Why do we need external links pointing to our sites?
Links are like SEO currency, with certain types being more valuable than others. For example a forum link that exists on a page that has no Pagerank and contains content unrelated to the page being linked to, will be much less valuable than one that has the complete opposite characteristics.
Links that appear on relevant pages with high Pagerank (4+) can be considered your "big notes". The problem is, they're so damn hard to find! One of the only techniques I know of obtaining these types of super powerful links is to either pay for them (which can get expensive) or better yet own them yourself (more on this in a later post).
Therefore the question is, are they absolutely necessary?
Depending on how good your keyword research is, you may not need any "big note" links. Lesser quality links that I like to call "chump change" may be all that's required to rank for certain keywords.
The good news is building chump change links is a much easier process. I'm going to show you 3 easy link building techniques that even the newest of newbies can literally start TODAY.
Easy Link Building Technique #1: Competitive Link Analysis
What better way to build links then to steal them from your competition! It's so easy, here's what you do:
1. Figure out the keyword term you're looking to rank for and search it on Google. Let's say for this example, we're trying to rank for "how to grow your own herbs". Not the most exciting of niches but yes there are actually herb growing kits you can promote online.
2. Copy and paste the URLs for the first 10 results into a notepad file or spreadsheet - we'll be using them shortly.
3. Now go to http://www.opensiteexplorer.org and register for a free Moz account.
4. Once you're registered and signed in, go back to http://www.opensiteexplorer.org and run a search for the first URL on your list. It should bring up a list of no more than 25 backlinks (free Moz accounts have some limits)
5. Click on the link just above the table on the right hand side called "Export to CSV", a popup window will appear. It takes 5 to 10 minutes for Open Site Explorer to create a backlink report, so this may take a while. I recommend selecting the option to have the report sent to your email when it's ready.
Tip. If you can afford to pay for a service, check out majesticseo.com. They're more affordable than Moz and the reports are downloaded immediately so you don't have to wait.
6. Repeat the same process for the 9 remaining competitors on your list.
7. Once all the reports are finished, open them up separately into Excel spreadsheets (download a free copy of Open Office if you don't have Excel).
8. Now it's just a simple process of copying and pasting them into one giant spreadsheet that lists all of the backlinks for your top 10 competitors on Google. Make sure you enter in the competitor URL above the list of backlink URLs because we're going to need that shortly. Also be sure to bold the URL so you know which one is the competitors page.
9. Go through each of the URLs in the spreadsheet and see if you can build the same link as your competition. To do this just open up any URL on the list in your browser. Next check the source code on the page (find it under the options menu in your browser). Finally run a search on the source code for the competitors URL which should appear in bold above the list if you did it correctly. You can run a search by selecting either ctrl f for PC or command f for Mac.
10. Now just confirm the anchor text of the link which will look something like this <a href="http://www.competitorsurl.com">anchor text</a>.
11. Copy that anchor text, close the source code and run a new search for the anchor text on the page where the backlink appears. Sometimes the link will appear within an image which will look something like this <a href="http://www.competitorsurl.com"><img src="http://imageurl.com/img.jpg" /></a>
It's your job now to determine if you can yourself build the same link as your competition. So far I've seen about a 10% conversion rate with this system. I know it seems low but this is an easy way to build links and definitely something you can outsource on odesk.com for less than $5/hour.
Hint. Most of the time you'll find multiple links on the same domain. If you notice you can't build a link on the first URL of the domain, skip the rest. It will save you a lot of time. Also try looking for the following text on every page: "write for us", "register", "sign up".
Occasionally you will come across sites that allow you to register and potentially submit a website in your profile. Better yet you may come across a site that takes guest posts. If they do, go ahead and pitch a post topic idea and see if they respond.
Easy Link Building Technique #2: Web 2.0 Links
A lot of people shy away from building links on Web 2.0 sites as they aren't as powerful as they used to be. The thing is, if you're just starting out, then you have a lot of time on your hands. Therefore, while you're learning more about online marketing why not dedicate some of that time towards actually building links to your site? Depending on how good your keyword research is, all you may need are a few Web 2.0 links to get you up onto page 1.
It's usually pretty simple to get started. Just follow this process:
- One by one, go through the list of Web 2.0 sites I've listed below for you and sign up for an account.
- All are different, but usually the process is you start a site/blog/lens/whatever, then you can start publishing pages.
- When you publish a page, you insert a link back to a page on your site.
You can see our list of Web 2.0 sites right here with their page rank - Click here to view (you need a Google account to view this)
The content you write should be unique and relevant to the page you wish to link to. Also try to make them at least 300 words in length. If you can't handle writing all that content, try thinking about outsourcing it. Or better yet maybe try out a service like Article Builder. It's kinda pricey, but for the amount of time it saves it's well worth it.
Easy Link Building Technique #3: Wiki Submissions
Similar to Web 2.0, you can also build backlinks on many of the available Wiki sites. In other words you're basically just starting your own wiki topic on a number of different sites. Here's a list of the better wiki's you can use to submit content to - Click here to view
The submission process is sort of similar to Web 2.0 sites, with most Wiki's requiring you to sign up before you can start publishing. The quality of the links are not as great as Web 2.0, but if you have a lot of time on your hands you may as well utilize this backlinking method.
Why These Links Are Important
Okay so we can admit that these links aren't going to have a major influence on your search rankings (usually). However that doesn't mean they're not important.
Here's why they are.
Let's say for example you managed to get one really amazing backlink to a page on your site that you want to rank for the keyword "best air conditioner in 2013". In the backlink you used the anchor text "best air conditioner in 2013". Right now your anchor text profile for that page would be:
100% = best air conditioner in 2013
Since the release of the Google Penguin update, it's now become super important to start diversifying your anchor text. So much so that if your anchor text profile is too focused on one particular keyword, you will get penalized. When building links you should try to ensure the main target keyword isn't used more than 25% of the time.
That's why building these types of easy links comes in handy. It allows you to vary your anchor text profile, decreasing your chances of being penalized.
I would recommend you vary the links in the following pattern:
25%: Exact match keyword - "best air conditioners in 2013"
25%: Variations of that keyword - "top air conditioners in 2013", "what is the best air conditioner", etc. etc.
25%: Random words - "click here", "here", "more info", etc. etc.
25%: Straight URL - http://yoursite.com/best-air-conditioners-in-2013
Just make sure you vary your anchor text as much as possible to cut down on the chances of being penalized by Penguin.
How To Automate The Process
Time will be your biggest enemy in this challenge. Therefore you might want to consider using a tool to help automate this process.
Personally I've started to become a SENuke power user in combination with Article Builder. SENuke is a program that automatically builds links on the types of sites mentioned in techniques 2 and 3. At first it will seem like some seriously high level shit, but after you spend some time going through the tutorials, it will start to make more sense.
Here's some examples of the ranking effects I've seen after using SENuke:
I know that for those 3 keywords alone, if I can get them to the top spot then we'll be banking close to $5k/month.
We only ever endorse products and services that we ourselves use and SENuke is something that you all need to start thinking about trying out sooner rather than later.
It costs $147/month, but if you can get together with 2 other people, that subscription offers 3 licenses so you can share the monthly cost.
If building links always seemed a little too difficult in your mind, then you can say bye bye to that excuse. I'm just handed you 3 techniques you can start, for free, today.
Always keep in the back of your mind that if you want to scale, you need to start using a tool like SENuke. I know it sounds a little expensive right now, but the question you should be asking yourself is, "what will happen if I don't start using it?"
If you're just starting out, stick to the manual techniques I mentioned, but for those ready for the next step, I urge you to make the investment.