For the past nine years, I have spent the majority of my time as an SEO. Whether it was helping other companies or building my own sites, at one point in time, I ranked for some of the most lucrative keywords on Google.
“Online poker,” “credit cards,” “online dating,” “Forex trading,” and “hotels” were just a few of the terms I ranked well for. And I wasn’t just on page 1 for these keywords. For some of them, I ranked within the top 3 results.
Unlike most SEOs, I didn’t spend years to do this. I was able to rank well on Google within a few months for many of the terms I mentioned above.
My big secret
So, how did I do all of this? By building legitimate links.
Don’t get me wrong, like most SEOs, I have bought text links. In fact, I probably bought over 7 figures worth of links throughout my SEO history. The problem with buying paid links, however, is you’ll rank really well in the short run, but, sooner or later, you will get caught.
Trust me. I have had a ton of sites that I personally owned that got banned from Google. So, take a page out of my book, and learn from my mistakes. Don’t waste your time buying links.
If you don’t believe me that buying links isn’t worth the risk, look at the statement Matt Cutts from Google’s Webspam team gave me:
Google continues to take reports of link spam, including paid links that pass PageRank, very seriously. I put out a call for linkspam reports in March and we’ve been investigating all those reports. We do use that data to improve our algorithms, but we also take manual action on those linkspam reports. In fact, we’ve been developing new tools to help us tackle paid links that pass PageRank and other types of linkspam.
Link building doesn’t have to be painful
There are a ton of ways you can build links without spending thousands of dollars. Here are a few tactics that have worked for me throughout the years.
Send out emails
It’s painful to send out emails asking for links, but it’s really effective. If someone is linking to your competition, he or she will probably be willing to link to you too.
All you have to do is send that website owner an email like this:
I know you don’t know me, but name is Neil Patel, and I’m with KISSmetrics. I noticed that you link to a few of my competitors such as Omniture, so I thought I would take a shot in the dark to see if you would be willing to link to us as well.
Don’t worry, KISSmetrics isn’t another me-too analytics solution, which is why your website readers will see value in us. Unlike some of the other solutions in the market place, KISSmetrics allows you to track, optimize and improve your conversion funnels with a simple and easy to use report.
Thanks for taking the time to read this email.
Have a great day,
If you can’t figure out who links to your competition, all you have to do is go to Yahoo and type in link:http://yourwebsite.com within the search box.
Write great content
Lists, how-to guides and white papers are all great ways to build links. As long as the content you are writing is really good, people will link to it.
For example, Passages Malibu, a drug rehab center, wrote a detailed article on illegal drugs. The article isn’t sexy, but it describes every illegal drug, where it can be found, the side effects, and how to spot if someone is high on that specific drug.
Good articles like that will always get links. It may not happen within a few weeks or even a few months, but over the years, it will end up being linked to.
When you are trying to write good content, make sure you are:
- Thorough – you have to write really detailed content. If you don’t cover all of the aspects of the topic you are writing on, don’t bother publishing your article.
- Writing good headlines – if no one reads your content, no one will ever link to it. So, make sure you come up with a creative headline as it will increase the odds of someone reading your content.
- Including pictures – no one likes reading big blocks of text. Make it easier on your readers’ eyes by including pictures.
- Spicing things up – writing factual content isn’t enough to build links. Write on up-and-coming trends and information that others haven’t written on. And make sure you do not regurgitate the same information.
Don’t forget the basics
One easy way to get more links is to submit your website to popular directories. Directories like DMOZ, Yahoo, and Best of the Web are good sources of links as long as you are submitting your website to a related category.
For example, if you have a tech website, you wouldn’t want to submit it to a financial directory. Instead, you would want to submit it to a tech directory.
If you are looking for a list of directories to submit your website to, you can find them here.
Write a guest post
The easiest way to get a blogger to link to you isn’t to pay him or her. It is to write a guest post on his or her blog, similarly to this.
In every guest post you publish, include a short bio that describes you and your company. And, obviously, link your company name to your company website.
Here are the steps you need to take to become a guest author:
- Go to Technorati and search for related blogs.
- Once you have a list of related blogs, do a bit of research and come up with some content ideas that may be useful for their readers.
- After you have some topic ideas, send the blogger an email asking if he or she is currently accepting any guest authors. Within that email, tell your prospective blogger the content idea you have and show him or her how it would be beneficial for the blog’s readers.
- If you are accepted to be a guest author, great! If not, move on and approach other bloggers.
There are tons of ways in which you can increase the number of sites linking to yours. It isn’t rocket science, and it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg like these link building tactics.
I know the tactics I mentioned above aren’t fun and sexy, but they work. Try them out. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.