In this lesson, we are going to cover a 4-step process that is going to give you a head start when building your own powerful back-link empire.
Link building is like working out for physical fitness. It doesn’t excite everyone, but it’s important for the health of your website, and the only way to succeed is to put in regular, manageable amounts of effort.
That way, you will build your healthy rankings and page authority over time.
There’s no way around it any more. With each Google algorithm change, another “cheat” link-building method dies a painful death. You can’t afford to ignore it, as buying links, spamming links, or any form of artificial link building is punishable by loss of rank.
Step 1: Create Quality Content
In a Google-ideal world all links are organic. We cover how to obtain these via a base of quality content.
If you struggle to create content that dominates the competition in a manageable time frame, pay attention, because this lesson covers valuable tools and tricks to make quality content building easy for any affiliate.
Step 2: Launch the Content
You can’t just create this quality content exclusively for your website. You have to leave your affiliate cave and venture into the vast possibilities of the online world. We’ve made step two of this lesson your map of where to post for any content type, so you wont get lost.
Step 3: Amplify Your Audience
Social media naturally multiplies the reach of content to other interested parties via the sharing phenomenon. That is why in this lesson, we cover how to harness the power of each of these social platforms for this link-building process with some insightful pros and cons.
Step 4: Supplement with Smart Traditional Methods
It doesn’t hurt to supplement this content-based link-building process with the best of the traditional methods, but you have to be careful!
Some may still be useful for the time being, but some have slipped so far that using them now will actually hurt your website’s chances in search engines.
We’ll navigate this minefield together, so you can make smart choices to improve, not impair, your rankings and page authority.
And so it begins! To make this whale of a topic more easily digestible, I’ve broken it down into content media options for the two main audience types. After all, their attention (and links) are what all of this is for!
Think as we go through what will suit your strengths, as well as the interests of your niche’s target audience.
Let’s start with the information junkies of the Internet. They are looking for interesting, informative, and easy-to-digest fast-food information. They will tire quickly of long-winded paragraphs of poorly-structured meatless waffle. So what do you give them? You have options:
They’re fantastic. They’re visual. They’re conceptual. You can pump them full of facts, without having to write a single screed of filler. If you can find or create interesting facts or statistics for your niche audience via simple online searches, but you absolutely hate writing, this option is definitely for you.
It doesn't even matter if you have no design skills whatsoever, because there are tools to make this easy as pie.
Easel.ly is an incredibly useful infographic creation tool. Simply click on “start fresh” to begin your own project.
You can select visual themes or “Vhemes,” which are already designed for you, as well as objects, backgrounds, shapes, and text. Just select or drag them onto the canvas to begin moving them around, and pump in the most relevant information and stats from your internet searches to create your own professional looking infographics that will impress audiences.
For extra information on making infographics, try the article “The Do’s And Don’ts of Infographic Design: Revisited” at Smashing Magazine.
The next type of media suited to information junkies is articles and informative blogs. These have been around for a long time as the staple source of information on the Internet, which means the standard is set high.
So how can you compete without spending hours feeling frustrated and getting nowhere? You can either learn to efficiently write your own, or pay someone with the creative goods to cook something up for you.
To write your own, do a little research on the best methods. It may seem like more work than just launching straight into it, but a little research does save time in the long run. Start with CopyBlogger’s useful guide for writing an article in 20 minutes.
For a full comprehensive guide, either for how to write articles, or how to choose and use writers online at sites like iWriter, try AffiloBlueprint. If you really just want quality done-for-you content for profitable niches, consider AffiloJetpack.
These content types are the major ports of call for information junkies, but you might also want to look into Webinars and eBooks if they catch your attention.
Webinars are a dynamic video medium that provides a personal element to conveying information via a presenter.
eBooks are longer than articles, but for someone looking for in-depth knowledge on a topic, they’re a real go-to.
If either of those interest you, there are a variety of helpful guides on the Internet about each. I would suggest starting with the “10 Steps for Planning a Successful Webinar” article on TechSoup, or the CopyBlogger article called “How to Write a High-Quality eBook in 30 days.”
The other major audience type is entertainment enthusiasts, so the next few media styles are based around them.
Visuals are an easy way to absorb a concept at a glance, so it’s no wonder that images are a massively popular medium on the internet. And speaking of the internet: mass image sharing has led to a media trend called “memes.”
Memes are viral images and short GIF videos of trending catch-phrases and concepts that are used across the internet, particularly for comedic value. An example of one of the most famous memes is the “LOLcat”. A simple Google image search for “LOLcats” shows me millions of results where people have put captions over funny pictures of cats.
Memes and images that invoke these emotional responses, like humour, thoughtfulness, or sympathy, are a powerful method of growing an audience. In that audience you'll find people who have valuable backlinks to offer. So let’s impress them.
Adobe Photoshop Elements contains all the basics of regular Photoshop, without the extra cost and advanced features, so it’s worth getting for image-based media creation.
You can buy it on eBay for an affordable price, and learning how to use it is easy as pie with all of the video tutorials on YouTube.
One thing to be careful with when using this form of media, is that you aren’t using copyrighted images as your base. That’s why you need to use a quality, free stock image website like freeimages.
Sometimes you will have to take your own pictures to work with, or pay for them in a pinch, but there are plenty of great free stock images to be found.
Simply search for whatever it is you think would make a good visual addition to your content and haul it into Photoshop to adjust as needed.
If you are looking for topic inspiration, try doing a Google image search for your niche name or keyword, plus an emotive/descriptive word appropriate to your niche, such as “funny” or “cute” or “thought provoking,” to see what others have come up with.
As for memes, you can keep up with the trends at the Know Your Meme website. Browse this website to see what memes others are using, and decide whether you could apply any of them as a comment on a current topic for your niche.
A specific “LOLcat” example is “Action Cat”, and here’s how it’s been used on Funny Or Die:
The original is in the top left corner, but the cat has been put into other famous images to create the “Hugh Catman” Wolverine, “Despurrrado”, and “2 Kong 2 Kurious”.
This Action Cat meme is a perfect concept for the muscle building niche:
Memes aren’t meant to be quality pictures. It’s all about the concept, so basic Photoshop skills can get you in on the action. If you can apply meme’s to relevant concepts like this one, you can attract the attention of frequent internet goers.
The other main entertainment media type for entertainment enthusiasts is video. Short concept narratives and video blogs, or “vlogs”, are a daily source of entertainment for millions.
You don’t need a Hollywood budget and film crew to create this media, either. You can easily make videos with a simple webcam. In a pinch, you can even record videos with a phone, as the quality required for basic entertainment videos these days is met by the quality of most phone cameras.
To show you just how important vlogging can be, let’s take a look at one of the most popular vloggers on the internet.
Jenna Marbles started out video blogging about topics like make-up tutorials. Her 2011 video “How to Trick People Into Thinking You’re Good Looking” had over 5.3 million views in its first week.
She now has more than 13 million subscribers to her channel, and every post she does gets millions of views within a few days.
Just imagine how many people link to her videos, and how much traffic gets through to her blog website.
Obviously we can’t all be Jenna Marbles straight away — if we could, we wouldn’t need to do affiliate marketing — but this does show that there is a definite audience for vlogs.
As for getting you started, I’d suggest watching “How to Vlog: From the Vlogbrothers”. He may speak incredibly fast, but he does make a lot of great points about video blogging.
My favorite quote is, “Do not be afraid to try! I know that failing at something stings a lot less if you didn’t really try hard, but it’s also a lot more likely.”
If his gift of the 100-miles-per-hour gab is a little too much for you, try “How to Get Started With Your First Vlog” at Jacksgap. There are plenty of helpful tips there.
As for recording with your phone camera, the article “Making the Best Video Possible From a Cell Phone Video Recorder” at Videomaker should be very helpful as a starting point.
Other types you could explore include comic strips, and written blogs that are created solely to entertain.
To play around with comic strip creation, try the Bitstrips tool. It has a lot of elements you can add to make simple narratives to express an interesting point about your niche.
For entertainment blog writing, the CopyBlogger article, “Three Ways to Spice Up Any Blog Post” is a great guide for you.
The ultimate content strategy for those who are confident in their abilities, is to combine the two main arenas we have gone over.
Research or develop the most informative content, and then find the most creative and entertaining media to get your point across to your audience.
If you can master this, you will become a traffic power-house.
Having great content is the base to this strategy, but it won’t mean anything until you get your content out there, so you need to know where to go and what to do.
These suggestions are high quality sites, but there will always be more out there for you to find. Don’t feel like you can only use these suggestions.
I’m going to start with videos. We’ve covered video creation from webinars to short narratives and vlogs. The main platforms for posting videos are:
Simply create an account on either of these sites, and upload your videos as you create them. In the description, place a friendly message detailing what your video is about, and then a link back to your website.
Make sure to also have valuable content in the descriptions in order to attract attention, and hopefully organic links, from anyone browsing these sites.
Let’s take a look at some media platforms for posting infographics, memes, comic strips, and conceptual images.
For infographics, try posting your creations on:
Remember to include a link wherever you can in descriptions or profiles, but make sure to include other information as well. You want to come across as a provider of useful information, rather than just appearing spammy.
There are so many image sharing websites on the internet that you really have to find the best one to visually promote your brand to get back-links.
Imgur for example, is ideal for conceptual images, memes, and comic strips — anything that will entertain its vast audience. The front page always has the most viral images of the day, which attract a variety of visitors, but the general audience is internet-savvy youth.
Pinterest however, is more like virtual scrapbooking. Its audience is a lot more varied, and people commonly “pin” things they like to boards to keep and reference later.
This makes it a great media platform for posting images as well as articles, and linking back to your website.
So what about written media? Again, there are a multitude of fantastic media platforms for posting the likes of articles and blog posts. We’ll just look at a couple of top-notch options:
It’s the same process as sharing other media, too: Create a profile, and upload content with a link back to your website. If you can include a relevant link in the article or blog itself, feel free to do that also, but remember not to spam! Be natural about it.
For those who create eBooks, here are two popular websites for posting to:
When uploading eBooks for links, charge on the lower side of what you think your eBook is worth. Look at similar eBooks to get an idea of price.
You aren't trying to make money directly off the book sales, although there’s no harm in that! But the main incentive is to spread your links, so if you can provide quality at great value, you’ll succeed.
You can even put a few relevant links to your website if there is a natural placement for them in your content. Those reading on Kindles will only be able to view the links, but anyone reading on another electronic device, such as a tablet or phone, will be able to click through to your website from the book.
As a quick final note, if any of your content can be made into a PowerPoint presentation, particularly informative written content, then it’s a great idea to do so and upload to websites such as SlideShare or AuthorStream. Remember to include a link back to your website in those descriptions!
So you have quality content all in place, but how will people know that it’s there, or where to find it? You need to promote all the media you have uploaded to these websites by using social media, blogs, and forums as your megaphone.
This is a double whammy, as not only will you entertain or educate your current fans and followers—you will also be kickstarting your presence on these social networks.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of major social platforms, starting with the online network to rule them all:
Facebook has ridiculously large amounts of traffic circulating constantly. If you can direct even a tiny portion of that traffic to your site by snagging attention with your media, then you increase your chances of organic back-links.
Multimedia posts are commonly shared this way on Facebook, whether it be YouTube videos, or the funny picture of the day. When people “share” these posts on their own timeline, and then some of their friends do the same, it becomes an automatic link multiplier across Facebook itself.
Unfortunately, Facebook links are “No-follow”, which means they wont directly get picked up by Google for the purposes of ranking, but they are still valuable, more so even than “Do-follow” links from a website with a bad reputation.
These Facebook links identify your website as a real, contributing entity, while spreading your reach and potential for higher-quality organic links. The only difficulty is that popular places have high competition, which is why that quality content is so important for standing out in the crowd.
Next we will take a look at the home of bite-sized social interaction:
Twitter is right up there in the big leagues with Facebook, and it’s similar in that it has a big audience to tap into, but also a high level of competition. The links are No-follow, and there’s no room for longer content, but that doesn’t matter when you can link to your media on other sites.
Just make sure to have captivating headlines to convince them to go on through. Because the communication method of “tweets” is so light on words, you can create a lot of them without much effort.
Twitter also has a “hashtagging” system, which means that your links are distributed to the most relevant audience. If you wrote a tweet that said, “Check out my video of #funnyfaces” then anyone searching for funny faces would be able to see your tweet and the attached link, not to mention pass it on if they like what they see.
The third major social media website is Google+, and it’s a little different from Facebook and Twitter.
It may not be as user-popular as Facebook and Twitter, but links posted on Google+ are crawled by bots almost instantly.
If you can get people to click the “+1” on your posts (which they will if you've got quality content), then your rankings can really improve. You can also post longer content here than you can on the other social platforms, so you can even use Google+ to post full, high-quality articles with links incorporated.
I’m going to quickly go over blog and forum commenting as the final audience amplifier.
The audiences of blogs and forums in your niche are relevant to you, as they are already interested in your topic. Commenting on these platforms enables you to get in on the action.
On some websites, like Imgur, which we mentioned earlier, the comments are rated and sought after as much as the media they’re commenting on. The top comment on this post about brushing off the office flirt saying, “+1 For being faithful!” received 3,666 votes within the day it was posted:
You can use these systems of commenting to generate your own link juice, but you have to be smart about it or you could do more harm than good, so let’s cover how to succeed at this strategy.
Firstly, make sure all of your comments cater to the audience. On a site like Imgur, make sure your input is an entertaining comment about the media. On blogs and forums that people visit for information, contribute information or positive opinions that viewers would appreciate. Become an authority in your niche.
Wherever possible, make sure you have a signature link that attaches to the bottom of your posts. That way, when people like what you’ve contributed, they can click through to your website.
You can even send them to content that you have created and distributed by putting a specific link into the text body of your comment, but make sure to only do that when it’s the most relevant and useful option! It might seem like a lot of links to get in very little time, but if you do this when it isn’t helpful, or in every comment, you can lose authority. You will irritate people, and could even get banned from important blogs and forums, so comment wisely.
Now that we’ve gone over good content, where to post it, and how to share it, we’re going to cover what traditional link-building methods you should still give your time to, and which ones you can’t touch if you’re aiming to rank in search engines.
The first one to look into is relevant directory submissions. Website directories are like phone books for the Internet, but if you get your site listed in a low-quality directory that accepts any old submission from dodgy webpages, Google isn’t going to be impressed.
You want to find high-quality directories like Dmoz. If you’ve put the effort into building a quality website, then you increase your chances of getting accepted by these higher-quality sites, and the back-links are so much more worthwhile.
Another technique that can still be used for getting backlinks is reverse engineering. You’ll need a tool like the link-finder in AffiloTools. Click on “Links” under the “Research” section in the left-hand side-bar menu. Enter a keyword for your niche into the text box, and click “Find Links” to see what websites are ranking for it.
These could be viable quality backlinks for you to pursue. Select the most relevant sites, and message the website owners personally. Offer them links to any content you’ve created that their audience would find valuable, or create something new that could be of interest for one of their pages, such as a guest blog post, in exchange for a link back to your site.
Once upon a time, creating one link-ridden article of whatever quality and placing it all over the internet was a way of generating link juice. Google has gotten wise to this duplicate content strategy, and now dismisses it as a thing of inferior value. It is not worth your time to use this technique now.
Buying backlinks is also a thing of the past. In fact, it violates Google’s quality guidelines, and will negatively impact your rankings. Stay away from purchasing backlinks to give your website a shot at higher page authority.
That’s it for this 4-step process! Create that groundwork of quality content, launch it via media platforms, spread the love across social sites, and watch your organic links grow from there. Rinse and repeat to build another link with every new post, as well as increase your presence as an authority in your niche.
So now it’s up to you to select a type of media that calls to you the most, and create something to build links with. Use the suggested sites to post your media, and make sure you have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ so you can let people know what you’ve got. If you still feel overwhelmed by content creation, try AffiloJetpack, which comes with quality content already done for you.