Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Backlinks, Backlinks, Backlinks!

As much as I hate creating them, they're a necessary part of making real money online. While it is possible to earn without creating backlinks (see my eHow earnings), your income will climb higher than you ever imagined with sometimes only a few well-crafted do-follow backlinks. In this post, I'm going to show you how to create the right kind of backlinks to make the most efficient use of your time. This tutorial applies to both revenue share articles on sites like Infobarrel and Hubpages, and to posts on your own niche sites. The process is the same no matter where you publish your content - backlinks are backlinks.

Using Anchor Text: Primary and Secondary Keywords

When you're trying to rank for particular keywords or phrases, you'll need to use these keywords as the anchor text in your backlinks to help Google and the other search engines understand the relevance of your article/post to the keywords. Anchor text is defined as the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. For example, the anchor text in this sentence is keywords. I linked the word "keywords" to a recent post on this blog about finding profitable keywords. It's as simple as that.

That being said, it's not always a good idea to use the same anchor text for every backlink, as this can look a little suspicious to Google. To ensure the best results, use your primary keyword and a few secondary keywords as anchor text to your articles or posts. Let's take a closer look at this concept.

If you followed along in my choosing profitable keywords tutorial, you'll see that we determined the keyword "contemporary outdoor furniture" appears to be a viable choice. Let's say we wrote and published an awesome article about contemporary outdoor furniture, and now we're ready to build some backlinks. We know right away that our first backlink should use this primary keyword as our anchor text, but we'll also need a few secondary keywords. Here's how we find them:

Open up the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, and type your primary keyword into the search box. Fill out the captcha and click the search button.

After a moment, the tool will return a list of similar keywords. Because we're only trying to find secondary keywords, we don't need to make any changes with the tool. We aren't concerned with the number of searches, broad vs. exact, or CPC. We only need a few variations of our primary keyword to use as anchor text in our backlink articles.

I typically choose the first three keywords that appear the most relevant to my primary keyword. Because the tool automatically sorts by relevance, these are usually close to the top. As you can see, underneath our primary keyword, we have several others that will suit our purposes. "Outdoor contemporary furniture," which is simply the same keyword with the words switched around, "outdoor wood furniture," and "designer outdoor furniture" all look good to me.

You can choose any of them that you want, and you can even choose more than three if you really want to build a ton of backlinks. I usually start with three and avoid those that don't make sense or would be difficult to work naturally into an article, such as "outdoor furniture contemporary."

Now, I write all of my articles in an Open Office word document. I start with the title, followed by a list of my keywords - primary first and then my three secondary keywords. You can also keep track of this in a spreadsheet or any other way that works for you. The point is to find your secondary keywords and keep them in a safe place for later use.

I like to use each of my keywords once in my main article and this method works for me, because I can see quickly which keywords still need to be included in the text. I mark off each keyword in my list by changing its text color to red, that way I know I've used it and I don't have to worry about it anymore. (Note: I typically find my primary and secondary keywords before I even begin writing an article, but this isn't necessary. I just think it's easier.)

Now we can start creating our backlinks. First, we'll write another article about contemporary outdoor furniture. You don't have to use the phrase in the title, but you can if you want. It doesn't really matter, as long as you link back to the main article using the phrase as your anchor text. It depends on the site on which you publish the article where you place the phrase. Ezine articles, for example, doesn't allow you to link from the body of the article, but you can link from an author bio section at the bottom of your article. Always read the site's terms of service before you publish to make sure you aren't in violation.

Creating Backlinks: Do-Follow Vs. No-Follow

Once you've written a backlink article that includes your primary keyword phrase, it's time to publish it and create your first backlink. There are dozens of sites you can use for backlinks, some of which are better than others. The most important thing, however, is that the site allows do-follow links. This means that the site allows Google (and other search engines) to follow the link and count it towards your page ranking. If the site has no-follow links, on the other hand, you're basically wasting your time. Don't publish there. How do you know the difference?

I've compiled a list of sites that allow do-follow links, either in the body of the article, an author bio or a related references section, below. You can publish on any of these sites and know you're getting a high-quality, do-follow backlink. What if you find a site that you want to use that isn't included in my list? How can you tell if the links are do-follow or no follow? Well, the easiest way is to use SEO for Firefox, a browser add-on that will quickly tell you if links on any given page are do-follow or no-follow. Not only can this valuable add-on help you in your keyword research, it can also help you decide which are the best sites to use for backlinks.

Once it's installed, the menu will appear next to your search box in the top of your browser. Click on the arrow to access the drop-down menu, and click on "Highlight No-Follow Links." If the links on the page are no-follow, they will be highlighted in bright red. If the links are not highlighted, they are do-follow and you can get a do-follow backlink by posting here.

Some of the biggest article directories, such as Article Base, do not give you do-follow links. While they may be good for generating click-through traffic, that's not what we're after. We want backlinks that Google will count to help us rank higher in the search engines. Let's take a look at Article Base links, for example.

Here's the bottom of a user-submitted article on Article Base. When I clicked "Highlight No-Follow Links," the link that the author put in her article was highlighted. This means that it's no-follow, so we definitely don't want to publish here. If you are ever unsure about a site, simply use SEO for Firefox on a user-submitted article to see if the author's links are do-follow or no-follow. If you see that ugly red, it's time to move on.

Where to Publish Your Backlink Articles

After you write a backlink article, publishing is the next step. Following is a list of do-follow backlink sources that you can use. I recommend using a different site for each backlink for each article on revenue share sites. This means that for each article you publish on HubPages or Infobarrel, you should publish four articles linking back to it, each on a different site. You can use the same four sites for each article if you want, or you can use different ones - the choice is yours. For the best results, however, don't link to the same article more than once from the same site.

Also, note the site's page rank. While a higher page rank doesn't hurt, don't read too much into this. You can get a good backlink from a lower PR site, too. I simply included this information for your reference. 

Article Directories: 
(* Highly Recommended)
  • Ezinearticles.com* - This site has a page rank (PR) 7 and allows do-follow backlinks in an author bio section below your articles. 
  • GoArticles.com - This site only has a PR 3, but it allows do-follow backlinks in the body of the article. 
  • Artlib.org* - This site has a PR 7 and allows links in the body of the article. Plus, you get an author profile link to the site of your choice. 
  • Amazines.com - This site has a PR 3 and allows links in the body.
  • Article Blast - This site has a PR 5 and allows links in the body and/or author bio section.
  • Idea Marketers - This site has a PR 5 and allows links in the body of the article.
  • Article Dashboard - This site has a PR 7 and allows links in an author bio section.
  • Sooper Articles - This site has a PR 5 and allows links in an author bio section. 
  • Article Slash - This site has a PR 4 and allows links in an author bio section.
  • Article Rich - This site has a PR 3 and allows links in an author bio section. 
  • Isnare.com - This site has a PR 5 and allows links  in an author bio section.
  • Article City - This site has a PR 6 and allows links in an author bio section.
  • Articles Factory - This site has a PR 4 and allows links in an author bio section.
  • Self Growth* - This article directory has a PR 6 and only accepts articles related to self-improvement. Categories include health & fitness, love & relationships, mental health, success and spirituality. Links are allowed in the article body and you get a profile link.
  • Healthiertalk* - This site accepts articles related to health and fitness. It has a PR 4 and very active community. A link to your submitted articles is included in a newsletter sent to members. Links allowed in author bio section and you get a profile link.
  • List After List - This site has a PR 4 and allows a link in the reference section beneath your list article.
Revenue Share Sites:
(* Highly Recommended)
  • Infobarrel* - This site has a PR 4 and allows links in the article body and in a signature displayed above the fold. 
  • Hubpages* -  This site has a PR 6 and allows links in the article body.
  • Squidoo - This site has a PR 7 and allows links in the article body.
  • Seekyt - This site has 0 PR, but it does provide rev share and allows links in the article body. 
  • Flixya - This site has a PR 5 and provides 100 percent rev share. Links are allowed in the body of your articles. 
  • Jevitt - This site has a PR 2 and allows do-follow backlinks in the body of the article.  
  • Snipsly - This site has a PR 4, 80 percent revenue share and allows links in the body of the article.
Bookmarking Sites:
(* Highly Recommended)

I've included bookmarking sites that allow do-follow backlinks, but these are used slightly differently. In most cases, you'll only have to write a short blurb instead of a full article for your backlink.
  • She Told Me* - This site has a PR 5, revenue share option and do-follow backlinks.
  • Infopirate - This site has a PR 0, but it offers revenue share and do-follow backlinks. 

Creating an Article Bio Using Your Keyword Anchor Text

Some of the article directories only allow you to place links in an author bio section at the bottom of the article. In this case, you should create a bio that makes sense, but don't worry about it too much. In the example of our contemporary outdoor furniture article, we might create a bio that says something like this:

John Smith is a contemporary outdoor furniture expert from Wisconsin. Read more of his work for information on the creative ways you can enhance your outdoor living experience with outdoor furniture. 

Just make sure to work your keyword into the bio in a way that doesn't sound too forced, and use it as anchor text. In this example, we'd link the words "contemporary outdoor furniture" to our main article or post. 

The Next Steps

After you've published your first backlink article (using your primary keyword as your anchor text), choose another site from the list above and publish your second article (using one of your secondary keywords as anchor text). Continue this process until you've published four articles, each with different anchor text, linking back to your main article. This should be enough to really improve your ranking, but you can always create more if you want.

In addition, I typically bookmark my backlink articles on sites like SheToldMe, InfoPirate and even Digg to help them get indexed faster, but this is up to you. If you notice that your articles are not being indexed as quickly as you'd like, you can throw a few bookmarks at them to help Google find them faster (thus increasing your ranking faster).

Recap of the Backlink Building Method

Here's a quick run-down of the steps you'll need to take to build backlinks to your posts and articles efficiently and effectively.
  1. Find primary and secondary keywords. 
  2. Write main article (if you haven't yet).
  3. Write first backlink article using your primary keyword or keyword phrase.
  4. Publish your first backlink article on a do-follow article directory or revenue share site, using the primary keyword as anchor text to link back to your main article.
  5. Write your second backlink article using one of your secondary keyword phrases.
  6. Publish your second backlink article on a do-follow article directory or revenue share site, using the secondary keyword as anchor text to link back to your main article.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for your remaining two secondary keywords.
  8. Optional: Bookmark your main and backlink articles on sites like She Told Me and Infopirate.


      1. Wow, a lot of information on backlinking here. I will have to bookmark this page! Thanks for the lists.

      2. hi Kifayat! I hope you find the information useful and thanks for stopping by! :)

      3. Hi Willow,

        I love this site and your previous one about upfront sites. I just launched my new blog called Make A Choice | Make A Change, it's a blog dedicated to inspiring people to change for the better in life. I just release my first blog post yesterday, http://tinyurl.com/3r5fm2w. Your new site is gonna be my bible. I'm in the transition of trying to make more residual income.It's hard when you need the cash now, you know. Thanks again for this informative article and please do check out my blog and comment, if you get the chance.http://choiceandchange.weebly.com/blog.html

        Artesia Peluso

      4. Hi Willow, I'll start by saying thanks for the article, especially the do-follow list. I'm sure it will prove to be a valuable resource as my freelance writing career unfolds. Also, I thought you would want to know that your link to 'she told me' took me to a 404 page. Thanks again, Matt

      5. Great info!
        Just to share that Google Adwords can be deceiving, I had some Adwords campaigns "on pause" but they still charged me some small penny that I discovered months after the fact.
        If I want to use their keyword tool, I had to be active participant of the program. I suppose you are, and therefore thinking it's totally free, but it kinda isn't.

      6. Hi Willow,

        Thanks so much for the info! A quick question about Artlib.org, have they since gone down? I can't seem to get to their site.