The Secret to Dominating Search Engine Rankings of Your Articles & Websites – InfoBarrel Earnings Challenge, Part 3
Note: The methods described in this massive article are definitely not just applicable to InfoBarrel articles – you can use these same methods for any website.
I’ve already covered how to make $2,000 a month writing articles for InfoBarrel as well as how to come up with unlimited article ideas. If you’ve been following along with me, you are probably starting to build up a nice base of articles. However, maybe you’ve noticed that some of your articles don’t rank highly on Google, and you want to fix that. After all, if people can’t find your articles via search engines, you aren’t going to earn any AdSense revenue.
This article is going to take a detailed look at different ways to build backlinks for your articles so that you can get them onto page one of Google’s search results, for your desired keywords.
Warning: This is a long article that goes into a ton of detail. You may want to bookmark it and revisit it as needed.
What Are Backlinks?
If you’re new to SEO (search engine optimization), you may not be aware of what backlinks are and how they affect the search engine ranking of your website(s). Essentially, backlinks are links from other websites to your website. Not every backlink is equal – certain backlinks (such as those from strong authority websites) carry more weight than others. For example, I would much rather have a link to my site from CNN.com than I would a Blogger.com blog that I set up for myself.
Although no one knows exactly how Google’s search ranking algorithm works, it is widely believed that creating backlinks for your website is the best thing you can do to improve its search engine ranking. This is in addition to all of the SEO factors that you generally have control over (e.g. URL, page title, keyword density).
In addition, there is a distinction between “do-follow” links and “no-follow” links. In a nutshell, no-follow links are less desirable because Google supposedly won’t give those links any credit when they rank websites in their search results. I’m not an SEO expert, so you can read more about do-follow vs no-follow from someone else.
This isn’t really a general SEO article (I’m mainly focusing on backlinks), so if you want a truly awesome SEO resource, I highly recommend reading this WordPress SEO article posted at ViperChill.
A Note on Anchor Text
Whenever possible, you want the “anchor text” of your link to consist of the keyword(s) you’re trying to rank for in search engines. For example, if I wanted my blog to rank for the phrase “online passive income,” I would make sure to link to my blog like this: online passive income. This helps a lot when you’re trying to improve a website or article’s rank for a particular keyword. As I’ve explained in detail in part one of this series, I rely heavily on Market Samurai to tell me which keywords are best, and which I will be able to easily rank for.
Experts will tell you that you should sometimes vary your anchor text, because otherwise it will appear unnatural to Google. In my opinion, if you’re taking advantage of all your backlink options, you’ll have plenty of links where you don’t get to set this anchor text. I think this will help provide all the variety you need, so don’t be afraid to consistently use your target keyword whenever you have the opportunity to set your own anchor text.
How to Create Backlinks Effectively
Let me start out by saying that there is a ton of material out on the internet about building backlinks. Some of it is useful and some of it is garbage. If you look around, you’ll find a ton of blogs and websites offering to sell you “4,000 backlinks for $50″ and other similar offers. I really don’t know how credible these offers are, so if you do pursue them, do it at your own risk. 4,000 backlinks sound great, but if they’re all from garbage websites (like “link farms”) they may not help you much.
With that said, I’m going to go over a ton of free ways to build backlinks, and then go into a couple premium tools that I use and recommend. If you’re just starting out or don’t want to spend money on improving your site’s SEO, I definitely suggest focusing on the free options. More often than not, they are totally sufficient.
Free Backlink Options
Here is a list of sites where you can backlink your websites or articles for free. One interesting thing to keep in mind is that many of these sites share revenue – in other words, you could make a little bit of additional income with them if someone clicks on an ad around your link. I’ll give further descriptions of each individual option below.
This site allows you to create bookmarks for your articles/websites that include 50-word summaries about what you’re linking to. Similar to sites like Info Barrel, you can input your Google AdSense ID and have the opportunity to make money off your bookmarks, as Xomba shares 50% of its ad revenue with you. Remember, the goal here is to create backlinks – anything additional earned is really icing on the cake. Click here to sign up with Xomba.
2) She Told Me
She Told Me is another bookmark site like Xomba, with revenue sharing. However, instead of a 50% AdSense revenue share, She Told Me offers a 100% share. I find this to be a pretty ugly looking website, but hey, we’re just trying to build links here. Like Xomba, you’ll need to remember to input your Google AdSense ID when you sign up. When you sign up, you’ll get an e-mail from a guy named James, telling you that he manually reviews applications and that it could take up to a week or so to have your application approved. Be patient, and just work on the other backlink sites while you wait for this one.
Snipsly is yet another article/bookmarking site with revenue sharing – this one shares 80% of AdSense revenue. I actually like Snipsly a lot because it’s powered by WordPress. If you’ve written on a WordPress blog before, you’ll be quite familiar with how to post on Snipsly. You might be thinking, “Wait! I have to write an entire article to get my backlinks from Snipsly?” Fortunately, you don’t. According to Snipsly’s FAQ, “Three sentences should be the minimum post size.”
Similar to Xomba, you’ll probably want to write a very quick summary of the website or article you’re linking to, with the link to the article in the body of the text. Make sure you use appropriate anchor text! Here’s an image straight from Snipsly’s site on why you should use them:
Once again, this is another bookmarking site. From MyCibb: “MyCibb.com is a DoFollow social bookmarking site, where you can submit your favorite blog posts, articles, news items and new websites. Being dofollow means the search engines will follow your links back to your website, and you get a backlink to your site. Please do not take advantage of our dofollow bookmarking, or we will turn it off. We are internet marketing friendly, but ask that you limit your submissions of sales type pages, and focus on submitting your quality content blog posts, news items and share articles.”
Each “news story” (i.e. bookmark) that you submit to MyCibb only needs to be 2-4 sentences long.
Social bookmarking site. Starting to notice a trend here? I wasn’t able to determine if this site offers do-follow links.
This is one of my favorites, for a few reasons. First, it’s a revenue sharing site. Second, I like the site design. It’s isn’t annoyingly spammy like some of the others. Finally, they have a daily contest where you can win $25 for building your backlinks with them (you get “raffle tickets” each time you submit content). No, it’s not a lot of money, but I think it makes them stand out from some of the others. There have been some people over on the Info Barrel forum who have won before, in case you were wondering if the prize is actually real.
To add a link or article to RedGage, you need to first go to Upload. Then, you most likely want to add a link (this is the easiest of all the options, but you can certainly pick one of the others).
You make money on RedGage different from the other sites. Instead of linking it directly to your Google AdSense account, RedGage keeps track of your earnings and calculates them based on how many views your content receives (not the number of clicks). Once you hit $25, you’re eligible to receive that money, and it’s pretty creative how they give it to you.
Once your RedGage funds are available (you have made a minimum of $25.00), RedGage will ask you for your contact information and ship you a RedGage Visa Card. This card will be like any other debit card and can be used at any place that accepts Visa. From that point on, you’ll always be able to put your earnings straight onto the card, without needing to wait for anything to arrive in the mail.
As I’ve said already, the point of this is to build backlinks, not make money. Any money you make while backlinking is purely a bonus.
You guessed it – this is a revenue-sharing bookmarking site that offers an 80% AdSense revenue share. Much like Snipsly, Jevitt is a WordPress-based site. Once you sign up and log in, go to “My AdSense” on the left sidebar to input your Google AdSense ID. Your submissions should be at least a few sentences long, and links within your posts are “do-follow.”
8 ) Article Websites
As you’re probably aware, you can build backlinks through the submission of articles to various article websites. These backlinks are arguably stronger than those from bookmarking sites, however they generally take longer to put together, since you typically need to write an article that is at least 250-300 words. Nevertheless, you should consider using article submissions to build backlinks for your articles and other websites that revolve around more competitive keywords.
Some article sites will allow you to link to whatever you want in the body of the article (e.g. Squidoo), however others will limit your linking ability to the author’s bio/signature box (e.g. Ezine Articles).
Here are some that you should consider using:
- Squidoo (your articles can earn money)
- Ezine Articles
- Article Dashboard
- HubPages (your articles can earn money)
- Articles Base
- Bukisa (your articles can earn money)
- GO Articles
- Article Alley
Currently, I’m trying out this really awesome article-generating software that allows you to create articles pretty quickly. I’m not going to mention it or promote it until I’ve had a chance to fully test it and see if it’s something I’d like to recommend to others.
Commenting on blogs is one of the oldest tricks in the book for promoting your own blog or website (I highly recommend it), however most of the time, your comments are no-followed. While your comments are still valuable (other people will still click your name and check out your site), it likely won’t help your website ranking as much as do-follow links will.
This site (linked above) is a directory of do-follow blogs. If you check it out, you’ll notice that there is a wealth of blogs in all kinds of niches. This should allow you to zero in on relevant blogs where you can leave your comments.
One important tip: Do NOT spam these blogs and do not post links in the body of your comment. In many cases, your comment won’t be approved, and you’ll have just wasted 5 valuable minutes of your life. Post a meaningful comment, and place your link in the “website” field of the comment. If you’re tempted to make your “Name” the keyword you are targeting, look around at other comments on the blog. If you see that people are using keywords instead of names, it’s probably alright to do so.
Credit where credit is due: I found many of the above backlink options through the valuable community at Info Barrel (within the forums). It’s a great resource, and I wouldn’t have been able to find all of these backlink possibilities without it!
Premium Backlink Options
(UPDATE 12/25/11: I no longer use the tools described below – for a more recent article about my current backlinking methods, see this post.)
The reason there are only two choices listed here (given the fact that there are hundreds out there) is because these are two that I have used personally and highly recommend. Each one is effective in a different way, but together, I’ve found it very easy to improve my ranking on Google.
1) Angela’s Backlinks (aka Easy Backlink Builder)
This service is probably the best $5 that I spend every month. For $5 each month, you receive a detailed packet (in PDF format) of 30 different websites where you can leave do-follow backlinks. This service is extremely valuable for two reasons:
- ALL backlink sites she gives you are PR (page rank) 6 or higher. In other words, these are not your normal backlinks. These carry a tremendous weight in terms of how much they impact your site’s search engine ranking.
- Angela shows you step by step how to add your backlinks. You could easily spend 10-15 minutes trying to figure out where to place your link on these sites (not to mention, you would first need to research the site’s page rank and whether or not links are do-follow). Angela basically cuts this time down to nothing, making it extremely easy for you.
The only negative thing I will point out is that Angela is HORRIBLE at website design. She’s great at finding backlinks and laying out step-by-step instructions for you, but her overall design and use of font is pretty miserable. Don’t let this distract you from the quality of this service though.
I can’t recommend this enough, simply because of how inexpensive it is and how much time it saves you. I’ve used this service for two of my niche sites and have gotten to page 1 on Google fairly easily, for somewhat competitive search terms. Try it out, and if you don’t like it after the first month, you can cancel it (and you’re only out five bucks).
Let’s face it – social bookmarking is tedious. One of the reasons that I singled out many of the bookmarking sites above (given that there are hundreds or thousands out there) is because most of those sites share revenue, which is a nice added bonus for you. Unfortunately, there are a ton of bookmarking sites that don’t share anything, and it would probably take you weeks or months to get through all of them.
That’s one of the reasons I purchased Bookmarking Demon. Although it still requires some manual control, it automates much of the bookmarking process. I’ve used Bookmarking Demon on every site I currently own, as well as many of my Info Barrel articles. The software not only automates the bookmarking process, but it helps you batch bookmarking as well. You can set it up to bookmark several websites at a time (although I wouldn’t recommend doing more than 3-4 at one time).
Here are some of the benefits that I’ve enjoyed:
- Ability to automatically bookmark at 100+ social bookmarking sites
- Free updates (this is key, as many bookmarking sites change from time to time)
- Automate your account creation at each site (it will even go into your e-mail account and handle all of the “verification” e-mails that you receive when you sign up to each bookmarking site)
- Can automatically “ping” each bookmark once it’s done. This allows Google to pick up on it more quickly.
The biggest downside to this software is CAPTCHA. If you’re unfamiliar with CAPTCHA, it’s that anti-bot text that you usually need to type when you sign up somewhere (usually it consists slightly distorted text, to prove you’re human).
Luckily, Bookmarking Demon pulls this out for you and allows you to enter them as they pop up. While this does take some time, it’s nothing compared to the manual bookmarking process. I might spend 10-15 minutes entering the CAPTCHA words when bookmarking to 150 different sites. I would guess it could take 10 or more hours to bookmark at 150 sites without this software (probably longer because you’d get burned out).
The software is somewhat complex (because of all its powerful features) and it might seem overwhelming to you at first. Don’t worry though. The creator of Bookmarking Demon includes three guides with the software. There’s a beginner’s guide (28 pages), an operations guide (102 pages), and an “ultimate guide,” which contains a lot of great strategies for using the software (30 pages). I definitely didn’t read these guides cover-to-cover, but they proved to be great reference material while I learned how to use the software.
This software definitely isn’t cheap, but if you’re going to go hardcore with your backlinking, it’s a tool I like to use and recommend to others.
Getting to page 1 on Google doesn’t happen overnight. Backlinking takes time, but there’s no doubt that it eventually pays off. If you’re motivated enough to use all of the above recommendations, I absolutely have no doubt that you’ll be on your way to having high ranking articles or websites.
Do you have other backlinking ideas or feedback about ones that I mentioned here? I’d love to read them in the comments! As usual, if you’d like to join me in my Info Barrel challenge and start making money writing articles, you can sign up here. You have all the tools to crush it – now it’s up to you.
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