With the New Years just setting in, I thought I’d break my own record and post again. It’s 2011 and it’s time for some real soul searching to decide just WHERE you want to go the next year. Set those goals, work hard and make them happen! This is your year to make things happen and change your life. Don’t be that person setting a new years resolution that will never happen. Put the peddle to the meddle and make it happen for yourself.
Some travel pictures I took a few months ago to get this post warmed up…..
To see the above picture in all it’s panoramic glory, CLICK HERE TO SEE IT.
Anyways, there’s been a lot of rah rah about Grizzly’s newest post. I thought I would toss out a few of my own musings, for whatever the pennies they are worth.
We’ve seen a bit of an evolution in the way the search engine algorithms have shifted in favor of larger sites and out of favor for the small micro niche sites. A lot of this happened during the Mayday Update last year, but I’ve noticed every update, something seems to shift around each update in an attempt to cull those micro sites with bad link profiles.
Regrettably, I was pretty dead set at one point about making money online via lots of little sites. I had a wake up call when I lost what some people would consider a full time income . This is a small fraction of what I made, so it was survivable, but it was a clear wake up call to me that I was doing things wrong. Because of that, I backed out of typical IM stuff and I also backed out of this blog for a while too, feeling I pushed people in the wrong direction.
I started this website as Make Money Online with SEO, but in reality, that’s name sets people on the wrong path. Perhaps a better name would be Make Money Online with Internet Marketing. Yes combining SEO with internet marketing is a sure way to make a buck online, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that SEO is simply a tool that you, as a marketer, employ.It is not the end all and be all of this business.
We are all of us internet marketers and we need to use MORE than just SEO. We need to use sound marketing tactics too — and that includes in the way you get backlinks. Marketing is, in my limited opinion, about making a connection with the audience, be it for the purpose of sales or to attract “attention” to whatever it is you are marketing. The more “attention” you can attract, the more backlinks you well get, without having to build them yourself. What am I trying to say?
Pull back a bit from the pure SEO aspect of this business and look at ways to connect with your audience/readers. If you can build that connection, links will follow. The trick is figuring out how to build that connection — and this holds true for any niche out there.
Anyways, I’ve had a few people ask me specifically if SEO is dead and should you still get links blah blah blah.
The answer is NO Seo is not dead and you still need links. The change needs to be in how you get them
Put it this way, it’s not the links you get that are bad but the manner in which you get those links. If the manner in which you get them is clearly contrived (and it’s very very easy to tell if they are), you will probably run into problems in the future. Maybe not now, maybe not in a year, but at some point, you will.
For the average person, if you don’t linkbuild, you won’t rank your sites. The issue I’m pointing out here is that taking the “quick” path will lead to a short term gain, but may lead to a long term loss. There is a lot of hurah about “natural linkbuilding” being tossed around on MMO blogs right now as the best way to build links. In fact it’s seems to be this who natural linkbuilding seems to be a new IM buzzword. It’s nothing new, it’s the oldest way of getting links.
I’ve seen this formula banded about online by some bloggers: Building Links = Bad. Natural Links = good.
But it’s not quite that simple.
The truth is that most of you will target the same old IM niches that every other market goes after. You’ll outsource a cheap writer who will basically recompile a couple ezinearticles or if you are broke, you’ll do so yourself. Say you don’t do any linkbuilding. You just sit around and..wait..and wait..and wait
What will happen? Fuck all. You won’t be getting any natural links.
The bottom line here is that if you the standard niches and set up the regular sort of internet marketing site, you are going to have to actively linkbuild to rank your sites. If you don’t linkbuild, then you are going to have to come up with some other indirect ways of gaining some natural links, which, I admit, can take some time and for non-authority style sites, it’s not worth the time.
You can certainly do quite well linkbuilding, provided you are smart about it (aim to get quality links, watch your link velocity, if you go with spammy links, make sure you filter them through secondary sites). This is search engine trickery, but it’s a powerful tool that you should utilize.
But it’s not the only tool and not by far. Another often ignored way to build links is through natural backlinks. And gosh darn it, you might find that natural backlinks are the best links of all.
Keep in mind there are also more creative ways to linkbuild that don’t involve using Post Spammer, Buld My Spam, Scrapespammer, ArticleSpammer and other mass backlinking methods. But that’s another post that I’m too lazy to write right now.
Now back to topic. If you are building up a “bigger” site, then you have a shot of some natural links. If you don’t have a bigger site that’s clearly not of any sort of quality, then forget about it and go back to linkspamming since that’s the only way you are ever going to rank your site.
Natural links, in my experience, only happen in a couple cases.
1. Your site does something completely new or is perceived as one THE authorities in the niche (not likely for you small fries)
2. You write content in such a way that it attracts links — a couple ways to do this
3. You are in a niche with a huge “passion” factor.
4. Bigger sites = bigger chance of links
Ok, let’s break some of these down a bit.
1. You are THE Authority
If you’re site is clearly the authority in the niche. You will attract links. Keep in mind that most natural links won’t be coming from you via your competitors, especially if they are marketers. There’s been a lot of real info about linkbuilding and real SEO these days. Chances are, anyone ranking for your typical IM terms knows a little something about SEO and they know enough not to promote their competition via links. However, if your site is pretty damn useful, you’ll pick up some natural links here and there. Maybe not a lot, but over time they can add up. A couple dozen natural links from real sites (especially if they are in related niches) can do more for your ranking than hundreds and hundreds of shitty links. What’s even better is that these natural links don’t just up and vanish overnight as spam links (comment spam, profile spam, etc) or backlink network links often end up doing.
The problem is, you don’t just “become” and authority in a niche. It can take some time. This is a whole nother post, but there are several ways to skin a cat.
- Become an authority through Social Marketing
People rag on the whole “social media thing” because it may not translate directly into sales. But you see, if you cultivate social media right (and I’m not just talking facebook/digg/twitter shit, I’m talking about join forum discussions with links back to your site, leaving real and relevant comments on related blogs, and basically involving yourself in the community). Join the community, contribute real advice, write about stuff, build up an audience, and links will come naturally. Or if you don’t get links, you will still build up a reputation/brand and related referral traffic. Quite often you will find that as your online “reputation” goes up, so do the number of natural links. This should not be a surprise as links are THE main way search engines determine your online value. If people know about you, you get linked to. Let me stress, again, that there is a TIME process involved. You don’t become a perceived authority in anything overnight, especially through social media. As a good example of someone who has done it in this niche, give Leo’s Internet Marketing Blog a look. He’s built himself a very good reputation through a combination of informative, and GREAT content and through socializing with many bloggers in this niche. If you apply the same strategy to other niches folks, you might just find you can build a reputation as well. The kicker is that you kind of have to know what the fuck you are actually talking about. You can try faking it till you make it, but for some niches, you’re bullshittery will be called out pretty fast (and your reputation as well). For the time and effort you put into the process, you’ll probably want your topic of interest to be a topic you actually care about. I don’t know about you, but I’d find myself hard pressed to find the energy to be the resident “expert” on Over 40 Women’s Cheap Yeast Infection Treatments or some such topic. You’ll find that those typical “passion” niches that you might be nuts about (say travel) have a million other people interested in them so the competition is fierce. So maybe you should be interested in Over 40 Women’s Cheap Yeast Infection Treatments…
Remember guys, building an authority through “networking” doesn’t mean you are going to automatically rank for top terms. But it’s a fantastic way to get natural links pouring in. In in time, those links will translate to organic search traffic and targeted referral traffic. Social authority translates, in time, into search engine authority.
- Become an authority through linkbuilding
Well this is the other method and one that most marketers that make money use. You can certainly linkbuild your way to the top, but you have to be smart about it, depending on the niche. If you backlink your site wrong, you can fuck it up for good. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t backlink.
There are some basic good seo tactics you should follow and it’s a good idea to know different ways to build backlinks so you have some options. In my opinion, the main thing to keep in mind when you linkbuild is you should have a mixed backlink profile. If all your links come from shitty sources (profiles, article directories, comment spam, blog networks), that’s NOT a “natural” linking pattern and can land you in trouble. Even if you don’t end up penalizing your site, there is always the risk that google mass devalues these type of links which, if your site is propped up primary through these kind of links, will plummet. It’s a very good idea to mix in quality links from your own quality support network, have real links from other people (link exchanges, guest posts), and best of all, have a number of natural links with no “connection” to your site in any form. If you have this type of mixed link profile, you’ll rank well and won’t have any problems.
2. You write content in such a way that it attracts links
This is where your creativity comes in and this is where a lot of people hit a wall. There is a term out there that you should know about : linkbait. It’s a term you should know well because this is the key to getting a lot of natural links.
Method 1: The BEST Content
The first way is to have the BEST content in the niche. Look at your competition and see what they do. Then better it. You will never go wrong with this. It takes way more time, but trust me, it will pay you back big time. Sometimes you need more than just great content. Your site might need to cater to a community or provide some sort of service that people can utilize (other than to just read your content).
“Best” is a relative to what else people are doing in the same niche.
The “First Best”
If you are the first website in a niche, we’ll it’s not hard to have the “best” content since your site will have the only content. In this case (provide your site is not some joke of a mini site) your site will be perceived as THE authority and links will come in be virtue of that. This is true for MANY old websites — they often started out as shit sites run by some guy living in his basement walking around in underwear. Fast forward 10-15 years later, these sites are giants in competitive niches and that same guy is now loafing around in basement wearing underwear made with gold while a couple of ex playboy models are bubble bathing in a $100k jacuzzi…
The Do Something No One Else Did Best
For most of you, “The First Best” is not an option. Well, the next thing to look at is to do something no one else has done, or something else no one has the balls to do. For this example, I’ll use this site as an example. Not that I’m saying this site is amazing or I’m an amazing writer, blah blah blah. I swear a lot and I have problems spelling. Not exactly a call to fame or anything. But when I first started this blog, I decided to showcase my progress with real pictures of my income and valid information on how to replicate that progress for anyone. And in many cases, it was a shock for people to see that you could legitimately make a lot of money with adsense/hubpages. Considering that most people talking about how to make money online don’t actually make any money online or are complete scammers, this brought some attention.
People got talking and the links started rolling in. I’ve done 0 SEO on this site, ZERO and I believe I have close to 4k raw backlinks to the site.
Now, I’m not saying I’m ranking for a zillion things or anything, but I’m just pointing this out to show that if you head into an established niche and do something new and interesting (whatever it may be), you can get natural links from related sites.
Method 2: Write Something Dramatic/Controversial
Another tried and true method is to write something very dramatic or controversial. For a prime example of the “dramatic” style linkbait, just look at Grizzly’s newest post that I linked to at the beginning of the article. He had something interesting and dramatic to say (i’ve was wrong, I never “link build anymore” etc). And people, including myself and a lot of other people who are in this “niche” respond (and send natural links). This works BEST if there is a community in the niche where you can milk links from. It’s harder to do this if there is no community, but still possible.
Another variation of this is to attack someone or something. Grizzly was famous for doing this to guys like John Chow and Darrin Rowse. For a prime example of this sort of linkbait. There was an incident where Liz from Passive Income wrote a really negative site build it review that brought down the site build it community en force to defend their piece of shit scam system. Pitting one community against another community is a great thing to do — it can really bring in the links and lots of comment content. The only downside is you end up really pissing off one of the communities (sorry, hard to play both sides if you do this). One of my favorite linkbait tacits here is to look at a niche I’m targeting to see if there is something I can say that excludes one group. For example (DISCLAIMER: and only and example here I’ve made up on the spot) , If I had a work at home site, I might write an article with a catchy title along the lines of “5 Reasons Why Women Are Not Suited for the Workplace”. Pissed off a lot of you women with that title eh? Exactly, and maybe enough get some of you ladies to link to “that bad mouthed, pig headed blogger guy.” Now of course, there are the moral implications of something like attacking a gender for the sake of backlinks, but I’m just giving that example to show you what can be done if you are creative. You don’t have to choose a subject that’s offensive to people, but I will say the more offensive it is, the more links you get. Sad but true.
Now I’ll admit, there are some niches that even with great content, those natural links won’t pour in.
So if you are in a niche where people won’t link to you, what can you do?
Method 3: Write Linkbait Outside of Your Niche
One “trick” is to write a catchy article of some sort that just begs to be linked to, especially by people outside of that niche (since your competition won’t be linking to it). The distinction here with Method 2 is that you are not targeting a specific community in your niche — this is to attract links from outside your niche. Now I know for you people with Cheap Toaster Sales, it’s pretty hard to write something that will be picked up an linked to.
This is where the creativity has to kick in and a lot of elbow grease used. You need to come up with an “angle.” That angle might be something like “Top 10 Ways to Die From a Toaster”. This type of title might be familiar to you — say cracked.com. There is a reason those guys get a shitload of comments and links — because their articles are interesting to read. Now I know that an article like that might not be directly tied to the content of your site, but it’s somewhat relevant. If you have a static site, great, add a blog and start writing those sort of articles. If you have a blog site, then make a section for those articles.
It might be possible to just write a post like that and links eventually find you, but don’t count on it. There is a saying “The more work you do the luckier you get.” I prefer to make my own luck. Get your ass on the web and start promoting that post. It’s likely you’ll have to contact blogs with related content (not your direct competition though) and tell them they might be interested in sharing that linkbait post with their readers.
You can also set up an entire site (call it Site B) based around this content to use as a link resource — in each article, include a targeted link with your keyword to your main site (Site A). If you can attract those links to Site B with those linkbait posts, you can use it to push up Site A.
This is just a couple of ideas and there are plenty more ways to attract natural links. This is by no means a definitive guide to linkbait, but rather a primer on how to get started. I’ll let YOU get creative here. Note that if you want to do this yourself you need to be a decent writer (if not, you need to hire someone who is).
I will say this: linkbaiting can take a lot of work and practice, but nothing in life worth having comes without work. For those looking for a set it and forget it method, good luck to you — you won’t be seeing very many natural links.
3. You are in a niche with a huge “passion” factor.
Fantastic, it’s much much easier to get natural links in these type of niches.
But what is a passion niche? There are a couple kind of “niches” as I call them. The first are the commercial niches — these are those standard niches that you can make pretty good money from because there is a lot of commercial intent behind the searches. People are looking for something specific — maybe to buy midget thongs, maybe for cheap condoms. You can make money if you rank and offer the right product. It’s pretty hard to directly extract natural links because for one, the people searching for that term will typically be your joe only concerned with buying the product or your competition scoping you out. Those are not the people who will sending you links.
The other type of niche is the “passion niche”. These are those niches about sports, entertainment, or anything where there is a lot hobby sites. If you have an informative and highly useful site in these type of niches, it’s fairly easy to get natural links. There is usually an avid amount of passionate readers who are just itching to join in on discussions and link to sites they feel are authoritative in that nich. It’s also pretty easy to “network” in these niches if you join the community.
The same tactic of writing linkbait posts applies for these type of niches — in fact, it’s usually easier to get “links” from a passion niche via linkbaiting over a commercial niche. Good content also goes a long way too. If people in that niche perceive your site as useful, they’ll likely link to it.
Of course the the only problem with this type of niche is it might be hard(er) to extract money from it. I personally like to go after the commercial niches but create a couple semi related passion niche sites to support the commercial site. It works well, but it’s not something you can “do” in a couple weeks.
4. Bigger Sites tend to yield more links
The final point I want to make is that the bigger your site is, the more chances you have to get a link. If you’ve got a smaller 5 pager site, well, you only have say 5 pages that might potentially get a link. But if you have a site with 100 pages, that’s 95 more “chances’ to get a link. If you’ve got a site with 20,005 pages, that’s virtually 20,000 chances more than your 5 pager site will have to get natural links. Bigger sites also tend to seem more authoritative too just by appearances — if you had the choice between linking to a 5 page site or a 1000 page site, where would you place your link? Exactly. There is also the issue where the search engines seem to give sites a lot more authority over small sites, by just the number of pages the site has. I can’t prove this, but I have a deep suspicion that it’s true — you stand a much bigger chance of gaining SERP authority with a big site than you do with a small site.
Well that’s it — a few things to think about for the new years. Another big post. And I really thought I’d do this post in under 1000 words. When will I ever learn!
Happy New Years Guys