Expert Tip – The Secret to Generating Tons of FREE High-Quality Inbound Links – The Right Way!
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The Importance of Inbound Links
One of the most important factors in generating a high search engine ranking, is how many inbound links your site has. What the heck is an inbound link? An inbound link, is a link from any other site on the internet, pointing to your site. When your buddy links to your page from his or hers, that is an inbound link. Seems simple, right?
Here’s why inbound links are so important. Search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Ask go out and “spider” the internet. That means that their automated programs surf the internet and collect data about the sites they find. The most common way these spiders find sites, is through inbound links, so without some inbound links from already-indexed sites, your site has a very low chance of being found in the first place. Unless you manually submit a new website to a search engine, if your site has no inbound links, there is a possibility that it could NEVER be indexed. Imagine putting in all the work to build a great site, then NEVER having it show up in Google, Yahoo!, or any other search engine. The good news is, just about every website (with it’s own domain name) has at least one inbound link – from the domain registrar. As soon as you register your domain name with Go Daddy or any other registrar, your registrar publicly lists the registration information for your site. That means, that EVENTUALLY, some search engine spider will find that page and then make it’s way to your website.
While it is a pretty sure bet that your site will eventually be found by the search engines, that is only the first step. Once your site is indexed, you need to make sure that it can be found in the results for relevant searches. The most important factor in “being found” on the search engines, is your page’s rank on those search engines. Google calls their page ranking system “PageRank”, and it is the gold-standard, by which all ranking systems are measured. I encourage you to read the following pages on Google’s own site, describing how they rank pages. Google Corporate Information – Technology Overview is a broad overview of their PageRank technology, and Google Webmaster Guidelines – Webmaster Help Center is a very clear and detailed set of guideline for webmaster, to help in creating a “Google Friendly” website. Take the time to read both pages, and you will have a much better understanding of what it takes to have a highly ranked page on Google, and as a result, a highly ranked page on all the other search engines. Rest assured, if your page is Google friendly, then it is also Yahoo! friendly, and MSN friendly, and AOL friendly, and Ask friendly.
More Inbound Links = Higher PageRank
Once the search engines have found your site, and begin the process of indexing it, they have to establish a value for your site and information, relative to all the other sites like yours, on the internet. One of the ways they establish that value, is by counting how many times other sites link back to yours. Think of inbound links as “endorsements” from other website owners and content creators, and you can see why this method is effective. In a sense, any time a web designer, or content creator links back to your site, they are recommending your content to their readers, and that sends a very important message to the search engines. It says, “this site has something important to say”. So the logic follows, sites with many inbound links, must have a lot of very important content, otherwise they wouldn’t have so many “endorsements” by other site owners.
In addition to the number of inbound links, the type and quality of those links is very important in establishing your site’s rank on the search engines. Inbound links from very highly ranked sites, are much more valuable than links from sites with very low PageRank scores. This is because the search engines reason that “good” (highly ranked) sites wouldn’t recommend “bad” sites (sites with poor quality content), and “very good” (very highly ranked sites) sites would probably recommend other “very good” content.
The PageRank of the site posting the inbound link is probably the most important measure of the quality of that inbound link, but it isn’t the only thing that matters. Inbound links should be relevant. That means that the keywords and tags in the link should reflect the content of your site, and the link should come from a site or post that has information that is similar to yours. This helps to ensure that your site is properly categorized in the search engines, so people find you when they search for content like yours.
It is important that you don’t compromise when establishing inbound links. Never seek out links from sites that offer “bad” content. You will be judged by the company you keep. If Google finds a links to your site, from sites that it deems as bad or harmful, your PageRank will be negatively effected. Read the Google Webmaster Guidelines – Webmaster Help Center for more information on this topic.
Inbound Links Mean Inbound Traffic
This is a point that can’t be overlooked. Maybe more important than building your PageRank score through inbound links, is DRIVING TRAFFIC to your site.
Here’s the scenario. A dog lover reads an interesting blog post on grooming, on his favorite doggy-related blog. At the end of the post, he sees a well thought out comment, that adds value to the original post, by an obviously intelligent dog groomer. The comment contains a link to that obviously intelligent dog groomer’s website. The dog lover clicks the link to see if the obviously intelligent dog groomer has anything else to say on the subject, and finds a wealth of great information on the obviously intelligent dog groomer’s own blog. The dog lover is now a devoted reader of the obviously intelligent dog groomer’s blog. He subscribes to the mailing list, and buys all his doggy products from the obviously intelligent dog groomer. Ka-ching!
Benchmark Your Website
Before you start optimizing your site, it is a good idea to know where you currently stand on the search engines. Start by searching for your domain name (www.your-domain-name.com) in Google. If your site doesn’t show up, when you search for your domain name, you have a lot of work to do – You are basically invisible – not necessarily un-indexed, but VERY hard to find. If your site does show up, search for a few relevant terms or topics that should definitely show up in your site. Try your name in quotes (“your name”), the name of your company in quotes (“your company name”), or the title of your site in quotes. At this point, if your site is showing up on the first page of the search results, you might be feeling pretty good. Don’t get over-confident. Next, you should try checking your PageRank – www.PRchecker.info offers a free PageRank checker. Chances are, your page rank is much lower than you thought. Compare it with other sites that you visit, and see how you stand.
A Simple Method For Generating TONS Of Relevant Inbound Links
While there are many methods for generating inbound links, from simply asking for them, to establishing multiple sites and cross linking between them, to link exchanges, I am only going to focus on one method in this post. I am going to share my single, favorite method for generating high-quality, relevant inbound links. This method allows you to generate literally THOUSANDS of inbound links in a relatively short amount of time, and lets you control the quality of every one!
My Guaranteed, Slam-Dunk System For Amassing Thousands Of Inbound Links
My Favorite method for generating inbound links, hands-down, is commenting on blogs (weblogs), and I have a really simple system, that guarantees that the links you generate will be relevant, and high-quality.
Most blog authors allow feedback on their blogs. They gather this feedback by allowing readers to comment on specific posts. This benefits them, because it allows them to gauge the effect of posts, and improve their content over time. It also means more content on their site, that they don’t have to write. On a busy blog, it is not uncommon for comments to account for 10% or more of the total content. That is a lot of free creativity, and means a higher PageRank, without the work of content creation. Most blog comments will display the name of the person posting the comment, and normally the name is formatted as a link to that person’s website.
Blog comments are an excellent source of inbound links for many reasons.
First, search engines love blogs. Good blogs tend to have lots of original content and search engines value original content very highly. Blogs tend to be text driven, which means that they are easily indexed by the search engines, and blogs tend to have lots of links to other content, which helps the search engines find other related content.
Second, you can control what types of links you get, when you are creating the links yourself. If you only ever post links on sites that are related to yours, you are guaranteed to have EXTREMELY relevant inbound links. To put it another way, if you have a “health and wellness” website, and you only ever comment on blog posts on other “health and wellness” sites, you can be sure that when people search for “health and wellness” content, on a search engine, your site will come up. You can also be assured that your site won’t show up when people search for “aquarium maintenance”.
Third, you control how quickly the links are created. If you follow my system, it is totally possible to create 1000 high-quality inbound links, in just 3 months. In a year, you can easily have 3000, and you can sustain that growth as long as you want!
I have a few rules, that I always follow, when I post comments.
Rule #1 (Most Important!!!) - Stick to a schedule.
If you post just 12 comments a day, in just 3 months you will have approximately 1000 inbound links. Here are the numbers. 12 comments per day X 30 days per month = 360 comments in a month. 360 comments per month X 3 Months = 1080 inbound links in just 3 months. Lets take that a step further. 360 comments per month X 12 months = 4320 high-quality inbound links in a year. Any site with 1000 (or 4000) high-quality, relevant, related inbound links is going to have a VERY high PageRank score.
I can just hear the questions – “How can I find that many sites to comment on?”, “How much time do I have to devote to this?”, “Is there any way to automate the process?”. I will answer these questions here, but I will also, happily answer any others that are asked in the comments section of this post. This will give you the change to put this method into practice, and gain valuable knowledge at the same time.
O.k. Here goes. “How can I find that many sites to comment on?” New blogs are started at an astronomical rate. You could comment on literally hundreds of new blogs every day, and not even scratch the surface. If you don’t believe me, just Google any term you think is relevant to your business, then count the results. Chances are, the vast majority of the results are blogs. Chances are good that there are MILLIONS of results. I give you my word, you will NEVER run out of places to comment.
“How much time do I have to devote to this?” I usually spend about an hour per day commenting on blog posts. Some days, I spend significantly less time than that. I almost never spend more time than that, and because I don’t like to work on weekends, I try to do more than 12 per day, to keep my monthly average around 360. At first, you may find that it takes you an hour to do 3 or 4 comments, but I promise, you will get faster. In “My Quick and Efficient System for Screening and Commenting on Blogs”, I share my personal method for quickly finding relevant content, and posting comments on numerous blogs, very quickly. I encourage you to read “My Quick and Efficient System for Screening and Commenting on Blogs” as soon as you are done with this post.
“Is there a way to automate this process?” Yes, but it’s called comment spam. There are robots (automated web programs) that seek out blogs, and post hundreds of comments per day. These programs are used almost exclusively by spammers selling viagra, or pushing pornography. These comments are quickly eliminated by comment spam programs, and the ones that aren’t, are a HUGE nuisance to blog owners. Before I had Akismet installed, I would have to moderate literally hundreds of these spam comments per month. I was eventually forced to turn off the comments on my site. Take the time to read my expert tip post, “Plugin and Supercharge Your Blog”, to find out how I deal with comment spam now. Don’t be tempted to try to automate your comments. Once you learn the system, there is really no need. The time you will spend writing creative comments will be well worth it.
Rule #2 – Only comment on blogs that you would recommend and you want to be associated with.
Here are my guidelines for judging a blog as worthy of my comments. I will let you determine your own. Blogs that I comment on must be well-written (no excessive slang or profanity, reasonably intelligent, no broken english). I don’t comment on adult or off-color blogs. I do not wish to be associated with violence, pornography, drugs, criminal activity, or other off-color content, so I never comment on blogs containing that type of content. I (usually) don’t comment on political or religious blogs. While I have very deep convictions about religion and politics, these things very little to do with my business, and I don’t want to offend a potential reader, by associating myself with the “wrong” political or religious content. Finally, I don’t comment on “re-blogs”. I only comment on original posts, written by an author who has put some thought and work into the content.
Rule #3 – Try to be an “A” Student
I have a system for ranking the value of my blog posts. I use a lettered grading system from A-F, just like in high-school. If you don’t like the idea of letter grades, numbers work just as well. The point of the system, though, is that I NEVER do “D” level work. While I try to do as much “A” level work as I can, sometimes it’s just not possible, and “B” and “C” level work is acceptable, as long as I always strive for the best.
I will explain my grading system, and things will get much clearer.
“C” level comments - The lowest level of blog comment I will post, is a “C” level comment. A “C” level comment meets the following criteria. First, it meets the requirement for “Rule #2″ it is placed on a blog that I don’t mind being associated with. Although I receive an inbound link from the comment, the post isn’t specifically related to my blog’s content. Therefore, it doesn’t really contribute to relevancy in search engine results. The body of a “C” level comment contains no links to specific content on my site, and finally, it really doesn’t add any value to the original post. An example of this type of comment would be, “Great post, I had never really looked at dog grooming that way before. The world needs more great groomers like you. Thanks for your hard work”. While the comment doesn’t really add value, it is still a nice recognition of the authors work and contribution, and is totally acceptable. The only real value gained from a “C” level comment, is the inbound link.
“B” level comments - “B” level comments add value. If you read a great post, and can offer some additional input, you have the makings of a “B” level comment. a good example of a “B” level comment would be, “Great post on WordPress Plugins. While you didn’t mention it in your post, I have found Akismet to be a very good plugin as well. It is a very powerful comment spam filter, and since I installed it, I have gotten no comment spam at all”. This comment adds value to the original post, and while it may not be directly related to your specific content, there is a decent chance that comments like this will drive traffic to your site.
“A” level comments - “A” level comments are what I strive for whenever I post blog comments. Not only does an “A” level comment add value to the original post, it also is directly related to specific content on your site. An “A” level comment should cast you as an expert in your field, and should add some new perspective to the original post. It doesn’t necessarily have to be long, but your comment should definitely be well thought out, and clearly written. Additionally, an “A” level comment should link directly to specifically related content on your site. Here is an example. I will expand on the “B” level comment above, so you can see the difference. “Thank you for the great post on WordPress Plugins. While you didn’t mention it in your post, I have found Akismet to be a very good plugin as well. It is a very powerful comment spam filter, and since I installed it, I have gotten no comment spam at all. It was easy to install and configure, and it does exactly what it is supposed to do. I have written a full review of Akismet here.” Notice the link to specific content at the end of the comment. This type of comment accomplishes all of the things I have talked about in this post. It contributes a high-quality, relevant inbound link, which the search engines love, and it is very likely to drive traffic to your site.
Rule #4 – Only one RELEVANT link per comment
Only some blogs allow you to place links within the body of a comment. Many specifically forbid the use of any HTML within the comment. When you can place a link in the body of a comment, it is important to make it relevant. I ALWAYS delete comments with irrelevant links, as I see this as a cheap tactic to generate low-quality traffic. Placing more than one link within the body of a comment is a sure way to get flagged by spam filters. As a rule, I never place more than one RELEVANT link within a comment, and if there is not a good reason for me to add one, I don’t. I would rather have my comment posted, with just my name formatted as a link to my site, than try to overdo it, and be marked as a spammer.
Rule #5 – Start now!
Procrastination never benefited anyone. Put these rules into effect now, and see the results for yourself. Take five minutes to comment on this post, or another post on this site. Ask a question. I will answer, or add some value. Show me what you have learned!
If you follow these simple rules, you will quickly gather LOADS of high-quality inbound links, and your search engine ranking, and inbound traffic will EXPLODE.