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Whatever your industry, there’s bound to be a blog out there that specialises in it, and these can be incredibly valuable sources of inbound links to your site.

For anyone reading this who’s new to search engine optimisation (SEO), natural inbound links to your website from authoritative blogs will do wonders for your position in the search engine results pages. Google and the rest look at these links to assess the importance of your pages for certain keywords and phrases.

So, that makes top bloggers hugely important to your optimisation efforts. Once you’ve worked out which are the most relevant and powerful online journals, how can you encourage them to link to your pages?

Here are my thoughts, please add your own.

Deal delicately

Successful bloggers tend to be extremely proud of their efforts so you may have to tread very carefully.

If you get in touch and offer the writer money to promote your product, you could well end up with a scathing attack on you for cynicism.

To be honest, a blog that will accept money to promote a product will probably not be that powerful or respected a resource anyway. Lots of blogs accept money to promote goods and services but only a few manage to retain their trusting audience once they do so.

When you’re dealing with a blogger, a negative discussion or debate could result in bad publicity on the very blog you’re trying to gain exposure and links through.

Meet people

If it’s possible, meet your target blogger in person. Whether it’s at a conference or networking event, or your company actually taking the writer out for a drink or meal, meeting someone in person is always a far better starting point than an unsolicited email.

Offer guest posts

Although many blogs won’t want to risk their integrity by promoting your product or service, that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t agree to host a guest blog post.

This could be anything from a regular column like mine in Econsultancy, or a one-off contribution. Of course, it’s important that such posts are interesting in their own right and not just sales pitches – when you’re trying to reach out via the blogosphere, you need value-adding articles and guides rather than brochures.

Send freebies

How much confidence do you have in what you sell? Although many bloggers will reject requests for positive coverage, many of them will happily accept products to review – especially if they can keep the gadget afterwards.

If you offer a service rather than a product, invite them along to experience it. As long as it’s relevant to their blogging topic, most writers will happily run a review - everyone likes a freebie.

The only danger is that you do open yourself up to criticism if the blogger doesn’t think you’re quite up to scratch.

Blog yourself

The blogosphere is based on conversations and the best way to get involved in these is to start your own.

If you want inbound links from other industry blogs, then posting your own thoughtful articles on your own website is perhaps the best way to get coverage.

Having said that, although it may be the best way, it is far from the easiest. Your posts will need to be articulate, informative and valuable – so be aware that a blog takes time. Done well, though, it will be invaluable to your SEO efforts.

Kevin Gibbons

Published 7 December, 2009 by Kevin Gibbons

Kevin Gibbons is UK Managing Director at digital marketing agency BlueGlass. He is also known as an SEO speaker and can be found on Twitter and Google+.

102 more posts from this author

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Dan @ BlogSynergy.com

I've found that the very act of trying to find blogs to write for in guest blogging, encourages you to find interesting and related blogs to your own. The blogs I add to my RSS reader are usually the ones that I've found when researching guest blogs to approach... probably because they are in such a similar niche.

That said, I started the BlogSynergy project to help find blogs to write guest articles for. Blogs I might never have found via the search engines are starting to register on the BlogSynergy blog finder. Just goes to show, search engines are not the only way to find related blogs.

almost 7 years ago

James Gurd

James Gurd, Owner at Digital JugglerSmall Business Multi-user

Hi Kevin,

I agree you need to go delicately when approaching people who have worked hard to build up a loyal follower base. I don't think asking them for reviews is a bad thing, I think the incentive should be to add value to their readers, not necessarily financial.

Do you have any experience of companies who provide added benefits to a blogger's readers in exchange for open dialogue and an honest appraisal of product/service? I was thinking perhaps a blogger with high integrity might appreciate the offer of something of value for his/her readers rather than a quick gain for themselves.

I would be interested in your thoughts on this.

Thanks

james

almost 7 years ago

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Murray Kenneth

Another great way to build relationships with blogs is to actively seek out those blogs that relate to your own blog or business, and post useful, well-written comments. Technorati or Google Blogsearch are good ways of finding relevant blogs. Resist the temptation to post comments that are overly 'promotional' and focus on providing some value in a respectful way - including your name, email and URL in the post. By sharing something valuable you'll engage other bloggers and make yourself visible. The inbound links will be useful too.

almost 7 years ago

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Mark McCulloch

Great information on how to build relationships with blogs as this information is absolutely amazing and correct.

almost 7 years ago

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Babita Wakelin

I think you're absolutely right, the idea is to add value to the blogs. We provide a lot of SEO work for our clients. And as well as writing regular blogs for them we actively seek out other bloggers to work with. For both approaches we have one goal in mind, to provide value to the reader, rather than naval gazing or pushing our products. This is a two fold approach, firstly it allows us to add additional content to our clients blogs (providing an alternative voice and view point), and obviously, it provides another avenue for traffic.  Geographic restraints mean that it's not always that easy to meet bloggers face-to-face but we've found that building a relationship with them over a long period, through emails and regular comments on their blogs, is a good approach. I think like any relationship, it's about having something in common and something that both of you can share.

almost 7 years ago

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Mike Stenger

Awesome tips Kevin! Doing guest posts on other blogs of similar interest is an extremely effective way to not only build a relationship and trust with other people, but to also have them check out more of you where you normally write or in my case, post videos.

almost 7 years ago

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Ed Fry

Having a long term subscription to a blog can make a difference to. What's the perceived difference in "Wow, I've been subscribed to your blog for 6 months and I've learnt so much. I particularly loved articles X, Y and Z." to "I just found your blog via Google and I thought we'd make a good match".

almost 7 years ago

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