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Niche Site Challenge #5: My Highly Effective Link Building Strategy

by Jon Cooper
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If there’s any problem an internet marketer comes across in the field of niche marketing, its creating the necessary backlinks to make their sites rank. Luckily for you, link building is my forte, and without much trouble I got my niche site, bpoindustry.net, to rank at the top of the SERPs with some of the simple yet actionable strategies I listed below. Because I pride myself on giving you the most actionable link building information on the Web, I decided to get as specific as I can by naming the exact websites I use.

Because I’m a white hat, I’m not going to show you any scummy link building strategies like programs & software that supposedly makes you rank in days. Instead I’m going to show you strategies that don’t cost you a dime, are proven to work, and are risk free. I’ve been thinking about testing some of the automated link building tools & software out there just to see the results, but I haven’t gotten around to them quite yet (maybe a future case study?). So, here’s my niche link building strategy.


Relevant Blog Commenting

By far one of the more proven tasks you can do when it comes to link building, relevant blog commenting not only gets you relevant links (although nofollow, yet very effective), but you also educate yourself about the niche you’re in. After I created my niche site and put up 5-10 pieces of content, I still didn’t know as much about the BPO Industry as I’d like, so by reading a variety of outsourcing blogs I got a better grasp on the subject.

Some of you might be wondering just how effective these types of links are. In my experience, they’re the difference between a lazy link builder & a successful one. Yeah, I said it – if you’re going to be lazy when it comes to link building, don’t expect to get repeatable, long-term success. Lazy link builders don’t get these types of links because they’re nofollow, which in their minds means “worthless”. They’d rather just use a $30/month service to build spammy backlinks that, according to the countless testimonials on the sales page, works like a charm. But I digress…

These links are very effective for two reasons. First, they’re relevant – if a post is about the BPO Industry, and I get a link from that page regardless if it’s nofollow, it passes some serious relevancy (almost to the point of anchor text). Second, it diversifies your link profile; if you have 100% dofollow links to your website, it looks unnatural and can get flagged by the search engines. Also, there’s an added bonus: blogs will take notice if you keep commenting on all of their posts. This means that if you’re looking to build relationships in your niche and become more authoritative than a 5-page niche site, this can help create that connection.

If you’re wondering how I do it, here’s my strategy (this is 100% original to the Web).  I go to Blekko, my new favorite search engine, and type this in: “BPO /date”. In this case, substitute “BPO” for your niche. What this does is list the most recent posts written on the web about BPO. This helps you find the most relevant posts across thousands of domains, and not just on a few blogs you managed to find on a top 10 list. Again, this results in a more diversified link profile. Another added bonus is that the results are fresh. I’ve seen posts written in the last 20 minutes showing up in Blekko’s SERPs, meaning I’m one of the first people to read it & comment, which can end up sending a bit of traffic. Depending on the niche & readership of the blog, this can get you a lot more traffic then you think.


Dofollow Blog Commenting

Although they’re some of the lower grade dofollow links on the web, blog comments without the nofollow attribute are still very effective. Because not many blogs offer dofollow links, it’s hard to get relevancy. Because I do this often enough, I’m going to share with you a few of the dofollow blogs I comment on for this strategy:

  1. Dumblittleman.com
  2. Grokdotcom.com
  3. Smuggecko.com
  4. Blog.articlesnatch.com
  5. Blog.mofuse.com
  6. Web.appstorm.net
  7. Kikolani.com

You can find more on my dofollow blogs list, but you don’t need more than the ones listed here. Getting 4 or 5 links per blog is all you need for this strategy. I don’t recommend abusing this strategy, because although these can be effective by themselves, they’re most effective when they’re just one part of your entire link profile.


Web 2.0

Although not a huge part of my link building strategy, I did end up using some of the Web 2.0 sites listed below. When getting links from these sites, make sure your number one priority is domain authority (an OSE metric). The main reasons I used these sites are for a higher number of linking root domains & because they’re good to use if I wanted to do any type of secondary linking. Here are the sites I used:

  • Squidoo – my example (if you have a Squidoo account, I’d appreciate it if you gave the lens a thumbs up J).
  • WordPress.com – my example
  • Blogger.com (or blogspot.com) – my example
  • Weebly.com – my example
  • Tumblr.com
  • Posterous.com
  • Gather.com
  • Livejournal.com (nofollow)

Once you create an account, you’ll be able to create content on these sites. Some of these are blog platforms, others are free subdomain websites, and Gather & Squidoo are like article directories but without the submission process. You’re best bet is to create a 300 – 400 word article on each (doesn’t have to be high quality), and then get these pages indexed. The only site listed above I recommend building links to for secondary linking is Squidoo. For the others, once they get indexed, you’re good to go. Squidoo requires you to create a lens, which takes a little more time than the others, but ends up as a better link than the others.

There are two more things you need to know about this. First, if you’re going to take your time and create a nice piece of content on any of these, it’s going to be on Squidoo. Spend an hour on creating a nice lens on your niche, then build links to it. When I went through this process, I found a couple nuggets of gold: Squidoo lens directories. Although they’re sparse and low quality, they’re free links for your Squidoo lens (I only found two that did the trick, but you might find a couple more out there):

  • Articletroll.com
  • Lensroll.com

Second, if you noticed on some of my examples of the sites I used, I stooped a little low with an experiment. I got access to an article spinning account (Gasp!), and I used it just to see what goes on in the life of a black hat. I ended up spinning the article and placing the spun versions on sites like WordPress.com & Blogger.com, but nothing more. I don’t suggest doing this because if you want long-term success, nothing is worth risking. Even though the highest risk of spinning articles to put on Web 2.0 sites is Google not marking it as original content, this practice might lead to another, and eventually you get sucked into the black hat world of complete automation. If Google’s increasing intelligence hasn’t cautioned you to stay away from any of that stuff, I’ll be the first to tell you don’t even bother risking any of your hard work.


Profile Links

Registering on websites that have a high domain authority & Page Rank can once again diversify your links & send a little authority your way. Although I didn’t create profiles on most of these sites, I highly recommend it. Once again, make sure the pages get indexed & then move on. Here’s a few of the sites you can get great high quality profile links form:

  • Youtube.com – 1 dofollow link on profile page (nofollow on individual videos)
  • Naymz.com – create profile about your site, add links
  • LookUpPage.com – create profile about your site, add links
  • Addthis.com – 1 Forum profile link
  • Drupal.org – 1 Forum profile link
  • Help.com – 1 Forum profile link
  • Last.fm – 1 Forum profile link
  • Aboutus.org – 1 Nofollow link OR many followed links. To get them, just go to the website’s search bar and type in your domain name. It pulls together information (which you can edit) and creates a nofollow link at the top. If you add a ton of awesome information about your site, you can email them & ask for them to make the links dofollow (thanks Kane for this bit!)
  • About.me – Create a page about you or your site & get a link


Article Submission

In my opinion you don’t have to submit a ton of articles to rank smaller niche sites. I only submitted a couple to the higher quality sites, but I recommend submitting more if you’re more of an authority site. On most of the sites you can either create original content (more effective, more time) or you can just syndicate your articles (less effective, less time). I know the lists of the best article directories change frequently, but I did my best to show you the best ones as of November 2011. In my opinion, if you’re creating original content for the sites, only use the most authoritative ones listed here:

  • EzineArticles.com – 2 in resource box
  • GoArticles.com – 4 nofollow links in article, 2 dofollow in resource box
  • ArticleSnatch.com – 3 in resource box
  • IdeaMarketers.com – as many as you want. I go for 2 in article, 2 in resource; I wouldn’t go for more than that.
  • ArticleBlast.com – 1 in article, 1 in resource (not positive though)
  • Amazines.com – as many as you want. I put 3 in in article, there’s no resource box.
  • SooperArticles.com – 2 in resource
  • SelfGrowth.com – 3 in article
  • TheFreeLibrary.com – 4 in resource
  • Articlesbase.com – 3 in article, 3 in resource (all nofollow)
  • ArticleTrader.com – 1 in article, 2 in resource

I’d like to point out that if you’re thinking about posting original content on these sites, think about submitting only 1 piece of original content per site at the very most. Instead, use that content to either put on your own site or submit as a guest post on a relevant blog. If the post is good enough, it could get posted on a medium to high visited blog, and could not only give you a few high quality links, but also some traffic.


RSS Submission

If you’re niche site has a blog, which I highly recommend (I talk about creating the blog in the third niche site challenge post), take the feed and submit it to RSS directories. Here are a few you can use:

  • Feedage.com
  • MillionRSS.com
  • FeedCat.net
  • URLfanx.com
  • Plazoo.com
  • Feeds4all.nl
  • Zimbio.com

To make sure you get links when you submit your feed, make sure you install the RSS Footer plugin so when your content is scraped you always get a link.


Social Bookmarking

Although used mainly to help get my links indexed, social bookmarking can also pass link juice to any page you want. It’s pretty straightforward; you submit a link as a bookmark, and because they’re very popular sites, Google usually finds the links pretty quickly & indexes the page. I personally only use 4 of them because they install into Google Chrome & make it very easy to bookmark, but I suggest using more if you want that extra oomph. Here they are:

These have chrome extensions that make bookmarking easy:

Other great ones:

  • Folkd.com
  • Mister-Wong.com
  • Slashdot.org
  • BlinkList.com
  • NewsVine.com
  • BibSonomy.org
  • Connotea.org
  • JumpTags.com
  • DropJack.com


Other Link Building Strategies I Could Have Used

Believe it or not, just using the above strategies made me rank in no time. Here are a few other effective strategies I didn’t use but should of (and need to):


Directory Submission

It’s pretty basic, but it still works when you’re ranking in non-competitive niches. If you take your time when submitting to each directory to see how much anchor text you can get from each, you’ll like the results you get. Justin Briggs in one of his webinars talked about a group of his SEOs taking their time to find & research relevant directories, the PR they will pass, their most recent cache dates, and how much anchor text they can get in each listing. Instead of outsourcing this, which ends up getting around a 50% approval rate with most links passing little value, they ended up getting around a 90% approval rate with links on PR4 and PR5 pages. Since there are too many lists of directories out there, I’ll spare you the time of making yet another one. What I can say is that you need to focus on looking for relevant directories & researching the pages you can get links on to make sure its worthwhile submitting.


Blog Directories

If you can manage to put up enough content on your blog to be accepted during the submission process, blog directories can do the trick. My blog gained a Page Rank of 3 after only submitting to blog directories, meaning there’s value to be had there. The only drawback that limited my niche site & possibly yours is that most of these directories require you to either have a certain number of posts or a certain number of months posting (most are around 3 months). There is one way to get around this; on WordPress you can set the date your blog posts go out, so if you started your blog in November of 2011, you can set a post to go out in September of 2011 & one to go out in October of 2011. When the reviewers go through your blog, they see the archives dating 3 different months, which is the requirement of most blog directories. It’s sneaky, but sometimes works.


.Gov blog commenting

I recently stumbled across an awesome list of government blogs but I’ve yet to go out and start commenting on them, but it’s a good sign that you might be able to find relevant .gov blogs to comment on & pass relevancy from. Because they’re on a .gov domain, they pass a little more authority than those of .com despite the nofollow attribute. Again, blog commenting is a type of link building that you’ll never run out of, so when in doubt comment it out.


Conclusion

Although you’ve heard of most of these strategies above, they actually do work. If there’s anything that seemed to work best for me, it was the blog commenting. Using Blekko to find the most relevant posts & leaving a comment on each and every one seemed to do the trick in Google; after spending only a little time link building each day for a month, I managed to rank #2 in Google for my targeted term. If you’re looking for higher quality link building strategies, this probably isn’t the strategy for you, but if you haven’t gotten the links I noted above, regardless of the size of your site, then you need to get them as soon as possible. The 3 essential things when building links to niche sites is link diversity, link relevancy, and the domain authority of the links. Although Page Rank is powerful, you need to focus on those 3 before you go for the high PR links.

Thanks SO much for reading! Leave any questions or comments you have below, I’m dying to hear what you have to say!

What you need to do now is tweet about this post – that’s all I ask for spending the hours of putting together this evergreen resource. Please subscribe by RSS to this blog to get even more free link building & SEO content.

Niche Site Challenge #1 – The Saga Begins

Niche Site Challenge #2 – Creating Your Niche Site

Niche Site Challenge #3 – Content Creation & Organization

Niche Site Challenge #4 – Rankings Update

Niche Site Challenge #5 – My Highly Effective Link Building Strategy

This post was written by...

Jon Cooper – who has written 119 posts on Point Blank SEO.

Jon Cooper+ is an SEO consultant based out of Gainesville, FL who specializes in link building. For more information on him and Point Blank SEO, visit the about page. Follow him on Twitter.

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74 Comments
  1. Jenn says:

    Jon,

    Thank you for posting such valuable info about link building. I was hit pretty hard after the Panda update and have been trying to get my numbers back up since. Good news is that I had used some of the suggestions previously. Bad news is I also used a few black hat methods and now I’m paying for it. I’m going through all the backlinks that were created through Backlink Philippines and deleting as many of them as I can. And it’s going to take a little while. I have a little over 300 :-/
    Can I start using some of your link building methods before deleting most of my black hat links, will it have a negative or positive effect on my web site?

    Thank you!

  2. JIm Carry says:

    It is a great post and thanks for explaining all the things clear and specifically, thanks for the list of the sites. REally from here i would just start working and gain ranking for my site..

  3. Awesome blog! Do you have any helpful hints for aspiring writers?

    I’m hoping to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you suggest starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m completely overwhelmed .. Any ideas? Thanks a lot!

  4. deyim says:

    Do these methods work in a post Penguin world?

    • Jon Cooper says:

      Yep! My example site is still ranking fine. Nothing real black hatish going on here. Just some basic link building that, if you do a little bit of each and don’t push it, you’ll be fine.

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  7. Hi Jon,

    Thanks for sharing these information. Been doing a lot of article and directory submission thing in the past. But the results aren’t that good. Your suggestions seem effective and easy. I’m actually starting to look for blogs that are open for guest posting. I’m just thinking of keywords to use when searching for a relevant niche.

    Another thing that interests me is the profile linking. Will try to do that.

    Am not that familiar with the web 2.0 so I’d better read more about that too… Thank you so much.

    I’m looking forward to read more of your posts…

    Regards,

    Kate

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