In this issue:
1. Future-Proof SEO – part 4
2. Exciting Time – New Course News
It's been a hot week in Tenerife. Temperatures of 30C may not sound too hot but with the high humidity, its been an uncomfortable few days, especially at night.
The helicopters have been buzzing over the local reservoir collecting water in large bags to put out fires – or at least to practise putting out fires. You can see them in this video I recorded on my phone:
I haven't heard of any fires this year. A few years ago we had a huge forest fire that took days to get under control and spread right across the island. Many of the trees on the island still bear the charred marks on their trunks.
In today's newsletter I have part 4 of my Future Proof SEO course, plus exciting news on my new course.
Let’s get on with it….
1. Future-Proof SEO – part 4
In this part of the course, we look at the third pillar of good SEO. If you have any comments on this, please leave a comment at the end of this newsletter.
Here is a question for you:
What is an Authority Site?
If you go over to the Free Dictionary website and search for authority, there are a lot of different definitions. This definition is probably most apt with regards to websites:
So to make your website an authority site, it has to be an “accepted source of expert information or advice”.
That obviously starts with creating a well-optimized site filled with fantastic content (the first two pillars of good SEO that we have talked about). However, those two pillars are not enough to make your site an authority, because no-one will have heard about you or your great site.
Your site (or your own name if YOU personally want to be the authority) MUST be well-known in your particular niche.
So how do you get well known?
Well that’s the easy part – you need to put your site name and face out there on as many relevant, high quality places as you can, with links pointing back to relevant pages on your site.
This all comes down to getting backlinks to your site.
However, there is another aspect of this I want to discuss before we look deeper at backlinking, and that is linking out from your site to authority sites in your niche.
Think about it for a minute.
We are all part of a huge web of interlinked websites. If you were talking about something in your niche, doesn’t it make sense that you might make references to other authority sites?
e.g. If a search engine was trying to evaluate your page on the Atkins Diet, don’t you think that links to other peoples studies on the diet, as well as medical references, e.t.c. would help make your page more of an authority? Sure it would, as long as your content was also excellent.
When you are writing content for your website, don’t be afraid to link to other authority sites if they have relevant information. Don’t use NOFOLLOW links, as that just tells the search engine that you:
(a) Don’t trust the site you are linking to, or
(b) You are trying to hoard Page Rank.
I do recommend though that you open these links in a new window so that your visitors are not taken away from your site if they click these links.
What you might like to do is have a reference section at the end of your content, with active hyperlinks to other authority sites.
OK, outbound links are sorted.
What about the links coming into your site?
Some people will tell you that it doesn’t matter whether the inbound links are on pages that are highly related to your site or not, but that just doesn’t make too much sense.
If you had a website on “breeding goldfish”, and you had 100 inbound links to your site but 95% of those were on pages that talked about things like:
- Prescription drugs
- Auto maintenance
- Wedding speeches
- Golf Equipment
What is that telling the search engines?
If the search engines want to use inbound links as a measure of authority, then surely the most authoritative links you could get would be from quality pages that had a similar topic to the page they are linking to?
I know, I know, “Link Guru X” has done the experiments and found that inbound links from non-related pages are worth the same as from related pages, but think about this from a long-term perspective. Even if that was true (which I personally do not believe), it is not a long-term strategy for getting links.
You know, when Google released the Panda Updates in 2011, a lot of people complained that Google was targeting affiliate sites simply because their site got dropped, or lost serious rankings.
My take on this is not that Google hates affiliates, but Google hates poor content that does not add to the information on the web, and they are starting to take note of dodgy backlinking practices.
In the past we all assumed that backlinking could not hurt us. If it could, then a competitor could bring your site down by creating lots of spammy backlinks. I believe that this has changed, and I’ll tell you why.
I had a site that was several years old and a PR2.
Around the beginning of the 2011 I started some aggressive backlinking. I wanted to use this as a test, so the backlinks were all on sites that I could delete if I needed to. There was around 150 of these sites that I had setup purely for this backlinking test.
I started submitting content to these 150 sites, with backlinks going back to pages on my site.
For several weeks, my rankings climbed, and so did my traffic. I was monitoring 85 keywords, and around 60 had reached the top 10 in Google, with a large proportion in the top 3.
Then Panda hit. All 85 keywords dropped out of the top 100.
They stayed out of the top 100 for 8 weeks before I decided to delete all 150 of my backlinking sites.
Over the next month, things started to improve slowly. Pages started climbing back into the top 100. As of today, a few months after the backlinking sites were deleted, 64 of the 85 are back in the top 100, with around with 42 back in the top 30. Of those, 12 are back in the top 10. There is still a long way to go to get my rankings back, but remember, those rankings were based on a lot of crappy links before the Panda came marching through.
So was it coincidence, or did those dodgy, poor quality backlinks really cause my site to be dropped? I have no proof either way, but from what I am hearing, the quality of inbound links may well affect rankings/penalties. This seems totally against what Matt Cutts of Google has told us in the past, but I believe it to be true.
The morale of the story then is to get backlinks from good authority sites. If possible, get links within the body of the article on the page that is linking to you. I realize that is not always possible, but on many sites you can.
What about link velocity?
Link velocity simply means how quickly you get links to your site. I personally have done experiments where I started a brand new site and got hundreds of links a day for several days (many times, the links I was getting were to pages that Google had not even indexed yet) and the site did not get dropped. In fact, that experiment started last October (2010) and the site still has several #1 in Google today (14th September 2011).
On the other hand, I have read forums where people are talking about their sites getting dropped for rapid link building. Then again, I read about one guy who said his site dropped for only building 10 links.
There is a problem with believing what people say. They might truly believe that it was the backlinking that got their site penalty. With the herd mentality, as soon as one person says that aggressive backlinking got them banned, others will jump out of the woodwork and claim that is also why they got banned when in fact, it might just be that their site was rubbish and their content poor.
Since ranking pages in Google has so many variables, it’s impossible to say just from hearing these stories whether a high link velocity will hurt you. Many people say it won’t as long as you keep that velocity up.
I always suggest that people build slowly at first – at least for the first 100 inbound links. Then you can ramp it up a little bit. I would also wait until pages to be indexed before I did any backlinking to them.
When I first start backlinking, I’ll backlink the homepage only using the name of the site, or the URL of the site as the link text. This makes the backlinks look more natural. Forget the fact that the site name and the URL may not be your targeted keywords – just get some good links to your homepage first. That helps build a solid foundation.
Another rule I follow is to make sure that the homepage always has more backlinks than any other page on my site. When I create “money-pages” that I want to rank well, e.g. a product review, I’ll backlink to that product page, but also try to get a backlink to the homepage of the site just to keep up the homepage links.
OK, so backlinks are important. These will help drive up your rankings, but they don’t necessarily make you an authority in the niche.
To become a real authority, you need to be seen and found “everywhere”. OK, everywhere is difficult, but the point is, get links from as many different sources as possible.
Get seen on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Spend time customizing you Facebook page, and post regular updates. Same goes for Twitter and a whole stack of other social sites. Get your face out there!
I won’t go into extensive details on backlinking as it’s beyond the scope of what I am trying to achieve in this short SEO book. I will go into greater detail in my “Insider’s Group” course.
What I would like to do though is suggest some sources of backlinks that you can look into and maybe adopt as part of your overall backlinking strategy.
1. Article Marketing
This is a strange one because some experts believe that article marketing no longer works. I personally believe that it does still work, but, and it’s a big but…. Don’t submit the same article to lots of article directories. A far more productive approach is to pick maybe 10 quality directories and submit a unique article to each one. OK, I hear what you are saying. This means you have to write 10 unique articles.
Well, if you want to be completely “white hat” about this, then yes.
However, I get a lot of value out of a service called Ultra Spinable Articles. They create these monstrous spun articles that create billions of unique copies when they are spun in a tool like the Best Spinner (or the free tool that comes with the Ultra Spinnable Articles – USAs). For anyone interested, I have zipped up a file with details on this service. The file contains a coupon you can use if you are interested. Get the zip file here.
Some article submitters allow these spun articles to be entered as they are, and they will spin them on the fly as they submit to the directories.
There is a great free article submitter called Article Submission Helper. At the time of writing this, ASH includes “126 quality directories (104 submitted to automatically, 22 – semi-automatically) as well as ability to add your own!”
For something a little more automated, I personally use Article Demon. I tend to have 10 or more sites to promote at the same time, so I use USAs for the content and then spin the resource box so that each time an article is submitted, it uses ONE of the 10 URLs I want to promote. That way, one article can be used to promote multiple pages on different sites. This still works very well post-Panda.
NOTE: If you only have one or two sites to promote, ASH is fine. However, do see the section on backlinking your backlinks later on, as this would be very time consuming with ASH.
2. Forum Participation
To a lot of Webmasters, the idea of forums is simply to get backlinks from forum profiles. This is something I don't do personally because it has been so overused by spammers that if it isn't already useless it soon will be. What they do is to use software to automatically create hundreds or thousands of profiles on various forums. They include a link back to their site in these profiles.
To me it seems obvious that Google can spot this type of linking very easily. Imagine a website with 5000 forum profile backlinks and not much else.
When it comes to forums, the best bang to your buck so to speak, is to get involved in the forum and help people. Make sure you have a Gravatar image attached to the e-mail address of your website, and then the same photo on your website. People will see you post on lots of forums related to your niche, and they will click through your signature link to your site. On your site they will see your picture again. The more they see your photo and read your contributions on these forums, the more they will recognise and respect you. This is a great way to gain authority and it's nothing to do with the backlinks you can get from the forums. Imagine that everywhere they go they see your picture!
3. Youtube & other Video Sites
Creating Videos to offer valuable information in your niche is a great way to increase that social proof, and ultimately give you more authority. Videos that you create do not need to be 10 or 15 minute long, you can easily create short two or three minute videos using nothing but PowerPoint presentations, e.g. a short video showing how the Atkins diet works. Or maybe a short video answering a popular question in your niche.
Cam Studio is a free screen recording program for PC users. It is more than adequate for the purpose of recording these short videos.
Sites like YouTube give you your own channel which then lists all of your videos. If someone sees one video you have done and they like it, they can go and check your channel and see a lot more videos that you have done. On your profile page, you can include a photo plus some other information like your website URL.
To see how your photo is starting to get everywhere?
There are a lot of other video sharing sites as well, which will also allow you to have a profile page. Try to use the same photo that you have on your site, and that you are using for your Gravatar. We are trying to build up the recognition factor, so that people automatically recognise you can think “Oh yes I remember him from…”.
Again we can use twitter to include a photo and link back to our main site. As we add tweets, a photo is sent through the system and ends up again in front of people that have subscribed to your twitter feed. Even if you don't have a lot of followers, your twitter page will have links back to your main site, which adds further authority to your persona.
There are a number of WordPress plug-ins available which can help to automatically send tweets to your twitter account every time you publish new content on your site. I wouldn't rely totally on this plug-in though, and feel that it's important to tweet interesting information you find on a day-to-day basis.
5. Facebook page
Another way that you can increase your authority is by setting up a Facebook page for your site or your business. Again there are WordPress plug-ins you can use to help automatically post to your Facebook page when you add new content. If you want to investigate this further, have a look at TwitterFeed as it can send posts to both Twitter and Facebook automatically. It can also send posts to a lot of other sites as well 😉
6. Web 2.0 “Blogs”
There are a number of websites that allow you to setup blogs on their domain. Examples include WordPress.com, Tumblr.com, LiveJournal etc. You simply go to the site, sign up, and begin posting to your new blog.
As you add more and more content to these blogs, they become more and more powerful (especially if you backlink the posts).
Since you add the blog content yourself, you can insert links back to your website using keyword rich anchor text.
In a “white hat” world, you would setup these blogs and post unique information to each of them. However most people use spinnable articles like the Ultra Spinnable Articles I mentioned earlier. They then use software to blast out a unique version of the article to each of the blogs they have accounts at.
One of the most popular pieces of software to do this is SENukeX, but I found that too buggy and rely on SEO Link Robot for these Web 2.0 submissions. It’s also a lot cheaper than SENukeX.
7. RSS Feeds
If you use WordPress to build your site, they will have a feed that contains all of the most recent posts (you define how many posts show in the feed within the WordPress Dashboard). You can find the feed by adding “/feed” to the end of your URL (without the quotes obviously). For example here is the feed of my ezSEONews site:
Once you have your feed URL, you can submit that feed to a number of different RSS Feed websites. Every time you add new content, your feed is updated, and you get a new link back to the new content.
I don't believe that this helps too much with ranking of pages, especially as posts will slide off the bottom of the feed eventually, but it does help to get new content indexed quickly.
8. Site Directories
Getting your site listed in directories is one of the oldest forms of backlinks. These days, directory listings are not as powerful as they used to be. However, it will help you diversify your inbound links, and I still feel that getting a link from the Yahoo directory is worth it, since the directory is human edited and costs money to get in. The fact you have to pay to get in usually means that spammers don't bother, and search engines know this.
There are a number of different software programs that can submit your site to directories, but I would suggest you save your money and just handpick the most relevant directories (especially the specialist niche directories that match your chosen niche) and submit my hand.
9. Guest Blogging
Guest Blogging is a powerful way to get high quality links back to your site. It’s kind of like Article Marketing 2.0. You submit articles to sites, but generally they need to be unique, high quality content.
It works like this:
Essentially there are sites out there that are looking for people to write content for them. You write a piece of content and submit it to these sites. If they like your article, they will post it on their website.
When you post your article, you include a resource box that can include links back to your website. You do need to check the terms and conditions of the sites you are writing for to see whether it's possible to include links within the body of the article.
You can easily find sites that will accept your work by doing a Google search for:
"write for us" + KEYWORD
Where KEYWORD is your main niche word or phrase e.g.
"write for us" + health
This will return all of the websites that have the phrase "Write for Us" and are related to the health industry. Here are the top few Google results for that term:
You can pretty much guarantee getting your content onto high PR websites.
These sites can have a lot of authority in the eyes of Google and are therefore excellent places to get your content published. However, there are other benefits.
Not only do you get backlinks from an authority site, but you'll also get to post your picture and site URL which only further boosts your own personal authority in the niche. That article is exposed to a new audience that your own site probably never gets, so guest blogging is a great way to “piggy back” on other peoples traffic.
PDF files can be distributed to a number of websites. Again, each site you distribute the PDF to can include your profile picture and link back to your site. To create PDFs, you can use existing content or simply write new content for the PDF file. Microsoft Word or the free OpenOffice both have built in features to convert a word document to PDF format.
One of the best-known examples of a site that you can upload PDF documents to is:
You can find a lot of places to submit PDF documents to by searching Google for “submit ebooks”.
A Blog network is simply a large number of blogs that have been set up by someone to allow people like us to submit content to. Usually the blogs on the network have good page rank and are well aged, but it does vary from network to network.
Blog networks generally cost a monthly fee.
I have tried quite a few over the last couple of years. I usually end up unsubscribing to the service because the blogs that my posts are found on are very poor quality and have a lot of spammy posts going a lot of undesirable places.
So are there any that I recommend?
There are two of these networks that have actually increased my rankings during tests. The first is Unique Article Wizard and you can read my Unique Article Wizard review if you want to find out why I no longer subscribe to that service. I should point out though that I did get positive results using this service.
The only blog network I still subscribe to (I have been a member for about a year now) is Build My Rank. You can read my review on Build My Rank in my newsletter #294 in the section entitled Blog Networks.
Build My Rank offer a 10 free links trial, and I highly recommend you take them up on it, though please read my suggestions for how to use the 10 free links in the Blog Networks article. That will ensure you get maximum benefit from these links.
Summary of Back Link Sources
I have listed some of my favourite sources of backlinks, though the list is certainly not comprehensive. There are things like blog commenting and social bookmarking that a lot of people recommend. You can even buy links if you want. However, the above selection of places to find links is enough to get you started on diversifying your links.
Just remember these simple guidelines. When getting links:
1. Try to get links from as many different places as possible (we want i.p. diversity).
2. Look for quality rather than quantity. A handful of quality links will do more for your rankings than hundreds or thousands of spammy links (which actually could get your site penalized).
3. Vary your link text. If you have an article on “Flax seeds”, check out the Google keyword tool to see what people are searching for when trying to find information on flax seeds. Use these search phrases in your link text.
If you want a complete step-by-step blueprint on building links to your site, the best one out there in my opinion is Backlink Battleplan by Shane Melaugh. He has recently released version 2 of this course.
If I had to recommend only one piece of software or service for backlinking, it would be Build My Rank. I have used nothing but Build My Rank to get some top 3 rankings in Google for some very competitive terms.
Backlinks to Backlinks
Whenever you build a site you should be tracking a lot of information. One of the most important things to track is the backlinks pointing to your site.
Majestic SEO is a good free tool to do just this.
Once you have Majestic SEO installed on your site, wait for the data to start coming in. You will get a list of all the backlinks pointing to your site. Download the list (Majestic allow you to download the list as a spreadsheet) and check them to make sure that the backlinks still exist. Delete any links that no longer exist so you end up with a list of web pages that link to your site.
Now, work your way through the list, and point links to each of these backlinks. You can use any method of backlinking you want. The idea is to make each of these pages stronger, and therefore able to pass more link juice to your site.
Backlinking to Backlinks is a powerful method, though to be able to handle large numbers of links, some automation is necessary.
E.g, I often add 10 or so URLs from the backlink list to a spun resource box, and then submit and article using Article Demon. That way, each backlink will get a proportion of the backlinks when my resource box is spun during the submission process.
Another tool I use to backlink my backlinks is Sick Submitter.
This tool has a little bit of a learning curve, but I have found it very effective not only for getting backlinks to backlinks, but also backlinks to my money sites.
Sick Submitter is cheaper than any of its rivals, but it can submit your content to a wide range of places, including article directories, site directories, RSS directories, Social Bookmarking sites, Profile links and a whole lot more. In fact, you can buy “templates and link packs” from the sick submitter forum to extend the range of sites it can submit to. Packs can include submitters for WordPress MU sites, Wiki sites, Web 2.0 blogs, blog commenting and much more.
Since Sick Submitter can handle highly spun articles, you can easily promote multiple links within the content so your backlinks can quickly become a lot more powerful.
As I said before though, be prepared for the learning curve with Sick Submitter.
If you want something that is easier to use “out of the packet”, I would recommend you take a look at Magic Submitter. It’s more expensive, but has a great user interface and a wide range of sites you can submit to.
I wish you the best of luck in getting your face out there. In the final section of this guide, we’ll look at making your site “Sticky”. In other words, what’s in it for the visitor?
2. Exciting Time – New Course News
Exciting for me that is. I have been working hard on getting the site ready for the new course and learning the new membership software.
I am finally ready to start recording the first few modules of the course, and I'll start that next week. That means the new course should be open within a week or so since I will be building the site(s) & carrying out the various planned experiments LIVE – at least for the first batch of members. OK, there might be a few days delay between me actually doing and you seeing, but its as close to live as I can get.
If you want to find out more about what the course will be about, you can read more details here:
This program is likely to be my last training program. It is also as close as you can get to private mentoring from me as I'll be on the members forum to answer questions and help you with your sites. I am planning to devote two days a week to the course, meaning members will get modules on a weekly basis.
What I am most excited about is the way I will be building the first of several test sites. I will be using techniques that I have not revealed before in any of my newsletters or other published material. These techniques have worked great in the test sites I have built over the last few months, and I see no reason why future Google algorithm changes will affect the rankings.
I have had a lot of interest from people who bought my first "Wordpress for Affiliate Sites" course. If you did that course, rest assured that this course is totally different.
The main aim of this course is to build "Future-Proof" sites that will ride the waves of change that Google throw against the rocky shore. There is a massive emphasis on backlinking from the very first content you post on the site. There is also a massive influence on quality in everything you do. We also want to embrace the "social" aspect of website building. As I said, I am really excited about the course.
If you want to be notified when its open, sign up here:
This list will not be used for anything other than notifying you about the course opening. Once I get the 100 or so members I am limiting this to, the doors will close, and the email list will be deleted.
OK, that's it for this newsletter.
Until next time. Have a great week!
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