Online Marketing Lesson 34: Link Building Part 2

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In the previous lesson, we explained how you can use free web directories, paid web directories and article directories for link building. In this lesson, we move into other link building strategies that you can use on your websites.

4. DoFollow Blog Comments

Most blogging platforms (e.g., WordPress, Movable Type or Blogger) use the nofollow attribute on the links that go inside the comment section. This includes both the link on the author name and any links posted inside the comment body. This practice is used to safeguard the blog owner against users that could leave comments with links to malicious or spam websites.

A while ago, however, some bloggers started questioning whether or not using the nofollow attribute on the comment links was fair. They argued that if someone took the time to post a meaningful comment on their blogs, they should receive some value out of it (i.e. some SEO value from the followed backlinks). This was called the “dofollow movement,” and after that many blogs started following the links in their comment sections.

By leaving a comment on one of these blogs, therefore, you would be gaining a legitimate backlink. We obviously do not recommend that you post one line comments such as “Great post!” but rather that you take the take to write something useful and to contribute to the discussion.

In the Resources section of the members area, you will find a list of dofollow blogs that you can use to get started. Keep in mind that some blogs on the lists might have reverted to nofollow after some time, so it is advisable to cross check whether or not they are following links in the comment section with the Search Status extension for Firefox.

Secondly, remember that the fewer the number of outgoing links on a page, the higher the value of each link, so avoid posts with 100 or more comments.

5. Guest Blogging

When you guest blog, you basically write an article to be published on the blog of someone else. This article will carry your author byline, with one or more backlinks pointing to your site. This is a very efficient strategy to build backlinks, generate traffic and raise your brand awareness.

Notice that you don’t need to have a blog to use this strategy. Even if you just have a company website where you offer services or sell products, you could still guest blog. Secondly, you don’t need to limit yourself to blogs that explicitly invite guest writers. If you manage to write an outstanding piece of content that is relevant and useful to the audience of the blog in question, the owner will probably allow you to be a guest.

The first thing that you need to do, therefore, is to write down a list of blogs where you want to guest blog (and hence get a backlink from). It would be a good idea to include both popular and relevant blogs in your niche, as a link from them will carry a lot of SEO value. How many blogs? We recommend adding at least 20 blogs to your list, and if you add more, even better. You can then aim to get one guest article published every week or every two weeks, which will give your website a steady flow of quality backlinks.

You should organize your list in descending order (i.e. put the best blogs on top), and once it is ready, start working on the first blog. Read the articles that are published there, trying to identify the kind of content that seems to be popular with its audience. After that, brainstorm ideas for an article that would be suitable for that blog. Remember that the higher the quality of your article, the higher the chances of the blog owner accepting it. You could even write a linkbait piece if you have time available.

Once the article is ready, email the blog owner asking whether or not he would be interested in publishing it on his blog. A common mistake here is to send first email just asking for permission to send a second email with the article itself. This will add an unnecessary step to the process and reduce your chances of getting accepted, so make sure to attach the article to the first email that you send.

If the blogger accepts your article, you are set and can move on to the second blog in your list. If he rejects it, work on a second article and send it again. Repeat if necessary, until you manage to get accepted. You can also adapt the rejected articles slightly and send them to other blogs in your list.

6. Linkbaits

Linkbaits represent one of the most efficient ways to build backlinks to your website, and they should be a cornerstone of your overall linkbuilding strategy. It is not rare, in fact, for a single linkbait piece to attract hundreds of backlinks.

Under the “Linkbaits” lesson we explained the 9 basic linkbait types:

  1. Breaking News
  2. In-depth Analysis
  3. How-to Articles
  4. Numbers and Statistics
  5. Funny Content
  6. Lists
  7. Lists of Resources
  8. Controversial Content
  9. Egobaits

Ideally, you want to publish one new linkbait every week. If you don’t have time for this, aim for one every two weeks.

Apart from publishing the linkbait, you will also need to spend some time promoting it. You could post about it on online forums, bookmark it on social media websites and so on.

There is one promotional activity that is a must with linkbaits, however: pitching the linkbait via email to your network of bloggers and webmasters in relevant niches. If done correctly, this approach can yield a good amount of quality backlinks.

The first thing that you need is a list of blogs and websites (that publish articles in one form or another) that are in your same or on a related niche. Aim to have at least 100 sites on the list (and once again, the more you have, the better). After that, you will start building relationships with the owners of those sites. Here are five steps that you can follow with each website on your list:

  1. Use the contact form or available email address to send a message to the site owner introducing yourself, your website, and mentioning that you will keep an eye on his site because you like the content.
  2. If the site in question is a blog, leave interesting comments on the posts once in a while.
  3. When you have the opportunity, link to the website or to one of its articles.
  4. Email the site owner saying that you really liked his website or article, and mention that you linked to it (include the URL of your post that has the link).
  5. The site owner will probably reply thanking you. In that case, reply saying that if he needs any help or links in the future, to just shoot you an email.

Once you arrive at the fifth point, you will already have a good relationship with the site owner. If you are using a spreadsheet for your list, you could create a column called “Friends,” and add all the contacts that reached the fifth point in that column.

Keep in mind that this is a gradual process, and it will take some time before you have dozens of contacts in your “Friends” column. It is also important to remember that your objective is to build genuine relationships. In other words, you must respect the work of the people that will go in your list, and you must be willing to help them too.

After that, you will just need to publish your linkbait and pitch it to your contacts. If you publish one linkbait every week, however, make sure to NOT send an email to your contacts every week. Use this strategy only once a month or so, and reserve it for your very best content. Secondly, do not ask for a backlink explicitly in your email (unless you already have a frank relationship with the person). Instead, just mention that you published an article that might interest the other person. Here is a sample message that you can use:

Hi Marc,
Daniel from the XYZ blog here. We just published an article titled “Top 100 iPhone Apps,” and I think you will find it interesting. You can read it here: http://www.example.com/iphone-apps/
Keep up the good work on your site, and if you need anything let me know!
Daniel

You can also pitch your linkbait piece to site owners that you have never talked with before, but the chances of receiving backlinks from them will be much smaller.

Action Points

  1. Go through the list of dofollow blogs in our Resources section, and start writing comments on the ones that are related to your niche. You could commit to write a comment on three different dofollow blogs every day, for example.
  2. Create a list with at least 20 blogs where you want to guest blog, and start working on an article for the first one. Aim to get one guest post published every two weeks or so.
  3. Create a list with at least 100 blogs and websites on related niches, and start building a relationship with the owners. It would be a good idea to use a spreadsheet for this purpose.

Navigation Links

Previous Lesson: Linkbuilding Part 1

Next Lesson: Linkbuilding Part 3