Friday, August 6, 2010

15 Link Building Methods, Get The Most Out Of Each Of Them

Content is king”, that’s what everyone says. And it’s true. However, content is useless if it doesn’t get read. When you’re a beginner and you’re not yet quite so known, the best thing you can do is to combine great content with good link building methods. I’ve compiled a list of 15 different methods of link building, each with a rating in three departments: difficulty to use, time consumed and quality of links that it generates. My advice would be to spend your link building efforts on methods that give High Quality backlinks. Yes, they might be much harder to obtain, but take my advice, between 100 backlinks in forum signatures and 1 backlink from a high profile blog, take the 1 backlink.

I’ve also attached some advices on improving your chances of getting good value for your link building efforts for each of the methods. Please feel free to contribute with advices in the comments if you have anything to add.

1) Forum Posts

  • Difficulty: Low – Read the thread, think of something to say and write it
  • Time Consumed: Low – Seriously, how long does it take to write a reply in a forum
  • Quality: Low – Most forums are seriously handicapped when it comes to SEO. A lot of similar threads, centered around the same core keywords, long and ugly URL’s, very few if any links pointing to threads, most just to the main page, duplicate content issues

Improve your chances:

Post in threads that make it to the front page of Digg or other social media sites.

Look for posts with high linkability value. For example, a thread on DigitalPoint about how a guy got banned has extremely low chances of getting links. A thread on how a guy made $5000 in a month using a new technique has better odds of getting some link love.

Post in sticky threads. They’re just 2 links away from the main page all the time and should get some good link juice.

2) Social Bookmarking

  • Difficulty: Low – now much to it. Just enter url, title, description and some tags.
  • Time Consumed: Low – first time is more time consuming as you make your accounts on the websites. After that it takes less then a minute for each social bookmarking site to save a link.
  • Quality: Low – a lot of them don’t give link juice. But even if they do, the tags that are linked from the front page are the most popular, so plenty of links are entered there all the time. Your link will be slipping to the back pages and moving their position all the time, from the first page of that tag to the 5th, 10th, 20th page and so on.

Improve your chances:

Create your own tag. For example, instead of submitting all your links to the link building tag, submit them to the “link building links” tag. On less used sites, your tag could end up being linked from the front page all the time, if you save enough links in that tag. Your links would be just 1 link away from the front page this way.

Add as many tags as possible to every link you submit, as long as they are relevant to the subject of the article.

3) Social Media

  • Difficulty: High – building up your profile, becoming a top user, getting friends, writing good linkbait. None of these come easy.
  • Time Consumed: High – writing good linkbait is time consuming. Not everyone has the luxury of posting funny or cute photos on their blog.
  • Quality: High – if you get to the front page you get a good number of links usually, depending on your subject. Also, the page where your link is listed can become a PR4-5 on Digg.

Improve your chances:

Build up a good profile on a niche social media site that is suited to your blog’s subject. Less traffic, but more likely to subscribe or be interested in the rest of your articles.

Network with other bloggers, and once in a while, ask them to vote your story, if indeed its front page worthy. A story with a number of initial votes and a few comments is much more likely to be voted by other users of that social media site.

Work your ass off on your linkbait.

4) Guest Posts

  • Difficulty: Medium – writing a post for a blog with the same subject as yours should be easy to you.
  • Time Consumed: Medium – it needs to be good quality. You’re trying to get some of their readers to subscribe to your blog. Don’t waste this opportunity by writing a low key article.
  • Quality: High – if you pick the blog right, and you write a good article, it should bring you new subscribers, a link from a blog in the same niche as you and maybe links from other bloggers in the same niche.

Improve your chances:

Write linkbait in your guest posts. Some say that your best content should stay on your blog. I disagree. If you have 30 subscribers and you write a guest post for someone with 10,000 subscribers, it can bring you couple of hundred new subscribers if you play your cards right.

Prepare your blog for the incoming visitors. Before your guest post goes up, make sure that at least your last 2-3 articles are of great quality. Even better, make them part of a series, and if you know what the new visitors are interested in, then they should be much more inclined to subscribe in order to follow that series.

5) Interviews

  • Difficulty: Medium – approach a few bloggers in your niche that have a fair number of subscribers. Try and get interviews with people from new companies that generate a lot of hype. DealDotCom and BlogRush, a lot of people interested in them these days. Did anyone try to get an interview with some juicy details from people working for these two?
  • Time Consumed: Medium – study the subject, see what people are saying about them, what kind of questions they have. Make a list of questions and do a good quality interview. Be unique, don’t ask the same questions they’ve been asked before 100 times (study the previous interviews they gave).
  • Quality: High – Links from high profile blogs in your niche and maybe links from their readers.

Improve your chances:

Try and secure interviews with bloggers/people that people have talked about lately and that they might be curious about. If you can bring some extra details or another point of view on the subject it can be good linkbait

Don’t waste the opportunity. Think of what people might be interested in knowing about that guy, try to get some good tips from him, see what others failed to ask him before you. Don’t ask just generic questions.

6) Linkbait

  • Difficulty: High – it might come easy to SEOmoz or Aaron Wall, but for most people it will take a few tries before they get
  • it right. When you’re small and not a lot of people follow your blog it’s not that easy to get the linkbait out there. Make it appealing to others and work hard on promoting it.
  • Time Consumed: High – again, as a small blogger you have to put a lot of effort and time in your linkbait. Then comes the promotion part.
  • Quality: High – a lot of links from blogs writing on the same subject as you. Links from old and high authority domains if you get picked up by the media.

Improve your chances:

Think outside the box. Writing yet another list of link building methods doesn’t do much good anymore. Put a twist on it. Like this article does :P

Let other people know about it. Don’t contact high profile bloggers with each article you write. Once or twice a month, if you write a high quality article, you can send them a mail if they’re writing about the same thing. Contact Daniel from Daily Blog Tips or Kevin from Blogging Tips if you got a blogging tip (both great guys), or contact John Chow if you got a money making article.

7) Linking Out

  • Difficulty: Medium – the difficult part is not using a link to others in your articles, but actually making it part of a very good article when linking to high profile bloggers.
  • Time Consumed: Low – find a way to link out to other bloggers with every good article you write. If you’re doing research for an article, link to those that served as inspiration.
  • Quality: High – again, if they like your content and write about it, links from high profile bloggers in your niche.

Improve your chances:

Link to articles or about pages instead of the index. If they have to approve the trackback then they will probably come and see if your blog is trackback worthy. They usually have plenty of links to the index page and deep links are always good.

If you see an article that the blogger put a lot of effort into, but doesn’t get much reaction from his readers, link to it and recommend it if its good. He will probably appreciate more the attention on an article like that, then if you link together with 100 other people to a more popular one.

8) Link Exchanges

  • Difficulty: Medium – finding people that are wiling to do link exchanges in the same niche as you might be difficult for some, especially if you want good links
  • Time Consumed: Medium – it takes time to write all those emails, even if you have a template for it and just change the name. It doesn’t hurt to put a little effort in creating that email.
  • Quality: Medium – they are links from the same niche, but they’re sitewide blogroll links.

Improve your chances:

Link to them before you send the email. Let them know that you’ve already put them in your blogroll and if they like your blog they can do the same. Don’t be upset if they don’t want to exchange links. I’m not too crazy after blogroll link exchanges for example. They can become quite a long list of links on each of your pages, diluting the amount of link juice that you can give.

Don’t do link exchanges with everyone. Pick some bloggers with authority in your niche, that you know they’ll be there in the long run. Network a bit before you ask something like that and know when to ask. For example, you can network with Darren Rowse all you want, I still don’t think he’ll exchange links with you.

Offer some value with that link exchange. Gain some authority before you start sending emails to people asking for link exchanges.

9) Directory Submission

  • Difficulty: Low – completing forms is not exactly rocket science
  • Time Consumed: Low – takes a few minutes for each submission
  • Quality: Low – pages and pages full of links. If they’re general directories then you’ve got links from cars to how to make soap sites. Before supplemental results were removed I used to look at directories and almost all their pages were marked as supplemental. Not much value there.

Improve your chances:

Some directories still provide some value. Especially those that Google thinks that they’re actually taking care of who they let in, and they’re not in it just for the money. Niche directories might also bring some value.

10) Free Templates or Themes

  • Difficulty: High – you actually have to know how to make one and have a good eye at design
  • Time Consumed: High – it can take anywhere from a few hours to one week. Depends how much experience you have and how good the theme is.
  • Quality: Low/Medium – you do get some good links from articles announcing your theme, but most are footer links from bloggers with lower authority. The likes of John Chow, Shoemoney, Darren Rowse have custom themes. Authority bloggers that don’t have custom themes usually don’t change what they have for another free theme. They either go custom at some point, or they stay with what works for them right now. So your theme and your footer links will largely come from new blogs, that might take some time to get authority. Still, a very good theme can get a huge number of backlinks and it’s not that unusual to see PR5-6 blogs that got their PR from themes they released.

Improve your chances:

Study successful themes, make yours Adsense ready, SEO them. Talk with friends and other bloggers and see what they like to see in a theme, ask for feedback as you develop it.

Do it the Nate Whitehill way. One custom theme for John Chow and one redesign for Shoemoney got him $13,000 worth of orders. If he had made a free theme with similar layout as the one used by John Chow, he would’ve gotten a huge number of backlinks from those that try to be like John.

11) Create a WordPress Plugin

  • Difficulty: High – again, you have to know how to code, more so then with themes
  • Time Consumed: High – from a few hours to days, depends on how complex it is
  • Quality: Medium/High – if you make something that people need, it can bring you a ton of good quality links

Improve your chances:

See what other bloggers need. They might need an Adsense Plugin, a DoFollow plugin, A SEO plugin or simply a Buy me a beer plugin. If you manage to do something new that most people would embrace,
that plugin page will get linked to quite a lot.

Promote it. Plugin directories, blogs that announce new plugins and themes, blogs that are giving blogging tips. Contact those people and tell them what you’ve created.

12) Hold a Contest

  • Difficulty: Low – make the announcement, promote the contest, give away the prizes
  • Time Consumed: Low/Medium – it really depends on how successful it is. 200 entries would be quite a hand full, 5 of them not that much.
  • Quality: Depends – if you give $4000 worth of prizes away, then you might get the big bloggers as well. If you’re giving $5-$20 or just a few links and you’re not high PR, then the quality of links might be lower.

Improve your chances:

Let people know what value they’re getting if you’re not giving away money. Put banners up in your blog if you’re giving away free advertising space (like I did in my contest – check it out). Don’t ask too much as a condition to enter the contest. Unless you’re giving away hundreds of dollars worth of prizes, I wouldn’t ask for a full review or post dedicated just to your blog.

13) Create mini-blogs and link to your main blog

  • Difficulty: Low – writing shorter articles on the same topic as your main blog should be easy
  • Time Consumed: High – you do have to write a number of articles and maybe do some link building for it
  • Quality: Low – links from blogs in the same niche, but without much authority. The time spent writing articles for mini-blogs can be spent better if you use it to write pillar content for the main blog.

Improve your chances:

If you do decide to make mini blogs to support the main one, at least don’t use your hosting account because it would be the same IP class. Use Blogspot, and other free blogging hosts. Create a mini blog on each one and write at least a few articles with links to your own blog in them.

One way of doing it is for linkbait that doesn’t belong on your main blog. Maybe you have an idea for a funny piece that wouldn’t be appreciated by your readers, but is still somehow related to your subject. Use a mini-blog and try to get it on Digg to gather some links.

14) Buying links

  • Difficulty: Low – not hard, you just need money and to know what you need
  • Time Consumed: Medium – contacting other sites/bloggers, looking for good pages
  • Quality: High – if you can afford to pay for them

Improve your chances:

Don’t go the Text Link Ads route. Everyone can see the blogs that are selling links there.

Instead, use Google and search for articles centered around your keywords. Look for the backlinks and see who linked to it, see what PR it has, how far away it is from the main page. Then contact the blogger/site owner and offer him money to transform that keyword from his article into a link to your blog. It might get expensive, but if you can manage to find articles about your keywords that were linked a lot, then getting a link there would be much better then getting a side-wide blogroll link.

15) Paid Reviews

  • Difficulty: Low – others write about you, not much effort there
  • Time Consumed: Medium – do it right. Study the blogger and his past paid reviews to see how he writes them.
  • Quality: High – articles dedicated just to your blogs, with your chosen keywords in them

Improve your chances:

Don’t just pick a blog and ask for a paid review. Study other paid reviews done by the blogger, see what he usually didn’t like and what he did. If that blogger doesn’t like Adsense and says it in every post (Tyler :P ) then take the ads out before you order that review. The blogger’s obligation is to tell his readers his real opinion, your duty is to get as much bang for the buck as possible. I’m a subscriber of Tyler’s blog for quite some time now, and it never ceases to amaze me that people still pay him for reviews without taking the Adsense out first. Adapt your blog to what that particular blogger that you’re paying likes to see. At least when it comes to ads or minor elements of design.

Also, make sure you’ve got some good posts up when he comes and after he gives his review. Again, make sure you get the most out of your money if you want to pay for a review.


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