If you are reading this, I assume that you are aware of the concept of "link building" and how you can benefit from it. If you are new to it, you can read this free report on backlink building to get an idea of what it is all about!
As you might know, there are numerous ways to build backlinks. I have been doing this ever since I learned about it; but to be honest, my real link building started only since a year ago or so! Through trial and error, I learned a few new concepts. Overtime I have developed a set of opinions and theories on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which help me plan my link building campaigns.
The following article is nothing but a collection of such "theories". SEO, being a complicated and somewhat speculative subject, has always been an area of interest for wannabe webmasters and SEO gurus alike. I personally don’t know any SEO guru who could stand erect on his feet and proclaim in a loud voice that he knows each and every truth about it.
Perhaps the only folks who know the real SEO truths are the guys employed by major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, etc.; however, they won’t reveal it to you because their lips are sealed with an NDA. ;)
Thus, with no real directions and principles to follow, SEO has attracted diverse opinions from different gurus (experienced and inexperienced alike); if you ever read the opinions of any two SEO gurus on the same subject, you are more likely to get baffled than become wiser!
Whenever any subscriber asks me any question on this mysterious and somewhat tricky subject, I answer the question with an attitude like "take it or leave it". My attitude here is same. You see, I don’t want any "SEO debate" because it has … no end! :D Still, if you ever wish to argue about SEO, have Matt Cutts as your opponent; that way, at least the argument would prove a bit useful to you, rather than completely going waste!
Okay, without anymore unnecessary rambling, let’s get started on the real thing.
The links I am talking about here are nothing but "incoming links". When someone links back to your website, you get an ‘incoming link". On the other hand, if YOU link to someone, then it is known as an "outgoing link"
Before you start building backlinks for your website, you need to know a bit about Google’s guidelines for webmasters, especially how THEY view your backlink campaigns (let’s face it, most of us do it to "please" Google, lol).
When we are building links for our websites, we are building our incoming links ARTIFICALLY, and Google doesn’t support the act of "artificial link building. Google assumes that as a webmaster, you are capable of producing high-quality, content-rich websites, websites which people would love to link to; this is known as complimentary or "natural" linking, for in this case webmasters link back to you naturally, WITHOUT any extra effort on your part!
For example, I know several internet marketers who linkback to Google naturally, like this: We Love Google. Why? Do they receive any credit or incentive for that from Google? Nope! They link to Google because it offers "value" in the form of a great search engine; naturally, they are only glad to link back to it from their websites so as to improve their visitors’ browsing experience (note: I am taking about natural links, NOT Adsense ad codes).
Similarly, Google wants you to create valuable websites people would love to link to, in their own interest! Thus the process of incoming link building would start, and as you produce more and more good content, you would be getting more and more incoming links, all without any effort on your part!
It is not necessary to build a content site to receive complimentary links from other webmasters; if you create a service or product that is unique, out of the world, and valuable, people would link back to the salespages of the product/service. Angela’s Backlink Builder Membership is a case in point: it is not a content website from any angle but one site I often link to from my blog; the reason is that she has created a service which is not only effective (for me at least) but also affordable to every pocket!
However, for those of us who are not geniuses, creating content-rich websites, that too valuable content, is a far-fetched dream! Consequently, the concept of "natural link building" becomes meaningless for most of us and we have to resort to "artificial link building", which is frowned upon by Google.
The trick here is to build links in a way that Google would be "fooled" into thinking that your link building process is natural (even though it is not)! There are a few ways you could do this:
1. Nofollow and dofollow: There are two types of incoming links you could get from third party websites: nofollow and dofollow. Unlike dofollow links, nofollow links don’t give you any link juice (link juice is essential to increase your SERP and pagerank). So a natural reaction among wannabe webmasters is this: "Only find websites which offer dofollow linkback. If any website is found to be the contrary, it should be avoided".
If you are a member of Angela’s Backlink Builder membership, you would get 30 high quality dofollow backlinks (many even allowing anchor text links) per month. If you wish to change your search engine position from "zero" to "hero", these links are great for you. Plus the sites included in the packet are almost always highly respectable sites in their own niches; when you link to such sites, Google is bound to give you some respect. :D
However, if all the incoming links of your site are dofollow, Google’s over-zealous employees "might" become suspicious that you are a spammer. As a safe bet, I always throw in a few extra nofollow links in the mix.
So, every month, I build 30 do follow links (this I get from Angela)+5-6 nofollow links for my website. Thus the whole "link building" thing would look pretty natural to Google. If you cannot think of any nofollow website that allows posting of links, try out Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo! Answers, Delicious, etc.
Tip: As a matter of fact, a lot of non-internet marketing blogs I have come across are nofollow. Internet marketing blogs, especially those which are worth reading, are pretty selective about offering the "dofollow" link attribute! For example, you won’t get a dofollow link on my blog unless you post three nice comments, each time using the SAME URL. What constitutes a "nice comment" is something I am free to decide! ;)
Besides, don’t forget that if the site you are putting your links on is an authority site in its niche and thematically related to your site, you would get traffic, regardless of whether the link is dofollow or nofollow.
2. Anchor text links and hard links: While hard links look like this:
Anchor text links look like this: <a href="http://website.com">your keyword here</a>
To SEO experts, it is no secret that the more "anchor text" incoming links you have for a given keyword, the higher would be your search engine position for that keyword. Over-zealous link builders conclude that any incoming link which is not in "anchor-text" format is not worthy at all!
Once again, if all your incoming links are "anchor-text" links, it might make Google suspicious of your activities. Remember that if you are an ant crawling over the body of an elephant, you should crawl in a way that the elephant doesn’t get even the slightest hint of it (the elephant in this case is Google). :D
So I follow the 80-20 rule: 80% of my incoming links are anchor text links while the rest 20% are hard links. Don’t think that hard links have no value at all. With hard links, while you may not get ranked for any keyword, you would still benefit from the linkback (remember that Google counts all links)!
3. The format of your links: Whether I use an ‘anchor text" link or a hard link, I always alternate between two versions of an URL: http://website.com and http:///www.website.com , again for nothing except making my link building campaigns look natural to Google. :D
4. Keywords you use for anchor text: Months after writing this post I did yet another link building test, this time using:
The best niche keyword+My site’s best page (usually the "about me" or "freebie" page) to create the anchor text link, and used that anchor text link across all the backlink sites. The results I got from this were not much different than what I got from following the complicated procedure detailed a little below. The good thing is that this new method is far less taxing on my brain than the earlier method. I have also discovered that:
a) If I direct all links to the "About me" page, a freebie page, or any other non-commercial page of my website, the webmasters are less likely to delete my links because many of them don’t see it as "advertisement" or "promotion". Yes, some would still delete your links, but that is inevitable and perhaps the best you can do is to move on and add more backlinks to your sites.
b) My entire site gets benefited from the procedure even if I direct all the links to just one page of my website (again, make sure it is an inner page of your website and also free from any kind of commercial ads/sales pitches)
c) Even though I targeted just one keyword in my anchor text, I ranked for many other related keywords for which I have never built anchor text links. E.g., I rank for "Namecheap coupon code’ and similar other weird keywords even though I have no anchor text links created for them. The reason I rank for the other keywords is that my site (yes, I mean ALL my sites) have content around targeted keywords of the respective niches!
For those who want to read my earlier method, you can check it below; I have crossed it out because it is no longer useful for me, but left it intact for posterity! Thank you.
Whenever using an "anchor text" link, I choose my keyword and link combinations in a random fashion.
a) Different keywords for the same link (for example, one time I may link ‘keyword1’ with http://www.website.com and at another time I link ‘keyword2’ with that same link) c) Different format of links for same keywords (for example, one time I may link ‘keyword1’ with http://www.website.com and at another time use ‘keyword1’ with http://website.com). I rarely use this option though. Options (a) and (b) are what I use the most! Am I mad? Nope. Google must not get suspicious of my link building campaigns, ya know! ;) At first glance you might think this is too much to digest, but if you follow my ultimate tip- PLAN your link building campaign ahead of time. You have got to plan it one time or other, so why not do it at start! You can create different website profiles, assign a hypothetical priority number to each (depends on how much weight you give to an individual page) and then use each of those profiles for a pre-determined number of times when building your links (the more a page is worth to you, the more links you would want to build for it to improve its visibility in search engines). For example: Say that you have three websites: Website 1 Website 2 Website 3 Now, say that Website 3 is most important to you, followed by Website 2 and Website 1. Assuming that you have a total of 30 dofollow backlinks to build, here is how you could prioritize your link building: Priority 1=> Website 3=> Build 12 links for This Website Priority 2=> Website 2=> Build 10 links for This Website Priority 3=> Website 1=> Build 8 links for This Website
5. All Links from ONE Source! Wow!: We all know that commenting on "dofollow blogs" is one of the best ways to get your site on top of Google, but for goodness’s sake, please don’t just focus on blog commenting alone. If all your links come from blogs alone, this could be flagged by Google as ‘unnatural activity"!
If you use Angela’s backlink packets, they are rich enough: the 30 links she offers each month consist of links from different types of websites: forums, blogs, news sites, social bookmarking sites, etc.
Besides that, you could throw in a few links from free link directories, free ebook directories, freeware directories, video directories, etc., to make your link building process look natural to Google. A few reciprocal links won’t be bad either! Most of it would be "worthless link building" for you, in that you would get little link juice from these free directories, if at all. But at least you won’t be flagged by Google as a "link spammer" ;)
Trying to be "natural" in Google’s eyes while doing "unnatural" things is pretty difficult for sure; still, I hope the tips I gave above would be of some use to you! :)
Your comments are appreciated, as always!