There is often a great deal of disagreement about what equates to a “quality” backlink in the world of making money online. In general, most SEO moguls can agree that we can’t always completely believe or take literally what Google tells us is good or bad in terms of ranking. We know they don’t expose the whole truth about their “top secret” algorithm and perhaps they shouldn’t because then we wouldn’t be forced to “figure things out” on our own. Figuring things out, trial and error, and extracting uncommon knowledge about the Google algorithm can work out favorable for those of us trying to dominate the SERPs for our keywords such as make money at home. Thus, if we hit upon something that gives us an advantage, it’s possible that few other people know about it (maybe none in our particular niche).
What Doesn’t Work Anymore….
It is well known that direct link exchanges do not help now (site A links to site B; site B links to site A). There is also some speculation that 3-way links (site A links to site B; site B links to site C; site C links to site A) are losing power as well although there hasn’t been solid proof of this as of yet. Also, blogroll, sidebar, and site-wide links are losing their luster (these are still ok, but they aren’t as great as they used to be). Social media links, blog comments with do-follow, website directory, and any other links that the average Joe can easily get are losing their backlink juice as well. Don’t even think about copying and pasting some Blog Content Wizard posts into your blog to create your own farm network. Nope. None of this works anymore.
Well Sh^&… What DOES work then???
In-text keyword-anchored backlinks. As always, it’s best if they are on a niche-related site or blog. Guest posts work great for this. Or- write a really really good article about your niche (solve a problem, provide a new perspective, offer a free tool or resource, etc) and create social network or comment funnels that might attract visitors to your blog who might link to you. I can’t believe I just suggested using a social network, but it’s true: they work for funneling people to your link bait. I recently discussed the concept of natural backlinks in a recent post here at my make money at home blog.
Write lots of articles about your niche. 10-20 a day is a good number to shoot for. How on earth could somebody write 10-20 articles everyday? Read one of my recent blog posts about just that topic.
Do “.edu” Backlinks Work?
Matt Cutts recently tried to shoot down the idea that .edu backlinks are weighted heavier than any other links. Should we believe him? Maybe he just wants people to stop spamming the university library blogs and students’ travel abroad diaries, who knows? Most of those blog comments are “no follow” anyway, so please, just stop with them. Viagra spammers are evil! lol
And anyway, I truly believe that we shouldn’t have to spam to top the SERPs. The thought of that makes me feel a bit embarrassed about backlinking tactics I’ve used in the past.
I’m not sure how powerful good .edu links are anymore (I’m not talking about comments on a student’s .edu blog or a class wiki btw) – I’m referring to an in-text blog post keyword-anchored link on a niche-related blog that happens to be on a .edu domain. Not everyone can get that type of link (can you?), and something tells me it still packs a huge punch.
Spammers, Be Gone!
My speculation is that Google is trying everything they can to clamp down on spammers and blatant backlink cheaters. ***Hey, stop looking at me like that… I haven’t cheated on links – for this blog! :D :D :D I rather like the look of a white hat on my head these days, what do you think? To be legit, I’d appreciate a backlink from YOU, if you don’t mind.
Even professional backlink manipulators like me are going to have to turn over a new leaf for the long-term benefit. Eventually, all of those sites/blogs that spammed 20,000 .edu blogs and created strategic link farms en masse are going to get slapped harder and farther than they ever have before. I prefer not to be a part of it as I can see it coming…
I used to create lots and lots of crap content. Sometimes it was fun because I could say anything that popped into my head; no one was going to read it anyway because it was for my farms. Sometimes I’d use stuff my 6 year old said - that would make for some funny or often, surprisingly enlightening content! Actually, he could offer up some awesome content or topic ideas that could probably make an article go viral. Children are geniuses!
Anyway, then I’d go and create content for my money sites that was intentionally looped in structure to encourage clicks on the Adsense ads. To an extent, this still works if it’s not too obvious and if the niche is small enough. For niches like “make money at home” this isn’t going to suffice. If the niche has little or no competition, I’d say loop away and hopefully you will get away with it. My ebook Nomad’s Guide to Make Money Online focuses on tracking down these small niches (which is what beginners should focus on). The 2nd tier/3rd tier strategy still works as long as you are not trying to tackle the first page for Forex investing, make money at home, weight loss, and other such niches. Something tells me that those types of niches are under the Google microscope more than most other niches.
Are those farms still helping me now? Yeah, some of them. Most of them are still indexed, but I have no idea for how long. There was a period where they were really helping me and I was making gobs of money with Adsense. I’m still making a lot of money from Adsense in other niches, so don’t think that my income stopped. Google hasn’t banned my account, so apparently I’m not too incredibly obvious about what I do. To supplement, I’ve been creating a bunch of mediocre content blogs to replace the automated content farms and I have improved the content on some of my better performing Adsense sites.
However, I don’t put Adsense on blogs like this one for a reason. My strategy here is completely separate and I need to keep it that way. I’m trying to see how truly white hat I can get with this blog and I’m counting on my article marketing and natural backlinking skills to get me by. Only time will tell how this experiment goes. Will I rank for make money at home? Maybe with your help (you know – a backlink with make money at home as the anchor text).
I will be continuously editing the content of my ebook to reflect the changes to the rules. Anyone who has bought it will be able to receive a free copy of the updated version by contacting me on the make money online ebook’s main website. There is a link in the right sidebar.
Internet Marketer Syndrome
That’s the thing with being an internet marketer. Things are always changing and something that may be true one month, may not be true the next. It’s not that what I said before wasn’t true; it was true. It just may not be true NOW. We have to go with the flow and not resist these changes. What you resist persists, remember?
Don’t use this as an excuse to throw in the towel and harshly proclaim that making money online doesn’t work. It does work, but only if you work with its will and not against it. If you give up now, you will be going down with the blatant spammers. I know some of you who purchased my ebook are very talented at this and are already seeing success with the small niche method (which, as I already mentioned, still works!!!) Keep going and have some patience!
Who? Me? Paranoid? Well…
I’m officially paranoid and I’m more than willing to alter my ways if it means I will continue to keep my head above water. I think I’ll always be able to make a living with Adsense, but just in case, I’m creating a back-up plan that builds authority sites, link bait, and lots of creative measures. I suggest you do the same. I can’t completely guide you as this is another one of those “figure it out” situations, but I believe I have given you enough information to go on… Sometimes the “back to basics” strategy is the best long-term solution.
That’s all I’ve got for today. Did I ramble on enough to suit you? :)
Writing from Boulder, Colorado (Visit the Taj Indian Restaurant if you’re in this area – delicious food!!!! It’s near Broadway and Baseline Rd),