Why Aren’t People Linking to You?

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As Dee noted in the last blog, building quality links takes time.  Although there are products that claim to help you automatically obtain high quality links from other sites, you have to ignore the hype they try to create for themselves.  If you are going out and looking for quality links, be ready to invest some time.

Although manual link building can be very effective, it’s not the only way to gain high quality links.  Even though it still requires work on your part, it is possible to create a site that people will link to without you ever needing to interact with them directly.

If you are wondering why people aren’t linking to your website without you explicitly asking (or bribing) them to, here are a handful of the most common reasons:

Your Content is Shallow: I see this problem quite often with e-commerce websites.  They have quality products to sell, but they are not getting the traffic they want because their websites are simply not ranking well.  Even if you do all the on-page work possible, if you’re not getting inbound links, you’re not going to rank as well as you should.

One of the easiest things you can do to attract more links is to beef up your content.  Using the e-commerce example, instead of including a three sentence explanation of a product, really think about all the possibilities for adding content to the page and giving people a reason to link to you.  For example, you could provide detailed customer reviews and expand the three sentence description to a full FAQ that would not only discuss the product itself, but also provide useful information about the general niche its related to.

Your Site Has No Personality: People are social creatures.  Even people who don’t like face to face human interaction follow social tendencies online.  Therefore, if your site is bland and doesn’t give people the slightest indication of any human elements, they probably aren’t going to feel very inclined to link to you.

Although you don’t need to include your entire life story (although there are some situations where this can be useful), a creative About page can go a long way.  You can also include small details in the design or layout of your website that show your personality.  Regardless of the specific tactic you use, the main goal is to remind people that there is an actual human being behind your website.  As Seth Godin has long said, marketing is all about telling stories, and marketing your site to attract more links is no exception!

You’re Not a Resource: I personally think this is the most powerful way to attract links.  If you want to get people to link to your content, make yourself into a resource!  People spend a lot of time online looking for answers to every type of question, so aren’t you answering the questions your audience has?  When someone with a blog or website finds a useful resource that helps them answer a question, the chances of them linking to it are very good.

If you have a blog, you can create featured, cornerstone content that works as a resource.  However, even if you have a normal website or an e-commerce website, you can just as easily create a resources section and fill it with articles that will be truly useful to your target audience.  The other great thing about making yourself into a resource is that it will build your credibility, which in turn will lead to additional exposure and attention!

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