would we be able to add a link on my author page leading back to my main website, ryanerskine.com?
Thanks in advance,
He got back to me and explained that the two changes weren’t possible right now but that they were likely to change the system in the near future. It’s not an ideal answer, but now I can put that in my calendar to reach back out in a few months and see if anything has changed.
The process is actually very simple, just remember to remain polite and courteous. If anyone makes a change for you, remember that they are doing you a favor.
If you have any questions, reach out on Twitter and I’ll be happy to help.