Most folk know by now that the single most important part of SEO is generating incoming links. One of the easiest ways of doing this is by writing great content, adding some spice and throwing in a bit of social media marketing for good measure. But what if you’ve tried all that and still no juice? Here’s a couple of reasons why your site might not be generating links.
You’re writing your best content on twitter.
Alot of bloggers have complained that the rise and rise of Twitter has lead to backlinks drying up, with folks preferring to tweet rather than link now, and I agree – to a point. In my opinion the increased exposure can in some cases lead to more links. It isn’t really any different than someone choosing to share content via any other mechanism.
Posting your thoughts on twitter is never going to result in backlinks to your site. Granted it may mean that your ideologies get in front of more eyeballs, and in turn increased brand exposure – but it’s not going to make someone more likely to link to you. If you find yourself tweeting deep thoughts, then take the extra time and flesh it out into a blog post. You can then use your morsal of thought as a byline to tweet a link to it. Stop wasting your best content by giving it in bite sized chunks to Twitter.
Your posts aren’t unique
No one wants to read the same old thing, with the same old ideas that they’ve read somewhere else. Regurgitated content that has clearly been rewritten or remashed, and doesn’t share new ideas or thoughts with the reader are quickly forgotten, and seldom shared.
You aren’t leaving titbits
A good blog post leaves the reader with an extra little something. Usable, useful tips that they can take to the bank. Generally this makes for a happier reader that wants to spread your ideas to their friends. Sharing is caring, and caring equals links. Personally, I’m more likely to read blog posts that teach me something rather than read for plain amusement – I’ve got books for that.
If you can’t share knowledge on a subject (if you dont feel qualified to teach) – the next best thing is to share your journey on the road to enlightenment, or your opinion.
You don’t encourage sharing
To get backlinks, the first part of the process for smaller website owners and bloggers, is to get the sharing wheels greased, and starting the ball rolling yourself by seeding content. You need to expose content to multiple eyeballs before it will result in backlinks, simply due to the law of averages. More established blogs can generate links at the drop of a hat because of their subscriber counts, the little guy has to work harder, and think smarter.
Some bloggers swear by social sharing icons at the footer of posts to encourage this. Sociable is a good WordPress plugin which will do this for you. However don’t expect it to be some magic traffic bullet – if your content isn’t good – no one is going to share it whether its easy to do or not.
Your audience aren’t content creators
You can split the internet into a few groups, luckily for me Charlene Li has gone and illustrated it perfectly. There are the inactive consumers (folk who just read content), and there are the content creators. Working out where abouts on the social technographic ladder your audience lies is important.
It means you have to adopt different strategies when linkbuilding if they are further down the chain. In other words, if your audience are simply reading, and aren’t sharing you need to work out a strategy to attract folks who are all of those things.
Your posts aren’t memorable
A lot of the time, backlinks don’t happen immediately. More commonly they occur when a blogger is writing on something which relates to your original post further down the line. I’ve had backlinks coming in from readers which read some of my stuff six months ago, and only found themselves writing on similar topics further down the line.
Its important to make your post stand out from the crowd when they first read so they remember it later. This may mean adding polish to a blog post by adding memorable images or captivating titles.
If the title isn’t unique enough, you won’t benefit from those people who read your post who can’t remember where they seen it, and try to Google it to find it. Simples.
You aren’t thinking outside the box
Some niche’s are tougher than others. How do you build links to a blog on computer printers? How do you even go about writing an interesting blog post on printers that is likely to attract links?
You have to think outside the box. For example create an article on say “15 of the worlds toughest printers” – the ones that stood up to serious abuse. Drop each one off the back of a lorry, and see if it works. Record it on Youtube. Set it on fire. See if it works. Record it on Youtube. Drive over it. See if it works. – You get the idea. Write up a review with those videos embedded, and make it interesting, and funny.
That’s thinking a bit different, and is the sort of interesting post which works well on social media platforms. Even the most boring and mundane products can generate links if you put a spin on them.
Your content is too commercial
I’m all for folks promoting themselves via their blogs, but the trick isn’t to spend all of your time pimping your own shit. People hate that. Far better to impart knowledge on how you operate, or how you approach problems than to push your brand down your readers throats.
You are launching a new product? Great – show us how you built it, how you market it, how it works. You are selling a new line of clothing? Great – show us how to wear it, who is wearing it well, and why its this seasons must have. That approach is much more likely to result in a backlink than to simply shout “Hey internet people – I’m over here, come buy me!”. Sales come after you’ve built brand trust, and a blog should provide another mechanism to build that.
Your content is too hard to read
An obvious, but often overlooked factor, is that although you’ve got great content – that you’ve made it near impossible to consume. I’ve seen great blogs, with great content, that struggle for attention because the rest of their site is so busy from a visual perspective. Others that have decided to go with a serif font at 11pixels that make my eyes bleed when I try to read it. Simple common sense rules such as a decent choice of web font, at a decent size with proper spacing applied can make all the difference to your site. Another pet peeve of mine is content that is squeezed into less than 50% of the viewport, with no room to breathe. If your content is good – make it the focus and let it shine.
You aren’t going the extra mile
Your blog is in competition with millions. Everyone is fighting for attention. What are you doing that makes you stand out from the crowd? What are you producing that makes people sit up and take notice? That’s where the crux of many people’s problems lie, they think that simply putting out another two-bit two-minute blog post is going to make an impact if they keep at it and repeat the formula. As the saying goes 1 million times zero, is still zero. Instead of making your new year’s resolution to write more – make it write less with more impact.