Backlinks and the Article Junk Pile

Or How to Cut Off Your Own Nose to Spite Your Face?

There are rumblings and rumours scurrying around the place that a few of the MMO marketing set are aware of, but not too many, I believe. A few niche marketers such as myself are also getting wind of this, but its early days and would probably attract some unwelcome criticism from the SEO know it alls in any case, so I’m hedging my bets here.

Its all to do with the way a lot of marketers are going about getting those all important backlinks to their money making websites and blogs. With the new wave of article spinning software available at very affordable prices – MAR being one (yes, I’m unashamedly promoting it in my sidebar) and Ledger’s Best Article Spinner another – it has become way too easy to take a PLR or similar article on any subject you like, spin the crap out of it and the submit it to hundreds of article directories at the touch of a button. Voila! Instant backlinks, right?

Well, technically that is right. But that kind of technique is not what is known as “white hat”, or plainly speaking, legit. In fact it resembles the darker path that is otherwise known as “black hat” and that has always been how people get themselves into trouble. Okay, it works for now, but for how much longer?

Google are well known for tinkering with the way their algo counts those precious backlinks. The ones we all crave and desire to rank our sites in the index in order to get organic, targeted visitors who will, we hope, click our affiliate or PPC links and make us money. The thinkers and techies at Google like nothing more than to scope out where backlinks are being generated from and then taking a big stick to those places they view as black hat.

Don’t quote me on this, because it is purely my own opinion based on what I have seen happen historically and what I can see happening now. But I have a sneaky suspicion that Google will (if they haven’t already) figure out that they can alter their algo to discount links coming from article directories that are publishing “obviously” spun articles.

Now that’s not to say that originally written articles will get tarred with the same brush. I don’t see that happening because it takes time and effort as well as some research and knowledge on a subject to sit down and write a 500 word article that is worth reading and is informative. A backlink placed in that kind of article deserves to be counted, simply because the writer took the time and trouble to create a worthwhile addition to the web and provide a useful addition to Google’s index. After all, that is exactly what Google wants to see in its index – worthwhile, informative, readable, entertaining etc content that is original – and not that which is copied and spun into something that often closely resembles double dutch.

Ok, you don’t see too many spun articles littering the index, at least not in the high pages, but some get through and they are a major annoyance for anyone looking for something worthwhile to read. That’s not the issue here – but more for the fact that these spun articles do get indexed and that means the link(s) placed in them also count.

More annoying is the fact that legit sites are climbing the SERPs thanks to the ton of backlinks occupying tons of crap spun articles. How long do you think this will last before some bright spark at Google realizes that they can stop it happening by getting down and dirty with the algo – and we all know that the techies love to be able to work algorithmically rather than waste human resources checking all that badly spun bullshit. Shouldn’t be too hard to simply NOT index crap spun articles that are posted in the multitude of unregulated and clearly unedited article directories and the links in them would simply not be counted.

Hell, if I worked at Google and on their algo, I’d be laughing my ass off while I tweaked away until all those smug so-called SEO experts who have been dumping reams of worthless crap into article directories for months woke up one morning to find all their sites had taken a serious SERP hit because 90% of all their spin-generated backlinks had suddenly been ignored. The pleasure would be indescribable! Oh yeah!

What would that leave us with, I wonder?

It would leave us with those legit websites and blogs that got their backlinks the hard, but honest way! Yep, by writing good, original articles or by getting links from other site owners who liked what we wrote on our own sites so much, they thought it worthy of linking to. Which is how the algo and the SERPs ranking structure is supposed to work in an ideal world.

There will always be those who trade links and guest post in other people’s blogs. I don’t see anything wrong in that as a guest post must also be original and worthwhile – after all, who would accept crap spun articles on their personal, carefully tended and nurtured blogs? I certainly wouldn’t! Even more so if I believed it would be detrimental to my blog, in SERPs ranking or in visitor dissatisfaction, depending on what I expected from my blog. Yeah, I fully expect someone to come here and comment that I shouldn’t be so naive about the function of blogs. Sure I know what really goes on – I’ve been around long enough to know, so save your breath. This is mainly about my opinion on the probable future of spun articles and baclinks, in any case. Those of you that know me will know what I am really saying…

Also, such a change would pave the way for some more regulated and edited article directories such as ezinearticles.com – places where only legit, original content is welcome and there is a limit on the number and type of backlinks allowed. If its of any interest, ezinearticles.com make a fortune from the ads they place on your articles there, which is the trade-off for a backlink that is worth something. It could happen and I would welcome the change.

Pipe dream or wishful thinking? Both, but realities come from ideas and ideas come from wishful thinking that gets put into action.

Make Money The Honest Way Blog

Make Money Online by Writing for Technorati

Here’s some interesting news I just heard that might help you Make Money The Honest Way. If you are already well versed in the art of writing articles to provide your sites with strong anchored backlinks, then here is another option that has just presented itself.

Technorati have just announced that they will be adding a new feature to their already well known and high authority name and domain, which is for authors to publish original articles there. Now, details are sketchy right now as the system is not live yet and only in the announcement stage. But if they follow the pattern set out by ezine articles whereby all articles are manually checked for originality and relevance, then we could be seeing another very good source of backlinks. That is assuming they allow a resource box with a link back to your site, which I believe is pretty much the done thing when it comes to publishing anyone’s work on your site.

So technorati should be no different, and if, if they can be strong like ezine articles and really only accept quality articles, they will keep the spammers out and provide us with a strong authority source of links.

How does this help me to make money online?

Unless you are a complete noob and have no idea how this works, or you have been chasing the get rich quick scams that all the A-listers peddle online, in order to make money online you need to be able to attract targeted search traffic to your site where you sell whatever it is you sell. The only way to get search traffic is to rank well in the main search engines, primarily Google and the only way to do that is to have a strong authority site and the only way to get that is to have lots of original, relevant content that is linked to from a wide variety of strong, authority sources.

In other words, you need to build a strong site with lots of relevant content first and get links to it from as many different sources as possible for it to rank well in the serps for your chosen keywords.

Those links need to be anchored with your keywords and those keyword anchors need to be varied in order to look as natural as possible. You do this by several different means, but one of those is to write articles and post them to respected article directories (those that have good authority) such as Ezine Articles. Now with technorati entering this playing field, you have potentially one more source of authority links that you can get by submitting articles. As long as they do it right and don’t screw up like most article directories have done by allowing crap articles, or duplicate articles to be published on their site.

Are there lots of article directories that will provide good authority links? No there are not, as most of them accept duplicate content and badly written or spun articles. In fact there are probably only a handful of article directories that will do you any good with strong links, which is why any newcomer with a strong domain authority such as technorati is a very welcome addition to this sector of the Internet.

Doesn’t this mean more work for me?

Yes it does. It means you will have to write more original articles and submit them,each with a keyword anchored backlink to your site for maximum link strength. The more links you can put in an article, the weaker the link strength get, by the way. If you want the full juice from an article, you really should only put in one or two links max. One is obviously best. It means more work because you’ll have to submit more articles, but that’s the best way to get links for yourself, apart from exchanging links with other bloggers and website owners, which as we all know is never an easy thing to do, nor are directly exchanged links as strong as one-way inbound links.

There is another option if you are already making money online and that is to outsource your article writing. You take a chance on quality but if you are prepared to pay a little more for each article, you can get pretty good quality that will be good enough to put on Hub Pages, or InfoBarrels (two excellent sources of links) and may be good enough for Ezine and now, technorati.

Outsourced articles that are of decent quality can be had for around $5 per 400 words these days, which is good if you are buying and terrible if you are writing them for sale! Ok, the quality may not always be up to the standard you could write yourself, but it will save you a lot of time and if you can make more money in the long term from a well placed link in an article that cost you $5, then its worth the outlay.

However you get your articles, you have to be aware that Google’s algorithm is constantly evolving and getting ever better at finding spun content or badly re-written or duplicate articles. There are already strong rumours circulating that Google is altering the ratio of the weight it gives to sites in its index and their placement towards good on-site SEO and away from external links. That’s because Google recognizes that too many site owners now know how to game its index by fabricating their own inbound links. So the emphasis, while still on backlinks, is shifting to more weight being given to authority sites that contain lots of original, relevant content and good on-site SEO in terms of keyword relevant titles and text.

That means those of us who have been quietly building our own authority sites over the years will begin to see a shift in their serps placement for the better over crappy, thin sites with little or no original content that are propped up purely by a ton of inbound links.

So bring on more human edited, authority article directories! The real winners will be authority, content rich sites that also have lots of strong, keyword anchored backlinks from lots of different, authority sources. You mark my words. But above all else…

Never give up!

Make Money The Honest Way Blog

How to Make Money Online With Action

A slight apology to everyone for leaving it so long since my last post How to Make Money with Keywords. I’ve been very busy putting together my little army of sites and blogs and it takes up all my time, which is ok as I’m building a small empire that will eventually make enough money to allow me to slow down a bit!

I’ve just been over at Griz’s blog, you know the one that tells you how to make money online, and read through another brace of comments (sometimes they’re almost as entertaining as the post itself – only kiddin’!) and right at the bottom, an anonymous reader posted the question “Do you have any books to recommend?”

Well here’s my own answer to that!

Anonymous, why do you want more to read? Everything you need to know about how to make money online is right there in that blog.

The rest you’ll get with experience – the experience of doing!

I, like just about everyone else, started out reading a load of stuff and most of it was bullshit. If I counted up all the hours wasted reading all that bullshit that could have been better spent in actually doing what they were telling me, I’d be far more advanced today than I am.

Getting past the hurdle of wanting to do it and actually doing it can be tough and most people simply don’t go past that point. They continue to read every post that every knowledgeable (and plenty of not so knowledgeable) people write and then wait patiently for the next post that is going to reveal “The Big Secret”.

But that post will never come.

That’s because it doesn’t exist. The big secret to making a success of this (and any other) business lies within each and every person. They have to make the breakthrough themselves, because no one else can do it for them.

I’ll be blunt and say most of the commenters in Griz’s blog are readers, not doers.

Why do I say that? Because they’re still there, asking the same old questions just re-phrased a bit.

Then you’ll see them over at Vic’s blog asking the same rephrased questions. Then they’ll turn up someplace else. They’ll never do anything with the information, but they’ll keep on believing that if they ask enough questions, they’ll eventually find their holy grail and then figure out how to make money online.

They’ll also be the first ones to get upset by reading this apparent tirade, because they won’t believe the truth about themselves. Nobody like the truth when it hurts!

The truth is that 95% of everybody that sets out to make money online will fail. That’s a big number but also a truthful one. You got to ask yourself, do you want to keep reading and asking questions and join the 95%’ers? Or do you want to take a chance and join the 5%’ers who are the ones spending their time doing this stuff?

Ok, that’s pretty a pretty tough cookie to swallow, but its also a good wake up call to those people who really do want to make money blogging online. It’s in the doing stage that results start to show up. Believe me, they take a while to show up when you do things as legitimately as possible, maybe with a few shortcuts and underhand tricks, but Internet Marketing is a hare and tortoise race. The hares go for it with all guns blazing and in some cases will make some good money before being shot down by the search engines that soon see through their shenanigans.

The tortoises are the ones who take it slow and steady, building up their sites naturally and gathering links over time. Sure, it takes a lot of time and you need a lot of patience because when you’re learning how to make money online, results are a long time coming, but they will come and when they do they’ll keep on coming because you won’t have burned out too fast, like the hares in the race.

You see the secret to making money online is no big secret!

Its all about getting people to see what you’re offering. Get enough people to window shop at your store and some of them will come in and buy from you. Selling stuff is a numbers game. It always was and it always will be. Doesn’t matter what you’re selling, be it affiliate products, your own ebooks or software packages, advertising space, or PPC. You absolutely positively must get people to see your goods. And to do that you need traffic. Not any old traffic, but organic search traffic – people who will find your website or blog by typing in a phrase at Google and your site coming up on the front page of the search results.

Enough has been said about why attracting organic search traffic is essential to the success of your business. Go re-read Griz’s blog in the link I gave you at the start of this post. He explains it much better than anyone else I know.

What I will tell you is that to attract that search traffic you need to do plenty of work and have lots of patience to get your site up there onto the front page of the keywords you’re working. You need to not only optimize your site, but you need lots of strong anchored links to give your site the authority to deserve its place on page one. That’s because all the other sites that are on page one have that authority and you’re going to have to come along and get more authority than at least one of them in order to displace them. You might have a fight on your hands, because no one is going to like a young upstart coming along and nosing their site out of its cosy place. They’ll likely respond by getting more links for themself.

Well, you’re going to have to keep going, getting more and more of the authority that you’ll need to out-rank all of those sites to get to the top of the front page, because that’s where you’re going to get most of the traffic. Depending upon the competitiveness of the niche you’re working, it will either be fairly simple, or damn difficult! It could even turn out to be an all-out war, but its one you’re going to have to win of you want a slice of a very big pie.

This is all about doing, by the way.

Reading about how to do it is not going to get your site up there. Doesn’t matter if you know everything there is to know and some, you still won’t get up there unless you start rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty.

You’re going to have to find places to get those links from and if you can’t find them, then you’re going to have to make some yourself. The more you make, the more links you’ll be able to send to your main site. I’ve talked about this strategy plenty of times in here not to have to repeat it again.

But, I will repeat this one more time for good measure: Nothing will happen until you start doing it for yourself!

If this post raises a few hackles, then so be it. That’s what a good pep talk is designed to do because it’ll make some people more determined to get out there and do something. The rest will go bury their heads back in the sand and wait for that next post…

Terry Didcott
The Honest Way

How to Make Money with Keywords

How to make money with keywords is a question that a lot of people don’t even ask, because they don’t know what significance keywords have with the idea of making money. So after the mammoth review of Frank’s software in my last post Blog Content Wizard Review, its time to talk about putting it to use.

First of all, for those that don’t know, keywords are single words or short phrases that surfers type into search engine search boxes when they’re looking for something online. Here’s an example.

How to Make Money Online With Adsense

Say you’re a student writing an essay on how to make money online with adsense. Ok, cliched to death, but a relevant example all the same! You’re highly likely to go to Google and type in a relevant keyword to get some information on what you’re looking for. Say you type in “make money online” for example. You’re likely to get a few hundred million pages come up in the results that you’re going to have to plough through to find what you want. The keyword you used, “make money online” was too broad and you got too many resulting pages. Not only that, a lot of those pages will not be relevant to what you really need to know, which is how to make money online with Adsense. So you try again, only this time narrowing it down to “make money online with adsense” and get a couple of million pages.

Well, its a lot better than the last search, but its still fairly difficult to get exactly what you want. So you then type in “how to make money online with adsense” and that gets it down to just over half a million pages. Better. At least the results are showing website that at least seem to want to tell you how to make money with adsense, although in reality the vast majority want to sell you an eBook for a small fortune that will maybe or maybe not tell you what you want to know.

But that’s not the reason for this post, this is.

What you have done is used keywords to find certain websites in the search engine Google. Which is what millions of people worldwide do every day,although they’re all looking for something different. Well, not necessarily.

Many thousands of people make the same search for various items every day. These are the terms that Internet Marketers latch onto as a way to make money with keywords.

Now obviously, many thousands of people will be looking to find out how to make money online and start their own home business and that is why any keywords associated with that phrase will bring up many hundreds of thousands, if not millions of competing websites all vying for the attention of the surfer. Of those, only a handful will actually be found. They are the ones of page one of the search results and maybe a few on page two will mop up the dregs. That’s because most surfers see what they want on page one of Google’s results and simply click the first site they see, which 9 times out of 10 is the top site in the list.

So it stands to reason that if you want to make money with keywords, you had better make sure your site sits at (or very near) the top of the search results for the keywords you’re targeting.

Why?

Because when you sit up there on top and there are thousands of people typing in your keywords every day, the vast majority of them will land on your homepage, where you can either try to sell them something like a product of your own, or an affiliate product. Or you can present them with some ads like adsense or lead generation banners that they’ll click and make you some money each time. With conversion rates anywhere between 1% and maybe 7% for adsense type ads or lower for affiliate this will convert to a veritable sackful of money coming your way every day if you choose the right keywords and are sitting pretty right at the top of the tree.

I just described the holy grail of Internet Marketing. That to which 95% of marketers aspire but never attain. Of the remaining 5%, only a tint percentage of them are at the top and raking in the money hand over fist while the rest are fed the scraps.

So what do you need to do to get your site to the top of Google for a particular keyword?

First you have to research your keyword and make sure there is not too much competition sitting up there, or its likely you’ll never displace them. If you try to target a fiercely competitive keyword, such as Credit Cards, or Car Insurance, where huge sums of money are made each day, you don’t really stand a snowball’s chance in hell of making a dent on page one. And if you did, its likely that the owners of the sites that are up there will not take too kindly to a young upstart trying to muscle in on their piece of real estate and will either take steps to leapfrog back over your site, or resort to less than honest measures to have your site removed.

Yes, it does happen!

So you want to make sure you are taking on a much less competitive keyword. Ok, you’re earning capacity is much less, but of you could make a few hundred dollars a day in an easy niche, isn’t that better than going for the thousand dollars a day but never seeing it?

So we’ll assume you’re now looking at a keyword that still performs ok, with maybe a thousand or so searches on average per day but the cybermafia are not controlling it! You’ll need to find out what the top three sites for that keyword are doing to be where they are. I find a tool like SEO Elite is invaluable for this as it will tell you what in-links a site has and their quality. Why do you need to know that information?

Because you’ll need to know that so you can get more in-links than the top three sites.

How do you do that?

Well, there are several methods. You could buy the links. Don’t cringe, most of those top sites got where they are because they bought their way there. If that seems like a tough call, you could ask for link exchanges with other site owners. Of course, for maximum relevance and link juice, you’ll need to contact owners of sites that are also targeting the same keywords as you. Well, ask yourself this: “Would you give out links to a potential competitor who could, by doing so take your number one spot in Google and take a big slice of your income?” Um, there is only one possible answer to that.

The other way is to generate your own links and stick your finger up at the competition.

How do you do that? Well, you could do something that is quite underhand and will, if you get caught, cause you all kinds of problems and maybe even get your site de-indexed. That is to join a paid link farm system where you pay a monthly fee and acquire high quality in-links to your site. Before you ask.. No, I don’t do that, which is why I don’t make a huge amount of money with this or any of my other “make money” sites.

There is another option open to you but it is long, hard work and will only push your site up the search engine ladder slowly and that’s to do it yourself. I mean create your own supporting sites that can provide links to your main keyword targeting site. Which, in essence is a small link farm, which search engines like Google frown upon big time. So I don’t condone that you do that, but as I believe that information should be kept free and in the public domain… well its possible to do that.

But to do it takes a lot of work, as I said and there will be some trial and error involved. But you can do it free by using the many free blogging platforms that are available, such as blogger (owned by Google, funnily enough), blinkweb, wordpress etc and create your own system of blogs that can send the odd link here and there to your money making site. Of course you need to populate those blogs with plenty of keyword relevant content that is not duplicated anywhere else. So using PLR is out as is plagiarising other people’s articles and placing them on your blogs. Google will simply discount any links coming from them. If you’re really stuck, you could check out Court’s Keyword Academy which will also help you to learn how to make money from keywords. But there’s no getting away from the fact that you do need original content. But here’s the rub.

That content does have to be original, keyword rich and relevant. It does not have to be particularly grammatically perfect. Just readable and relevant. Which brings me nicely back to my opening paragraph all that time ago when I mentioned Frank’s Blog Content Wizard software package. You see that little gem autogenerates keyword relevant content that is readable (ok, better understood by a 6 year old and a dumb one at that!) which saves you having to write it yourself, which ultimately saves you time. Time that could be better spent getting links from other sources such as forums, article marketing begging etc!

Which, ultimately is how to make money with keywords!

Terry Didcott
The Honest Way