Archive for the ‘Link Building’ Category
We all know how important linkbuilding is to branding your business and defining your SEO. As Google continues to update its algorithm regularly, the linkbuilding practices you use must evolve with it. I can’t tell you how many dinosaur affiliates got wiped out when Panda came along.
Fortunately, there are plenty of great bloggers who have found awesome ways to keep building quality links even after Google’s most recent update.
Here are some great posts I suggest you take a look at to see what kind of linkbuilding strategies you may want to adopt as you try to reconfigure your SEO strategy in light of these new changes.
This Search Engine Land post was really thinking outside the box on a complex SEO issue. The author, Andrew Shotland, said that you can try to work with the people in your community to build links to improve your SEO rankings. Shotland suggests doing something good for your community or doing something that the people in your community are going to pay attention to. This could include sponsoring a local youth organization, doing some community service or running a local contest. He even said that you could create a video that your local community would want to endorse.
In this post, Ritesh Warke listed seven key elements of a successful linkbuilding practice. Warke said that you will need to focus on creating a linkbuilding practice that emphasizes quality over quantity. He claims that many sites are created solely for the purpose of creating SEO backlinks (he’s right btw). Quality can be determined by pagerank, traffic and social media traction. He also says you need to maintain relevancy in your posts. Finally, he gives some perspective on how frequently you should build your links. I won’t give away all his secrets, so I suggest you check out this post.
This was another informative post from Search Engine Land. In this post, Erin Everhart said that the essence of linkbuilding should always be about relationships. I have never heard it quite put that way before, but Erin is really dead on here. You are going to need quality links to improve you SEO rankings. You get more quality links by focusing on building relationships first and links second. Erin also says that you can’t always control how somebody else works and helps you build content, but that you can at least focus on creating awesome content every day that you work.
These posts were highly informative and I think you will benefit from them. Since Google decided to change its algorithm again, you are going to need a new linkbuilding strategy as you prepare to implement your SEO campaign. These resources struck me as a great starting point and I encourage you to see what they have to offer.
Forums are a very old school method of generating backlinks, but they are still one of the absolute best ways to create awesome backlinks to your website. The trick is making sure you are investing your time and energy in forums that are actually going to help you reach your goals. I have done a quick and dirty analysis of a few of the best Internet marketing forums and why I think you should give them a shot.
The Warrior Forum is arguably the most popular forum. That doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best, but it can be a powerful way to generate a ton of followers. According to Compete.com, this site has nearly 300,000 unique visitors from the United States each month (Compete only keeps track of the visitors that arrive from the United States). It has nearly 20,000 Alexa links which means any backlinks you create are going to be very high quality.
The Warrior Forum can be an awesome way to promote some of your new products. You can create a Warrior Special Offer (WSO) to tell everyone on the forum what your product is about and what it can do for them.
This forum appears to have more traffic than any other forum, including the Warrior Forum. However, I wouldn’t use it for that reason alone. Many of the people on Digital Point are new to the arena or are just there to spam their signature link. However, there are definitely some really good resources.
Digital forum receives slightly more traffic and has a few more Alexa links than the Warrior Forum. However, the last time I checked they nofollowed all links (including signatures) so the value you will get out of any backlinks will be negligible as far as SEO is concerned. Nevertheless, if you are trying to drive legitimate traffic to your site, then you may want to seriously consider using this forum to create some exposure for yourself.
The Five Star Affiliate Program is one of the best affiliate marketing communities in the world. Affiliate marketers can come to this forum to let other affiliates know about the products they are running. Although I haven’t done as much with promoting my own products through affiliates yet (which I intend to in the near future), this forum has always seemed like one of the most appropriate people to promote your firm with.
The site has 1,300 Alexa backlinks and about 20,000 unique visitors each month. Although this doesn’t compare to the SEO or traffic exposure that you could get through the Warrior Forum, I find the community is more down to earth and the quality of the members can’t be ignored.
Wicked Fire is another one of the big Internet marketing forums. I have just barely begun using this forum myself, so I can’t speak too much from personal experience. However, I find it seems to be a good resource and many other marketer say they like it better than the Warrior Forum. I am not sure exactly what they base that off of, but I am already finding that it seems like a good resource.
This forum has 8,500 backlinks and about 70,000 monthly visitors. According to David Peralty at Performancing, there are many great resources and highly reputable companies on this forum. It sounds like it can be a really good way to build a networking base.
As I’ve said in previous posts, using forums can be an awesome way to generate traffic and boost your SEO rankings. The trick is to know which forums you are trying to use. If you are trying to promote your services as an Internet marketer, you should definitely check out the forums that I’ve listed above.
Blog commenting is one of the most controversial marketing practices available. Some bloggers think it works great, while others think it is a waste of time. Blog commenting isn’t the best marketing tool, but it can provide real value to your Internet marketing strategy, but you need to make sure that you implement it properly.
Maybe you’ve tried blog commenting before. If you didn’t get the traffic of SEO benefits you were looking for, you need to reassess what you’re doing. A number of blog commenting practices are either a waste of time. Others may actually be damaging your business.
These are practices I advise staying away from.
This is a tool that blackhat SEOs use in their marketing. As a blog owner, I find it the biggest pain in the butt to deal with. Here is a sample comment that came to my site recently that I just had to laugh at:
“A unique debate will probably be worth remark. I do believe that you should compose more about this subject matter, may possibly not certainly be a taboo subject however typically individuals are too few to communicate in about this sort of subjects. To the next. Regards”
Clearly, this commenter didn’t even read my post. Blog comment spam like this is going to be deleted on my site. I expect other marketers will do the same. What value is that going to do for you? The only time the comment won’t be deleted will be if the blogger doesn’t bother monitoring the site at all. In time, other blackhat marketers will do the same and the site will lose its trust ranking. All outgoing links will likely become meaningless anyways.
Focusing Purely on SEO
Blog commenting shouldn’t just be about building your SEO rankings. Frankly, although blog commenting is a fast way to build backlinks, it’s probably not the best way to improve your SEO. Blog commenting is more worth your while when you do it for both backlinks and traffic.
It is certainly possible to build backlinks on any number of websites to improve your SEO rankings. However, the benefits you get from commenting on a post unrelated to your own niche are likely minimal. You should focus on building links from comments that are going to drive relevant traffic and linkjuice.
Many marketers complain that you won’t receive a large amount of traffic from blog commenting. Overall, I tend to agree. However, what traffic you do receive can be highly likely to convert.
I left a single, thorough comment on one blog post on Young Pre Pro. That comment brought visitors to my site that started engaging with me. One of them offered me a freelance project, two offered services I needed and two asked to guest post on my site. Other blog comments have brought me subscribers.
The Right Process for Blog Commenting
I have found the best comments come from the best conversions come from providing thoughtful comments on relevant blogs with at least moderate traffic.
- Thoughtful comments. Show that you have taken the time to really read the post. Brainstorm something that you can offer to the readers. The more value you bring to the discussion, the more likely they are to come check out your site.
- Relevant blogs. There is nothing more annoying than reading a great software review article and then find all kinds of links to weight loss products. Do those marketers really think anyone is going to click on their links? Try to comment on blogs as related to your niche as possible. If you have an entrepreneurship site, you can comment on blog posts regarding careers, business, MBA programs and marketing. You probably won’t get as much traffic from a site on quilting. The SEO links will probably be much better as well.
- Reasonable traffic. The majority of blogs get fewer than 10 visitors a week. Do you really want to waste time commenting on them? Focus on sites that actually have an active reader base. There are a variety of ways you can gauge the amount of traffic a site is getting. You could get a rough idea using analytic tools such as Compete or Alexa. However, my preferred method is to measure the number of comments a site is actually receiving. Sites with at least 5 comments on each most articles likely have a strong readership base that may see your comment.
Now you understand the fundamentals of linkbuilding. It is time to come up with the best link building strategy you possibly can. Every website owner has their own preferences when it comes to building links. They may be all too generous with their advice, but that doesn’t mean you should take it. You need to find a linkbuilding strategy that works for you.
I will present some of the different linkbuilding strategies you have at your disposal. I won’t ask you to mirror my strategies. Your personality and the mission of your website will determine what the best linkbuilding strategy is.
Consider the following options as you construct your linkbuilding strategy. Many of these link building ideas are shared by my friend Onibalusi on his site Young Pre Pro as well.
Many bloggers say blog commenting is the spammer’s and lazy-man’s way of building links. Done correctly, blog commenting can be an effective way to build links. Blog commenting provides the added benefit of building a community. This will increase traffic and help you build long-term relationships with bloggers who may link back to your articles on their own.
When you leave comments on other people’s blogs, you want to be sure that you leave sensible, insightful comments. You don’t want to create spam. Not only will your comments get deleted, but you will infuriate the community you are trying to work with.
Forums are another good way to build links to your website. When you post in most forums, you can usually include a signature with links. Google assigns a high trust ranking to links in forums signatures from reputable sites. This is possibly because you have to register accounts to use forums and they are moderated more frequently than blogs.
Forum posts also tend to be highly specific. A thread on a specific topic may be highly relevant to your target keywords. They also tend to be highly trafficked and are likely to generate relevant traffic to your site.
When you write a great article, you can submit it to top article directories. When you submit it, you can include an author biography which usually allows an anchored, dofollow backlink.
Article marketing used to be a very popular method for generating backlinks. Bloggers would routinely rewrite an article and submit it to 10, 20 or even 100 article directories. As Google and other search engines updated their algorithms, the effectiveness of article marketing has been called into question. Even with the advances in social media, article marketing remains a powerful tool for generating links.
Another benefit of article directories is that other websites may borrow your article and use it on their sites. According to the terms of service, these article directories will require them to link back to your website in return.
Far too many bloggers feel time they spend on SEO is time they could be spending on social media instead (or vice versa). Instead, they should be thinking about what they can do to use the two together most effectively. There are many ways you can use social media to build links to your website.
You can consider using accounts at sites such as Squidoo and Hubpages. These sites allow you to link back to your site. Last time I checked, all Squidoo links were dofollow. Hubpages links were dofollowed after the site received a certain score (generally a combination of traffic, backlinks and votes from other users).
Another approach is to use social bookmarking. Sites like Digg, Stumbleupon, Reddit, Delicious and Propeller are great social bookmarking sites. There are literally hundreds of bookmarking sites you can use to develop quality backlinks to your website.
There are so many social media tools at your disposal. Consider using them to create a massive linkbuilding campaign. Facebook and Twitter may also create SEO value if your content is popular enough. These sites actually sell data to Google on what sites are bookmarked and linked to regularly. Google in turn uses this data as a metric when deciding websites ranking.
You can also write press releases describing new developments or product offerings in your company. These can be submitted to hundreds of press release directories over the Internet. Many of these directories are free, but you can also pay if you want more quality. PRWeb is a press release submission service that will submit your press release to many press release directories and media companies on your behalf if you upgrade to the premium version.
Like articles from article directories, press releases may go viral on other blogs and websites.
Another easy way to generate backlinks is to submit your website to link directories. This strategy is somewhat archaic, but it can still provide results if you submit to the right directories. I would suggest focusing on the top 10 or 20 directories. Look at the pagerank and Alexa links a directory receives. This will give you a helpful idea whether or not the directory is worth submitting to.
One directory that used to be very popular is DMoz. Unfortunately, people don’t seem to visit Dmoz as much anymore and there are so many pages you have to compete with. You won’t be able to get much relevant traffic, but could get a great backlink if your listing got approved. Unfortunately, the admins seem to have almost abandoned the site, so you will have to get really lucky to get your site listed.
You may also consider submitting your site to specialty directories, even if they don’t provide as much pagerank. They will provide relevant backlinks to your site and are much more likely to be found by other visitors.
Guest blogging is one of the best linkbuilding strategies available. I saved this one for last because the concept is a little newer. Submitting guest posts to popular websites with strong pagerank can do wonders for your SERP ranking. You can also build your reputation and create massive exposure for your site. When you submit guest posts, you can get at least one dofollow backlink to your website.
There are a variety of ways you can find other blogs to submit guest posts to. I will elaborate on these more in future posts. For the time being, you can start by looking at My Blog Guest. If you visit this site, you will find hundreds of bloggers who have requested writers to add content to their site in exchange for backlinks.
What Link Building Strategy Works Best for You?
There is no optimal linkbuilding strategy. You need to figure out what works for you. Most bloggers use a combination of linkbuilding tactics to promote their website. The most important to do is to remember that your linkbuilding strategy must complement the personality of your website.
Build links to help you create a brand and encourage people to learn more about your website. Do not create spam or blemish your reputation with real people to get in good with the search engines. That will work against you.
As I mentioned in my previous post, link building is an essential part of SEO. Links from authoritative, relevant websites tell search engines that your content is respected by the online community. They will rank your website well and send plenty of traffic to you in return.
Principles of a Good Link Building Strategy
Before you get started, you need to understand what does and does not work when building links. You could spend countless hours building links and get no results. You could also create a massive spam campaign only to be blacklisted from the search engines. Your link building strategy will be most successful if you follow these tips:
- Watch out for the nofollow tag. Google adopted the nofollow tag in 2005. The nofollow tag tells Google not to provide any SEO value to the website being linked to. The tag was largely used to fight comment spam. Sadly, the tag has done little to fight spam, especially since most spammers use the shotgun approach to link building. When you are building links, you want to avoid wasting your time building too many nofollow links. You might want to build a few so that your link building strategy looks normal. Google is the only search engine that considers the nofollow attribute.
- Build links from relevant sources. Before you build a link, you should make sure the link is coming from a source that is relevant to your target keywords. How is relevance determined? If the website is on a topic that somehow pertains to your keywords, then you are off to a good start. The same goes for the specific page you are building your links from. You are also in a good position if the webpage has the keywords in the content. If the keywords are in the title or url of the page, then you will probably score major points with the search engines. If you can place the keywords near the link itself, you will also be in good shape, because Google scans small snippets of text near the links. You have really struck gold if you can score on all these factors.
- Include your keywords in the anchor text. When search engines look at your links, they will use the anchor text to decide what keywords that page is most relevant to. For example, if your link had the words “Cajun restaurant” in the anchor text, the search engines will decide that your website is probably about Cajun restaurants in some way.
- Link from high pagerank websites. Pagerank measures the prominence of a webpage. If you build links from pages with high pagerank, your own pagerank will increase much faster. Pagerank works on a logarithmic scale (which many people believe is a base 10 scale). This means a pagerank 2 link has 10 times the value of a pagerank 1 link. A pagerank 10 link has 1 billion times as much pagerank as a pagerank 1 link! Realistically, you may be able to get links from pages with a pagerank of 6. Just remember that pagerank is but one factor in your SEO. You don’t want to make the mistake many websites make in only focusing on generating links from pages with high pagerank
- Focus on getting links from sites with a high trust ranking. As Google updates its algorithm, it places more emphasis on trust than on pagerank. You will be better off by building back links from websites that are well respected and unlikely to have a lot of spam. Directories, popular forums and sites with .org or .edu extensions are good candidates for generating backlinks.
- Build your links gradually. Your link building campaign will be most successful when you build your links consistently. Building too many links too fast can be a warning sign to the search engines that you may have engaged in a black hat linkbuilding strategy.
Search engines are the compasses travelers use to navigate the Information Superhighway. There are approximately a billion websites in the world. Many are useful and others are garbage. Search engines crawl the Internet and index everything they find. Their sole purpose is connecting Internet users with information they are looking for.
Search engines one and only priority is their users. They couldn’t care less about helping your website. That doesn’t mean you can’t harness them to drive more traffic and higher sales to your website.
Search engines tend to offer more traffic with better conversion rates than most other sites. Websites who use SEO effectively are rewarded with high search engine traffic and many paying customers.
The point of SEO is to convince search engines that you are a high quality site offering the highest quality information. There are several pieces to the puzzle.
Identifying strong keywords
When you build your site, you need to know what niche you are targeting. When you are optimizing your website, you need to think about the search terms your target audience is using. This involves a little psychology. Start general, then look into synonyms. Always ask yourself “what are my customers searching for?”
After you have made a list of keywords you want to target, start analyzing them for traffic volume and competition. I usually start with the Google Keyword Tool. This tool tells you how many searches a given search term is receiving each month. You can also use Google Trends to see what is getting more popular.
After identifying your most promising keywords, determine how long it will take to optimize them. I will dedicate entire articles on this topic later. In the meantime, don’t rule out any keyword just because it is competitive. Competitive keywords may be worth the time it takes to optimize if they offer enough traffic.
Create Great Content
Someone in SEO once coined the phrase “Content is king.” I disagree. Content is infinitely more important than royalty in SEO. Content is the breath, bread and life of your SEO and online presence. Search engines want to know you are providing great material for your visitors. More importantly, you want to satisfy your users when they arrive on your website.
Optimizing your on-page content requires careful placement of your keywords. Above all, your keywords should be in the title tag of your document. You should also use your keywords within the body of your page.
Using keywords is an art that takes a while to master correctly. Use them too much and your site will be penalized for keyword stuffing. If you don’t use them enough, your site won’t rank well. However, it is becoming less and less important to maintain high keyword densities.
Google changed it’s algorithm and focused less on keyword density and more on relevant phrases and synonyms. As long as you come up with awesome, relevant content you should rank well.
Find Links Back to your Webpages
There are plenty of great websites on the web. Search bots don’t know whether content is informative or accurate. They need the opinions of other websites.
Pretend you’re pursuing a job with Google. You’ve sold yourself with your resume and done well on the interview. Now you need references to justify the quality of your work. When other websites link back to you, they tell Google they respect your website.
Be on the lookout for relevant, well positioned websites that allow backlinking. Building relevant, anchored links helps you position yourself as an authority in your niche.
Importance of SEO
SEO is a crucial aspect of your Internet marketing strategy. Search engines drive relevant traffic to your website that is five times more likely to convert. SEO takes time but it is definitely worth the investment.
Photo Credit: Matt Searles