I’ve diagnosed it. It’s our brain.
You see, for the past year we’ve been learning that we need to de-optimize our link ratios. You don’t want too many links pointing to your site that say “best red widgets” when red widgets is what you are selling.
Google has taught us this lesson thoroughly. They don’t care how the links got there. It could have been someone performing negative SEO. It could have been a legitimate white-hat link from someone you don’t know. It could be a blackhat link that you built.
If you have too many links coming into your site with exact match anchor text, you are sunk.
Now, I’m not a big fan of nitpicking anchor-text ratios. I really think that for the most part you should focus on getting your on-page SEO correct and then go out there and promote your site like any other mom and pop shop would. As your site increases in authority, it will automatically rank for the correct terms. (This especially works when promoting a local business)
Recently I Was Wooed To The Dark Side
I spent $500 for Becker’s latest course (now it’s $1,000, I think). For someone like myself, it’s been worth every penny.
But in there, he mentions using some established services to outsource your “pillow” links to. Do it right, and you have 100 low-power but clean links pointing to your site for $25.
That’s the idea, anyhow.
Unfortunately, the services mentioned in the course no longer work. Whether it is April’s Payday loan update or simply the fact that the companies were unable to keep up with the hundreds of orders that Becker’s students sent in.
They’ve been responsible for sinking a number of new sites, mine included.
Not one to be dissuaded, I’ve been testing other services.
After all, I need to come up with a way to outsource more of my work if I am ever to scale it.
This Is Why I Test. And Test. And Test.
Sure, I’m out a few hundred coins. But I didn’t sink any sites there were already making me money.
So, in my book, it saved me money.
And maybe you, too.
I don’t know how the Googs does it, but they really don’t like automated backlinks. Even when you are trying to do high-quality links, they have a habit of picking up on them. Sure, Matt Woodward gets away with it. Hat’s off to him, he’s a better blackhat than I’ll ever be.
I do think that Google looks for links coming from bad neighborhoods (<– read for a big ‘ah-hah’ moment).
It makes sense. I mean, If I had built a search engine, I’d discredit bad link neighborhoods and types of links that are categorically spammy (like pingbacks).
Going Back To What Works
For the past year, my philosophy for link-building has been simple: keep it natural.
And it’s a simple motto with simple application that has served me well.
So, in that line of thinking, you have to ask yourself,
“what are natural activities a blog would take part in to boost it’s brand in the social realms?”
I have 4 places that come to mind.
I’m open to hearing more.
I think blog comments are a powerful way to engage in any niche. In fact, that is about all that ever comes in to this site. I go out and chat with other like-minded internet marketers — and love doing it.
So blog commenting is an extremely natural way to build participation with your site.
Of course, you are going to use your name. Several variations of your name. Sometimes I’m “Q”. Sometimes I’m “Quinn”. Sometimes I’m “QH AKA The LostCyclist”. Just whatever mood hits me.
In the same way, when promoting a new site, whether for a client or for an affiliate program, you should use the site owner’s name (or Pseudonym, if applicable.). Go out and build relationships. Comment on the same blog once a month.
Right now I either have my VA go do it for me for a lot of the sites.
Or I have her get me a list of blogs in my niche and I go out and do it myself.
Quinn at Cubicle Free has his VA write the comment she wants to leave, and then he checks it before she posts.
So whatever works for you.
You are building a following of Google-proof traffic just as much as you are building a network of anchor text diversity.
I really like to end up with 50 comments out there in the first couple months. I go out and refresh as the mood hits.
And if you ask about Do-Follow vs. No-Follow I’m gonna ban your IP address from my site.
Ok, I kid.
But use your noggin’. If I want it to look natural, what would I do?
Someone asked me what I thought of buying forum links.
NOT A FAN.
But I am a fan of using forums to help others and build relationships. I think Charles Floate is a perfect example of this (watch the video, you bum).
That kid is tenacious.
I do none of this. I don’t have the time and I become a complete <insert bad word here> in the face of forum stupidity (whatever it is I deem to be stupid at that moment).
It’s something I’m working on… by staying out of forums. (Except the Pond. The pond is quiet but cool. )
Website Directories and Citations
Ok, I use these judiciously.
It’s a well-known fact that these links are easily bought. But it also makes sense that a blogger would want it’s blog in relevant directories, no?
So I go to Directory Maximizer and spend a few bucks for 20 cheap directory listings. I also add about 5-20 different site descriptions and titles to help diversify any anchor text. And I ask them to trickle it out.
It’s like $40 bucks. It hasn’t hurt any site I used it on. But I don’t know that it helps.
I also have played with HotvsNot.com. And paid for directory listings with them.
Now that is a pretty clean, high-power directory. And every site I have that makes money is in there.
Do the links help? I dunno. But I maintain my listings with them because it is a solid directory, imo. (That said, when you type “HotvsNot.com” in Google, they are nowhere on the first page. So the Googs must be hating on them somewhat.)
Bottom line is, directory listings could probably hurt you. Use them judiciously.
There. I said “judiciously” 3 times. You get my point.
So the jury is still in session on this one.
They’re all hung out in an 8-4 vote and ordering in extra food and beer (what jury orders in beer?) to their little closed session room. I think its going to be awhile before they make up their mind.
But a lot of people are singing the praises of press releases. And some of my competition has used them a lot.
I did learn that PRweb press releases don’t get picked up very well, but I did receive an email from a news person wanting to interview me. We’ll see if anything ever comes of that. Spending $100 for 8 no-power links kinda sucks, and there was no rankings changes after the releases came out.
But I’m still testing and optimistic that I may find a better service. The key thing is that these releases all come from what appear to be high-quality neighborhoods . So I think they might be a great way to get some press… and diversify that link profile against people who scrape your article and then send you an exact match anchor text back to your site (thanks, twerp).
Citations are only used for ranking local businesses and companies.
I like Synup.com.
Buy 10 of them every couple of weeks until you are in Google Places. Or buy 40 right off the bat.
At $1.50 per entry, they are a little pricier than some of the fiverr and warrior forum gigs out there, but they seem to take the time to watch out for duplicate entries, and the overall product seems better.
I bought 40 cheap citations and 10 Synup citations and sent them to separate sites. The Synup citations were more complete and more of them stuck.
That’s my list, folks! Sexy, huh?
Your Turn! Let’s here where you like to promote your sites and get pillow links! Are you A socialadr fan? A Sape fan?
PostScript: you will notice Web 2.0s are not on my list. They seem spammy to me. Can you believe that? Not saying they won’t work. I just am not currently using them as a place to promote my sites on.
Also, I wrote this at nearly 1am after having 4.5 hours of sleep last night. Typos will be typos.