Our traffic will come primarily through two avenues: search engine ranking, and referral traffic.
Search engine ranking is a function of two considerations: the quality and relevance of our website content, and external links from other sites pointing to ours.
The sections on content and organizing your website will have covered the first function; what follows are the mechanics of getting those external links pointing to our site.
The Backlinking Solution
This isn’t going to be the longest section of the book, even though it might have the most impact on the profitability of your site. I don’t want to overwhelm you and explain every method of free traffic in the world or explain to you how SEO works. I want to clue you into the stuff that’s working right now for getting niche sized websites running and ranked, give you a simple plan for backlinking without breaking your back, and put you to work.
With recent Google updates, everybody is fretting about SEO and ranking.
Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about any of that. What follows is tried, tested, and works.
What this section will come down to our links. Now, what kind of links do you need? Search engines want diversity and volume, and it’s very, very tough to do both at once. So where should you start?
You can start by asking your competition.
Getting Inside Your Niche
High PR backlinks are the fastest and most efficient way to get your site ranking. And sure, you can pay a lot of money for these links, but many of the most permanent, high-quality links you can get are curated by real people.
One of the best things about online business is that everything is transparent. Stuff that would be considered corporate espionage in the real world is five minutes and a couple of clicks online. Scout out your competitors to find their most valuable links, and follow in their footsteps.
Pull up your copy of Market Samurai and click the top link in the “SEO Competition”, then select “PR Analysis”. Look for the backlinks that are PR3 and up and copy them down. Then repeat the process on the other front page sites.
You can also head to the Promotion tab and type in your main keyword. When you’re done, you can harvest the High PR links for that keyword as well as related keywords. You should have a pretty strong list of links when you’re done. Some of them will be paid for links on dummy websites, but many of them will be places you can comment and leave your own link.
When you’re writing blog comments it is important to remember these basic rules:
- First, make sure that the article is relevant to your niche.
- Offer an actual opinion that encourages the webmaster to approve your comment and respond to it.
- Make it clear that you actually read the comment. Refer to specific details in the article.
- Use correct grammar and punctuation.
- It doesn’t hurt to Email the webmaster when you’re done, especially if it’s a High PR backlink. I mean, once your website is off the ground, you don’t plan on babysitting it all day, right? Some people automate their posts and updates.
Webmasters usually love comments, but there’s so much spam out there that it’s tough to stand out.
These links are valuable, and it’s worth taking the time to do this yourself. That said... this one had a longish turnaround time, but it works as advertised! Be patient!
EDU and GOV links
I wouldn’t be shocked if Google reduced the power of these links in the future – they’re too powerful and too easy. Just remember that adding your link to a page packed with them has less value.
Now, before you start toying with Google, go to your preferences and disable Google Instant, and increase your number of results per page so you’re spending more time getting links than you are clicking through pages.
site:.edu inurl:blog “your niche/keyword” "post a comment"-"comments closed"-"you must be logged in"
That will find some .edu blogs that don't require registration. You can do the same thing with.gov blogs, just type this:
site:.gov inurl:blog “your niche/keyword” "post a comment"-"comments closed"-"you must be logged in"
Or you can pair them up like this –
“your niche/keyword” “post a comment” site:gov – ”you must be logged in” -”comment closed” site:edu – ”you must be logged in” -”comment closed”
You’re not always going to get edu and gov blogs aimed right at your niche, so be flexible. You can also look for outdated blogs (from say 2007-2008) that are set to auto-approve.
If for some reason you can’t use Market Samurai, SEO Quake is a free plugin for Firefox that’ll do this work nicely.
RSS Links is a strong way to interlink your content and get a stable foundation of links, syndicate your content to sites you haven’t even heard of, and drive traffic to yourself. Remember that we don’t want our link profile to consist of 100% high PR links or links with our anchor text.
So, your feed address is usually going to be something like yoursite.com/feed.
Paste it into the feed submitter at Marketing Blog online. http://marketingblogonline.com/feedbacklinks/. Then hop over to BulkPing ( http://www.bulkping.com) to submit your feed to a bunch of directories at once and then forget about it. Looking for something more powerful?
There are a LOT of people on Fiverr selling this service because it’s easy if you’ve bought the software. Remember that quantity isn’t always quality.
Are these the most powerful links on the planet? Of course not. And there’s a lot of crap to wade through. But one of the advantages of using them is that they’re a steady, free source of traffic. You can manually look for niche specific directory sites by using a little bit of Google-Fu.
intitle:"submit * url" "your niche
intitle:"submit * site" "your niche"
intitle:"submit * page" "your niche"
The idea here is that we want to manually catch all the directories that say “submit A site”, “submit “YOUR site”, and all of that. Remember that some of these places are going to have the manual review, so try and put up a few pages before you submit.
You can also save time by using a directory submitter. Just remember not to blast all these links at once, and don’t waste time with directories that want a link back. http://directorysubmitter.imwishlist.com/
Social bookmarking sites are so great because they bring together the best features of old-fashioned directories and the newfangled social network. Sites like Reddit, StumbleUpon, Flickr, and Jumptags are all useful, but you can get the ball rolling by bookmarking these sites manually.
Registering for all of these sites manually is a tiring process – spend 5 dollars on a site like Fiverr and get someone to fill out all those pesky forms for you.
Once you’re done, consider signing up for OnlyWire ( http://www.onlywire.com) – it’ll automatically post your backlink every time you make a new post. On a budget? No sweat, you can do this manually.
And you can maximize your results by using Bookmarking Demon ( http://www.bookmarkingdemon.com)... This is an automated solution that posts to hundreds of social bookmark sites, and it’s SO MUCH EASIER than posting these by hand. The software costs a few dollars though, so you might be better off hiring someone on Fiverr to do this for you if you’re on a tight budget.
Here’s the thing about press releases – there are a lot of these sites out there, and you’ll very much get what you pay for. But if you’re willing to dish out, you can get linked from authority sites and get a flood of traffic to your site… try not to abuse this, and don’t spend time on it unless you can think up something that’s actually newsworthy about your site.
You don’t need to worry about “formatting” your press release for SEO – don’t write for the backlink. Just make one that has a good angle a real person might want to read, be direct and to the point, and include your content information. 300-700 words in length.
- Give some free lessons
- Make a holiday themed announcement
- Talk about a business partnership
- Make a prediction about your industry
- Talk about a poll or study of your customers
One of the problems is that press releases are news – you’re going to have to post new releases on a regular basis. Check out BigNews.biz, newsreleaser.com, I-Newswire.com, and PRBuzz.com for more options at every price range.
You seriously do NOT need to buy an expensive piece of software or spend all day submitting to a thousand different sites when you’re first starting out.
The goal of article marketing isn’t just to get a sweet, sweet backlink from GoArticles – it’s to get your articles reprinted and spread across the internet on sites in your niche. Think about it
– there aren’t that many paying customers who are going to search for information through EZine Articles. Webmasters, on the other hand…
Generally, affiliate marketers write really short 400-word articles that don’t have a lot of beef to them in the hope that they’ll get a bunch of EZA backlinks and boost their SEO power. I suggest you do the exact opposite. Create some articles that are between 700-1000 words, so that a webmaster who is looking for articles to add to their site is drawn to your quality.
Don’t post your articles until they’re already indexed on your site.
Head over to EZineArticles, GoArticles, and ArticlesBase and manually submit your stuff there. This can be a real pain in the butt – and a great excuse to pop in somewhere like Fiverr or ODesk and get someone else to do the submissions for you.
The problem with this is that it adds up if you have written a lot of stuff. Personally, I still do this myself.
Now, what if your niche is a really dry, terrible niche that you can’t imagine writing a bunch of articles about? After all, you may have decided to write about sewing machines, and it doesn’t matter how EROTIC your content is, you’re going to run into some serious problems getting eyeballs for your review of Singer’s newest embroidery machine.
Well, remember that nothing is stopping you from writing in a niche that you care about and linking to your site in the resource box. You’d think that would hurt your chances of being syndicated, but it really doesn’t – in fact plenty of webmasters are thrilled to not have to link to a site in their niche, and article scrapers like WP Robot certainly don’t care about your anchor link.
It’s all about finding a balance between finding a topic with a lot of material out there to research and links that are close to your niche.
What We Avoid
I was going to call this section “stuff to avoid”, but there’s always someone out there making money with a method you aren’t using.
Putting Content On Web 2.0 Hub
Plenty of otherwise smart people swear by the power of sites like Squidoo and HubPages. While many article directories have really low-quality control, these sites have a manual review, and Google likes them a whole lot more.
But there are issues. More and more marketers are using Squidoo and HubPages for backlinking and monetization, but the low quality means Google is tightening up on their effectiveness, which means Squidoo wants better more original content.
But here’s the thing: the backlink from Squidoo isn’t worth as much as your original content!
It’s important to make sure that your content belongs to you – that it goes to your site and sends people to your sales funnel. Even if you write the coolest and most compelling stuff in the world and 50% of your Squidoo visitors click through to your site (an astronomical CTR), that means 50% of potential customers didn’t go through the funnel. Way inefficient.
That said, if you’re just getting started and you don’t have two nickels to rub together, you might need Web 2.0 places more than they need you. I’m going to talk about that, and a modified version of the link wheel format, in the next section.
The “Link Wheel” Format
Your goal isn’t to get someone to start at an EZA website and have them click to a Wiki and go to a Squidoo lens from there and a YouTube video from there. You want them to read something, like it, and go to your main website so they can buy a product sometimes down the line. Linking from “spoke to spoke” is basically a way to pass juice from Squidoo to Go
Articles – there’s no technological magic that multiplies the relevance of each link on its way to your site. Finally, the “wheel” pattern isn’t natural. It’s easy to track and suss out. Don’t do it.
Forum Profile Links
There was once a time that you could rule the SEO world with profile links. But this strategy is cooked nowadays. Don’t waste your time logging onto forums or making Scrapebox blasts. It
won’t hurt your site, and there’s nothing wrong with using them as part of a pyramid that leads to your site, but there are much better things you could be doing with your time. Build relationships and quality backlinks, not spammy profiles.
If You’re Broke…
The affiliate landscape is a much less pleasant place than it was a couple of years ago, and it’s more difficult (although not impossible) to get traffic to your site. Obviously, you want to use the extra time to make the most out of your content – that means syndicating it around the web.
And you've probably heard how wonderful this idea is – turn your article into a PDF, turn your PDF into a podcast, turn your podcast into a slideshow, turn your slideshow into a YouTube video, and the gates of traffic will open up to you!
Theoretically, a great idea. In reality, it's very, very time intensive.
Be careful and don’t get sucked into doing stuff that’s too time intensive. Don’t spend a lot of time making videos or carefully editing audio recordings. Instead, focus on things that don’t take up a lot of time.
Squidoo, Blogger, HubPages, the like. Your goal shouldn’t be to link all of these sites into each other. There’s nothing wrong with doing it once or twice in cases where it’s actually relevant, but the link circle idea is a no-go. It’s too easy to suss out. Instead, send pings and backlinks to the Web 2.0 sites and create a little pyramid.
It’s not very hard to take your article and turn it into a PDF and a slideshow. 5 minutes of extra work, and then you can take this stuff and put it on docstoc, scribd, slideshare. (Like I said, I’m not a big fan of manually submitting to every site under the sun because it takes too much time). Remember to add tags to your stuff and comment on your submission. All of these aren’t going to be do-follow links, and that’s fine.
Document sharing sites are NOT world-beaters though, so if you’re pressed for time you should put your priorities somewhere else.
Everyone tells you to do this, but it’s easier said than done depending on your niche. Forum administrators are very sensitive about marketers coming up and spamming their board with links. Look around for high traffic forums in your niche though, and if you see a couple of other people with signatures, go for it. The trick here is to be consistent. If you’re on a high-traffic forum, you want to post 5-10 times a day and start an interesting thread every other day or so. Don’t be a “promoter”, just hang out and visit.