It should be evident by now that I have been trying to demonstrate the power of backlinks when it comes to making money online. It doesn't matter what niche you are in or what form of monetization you are after - without traffic you will starve. You can waste your time courting social traffic only to find out that other bloggers will not spend money on your site, use your affiliate links or click your ads. (or even give you useful links when they do link to you). Or, you can target search engine traffic right from the get go and find out how well targeted traffic converts compared to bloggers. Ranking on top of the search engines will send you a continuous flow of people who are actually looking for what you have.
Most of my readers know this by now. The problem is that most of you are unable to get the kind of backlinks needed to rank well in the serp's.
In most cases you are targeting niches that are too competitive for your resources. I have tip toed around this issue on several occasions, most recently with my credit card post. Many of you are targeting keywords that are dominated by professional marketers and this means that while you are busy getting links from articles and do-follow blogs etc, the big guns are busy buying the types of links that do the most good. This doesn't mean you are doomed but it does mean that at some point you will all have to decide just how far you want to go with your online business. I am not trying to dissuade anyone - just trying to keep things real.
I set up a little contest back in February on a blog called Asia'h Epperson and challenged my readers to outrank my site for the term "Asia'h Epperson". I offered $500 to anyone who could outrank me for the term.
As of this date no one has been able to accomplish the feat.
I will bring the contest to a close at the end of this month - October 2008. I hate leaving things open ended and have decided to split the money between the top three sites as of the end of the month. The highest ranked site will get $350, second will get $100 and the third place position will get $50. I hope this will be amenable to all involved. I had promised not to do anything with the site until a winner came forward but I would like to put the blog to use and can't until this issue is resolved. Should anyone overtake me before the end of the month they will of course get the $500. If this doesn't occur please email me at month's end with your blog and ranking and add a name to your blog so that I can verify who is who in relation to the top finishers. Should you be a winner please acknowledge the receipt in a blog post of your own just so people know I have sent out the cash as promised.
I also thought this would be a good time to explain why you have all had such a hard time overtaking the site. It all comes down to links folks. And speed. And a little luck as well.
First off. The blog was created to take advantage of short term niches. To this end you have to be fast when a popular topic suddenly appears in the news. I was quick and got the best keyword url when I started the blog. In fact the only terms in my URL are the keywords "Asia'h" and "Epperson" - nothing else. http://asiahepperson.blogspot.com/
Always use your keywords in the URL when you can. You can still rank well without them but having the right URL is a big advantage and almost impossible to overcome if the site has the right backlinks.
Btw, did any of you happen to snap up sarahpalin.blogspot.com just asking...
Because I had the right URL, Blog Title and was fast with getting properly anchored links I jumped to the second spot in the serp's instantly. This is where luck came into play. Because I ranked so high the blog was noticed by others - notably the LA Times and AOL.com Television. As a result both these sites linked to my blog and the contest was effectively over before it began.
Click to enlarge all images.
The LA Times Link.
The AOL.com Link.
Both of these links are worth a ton of juice as both websites have a great deal of trust with Google - regardless of the PR of the page the links are on. Both used the right anchor text in the links.
I got to the top quickly by simply linking to the Asia'h blog from this site. This site also has trust in G's eyes and the link was followed instantly and the Asia'h blog was indexed and ranked within hours. That is the power of having a healthy flagship blog like this one.
The screenshot below shows a partial list of the links the Asia'h blog has. You will noticed that the anchored text used is almost exclusively "Asia'h Epperson". You will also notice that most of the linking pages have no PR at all. I have mentioned this before - the right anchor text is the important part in getting links - not the PR of the page sending the link. PR is great if you get it but isn't necessary to ranking well.
Now some of you may wonder about Google Bombing - ie. too many links, too fast all using the same anchor text. In the case of this blog I was not Google bombed because it is natural to predominantly get links using the right anchor. The keyword is a person's name, the site uses that name in the title and the URL. It would have seemed strange NOT to have got so many perfectly optimized links - what other links could it have got?
In any event the cards were stacked against anyone trying to outrank the blog right from the start.
I realize that most of you don't have the resources to get the links I get but that isn't the point of this. The real point is to concentrate on niches that you can compete in until you build up a healthy stable of sites to draw upon in future. Further more, concentrate on getting what works and don't waste time with other endevours. Like my new WP make money online blog the Asia'h blog didn't require a lot of content to rank well. Both only have 5 posts. Neither have a huge amount of sites linking to them. Asia'h has about 35 links and the Griz blog has about 100. Both are only PR3 sites. The Griz site isn't at the top yet but is well on it's way and now outranks millions of older sites with thousands of links and higher PR.
So what is the common equation - the quality of the backlinks. Specifically I build sites with optimized anchor links. I concentrate on getting backlinks that use my keyword and don't waste time with anything else. This accomplishes a number of things. I get ranked fast and high up in the serp's. It sends me traffic fairly quickly. The traffic is targeted to my keyword. I know what the traffic is looking for and can monetize the sites accordingly.
The Asia'h blog was a dud for making money but so what. I still have a nicely juiced PR3 site that I can use for other things such as sending links or targeting other celeb stories. The point is that if you do things right you never waste your time and continuously build up your network.
Folks - stick with keywords and niches that you can dominate with your current resources. Build your network one site at a time if you have to but make sure you spend time doing the right things. Many of you have more posts than backlinks. What is wrong with that?
I know getting backlinks is tough. I have been trying to build up our little community over the past few months in order to help you achieve better links. If you haven't joined in on our Niche Support program I urge you to. (Note: You can use a different name and email if you wish to keep your identity quiet.) You can read more about it here. Finding Links for Niche Blogs. Also I have provided a page full of bloggers who have quality flagship sites who understand the value of helping each other out. You can visit that page here. Friendz of Griz. If you are new here then spend some time getting to know the blogs I have highlighted and get to know each other as well. Help each other.
On a related note...
Indexing Blogspot blogs.
Denise mentioned that she is having a hard time getting Blogger blogs indexed. Actually a number of readers have brought this up recently. I haven't had any problems myself but assume that G is now making Blogger harder to use for spamming purposes. What I have found is that new blogspot blogs need a few good links in order to get the ball rolling. By this I mean links from an authority site or two. This is what I do with all my new blogs - I send a link from one of my closest related authority sites. I have also found that this seems to keep the new blogs from entering the sandbox in most cases. I still get the odd one sandboxed although they would be the type of niches that raise flags as spam heavy niches. When this happens I work on adding more posts than normal and get a lot of decent links. They usually get de-boxed fairly quickly. One note - I do not monetize any site now until it is firmly ranked and getting targeted keyword traffic. I do believe this makes a huge difference in how well and fast you get indexed and gain rankings in Google. Nothing in the way of proof - it just seems to work well from my experience.
If you don't have an authority site to use then all the more reason to get to know those who do and work on building your own. This is where all those "social" blogging sites you all seem to have can come in handy. If your flagship isn't making money itself don't give up on it - keep building it up and use it to propel new sites into the system.
Btw. I am now building WordPress (ok Terry is building them - I'm just optimizing them) sites and use the exact same system with them as well. It seems to be working.
One last thing for today.
Getting links the white hat way.
I would like to add a page to the new MMO blog listing as many available sources as I can find for getting links. I have my own sources and don't spend a lot of time chasing links like most of you do. Because of this I am falling out of touch with what is available and what is and isn't working these days. To this end if any of you would like to email me with sites, directories, programs etc that you successfully get links (especially anchored links) with I will create a working list for all to use. Yes I'm lazy but in my defense you should all have a better idea of where to find legit white hat links than I do these days. (oooh I didn't just say that out loud - ouch) I spend very little time keeping up with what is available mainly because I don't have too. Those that do please share your findings. You can leave comments on this post or just send me an email with this link. Grizzly I will add the page to Make Money Online with Griz as soon as I get some feedback.
That's it for today.
Note: The new page has been started and is called Link Resources