Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Blogging & Website Basics - Part Four: So How The Hell Do I Get Bonafide Links To My Blog?

Since we are on the subject of linking to and from your blogs, and ostensibly this whole series was started with the discussion on links on our minds, (due to the discussion about Technorati rankings), it is not far-fetched to now devote an article or two on the effects of linking and bona fide strategies to get more links without being penalized or worse by the Search Engines.

It is necessary to understand that there are certain "linking strategies" which are no longer looked upon kindly by the SE's (and even many surfers). On the by-and-by I will mention these "bad" strategies in my articles. However, right now we will just mention the most blatant ones. And we will begin with the negative.

It is often the case that when we are starting out and looking for links, that we consider "link banks" or "link farms". The ones that particularly a waste of times and money are those that will "for a small fee" charge you money to use them. Here is how they work.

You go into a link-farm and they maintain a database full of customers just like yourself. If they are halfway tech-savvy they will also categorize their links so that you can link to other web-sites that are within your "sphere". You go to the categories that interest you, and you click on those web-sites that seem to be related in content to yours. The system then sends out an automated email to the webmasters of those sites telling them of your link-exchange request. The webmaster can either approve or decline. This is fairly simple. What is supposed to happen then, is that you and the Webmaster of the chosen site put up "reciprocal links". You link to them - they link to you. You give them a "hot-link/back-link" to their site they give one to you. Sounds simple doesn't it? Well... First and foremost you have just bled out another link. Okay not so bad, unless you constantly do this. A site with too many "bleeding links" is marked as a spam site. One which simply puts links up to other sites, adds the keywords, some junk content and tries to move up in the SE ranking. BTW..this works. It works and works well. For a couple of weeks until the SE's get around to actually botting, caching and running their algorithms on your site. Then you are penalized or simply thrown to the back of the line.

But there is a very cagey thing these link-farms do as well. What they offer you is either free link exchange or for a few bucks more you get the PRO edition. The Pro edition allows you to put all your reciprocal links into a database and whenever someone accesses your site these links are fed out in pages. Lots and lots of people, newbies usually, go for the PRO option. After all for $30 every couple of months, they don't have to add to their HTML every time a new link is agreed upon. They just add it to the program database which takes care of the rest. The thing is then they are not bleeding links as the information is held on a central server (not on their own servers) and I challenge anyone here who knows of these farms to Google search your link on their site. You just won't find it. So while you being conservative, and you don't pay that extra "small" charge, add a link to your HTML every time your request is approved, most of these people are just adding a link ostensibly coming from their site, into a centralized database. They get your link, you get almost NADA. And since there is no overhead for them, they willingly and happily will add thousands of links. Go find YOUR site among those thousands of links in one web site. Who do you know, is going to flip through a few hundred link pages reading every one?

That is just one of the negative aspects. So the rule here is: "Stay away from commercial link-farms and link-exchanges - they are a NO-NO!"

Okay so how do you get "good" and "valid" links into your Blog?

  1. Lots of Hard work

  2. Technorati as we have already discussed is one way. (No need to repeat - read articles 2 and 3 in this series)

  3. Links between friends - this works there is a give and take here, and it spreads. You would be surprised how good this option works. My AW friends do this routinely, and we are all writers. I gladly link to fellow AW sites even if they dont give me a "reciprocal" link. Cause that is what friends are for and that is the community.

  4. Targeted Email - This we will discuss in one of our next articles and I think you will be surprised as to how well this works. For now let me say these few things about Email - Targeted Email.
    A) I own quite a few web sites and deal with blogs. I can tell you that based upon real-time statistics if a targeted email to a targeted audience goes out, the hits on the site I am targeting jump in the hundreds of percents within the next 24 hour period. People who WANT email will read it.
    B) How do  you get a targeted email list? First off you must spread the word. Forums, article submission sites (a very good option), friends, family, the stunning woman next door who you were always to shy to talk to, (hey don't laugh I am SHY!),  Internet buddies. Remember you are starting from scratch here. You are new to this whole world, its lingo, its etiquette and its rules.Take anything you can get and keep it and treasure it as if it were gold.
    E) Targeted Email lists take time and effort but they are your best option. Your BEST option for new sites.

  5. Implementing RSS feeds - we will discuss these later (but if you are impatient you can read my series of RSS articles either at  Virgin Earth Article Submissions under the title About RSS  or at EzineArticles).

  6. Word of Mouth - if it spreads it works... PERIOD (No email no nothing. Just BUZZ. Create the buzz. You must market your own site, cause if you don't no one is going to come to it!) This is a lot like writing and having your first book published. Once it is published, the real work begins. You have to market the book. Sell it. Autograph it. Talk about it. Until you are nauseated from it and wish you never learned how to write. But you have to do it!

  7. Offer something that is WORTHWHILE for your audience - and make sure you update it constantly and consistently. Take this blog for example. I made it generic. BUT I wanted to get out some thoughts on writing and living etc. And I do that and continue to do that. However, my background gives me some fairly good expertise in a few other areas as well. This is also great practice in writing. So I combine that expertise with my writing.. and voila. Don't only write about some events in your life. As much as that is important to you, very few people will want to read it, unless you are talking about sex and the like. (Sex sells that is the bottom line whether we like it or not!) Give people knowledge, something they want something that ONLY you can give them. And be damn good at what you do. On one hand the famed phrase goes from P. T. Barnum: "A sucker is born every minute" on the other hand "Never underestimate the intelligence of your audience". Most people are a hell of a lot smarter and more intuitive than we give them credit for.

  8. Work hard on Good SE listing and ranking
    Use the options, tools and ideas you read here and elsewhere. Pick and choose what is good and works for you. Don't discount anything, until you tried it. Works, that is great. Don't work - dump it like a rotten tomato.

  9. Advertise with Google Ad Sense and Yahoo (Overture)
    One of the few times I will actually suggest spending money. But be careful and wary. Keep close track on what works and what does not work. Follow your budget closely. Change your adverts to meet demand and what works and what does not work. Use catch phrases - be savvy. People come to the site - deliver on your advert. You have less than 5 seconds to get their attention. Use those 5 seconds to the maximum!

  10. Offering Freebies - Sometimes this works sometimes it is just garbage. Depends on your site and what you are selling or offering. E-Books are almost passe, I would not go that route. I know an incredible amount of people, and I have yet to meet one person, who has told me they actually read those free e-books which are basically personal blogs in PDF format. Most of them are simply snares and pitches, full of the worst writing and junk imaginable. They tell you how to get rich in 10 minutes or how to make a million bucks on the net - if only you send them another $100 bucks for their secret! Like I said before "a sucker is born every minute!" However e-books on health, herbal remedies etc. are all the rage. They offer INFORMATION or KNOWLEDGE. You may want to consider those if they fit into your site's content and genre.

  11. An Incredible Amount of Patience - Be patient. You dont gain 1000 links to your site in a week!

  12. More Hard work - need I say more?

I am sure I left out a few things (or maybe more than a few), which I will get to in the future. If you think of other ways, leave me a comment here, and I will be sure to include it, positive or negative in the next articles.

Previous Articles In This Series:

  1. The Basics of Blogging and Web Site Creation - Part One: Content Is King

  2. The Basics of Blogging and Web Site Creation - Part Two: Introduction To Keywords

  3. Part Three - Keywords, Tags, Categories - Oh Vey! I Am So Mixed Up!

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Categories: technology, internet, Basics of Blogging Series
Blogging & Website Basics - Part Four: So How The Hell Do I Get Bonafide Links To My Blog?

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Pass The Torch said...

Sheesh! You write faster than I can read! Thanks again for sharing your expertise.

briliantdonkey said...

ditto what kellyC said. Thanks for all the helpful information. A LOT of it is sailing right over my head but that is just a result of my lack of knowledge. GREAT site