This is part 2 of a series about how to make money from your website. Part 1 covered how to find a profitable topic to write about, and how to research your competition to figure out how easy it'll be to rank for a keyword. So you should probably start there if you're new to this.
Optimizing your site for a keyword
So now you've sorted out a keyword or 10 that you want to target on your site. Now what? Well, search engine optimization has gotten a lot simpler in a way since Google came into the picture, but it also kind of involves more work now. Before Google, the way to rank well for something was to basically just repeat the term over and over in a page, regardless of whether it made any sense or not. Now, all you need to do is use it in the title of your page, in a heading and in the text once or twice. Then you need to get backlinks to it from other sites with your keyword and variations of it in the anchor text for the link. That's it. That's all you need to know. The end.
Just kidding. Yes, it pretty much is that simple, but the hardest part is getting links with the right anchor text. In theory, you wouldn't need to put in effort to "get" links, because if you write really good content in the first place, lots of people will link to you. In theory. But in reality, they won't link to you if they don't know your page even exists in the first place. And even if they do, 99% of them probably won't bother to use good anchor text when linking to you. UPDATE (Sept 2011): anchor text doesn't matter nearly as much as it used to, in fact, using the same anchor text too often can actually cause more harm than good.
Also, if you pick a keyword with low competition, you might not even need any links at all. But it can't hurt to get some anyway, and if you do have a bit of competition it'll definitely help.
How to get backlinks
UPDATE (Sept 2011): Article directories aren't a good source of links at all anymore. I don't bother with this myself anymore.
The most common way of getting backlinks is by writing articles and submitting them to article directories along with a link to your site. These links aren't particularly high quality, but they're still links and will still help, especially because you can use whatever anchor text you want when linking to your site. The bonus of article directories is that other sites can use your articles on their sites, so you can theoretically get links from a lot of different sites this way. Of course, because they're using your article as-is, it's technically "duplicate content" and the links won't count for all that much. But hey, every little bit helps.
How to find article directories
Pretty much everything you need can be found by searching Google. Search for something like "submit article" or "article directory". Here's a short list of some of the better article directories to get you started:
A lot of article directories run on a script called Article Dashboard, so another way of finding directories is to search Google for "powered by article dashboard", in quotes.
Some people recommend commenting on other people's blogs as a way to get links to your site. This can work if the blog doesn't use "nofollow" on the links, which most blogs these days do. The "nofollow" attribute on a link basically tells Google (and other search engines) not to place any value on the link whatsoever. So it doesn't help you to rank better. Finding blogs that don't use nofollow can be quite difficult, and even if you do find some, you still need to write a good and useful comment so that the blog owner doesn't delete your comment. Considering the time it takes to achieve all that, you'd probably be better off writing articles and sending them to directories.
If your website happens to be a blog (and let's face it, setting up a blog is much easier for a novice to do than setting up a normal website), you can submit your post to a Blog Carnival. What on earth is that? It's sort of like this: someone puts up a notice saying he or she wants post submissions on a certain topic, people send in submissions, and the host sorts through them, reads them, and posts links to them with short descriptions in a new blog post on their site. Why this is effective is because a blog carnival usually has followers - people who read every carnival post and go check out all the links the host has posted. So if you're listed on one of these, you'll get a large surge of traffic, and if people like what you wrote, they might link to you as well. Because most of these readers are also bloggers, you might get links with decent anchor text as well. But the main SEO benefit of blog carnivals are repeat submissions. Every time the blog carnival gets hosted, it gets hosted on a different blog. So every time you get listed, you're getting links from different sites owned by different people.
How to find blog carnivals
This can be hard or impossible depending on the topic you chose. BlogCarnivals.com lists a lot of the carnivals that exist, though you'll find that if you browse around there that a lot of them are no longer maintained, and the vast majority of them are all on more or less the same general topics. So you might not be able to find one related to your topic at all. You can also search Google for "blog carnival" and "your keyword here".
UPDATE (Sept 2011): These are still by far the best links you can get, and that is unlikely to change in the future... so I'd recommend you focus most of your efforts here.
A good way to get really good links is by guest posting on other people's blogs. This way you can get a high quality link on a high quality site that possibly already has some readers who might then decide to visit your site as well. Generally, you'll need to guest post on blogs that have a topic that is related to yours, and you have to read the blog owner's posts a bit to get some idea of what kind of posts they might appreciate. And you'll have to contact them and make sure if they'll even be interested in publishing a guest post at all. You could just write it anyway, send it to them and see what they say. If they don't want to publish it, you could send it somewhere else. If the blog has some kind of notice saying that they accept guest posts, then it's definitely worth a try. You can possibly find blogs to guest post on by searching google for "guest post" and "keyword" (or something related to your keyword that you know there are other sites about).
So yes, this is all a lot of effort. The most effortless way of getting quality links is to make sure you write really good content on your site that people will WANT to link to, and then to help people find it, submit it to a couple of blog carnivals, or guest post on a couple of blogs. If that doesn't give you enough links, you can continue doing that for as long as it takes. If you find that people don't want to list your blog posts on carnivals, or they don't want to publish your guest posts, that's a sign that your content probably just isn't that good. You can either make it more appealing, or you can write a lot of articles and publish them on a lot of article directories. Kind of more work that way. More drudgery. Might as well write really good stuff in the first place.
That's it for part 2. Feel free to ask questions in the comments. Part 3 will be about optimizing the Adsense on your page for making as much money as possible, and will discuss other methods of making money with your website.
Also, check out my earnings timeline since I started trying to make money from my sites if you need some inspiration and proof that this really does work: Earnings Timeline.
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Posted in: Money by admin on July 22, 2010 @ 4:47 pm
Tags: article directories, blog carnivals, blog commenting, getting backlinks, guest posting, search engine optimization, website traffic