8. Back linking

Link building and SEO

A must, if you want to be noticed on the Internet

You probably already know that there are two sides to search engine optimisation (SEO) but I will just mention it for completeness. There is ‘on page’ which involves perfecting the html code and packing in the keywords in the right places. For most this is the easy bit. If you know nothing about this process or you want a thorough overview of the SEO process read this:  Google SEO starter document. The rest of this page is dedicated to the hard bit ‘off page’ SEO or more commonly referred to as back linking.

Link building and writing content go hand in hand so you should be sharing your time evenly between the two activities.  So you should keep that in mind when you are link building. While researching this article, I came across mountains of information on the subject so rather than add to the mountain, I want to give a short summary of some of the things you can do and give you lots of detail about what I am doing and what is working for me.

Link building Strategy

One very good article started with this quote that I thought was very appropriate:

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat”. Sun Tzu

This means, when applied to link building, that we need to think about what we are going to end up with before we apply the tactics. The tactics being various link building methods.

So the first step of the process is to define your the niche and choose targeted keywords. I guess that this is a bit of a chicken and egg situation. Doing keyword research can help you uncover a niche, but lets stay for now all that has been done and we have chosen a product/s to sell. So we choose the keywords and then group your target keywords into market sectors. For example in a food shop you may have: fish, cheese, meat and vegetables. The next step is to focus the link building on each one of these sectors, i.e., French cheese, soft cheese, blue cheeses, cream cheese etc. These are of course the long tail keywords that we are going to use in our articles, link anchor texts and our general link building effort.

What Google has to stay about link building

As Google can make or break a site we had better listen:

“It’s important to clarify that any legitimate link building strategy is a long-term effort. There are those who advocate for short-lived, often spammy methods, but these are not advisable if you care for your site’s reputation. Buying PageRank-passing links or randomly exchanging links are the worst ways of attempting to gather links and they’re likely to have no positive impact on your site’s performance over time. If your site’s visibility in the Google index is important to you it’s best to avoid them.”

“Directory entries are often mentioned as another way to promote young sites in the Google index. There are great, topical directories that add value to the Internet. But there are not many of them in proportion to those of lower quality. If you decide to submit your site to a directory, make sure it’s on topic, moderated, and well structured. Mass submissions, which are sometimes offered as a quick work-around SEO method, are mostly useless and not likely to serve your purposes.”

The above quotations are from: Google’s webmaster blog

Good Link building in a nutshell

Link building is not complicated compared to say C programming, but you do need to be organised and the big point is that quality counts, if the quality is good then people will share it and Google will like it too. The hope is that you don’t need to do any link building because people will do it for you by creating links to you. So this is not just a long term policy but it is also a short term policy too. Search engines are putting more and more emphasis is going on what people think of your content. Google plus one is now a factor in SEO and is a direct result of search engine interest in people’s opinions. Also people don’t read spammy content on link farms therefore as people follow links from good content, it makes sense to make sure your links are in interesting relevant content. Not surprisingly, Google give maximum value to these kind of links. Additionally, direct linking can easily bring you 30 to 40% of your traffic. But we still need to get the ball rolling so what can be done that helps organise out campaigns and finds the links prospects?

Link Building book

Practical link building

Generally speaking we are looking for a good mix of quality link types from relevant content. These could include articles, blogs, directories. The theory is you need to research your links and put them on a spreadsheet to track the work you are doing. At a basic level, you need to mark that you have requested a link and then follow up to check that it is working (perhaps some days or weeks later). This requires both dedication and organisation, not to mention patience. Link building is going to cost you either time or money; probably both. To be successful, it has to be done.

Time is more valuable that money (or so they say)

I have therefore decided to use a system that helps you both find your quality link partners and helps you to organise your campaigns. This is what I am now doing. To see it working and to test it take a risk-free 7-day trial of Link Builder. I highly recommend this. Let me tell you why. A few months ago I spent about £600 (GBP) about $950 (USD) on a Facebook campaign that brought me about 12,000 visitors about 100 per day. At first I was very pleased but I soon noticed that they were not buying anything. I was bidding 5 pence a click. When I analysed why, I found I was only getting people from the poorest countries in the world and none from the areas that were people were buying my products. So I halted the campaign. To get visits form more affluent areas, I needed to raise my bids considerably, so much so that my site would not have been viable which is so often the case with ppc. Even collecting email addresses as a priority so I could mail people and bring them back to the site on subsequent occasions still didn’t pay. My email addresses were costing me an average of £3.00 each. Over the long term, this may have worked out but short term results were fatal to the campaign.

Use the free listings

Later on I started a campaign of link building and article marketing. I paid an Indian company £114 pounds and within a month I was getting about 70 unique visitors a day but with a good mix of people from everywhere. This has worked out to be a much better use of my funds. At $329 USD or about £208 GBP, for the annual contract, this has to be a good use of funds even though it may seem expensive at first. You need to enter your credit/debit card details to take a trial, but I can tell you that I was immediately pleased with the tests that I have done so far. In a nutshell, you enter some criteria like keywords or competitor websites and it returns a huge list of possible linking sites for you and then organises the website links into folders of link types. You can then select a link prospect and add notes and information about them in place of having to create a spreadsheet. However if you do need a spreadsheet, the links can be exported and downloaded. There is more to it than I have mentioned, I suggest you take a risk-free 7-day trial of Link Builder and see for yourself. You can get your money back even if you forget to cancel within the 7 day period.

The alternative

During my research to write this article, I turned up all sorts of methods and ideas to get back links but as soon as I tried the link building tool, I felt my research was actually obsolete because if you use the tool, you will just do every thing correctly. I was going to write it all up in the article and spread it over several pages, but now I have used the link building tool, I feel time is better spent learning about the best ways to evaluate and approach link building prospects.

Evaluating and approaching potential link prospects

Sites that you can post to

Link prospects come in a number of forms. You may be able to connect to a blog or a forum and post directly. If you do this it is best to get involved by replying to another message and taking part in a conversation rather than jumping in and writing a spam message that will get blocked. Remember a few good links is worth more that a pile of spam so cultivate the tread. Perhaps don’t try to add a link in the first or second messages you send. Be patient all you need is 10 good links a day. I know that a single link in a forum (actually posted by another one of my customers) earned me over £2000. I only found out because I asked the customer how she found me.  Forums and blogs are visited by real people who are looking for information and perhaps even products or services. They are very often looking for honest reviews. What I am saying is, if you use the link building tool, you are going to get a list of say 5000+ websites that are potential link prospects. You are going to feel pressured to do as many as you can as quickly as you can. Don’t be. The tool lists them in order of importance so work through them, take your time and sincerely engage yourself. You could end up with hundreds of links from a very busy forum and very relevant forum. Web pages.

Sites you can’t post to

Look for websites that are relevant, well written good content and have real people behind them. Read and understand the content. Look for the ‘contact us’ section and write an email to a real person named on the site if you can find one. Write to them personally, tell them who you are, what you want, why it’s relevant and invite them to write back if they want more info.

Directories

If you want to see the perfect example of a good directory to post to go to http://www.demoz.org This is the most important directory on the Internet and you should try to get listed here as a no1 priority. Listing can take several months to be registered. Follow the posting rules to the letter! Even then it may take several attempts.

Still under construction below here – put on your hard hat! – I will get it finished in the next day or two.

Back link boosting

When you have a link from a URL (a web page), from research, I am led to believe that  you can improve the link to your site by sending ‘link juice’ to it by link boosting.

back link boosting

As yet I can’t tell you myself if this really works but each time I do a back link, I boost it using the free submission too right at the very bottom of this page. Here is another that claims to do over 70 engines free submission tool. If you want to pay a little and have some rapid links sent to the page that links to you (back link boost) you can use this very effective service. It does work, I’ve tried it and checked that the links work: Back link booster.

Link counting

You can keep an on how many links are getting registered with Google with Google Webmaster tools. There is also Yahoo Site Explorer which may close soon but is still working now. I find this very useful. An up and come service is Majestic SEO. Also this free download provides a link counting/checking service very accurately if you know where to look: Scrapebox free link checker tool. Here is a useful tool to quickly check a website for what links it contains link counter tool and this tool will count back links

Other tips

  • If you are selling 0ne product, try to get an exact match domain name.
  • If you have a new domain, build links slowly, average not more than 10 per day. Don’t be too consistent link in bursts.
  • Start out by targeting 1 or 2 highest potential keyword per page
  • Anchor text variation 80% use your best keyword, 20% use second best keyword anchor text. See the point above.
  • Back link types (weight)
  • Use low quality links to back link boost only, and use your high quality links for your money site.

To get high quality links look at:

  • Your competitors’ links
  • Sites with high page rank
  • Quality/relevant blog comments
  • Article links
  • Quality profile links
  • Quality directory submissions

low quality links include

  • Poor quality profile links
  • one hour link boosts
  • link networks

Techniques:

Use competitors’ links

Find similar site in your general niche that ranks well but are not direct competitors. Check who links to them and look for links from diverse domains. You don’t want a site that only has small number of domains linking in (under 300). Finally make sure they are related to your niche.

Best Strategy

Use Link Builder

Further reading

Ken McGaffin’s quick guide to Link Builder

Handy tools: http://www.thelinksubmitter.com

One Response to 8. Back linking

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