For those of you serious about attribution and link building, we’re going to show you how to really get the attention of authors whose content you want to link back to.
No, we aren’t going to use Trackbacks and Pingbacks, although the method below might seem like we are. In fact, the original title for this article was “Using Google Plus for Trackbacks” until I read this fantastic explanation from +MaAnna Stephenson at BlogAid.
To really get the attention of authors and influencers when adding links to their websites in our blogs, we’re going to use Google Plus. Here is the 5-step plan to rock attribution and citations.
Step 1. Write your blog post like you normally would, and link to the relevant content.
TIP: always open links to PDF files and external web pages in a new window/tab, so your readers can get back to your post.
Step 2. Go onto Google+ and find the profile of the author of the posts you’re linking to.
You can do this in a number of different ways, and it might take some digging if the user isn’t active on Google+. Usually, the author will have a profile image on their blog post; type their name into the Google+ search bar, and look for that profile image. No luck? Find their Twitter handle (again, usually on the blog post somewhere) and tweet them to ask if they’re on Google+.
(If all else fails, hopefully there’s a personal website or some other profile online, like LinkedIn, that you could use)
Step 3. Go back to your blog post and link to their profile in a citation next to their link. This creates a “backlink” to their Google Plus profile.
TIP: Make sure the URL you use the About tab, not the Posts tab. For example, a link to my Google Plus profile would look like https://plus.google.com/105076725141939280120/about (the default when you copy the URL from your browser is /posts, and if you copy the URL by right-clicking onto a profile from a post or comment they’ve made, and selecting “Copy Link”, you won’t have any tab mentioned at all, which defaults to /posts)
Step 4. Publish your blog post
Not much else to write here…none of this means anything if the post continues to sit in your “Drafts” folder!
Step 5. Share your blog post on Google Plus.
In the introduction, +mention the users whose content you linked to. They will get a notification.
Why is this better than Trackbacks and Pingbacks?
Both trackbacks and pingbacks are inbound links to someone’s website, nothing more. And in our example, you’re still creating the backlink in your blog post; that hasn’t changed. What has changed, though, is the attribution and social connection you’re adding. What has changed is the way you’re marketing that attribution.
By linking to the author, you have added a backlink to the author’s Google Plus profile. Profiles have PageRank just like any other web page on the Internet. You can read more about that in an excellent Slideshare presentation by +Mark Traphagen.
By +mentioning them in your Google Plus post, the notification they receive about the link you created to their site is delivered in a manner different than the one spammers use. Chances are it will get their attention.
The authors you +mentioned will thank and share you, helping your blog post reach a far wider audience, and drive more traffic to your website. Your own audience will see other users contributing to your excellent content, and add them to their own circles by mousing over their name, triggering their Google+ hovercard, and adding them to a circle. Win-Win!
Compare this to the automated trackback and pingback email that gets sent by your blog, which is the same email that is sent by spammers. Compare it even to the automated notification that Blogger blogs send. Don’t you think those extra few steps are worth it?