It’s a commonly asked question; Isn’t it a bad idea to link to competitors in my blog post? While it may seem counter-intuitive, linking to competitor websites in your posts is an excellent blogging tactic. External linking carries several stigmas that have hampered wider adoption among business blogs and professionals. However, a thorough understanding of best practices will allow you to succeed and avoid the dangers sometimes associated with external linking.
The single greatest benefit of external linking is the ability to improve search engine ranking (SEO) for your blog posts.
Use External Linking to Boost SEO Ranking
93% of online experiences begin with a search engine and Google accounts for approximately 70% of all search engine usage. Essentially, you can’t ignore search engine ranking unless you’re willing to reach the tiny piece of your audience that’s included in the 7% of people who don’t use search engines when they get online.
To begin improving your blog’s search engine ranking you’ll need to understand all the SEO factors to focus on.
Factors to consider for SEO ranking:
- PageRank. PageRank was developed by Google as a way to determine the value of a specific page. One of the most important factors measured by PageRank is the number of links leading to the page. A link leading to your page typically means your page has been considered a good resource by the site linking to your content. This increases the potential to improve your ranking.
- Link authority. Be careful when choosing external links to place in your blog posts. Choosing a page that has a low PageRank will lower your own PageRank. Sites with higher authority have better quality links that can potentially increase your page’s ranking. Sites such as Forbes, Inc, Mashable, and Huffington Post all have excellent link authority.
- Keyword density. Before PageRank existed, there was keyword stuffing. People would cram as many keywords are they possibly could find into their blog posts for search engines to find. To rank high with today’s SEO standards you need to focus on readability and good writing. The idea is to create a blog post that provides value in the written word rather than focusing on attracting as much traffic as possible from search engines by overusing keywords.
- Image optimization. Search engines send out bots that crawl your pages to determine how relevant your content is to the search term entered by users. While the actual images in your blog posts can’t be viewed by search bots, they do look for alt text. Including your main keyword in the alt text will make your images more SEO friendly.
Receiving Inbound Links
Inbound links (also called backlinks) are links coming from other websites to your own website. Receiving inbound links to your blog post can be a great ranking factor. A blog post with backlinks informs search engines that your site has authority. The more high-quality inbound links your blog receives the better your website ranking will be.
One of the best ways to receive authority inbound links is to build a rapport with respected bloggers in your industry. Choose five to seven blogs that you can follow every week and start commenting on relevant topics. When you find a particularly great blog, use it to update one of your current blog posts by including a link. Bloggers that review their website traffic analytics will be able to see how many visitors are sent from your site to theirs. If the number is substantial they may return the favor by linking to your blog posts and further increasing your rank.
Take advantage of linking out for your business blogging. It’s a great way to increase your credibility and improve your PageRank authority. Find the best-linked content that will enhance the value of your own posts and you’ll start experiencing greater SEO ranking.