A while ago I asked my email list what topics they’d like me to write about. One of the top requests was on how to drive traffic to their websites. So with that in mind…
What Is Link Building?
Websites live or die on the web traffic and site visitors they get. And to get that traffic, webmasters have to promote their sites. There are various ways to do site promotion, which I’ll look at below, but they all revolve around one purpose: getting backlinks to your website.
And what is link building? It’s simply a link that appears on someone else’s site that points back to your site. Link building techniques include submitting articles to various article directories, leaving comments on blogs, submitting videos to places like YouTube, sending articles to Social Networking sites, sharing webpage URLs on social sites, adding your webpage address into your signature at any forums you’re a member of, and so on.
The more back link building you do, the more links point to your site and the more relevance the search engines place on your site.
Getting Website Traffic
There are both free and paid ways of driving traffic to your sites. Of the paid ways, expenditure runs from a very modest couple of bucks to $100+ per month for subscription based services.
While free methods are fine, their big drawback is the amount of time it takes. The more sites you have, the more time you have to spend doing back link building. For the normal Joe with just a couple of hours free in the evenings to dedicate to websites, that time can be quickly eaten up by all the manual backlinking that has to be done.
That’s where the paid tools start to come in. If you want to save time , or spend less crafting link building campaigns, you’re going to have to put your hand in your pocket. Time is money as they say.
However, various people have various budgets and while one might be able to afford $100+ per month on a subscription service, another may only have a couple of spare dollars to play with.
How To Build Backlinks – A Little Q & A
Q: So first off, what is a backlink?
A: It’s simply a link on another website that points to your site.
Q: I’ve heard of reciprocal backlinks but what exactly are they?
A: When another site links to your site and you have a link on your site pointing back to that site, that’s a reciprocal link. You’re linking to each other.
Q: How useful are reciprocal links?
A: They’re better than no links at all (they were big a few years back) but the search engines now prefer one-way backlinks.
Q: Ok, so what’s a one-way backlink?
A: It’s a link on one site that points to another site. Basically, it’s half a reciprocal link. The philosophy behind one-way links is that the search engines assume if a webmaster puts a link to another site on his website, he sees value in the site he’s linking to. Reciprocal links, on the other hand, are seen as a mutual appreciation society – each webmaster is putting a link on his site to get some link juice from the other site. So they’re doing it for self-aggrandizement rather than anything else. That’s why one-way backlinks are more highly valued.
Q: How do I create a link?
A: Well, it’s pretty simple – you hyperlink some words. But what words you hyperlink is important. The words you hyperlinks are called anchor text.
Q: What’s so special about anchor text?
A: A lot of people will use their website name as anchor text, or their name on blog comment for example. The words you use as anchor text should be the keywords you’re trying to rank your site for. So, unless your website name is actually a real, searched for keyword, you’re not making the best of your back links if you’re not using keywords in your anchor text.
As an example, say you had a site called Joe’s Diner Recipes and you’ve been creating backlinks on other sites that say Joe’s Diner Recipes. Now there probably aren’t a lot of searches for a keyword called “joes diner recipes”. However, there are searches for this keyword: “cajun chicken recipe” and say you have a page about cajun chicken on your site. So it would be better to use Cajun Chicken Recipe as your link rather than Joe’s Diner Recipes.
A: A certain number of people search for “cajun chicken recipe” each month. If you use that keyword in your backlinks, the search engines will be able to associate your selected anchor text (cajun chicken recipe) with your website. So the more “cajun chicken recipe” backlinks you create, the higher your website will appear in the search results. There’s a direct correlation. The more backlinks you have to your site for a particular keyword, the better your site will perform for that search term.
Q: What if I have other keywords I want to rank for?
A: Build backlinks using those keywords as your anchor text. It’s good to have variety in your backlink anchor texts. It means you don’t look like you’re trying to game the system for one particular keyword.
Q: If I’m building backlinks for several keyword phrases, should they all link to my site’s homepage?
A: No. If you have a page dedicated to cajun chicken, build backlinks to that page using the “cajun chicken recipe” keyword (as an example). If you had a page about Chinese Chicken, you’d create a backlink to that page using a related keyword like Chinese Chicken Recipe as your anchor text.
Q: What if I have lots of keywords and pages for each one – do I need to build backlinks to each page?
A: In an ideal world, yes. But, practically, it’s impossible. Identify the key pages on your site – the ones that make money or the ones that you hope will make money and build backlinks only to those.
Q: How quickly should I build backlinks?
A: That’s down to you. They key is to be consistent. Building 100 links in one day and then no new links for a couple of months is nowhere near as effective as building one backlink per day over 100 days. Automated software will allow you to build substantially more than 100 links per day but, again, consistency is the key. If you build a lot of links this way, keep building lots of links, Don’t chop and change. And don’t stop for long periods.
Q: When can I stop building backlinks?
A: Whenever you want, but backlink building is a long-term proposition. It’s painful, tedious and time-consuming but without it your website is dead in the water. It’s like writing the greatest book in the world and not telling anyone about it. Imagine if J.K. Rowling hadn’t sent Harry Potter to the publishers; a better analogy would be if the publishers had never sent book to the book stores and just expected that people would come knocking on their door instead. It’s not realistic.
Q: How do I reduce the pain of backlink building?
A: The only way is to invest in some semi-automated or fully automated tools. Be aware though that even the most sophisticated tools like SENuke TNG still require setup time for building a backlinking campaign. What paid tools allow you to do is build more backlinks, faster in the time available.
Starting With The Free Methods For Driving Traffic
When you’re starting out with building backlinks, it’s a good exercise to do some manual backlinking so that you become familiar with the process of building backlinks to your sites on other websites. You’ll then have a better appreciation of what the automated tools can do for you.
I’ve written previously on this blog about some free ways to drive traffic so rather than reiterating them here, this is the link to that previous post:
You can also write articles for the various article directories like EzineArticles, GoArticles and ArticlesBase (there are many others).
And there’s this report I wrote: Blog Linking tactics
It’s primarily for building backlinks to blogs rather than traditional websites like SiteBuilder Elite produces but most of the linking tactics will work for traditional sites too. It comes with 50 videos that show you many ways to drive traffic to your sites at zero cost.
Onto Methods For Driving Traffic That Aren’t Free
Again, I’ve written previously about some of the paid methods for driving traffic. Here are those earlier posts:
Since I wrote those posts, I’ve come across and used many other paid services. Some require one-time payments only, others require a monthly subscription. So here are some backlinking systems to look at, in order of increasing price:
[Updated May 5th, 2012]:
- EDU Backlinks – Get high-PR backlinks from your own EDU sites that you can create on high-PR University sites
Backlink Loophole[no longer available] – finds high pagerank blogs where you can leave comments to get quality backlinks to your sites
- Backlink Indexer – Submit your site to 100s of directories. Paste your page links into a box and submit. Everything else is done for you.
RSS Submit[no longer available] – PC software that submits your site RSS feeds to various RSS aggregators. Better for non-WordPress sites than Web traffic Genius.
- Traffic Travis – Multi-faceted tool for keyword and niche research but also features backlink building capabilities. A free version is also available.
Web Traffic Genius[no longer available] – WordPress Plugin to get backlinks by submitting your blog’s RSS feeds to various aggregators. Pretty much a “must have” plugin for WordPress sites. Read my review here. Sky High Linker[no longer available] – Software app that allows you to get high-PR backlinks from a number of sources (article directories, press releases, social sites, web directories, blog comments, forums, etc). A good alternative to SENuke TNG if you don’t want to pay a monthly subscription. Auto Link Juicer[no longer available] – WordPress plugin to get backlinks
- Traffic Ultimatum – a course on how to drive traffic to your sites by the creator of Google Sniper.
- Article Builder – posts articles (that you can spin) to a blog network to get backlinks (currently the only blog network I recommend after the Google Penguin update).
- Unique Article Wizard – post articles (that you should spin) to article directories to get backlinks
- Webfire – SEO and link building tool that will analyze your sites, tell you what to fix to improve SEO and also provides many tools for back link building. Includes a tool for creating narrated videos (with images and background music) that you can submit to video sites.
- SENuke TNG – very steep learning curve but it’s one of the most comprehensive tools out there for improving your rankings in the search engines.
There are other traffic systems available but these are the ones I’ve had direct experience of. I’ve used all of them to one extent or another. If you can drive traffic, then any sales you make will offset fees and purchase prices but there’s no denying that some kind of financial commitment will be required if you want to take site promotion to the next level.
Where To Start?
My advice would be to start small and work your way up. Backlink Loophole is a good way to find high pagerank sites to use to get backlinks. After that, Unique Article Wizard gets good results (comparable to Article Builder). I use Web Traffic Genius on all my blogs but I don’t rely on it for all my backlinks.
Auto Link Juicer is a pretty good plugin too (if expensive) and requires an annual subscription to Traffic Kaboom to keep working (so it’s not the best plugin to use).
SENuke TNG has the most potential (I’m still assessing it) but it’s also the most expensive and unless you’re generating sales or have money to burn, I think it’s too big a financial commitment for most people.
So start small and slowly build your way up, choosing tools that build links the way you want to build them, whether that’s in article directories, social networking sites, forums, video sites or wherever.
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