How to Earn Quality Backlinks: A Guide for Introverts

Most of the advice for building backlinks requires reaching out to strangers, announcing your content, asking for a link, or pitching a guest post. The problem for introverts is that initiating conversations with strangers—whether in person or online—is a nightmare.

I know this because I’m an introvert. When I read advice on how to build links, there’s a pessimist on my shoulder that says, “Just abandon your site. It’s not worth it.” Introversion can be debilitating.

But introvert or not, earning links is necessary for success in search. According to the experts at Google:

As an introvert, you can either cling to that “not impossible” and hope your site can rank without earning links, or you can engage in some effective tactics for building backlinks without having to send unsolicited emails.

Increase Backlinks by Publishing the Right Types of Content

“Please cite your sources” is a phrase you probably haven’t heard since college, but it’s a lesson writers follow every day. Professional writing demands citations. Thankfully, when writing for the internet, we’re not required to use Works Cited pages. Instead, we link to our sources.

And when do we link to sources? When we’re looking for proof to back up our claims. We link to research, data, statistics, studies, and survey results that prove the assertions we’re making.

The bottom line is that almost everyone is using content marketing now, and for every best practice listicle published, there are 20,000 others providing the same advice. To stand out and earn links, you need to focus a portion of your content strategy on publishing data-driven content—content that can be referenced by other writers and content marketers to prove a point or support an argument.

How to Write Content That Earns Links Organically

Enhance Content Visibility and Build Brand Recognition to Earn Inbound Links

Google actually discourages guest posting. Their advice for earning links is simply to write high-quality content—the “if you build it they will come” approach. However, this advice is somewhat confounding considering that you need links to rank, and if you’re not ranking, no one will find your content. How can people link to your content if they can’t find it?

“Everyone likes to focus on the first part of the term content marketing, but they often overlook the word that follows content: marketing. Simply building content just isn’t enough.” – Mike Templeman

Until you get some incoming links, you must find alternative ways to direct traffic from potential linkers to your content. By making your content more visible, you’ll increase the likelihood that your content will be discovered, consumed, and referenced in another site’s post with a link.

How to Market Your Content Without Sending Unsolicited Emails

“Paid amplification tends to work best when you have an audience that you know is likely to pick those things up and potentially link to them, but you don’t already reach them through organic channels.” – Rand Fishkin

Embrace Social Media as a Content Promotion and Audience Engagement Tool

As an introvert, I struggle with my dedication to social media because it’s very public, and I am very private. However, neglecting the power of social media puts you as a significant disadvantage.

Social media enables you to get you content in front of people who wouldn’t see it otherwise, to promote new content to people who’ve expressed interest in what you’re publishing, and to gauge the success or failure of a piece of content by measuring social shares and likes.

The bottom line is that social media is a powerful publishing tool that enables you to market your content to interested audiences—as well as other writers and influencers who may want to link to your content from something they’re writing.

How to Promote and Engage on Social Media Without Getting Overwhelmed

Consider Approaches to Guest Posting that Don’t Require Sending Cold Emails

Guest posting is a great way to build links, reach broader audiences, and build your personal and business brand. However, the process of guest posting generally consists of finding an editor’s email address and sending him/her a catchy email that sparks a relationship and builds interest in your pitch.

As a writer, this should be easy. As an introvert, it’s grueling. If my career is dependent on how often I’m willing to send unsolicited emails to strangers bragging about my qualifications and begging to write for them, it may be time for a new career.

But the ironic thing is that as a freelance writer, that basically is my job. People post ads for writers online, and I reply to them with qualifications and writing samples. What’s so different, then, about guest posting?

The difference is that the jobs I apply to asked to receive that information from me. For introverts, the dividing line between reasonable and tacky outreach sometimes boils down to the existence of a request.

If you want to guest post but don’t want to send unsolicited emails, look for opportunities where site owners and editors have specifically asked for writers to submit guest posts or become contributors.

How to Find Sites That Have Specifically Requested Guest Post Pitches

  • The Ultimate Guide to Guest Blogging – Learn how to use search, social media, and competitor research to find publishers who want to receive contributions.
  • nDash for Writers – This freelance writing platform lets you submit pitches to hundreds of companies who all joined the platform specifically to find writers and content ideas.
  • 150 Sites to Guest Post in 2017 – A regularly updated list of 150 sites that accept guest posts, including links to the contact information and/or submission guidelines for each.
  • How to Write the Perfect Article Pitch – When pitching a guest post, follow these best practices to get your pitch read instead of sent straight to the trash folder.
  • The Psychology Behind Writing a Great Pitch – Adopt some basic principles of psychology to compose pitches that establish shared values to encourage open and response rates.

Start Your Link Earning Campaign by Adopting a Single Approach

“Sometimes it helps to be a pretend extrovert. There will always be time to be quiet later. But in the long run, staying true to your temperament is key to finding work you love and work that matters.” – Susan Cain

Earning links sounds overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead of waking up tomorrow and trying to implement the advice from all of these articles, choose one—possibly the one that sounds the least cringe-inducing—and see how it works for you. Sign up for nDash and send an industry pitch, or create a single profile on a social media channel and start posting updates.

Focusing on a single strategy has multiple benefits: you’ll reduce the likelihood that you’ll get overwhelmed by the effort, and you’ll have cleaner data for learning which strategies work and which aren’t worth the commitment.

Over time, you’ll discover which tactics earn the most links, helping you rank higher in search results without forcing you to play the role of an extrovert.