Linkbuilding Strategies for Getting Higher Search Engine Rankings
Updated Feb 2010
Now, I’m sure if you’ve been in the MMO world for any amount of time, you’ve heard the term “backlink” tossed around time and time again.
A backlink is basically a “link” from one webpage to another webpage. Backlinks can either be internally based or originate externally. Let’s do an example on an internal link: How to make money online is new “link” pointing from this post to another post. We would call this an internal backlink.
Now, if say I create another site “MakingMoney4Morons.com” and put a link to this website that would be an external backlink.
Backlinks are important because without them, you won’t rank high on the SERP’s. Is it possible to rank high on the SERP’s if you don’t have any backlinks? Yes, but only in non-competitive niches. Using proper SEO techniques on your webpage (SEO-friendly titles, long posts, good internal linking structure, use of keywords), having your target keyword in your domain, and a decent amount of domain age may be enough to land you high one Google’s SERP for uncompetitive terms, but if there is even a hint of competition, you won’t rank high.
Backlinks are the lifeblood of the ranking system. Unfortunately, most ‘bloggers’ are completely clueless of this fact. The “prevailing” wisdom is that if you write beautiful content, have a beautiful layout, fantastic colors, you will magically gain SERP rankings. The so called “A lister” Make Money Online gurus preach this sort of nonsense gospel and it’s, for the most part, complete rubbish.
Yes, having good, useful content help bring in those natural links. But sometimes, relying on natural links just won’t do it – especially if you are trying to make money online.
You see, it’s quite possible, if you work the whole social network system, to get a decent amount of traffic and natural social blogger links to your website. Simply start joining dozens of social communities, leave lots of comments with your website embedded in your comments, etc. The problem is that this type of traffic really doesn’t bring any money. Even more, these links don’t generate much in the way of link juice because they are not properly anchored.
Another thing to consider is that to attract a lot of natural links, you probably have the wrong type of blog. Sure, writing a blog “My Terrible Life” that’s humorous, witty, and pretty damn interesting might, if you play the whole social blogging scene long enough, develop a bit of a readership. People will begin to link to you.
But most of the time, social bloggers are clueless about using proper anchor text in their links. Instead of something like “Earn money online”, you get “Ben’s Blog” or “website” or some other useless anchor.
What’s so important about having proper anchor text in a link? It’s how the search engines decide the importance of your site. Get enough links with the anchor text “make money” and you rank #1 for that search term. Now, it’s true that a backlink, even if the anchor text is not relevant, still counts as part of the overall equation, but you don’t get any serious link juice from links with the wrong anchor text.
Is it possible to write a witty, clever, useful, beautiful-looking blog that makes money? Sure, but it probably won’t be from Adsense or affiliate marketing that you generate the revenue. Bloggers create well written and beautiful-looking blogs.
Unfortunately, the blogs that make money are not the witty, funny, clever, interesting ones – they are usually about boring topics that people are searching for to find some solution to. “Credit Card Reports” are certainly not very interesting topics. I’m willing to be writing page after page about this topic will drain all passion from somebody. However, this bland information has real world importance and as such is a lucrative niche.
If you create the type of blog that attracts organic search traffic (the only type of traffic that you make money from), it probably won’t attract a lot of natural links because it’s not a topic that really interests most people (unless you are talking about Making Money).
Most niches are pretty damn boring. Fishing lures, oil filters, training dogs, credit reports. Does that sound like something, as a social blogger, you would naturally spend your time linking out to? Nope. You won’t get a lot of social blogger linking to a credit card report blog.
This is a bit of a problem if you have credit card blog. No free links from social bloggers. What about natural, free links from other credit card blogs? Sorry, won’t happen. The competition won’t link to you.
As a rule of thumb: sites in your niche (particularly competitive, money-making niches) usually won’t link to you.
So, I hope it’s clear that simply building a website with good content and waiting for backlinks to just appear won’t happen. Fortunately, there are ways for you to get backlinks: It’s called busting your ass and going out and getting them yourself.
Don’t worry; it’s nothing on the level of door-to-door salesmanship. I’m going to go through 10 ways to get backlinks to your website.
10 Ways to Get Backlinks
1. Write useful content
Now, you may have noted that I spent several paragraphs above tearing down the whole notion of writing witty, clever, good content to make money is a fallacy. It is, but useful content doesn’t have to necessarily be anything special. Useful content simply offers the reader a solution – or helps point them in the direction of the solution (and that direction might be an affiliate link or an Adsense ad). If the reader comes to your site, it should be because they found the site using targeted keyword that relates to the content (and purpose) of you website. All the information there should be about the topic.
Now, I want to add something here. If you are writing for a MFAS (Made For Adsense Site), folks, you don’t want to answer the fucking question. You need to strike a fine balance between providing some information (well, enough information for the search engines to love you and to pass a visual inspection but NOT enough information to solve the problem. Information that’s too good will mean there is no reason for the person to click on the ad. I suggest you read what Grizz on his Niche Support Link Exchange. You basically list the general niches you have then contact other people who list categories compatible with yours. You then work out 1-way link exchanges. Probably one of the best ways to get real links and you have total control of the process and anchor text.
3. Social Links
Social traffic is crap for making money, but you can get some free links. Find some “dofollow” forums and post comments with your website in the signature – these will count as a link. You can also submit your website to places like digg.com and reddit.com for a few links. I don’t put much stuck in social links, but it is possible to get links (though usually the anchor text is bad).
4. Submit to Article Directories
Article marketing is a effective backlink strategy. There are thousands of article directories out there. I suggest using one of the backlink services below to handle the actual submission process (unless you want to spend all your time submitting to directories). The two article directories you should take full advantage of are EzineArticles.com and GoArticles.com. These days, GoArticles has taken a bit of a hit and (in my experience), goarticle articles are not quickly indexed. EzineArticles is loved by Google, probably due to the stringent submission requirements imposed and the fact that there are a team of editors that love to reject you submissions. I suggest you submit about 10 or so 300-500 word articles per website. One thing I find myself doing is to submit 3 or general articles about my niche which contain a link to my homepage. I then submit another 7 or so articles that target different posts (deep link) or topics. Each of these articles targets a specific keyword phrase. I make sure that this keyword phrase is a long tail and one that brings in some traffic to my website (verifited by statcouter or google analytics). This is a great way to prop up your longtail keyword rankings. Remember though, google stops counting backlinks from the same C-class IP, so there’s no point in having too many ezine articles per website. You can always just prop up your support sites though as well, which will indirectly strengthen your money site.
5. Ask For Link Exchanges
Do a Google search for sites in your niche then start sending off emails asking for a link exchange. Be aware that if you just started a blog about a competitive topic, then send off emails to the top 5 sites asking for a link exchange, you WON’T get a reply. However, if you go down to page 2/3 or beyond, you can often find admins more then willing to do an exchange with you. Try to get 1-way link exchanges.
6. Get the Competitor’s Backlinks linking to You
If you don’t mind the work, use a program like SEO Elite and cherry pick the top 20-30 sites (PR-wise) giving backlinks to your competition then see if you can get a link. Now, I know this is not always possible, but you will find that you should be able to at least replicate some of those same links. This could be paying for a link, leaving a comment on the same forum with a link back to your site, asking for a link exchange, etc.
7. Buy Links
Yea, it’s against Google’s TOS, but most people in competitive niches do it. You don’t have to, but if you do, you can get a big jumpstart in the SERP’s. There are various link brokers out there who will set up link deals. However, I find these sketchy. Any site that sells links brokered through a link broker will likely be linking to a lot of other people – this dilutes the link juice. Also, there is always a big risk of Google finding out and punishing the site in question either through a deindex or a PR drop. However, if you have the budget, I suggest finding sites in your niche that have good PR (and content) and firing off an email offering 20-50 bucks for a one way link. A good number of the webmasters will agree to this – and this type of link is MUCH safer than going through a link broker. If you have a new site and you are looking for a quick shortcut through the SERP’s – this is the best (but perhaps the costliest) way.
8. Private Link Exchanges
If you have a network of ranked and PR’ed sites, you are in the position to contact people with high ranking/high SERP’ed websites and work out private link exchange deals. Don’t contact people if you have a dozen new blogs that are all PR 0 or -1 though. This will only be effective if you have the network to make your link exchange offer look enticing.
9. Blog Farms
Ah the blog farm. If you get serious about making money online, you’re going to eventually need a blog farm. Yes, Google hates this type of thing, but most people in competitive niches have one and it’s insane to try and challenge them without one.
What’s a blog farm? A blog farm is essentially a network of sites solely dedicated to giving link support. A blog farm could be anything from half a dozen blogger.com blogs to 25k blogs/websites. Now, it’s pretty much impossible to have 25k blogs done by hand which is why sophisticated software is used to create and maintain such blogs. Blackhatters excel at this type of thing. Unfortunately, as powerful as such massive blog farms are, they are eventually deindexed by Google at some point. Yes, it’s possible to have a massive blog farm all run by software, but it takes planning and a LOT of care not to do something stupid that will tip off the G man.
You should also create a lot of minisites(squidoo, hubpages, etc) that help to prop up your blog farm sites.
I suggest you start of with something small (a couple dozen blogger.com blogs and wordpress.com blogs) and work up from there. I’ll be talking more about this issue in future posts. This is not a blackhat site, but I think you should be aware of how some blackhat techniques work. I am not saying you should use them, but you should at least be aware of how they work. Blackhat SEO can be a powerful tool if used correctly. Not that I do any of this, of course.
10. Backlink Networks
Paid backlink networks are also another great way to get shitty backlinks to your support sites/blog farms. I don’t recommend using them on your money sites (though it’s up to you whether you want to). Keep in mind that these are not the end all, be all for links — just another tool to get some. You don’t need them to get links, but they can help and help a damn lot. If you want to make some money for real, I suggest you pony up for a few of these. Yes, it requires an investment on your part. But one of the “big secrets” online is that it actually does take money to make some money. You can spend forever doing things the free way, or you can save a boatload of time with some of these shortcuts. Up to you. I’ve talked about some of them my Recommended SEO software post.
Here is the list of recommended backlink services (UPDATED FEB 26, 2010) that I’ve tested and can say work.
- Unique Article Wizard ($67 per month) –> Good, you can get a decent amount of links. Nowhere as NEAR as what you could get 2 years ago though.
- Article Marketing Automation ($47 per month) –> So So. Probably the worst of the lot. But if you are looking for the cheapest option, it’s ok. Has the best spinning submission
- Backlink Solutions ($27 Associate Membership–$97 for full membership) —> By Far the Best (97 membership, not 27), but it’s always closed.
- Linkvana ($147 per month) Best links, but the most expensive.
- Traffic Kahuna (haven’t used it, but suppose to be decent)
- Keyword Academy ($33 a month, membership includes guest posting tool where you can use 600 of the member’s blogs to get links. A sort of backlink network)
- Free Traffic System (free)
- Bookmarking Demon($147 for software)
With these tools, you have a powerful backlink service at your disposal. You can get lots of links to your support sites and blog farms which will, in time, give those sites PR and SERP ranking. All this link juice can be laundered to your money site. Do you absolutely need these tools? No, but it will be easier to get links with them. When you first start out though, you should get your feet wet and see how things work before shelling out money. But once you are ready, you can make life easier by subscribing to some of these.
11. Guest Posting
If you are a decent writer, one of the best way to get links is to approach webmasters and ask if you can write a guest post. You’ll probably have to submit a few samples of your writing. Now, if you have a good authority blog with good information (not crap niche site content) and you cozy up to related sites in your niche, you can probably ask to guest post. This is a very good way to get some stellar links from related sites. But you are going to need to develop a relationship with similar sites and your own site has to look good and demonstrate you are an authority (i.e. you know what the fuck you are talking about). Guest post for 10 or so sites in your niche that google considers authority and you’ll probably find yourself becoming an authority sites too.
The other strategy is to hit up as many sites (in unrelated niches) as possible and ask to guest post. It’s a lot of work, but hey, guest post on 50 decent blogs, and all the sudden you find yourself ranking. The difference is that you are not going after sites in your niche, but other sites — since you are not competing for ranking, you stand a better chance of getting the ok.
11. Blackhat/Blackhat Tools
You can get a lot of links, fast, if you put on the blackhat. There’s a ton of generic blackhat tools out there (xrummer, autopligg,seolinkpro, scrapebox) that will help you get spammy type links. Rember, you can easily bomb your site into the sandbox (or worse) if you abuse blackhat, especially on new sites — even more so on new sites in competitive niches. But a lot of good SEO’s use blackhat as part of their strategy — they just make sure to keep several layers of seperation between the white at money site, the greyhat sites, and the blackhat. I’m not a blackhat SEO, so it’s up to you to find the best strategies here. But there’s a lot of possibilities if you use blackhat, in regards to getting links. But, blackhat is a whole nother school of SEO and there’s a lot to learn.
So there you have it, the best methods of getting backlinks. Most people fail at earning money online because they aren’t able to persist with working day after day with no immediate monetary return. Generating online cash is not easy – any site that tells you that you can make 10k a month after 30 days of work is selling you a scam. A lot of people the ability to work at home and earn money through the internet, but they don’t have the persistence to make it. I’ll be the first to say that it’s fucking boring getting backlinks. It’s not something I look forward to doing. I’m sure 99% of the people share my feelings on this. Getting backlinks is tedious and tiring. But how do you make money online? Backlinks, backlinks, backlinks. Backlinks are 95% of getting your website to the top of the search engines. Content and on-page SEO are all icing on the cake – they make something already good even better, but remember, you can’t ever substitute the icing for the cake itself.
So get out there and follow these tips to start getting backlinks to your website.
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