How To Properly Use Backlinks and Social Media For SEO Growth

Welcome to the 3rd week of Search Engine Optimization month. Today we are chatting about how to properly use backlinks and social media for search engine optimization growth. What does that even mean? Well, let's find out! First, let's take a look at our improved SEO month roadmap:

  1. Search Engine Optimization Basics: Using Keywords
  2. How to Submit Your Site To Search Engines (And Why It's Important)
  3. How To Properly Use Backlinks & Social Media For SEO Growth (You are here)
  4. Writing A Post For SEO While Being Human

Don't forget to check out the first two posts after you get finished reading this informative article! We have chatted about so many cool topics such as using keywords and submitting your site--but for the next few weeks we are going to go away from the technical side and over to the human side of things because for the next few weeks we will be discussing things that do require more outside human touch to create. When discussing quality back links and social media pushes we want that human touch so that we know that people are deciding to place our posts themselves.

How To Properly Use Backlinks And Social Media For SEO Growth | A big part of SEO growth is creating backlinks and a social media presence for your blog. This week for the 3rd installment of SEO month on Amanda Cross Blog the topic of discussion is how to build those backlinks and social media following. Click through to learn more about using backlinks and social media for SEO.

what value do you bring to the table?

Before we chat about backlinks and social media shares we need to talk about value. What value do you bring to the table with your blog? Hopefully the answer is a ton of value. People share things that are valuable to them. This doesn't necessarily mean just educational value, but educational value is probably one of the easiest things to obtain as a blogger. 

People don't just link to anything or share anything on social media. They usually share when something speaks to them so you have to make sure your content does just that. If you spend any length of time on my blog you know that I love being a generous content creator. I share that message in everything that I publish online because I feel that it is that important.

Your content needs to be actionable, easy to follow, and you need to niche down your blog's focus and get acquainted with your ideal audience in order to do that. Once you are able to do those things you can really make an impact on your readers and start getting more social and backlink love to your website.

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how to build backlinks for your blog

Building high quality backlinks is so important. There are many ways to build those backlinks for your blog. Here are a couple of the easiest ways to gain those backlinks:

1. Guest Posting

Guest posting is one of the ways most commonly associated with gaining backlinks. This isn't the easiest method, but it comes with a host of other great things:

  • Increased relationship with people in your industry
  • Great access to other people's audiences
  • Increased page views and email list sign-ups

When deciding who you would like to guest post for I would take a couple of things into consideration:

Their niche

The paramount concern that you should have when deciding where to guest post is the site's niche. If the niche doesn't mesh with your niche, why would you even bother guest posting? There are many easier ways to build backlinks than writing for a site that's not in your niche.  Sharing your favorite cheese dip recipe on a food blog won't help your social media posts on your social media advice blog. Be clear about who you would like to write for and make sure that they post about similar topics so you can take advantage of all the added benefits of guest posting. If you are building a freelance portfolio, guest posting out of your niche may be acceptable, but that is the only time that I could see it as beneficial.

Their SEO

This may seem like something that you have to fight to get, but SEO is pretty open. Moz has a great Google Chrome extension that you can add which allows you to find some great information about any site that you happen to be on while using it. Click here to get the MozBar (and thanks to Eden Fried who introduced me to this tool when I attended one of her webinars. Check out her blog she provides tons of great information!)

Their engagement and social following

You should also consider their engagement and social following. Some people say that you should just base this off their social following but I feel you need a mixture. This does not mean that you pass over the small blogger, in fact guest posting for someone who has a similar or even smaller following can be beneficial if they have great engagement. That is why I think you should look at both metrics before you decide to work with them.

Their writing style

You want someone who has a similar writing style to you. If they have a more flower-y and poetic writing style and your writing style is like a slap in the face--you won't work well with their audience. Even if you write about similar topics that style won't mesh. If you toned down your writing for their site you can't fake it all the time so when they happen to check out your site they will be dazed and confused. Instead, focus on guest posting for sites that have a similar writing style so you don't have to tame yourself or make yourself a different writer in any way, shape, or form.

Guest posting can be really beneficial to you as a writer. Yes, guest posting is giving away some of your best content, and it is also a slow build for your link building strategy. On the other hand, this creates a closer bond for you. It's about more than just getting a link--it's building a relationship with new people which can prove so much more valuable than a link on someone's blog post.

That being said, you may want some of those links that are easier to obtain so here comes #2...

2. Emailing Influencers

Another great idea for building backlinks is to email influencers with your new post. Find influencers who have published about similar things on their blog. You can use the same things we talked about a few paragraphs back like using the MozBar to understand their SEO influence and observing their social media following and engagement. Once you have chosen the influencers:

You need to act like you give a damn.

I am going to be frank here, because this situation is dire. I get requests to look at people's content all the time on The Happy Arkansan but I hardly ever add their links because it seems like they don't truly care. If you want influencers to listen to your case you have to at least act like this is more than just a scheme to build your backlinks. If having your link on my blog is seen as influential--I want you to care about getting that link.

I am not asking you to kiss the ground I walk on, but you know, act like you actually want to form a relationship instead of just treating me as one more backlink on your mountain of links. Here is how you do that:

Address the influencer by their name | This is already an easy way to build links--you should not be sending the same pitch email to each influencer your email. Bloggers usually have their name prominently displayed on their blog so use that. Double check before you send any email just in case you pulled the wrong name.

Show that you have at least read the blog post | If you have read more than that, that's amazing, but at least act like you have read the post at hand. Comment on something specific about the post, it doesn't have to be long-winded (influencers have places to be) but a comment or two about why you like the post is always appreciated.

Be specific | I shouldn't have to dig for the post in question. Many influencers have 100s and sometimes 1000s of posts. Share a link (or at the very least a title) to the post you are talking about so I know where to insert your link.

Don't act entitled | One of the biggest turn offs for me, "I see you have linked to XYZ's post and our post would be a great addition too." I am sorry, but just because I found that post helpful doesn't mean I will like yours. Don't mention who else I've linked to, quite frankly in my opinion, it's none of your business.

There are MANY more ways to earn backlinks for your website. This list from Entrepreneur that shares 10 Smart Ways To Earn Or Build Backlinks To Your Website is really great. I am really partial to the writing testimonials and getting interviewed methods they share. Lastly, another great way is by signing up for the Help A Reporter Out newsletter. This newsletter comes to your inbox 3x a day Monday-Friday and has plenty of opportunity to help out reporters and get potential links back to your site.

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how to build a social media following around your blog

Social media is a great way to uplevel your SEO. The bottom line is Google looks at your social media influence to validate your authority. It's easy to get backlinks galore from websites through emailing influencers, guest posting, or doing all of those backlinks techniques--but you need validation from a source that is harder to fake--social media. It's hard and discouraged to create dozens of Twitter accounts just to get more retweets on your blog's tweet. Google sees this as a good thing and they really take into consideration all of your social media love.

If you want to learn more information about the relationship between social media and SEO check out this post by Hootsuite. Now, let's chat about how to get more social media love on your blog.

Believe in The Power Of The Social Share Bar

When I created a post a few months ago about increasing blog shares one thing I hammered home is adding a social share bar to your blog. Most Squarespace themes come with a share button at the bottom but it's teeny tiny and easily glossed over. A social share bar allows you to put social sharing at the forefront of your brand--plus once those huge social share numbers start rolling in--who wouldn't want to be a part of that? When you are able to put your numbers out there it gets people excited to help you add to that number with their social share.

Put The Social Back In Social Media

It's so easy to forget to be social in a world of social media apps like Buffer and SmarterQueue that make it incredibly easy to schedule all your content and forget about it's existence. You cannot do that though. You need to be more than willing to write your own social media content from time to time.

add a few 15 minute blocks into your schedule

If you would rather schedule a lot of your content--do something simple for me. Create 2-3 15 minute blocks throughout your day and a rotating schedule of the social media sites you want to focus on. When your 15 minute block comes up--create content for your various social media channels during that time.

Create a block in the morning, afternoon, and in the evening. During that time--get social with your social media accounts. Spend your time commenting on content and liking or favoriting content. Throw in some retweets too during your Twitter blocks. Focus on one social media for the block and mix it up so you are not using the same social media account each time. 

Above all else, during this time, be genuine. Don't leave a comment just to leave a comment. Leave something insightful, add to the conversation, be human.

Encourage More Shares

When someone shares your blogs work on social media encourage that share. Interact with their share by thanking them and retweeting them or liking/favoriting their social media update. This is an easy way to show your appreciation and get people excited to share your content more. Once you show that appreciation for them they will be more likely to share your content again and again.

Be sure to search for your URL on social media. For example on Twitter I have a saved search for amandacrossblog.com and every few days I go there and I look for social media shares on my content. People don't always tag you when they share your work so look for the shares--don't expect them to land in your notifications feed.

Keep up with your backlinks

Now that you know how to build backlinks and use your social media to your advantage--keep up with all those backlinks and social media shares you have received. This is great because it will likely cause even more reciprocation if you decide to follow up and return the favor by including their content on your website or sharing their content on your social media feed. Reciprocation can create a beautiful internet friendship.

Last week I touched on how to see all of your backlinks by using Google Search Console so be sure to use that coupled with searching on social media sites for your blog URL and looking in your social media mentions for all the people who have shared your content. Start sharing the love on your blog where you see fit or reaching out to them for collaboration on something in the future if you feel that it would be beneficial for them.

Final Thoughts

Well, our 3rd week of SEO month has come to a close and I hope that you have learned a lot from this series thus far. Don't forget to check out our last two articles if you haven't checked them out already and tune in again next week for the fourth (and final) installment of this series. 

Today's chat about backlinks will be so helpful for you as you continue to grow your blog's reputation online.

What are you going to do this week to build your backlinks?