Backlinks For Beginners – Part 1

Common Terms & Article Marketing

Overview

This is the first part of the three part tutorial series on how to rank your website in the SERP’s under more competitive keyword terms. In this tutorial we are going to look at how to obtain relevant backlinks through the process of article submission.

Optimising a web page for a certain keyword phrase, ensuring it has a keyword density between 2-5%, is a great way to get organically listed under the first page of Google for long tailed keywords. But what do you do if there’s other competing sites that rank higher than you under more competitive keyword phrases?

The answer is quite simple. The sites that get ranked the highest under more competitive keywords are those that have “authority” in Google’s eyes under that specific keyword. Authority is achieved through Page Rank and Keyword Authority, both of which are achieved through a process known as “backlinking”.

A backlink is basically an internal or external link that points towards a specific web page or web site. If for example you had a site called mysite.com, and another site called banana.com had a link on their site pointing towards yours, you would have a “backlink” from banana.com.

This tutorial shall begin by explaining the basics of Page Rank and Keyword Authority, and how a backlink can affect both. If you already know what Page Rank and Keyword Authority are, it is recommended you skip the following two sections of this tutorial. Remember that Keyword Authority and Keyword Optimization are two different things.

1. Page Rank

Page Rank is determined by how many links on the internet are pointing to a specific web page. This is not to be confused with how many links are pointing to a website. Even if the index of a website has a high Page Rank, it does not mean that a newly created web page on that website will have any Page Rank. Take for example a Squidoo lens you create, or an Ezine article you write. Even though Squidoo has a high Page Rank for its homepage, you’ll find that your newly created lens will have a Page Rank of 0. That’s because there will be 0 links pointing directly towards your new lens. A link pointing towards a web page is known as a “backlink”, and contributes to that pages Page Rank.

Whenever there is a link on the internet that points toward a specific web page, that pages Page Rank is increased (with the exception of nofollow links). The amount it increases is determined by the Page Rank of the web page that is pointing to it, and a few other things that we won’t go into. A link from a site with a Page Rank of 0 will not do much to boost a web pages Page Rank, but it will boost it a tiny bit. A link from a site with a high Page Rank however would instantly raise that web pages Page Rank to a higher level.

This tutorial will be focusing on obtaining external backlinks from other website in order to increase the Page Rank of a specific web page of yours. Internal links are only really of value if your site has some Page Rank already (you can’t simply link 100 pages of your own site to a specific web page on the same site and hope to achieve any results, unless those 100 pages have any Page Rank of their own).

You can find out a pages Page Rank by using the Google Toolbar, downloadable here:  http://toolbar.google.com

2. Keyword Authority

Keyword Authority is different to Keyword Optimization (optimization is a cause and authority an effect). Google determines how highly a web page will rank under a keyword phrase in organic search results based upon that web pages Keyword Authority for that keyword phrase. Keyword Authority is built by two main things: 1 – Keyword Optimization, and 2 – Relevance of backlinks.

Keyword Optimization  you should already know about. It basically involves optimizing a your site, or a certain phrase on your site, around a certain keyword phrase. If this keyword phrase has a good density ratio (density ratio is how often the keyword phrase appears on the page) then Google will  rank that page higher. Google themselves approve of this form of Search Engine Optimization.

The second thing that builds Keyword Authority is the relevance of backlinks. Links pointing to your web page that are relevant to the contents of your web page will give you more Keyword Authority than a link that does not relate to the contents of your web page at all.

If for example you had a link to your web page from a site about Bananas, and your site was advertising Car Tires, then the relevance of the link from the Banana site wouldn’t be much at all. Therefore you would obtain some Page Rank from the link, but perhaps little or no Keyword Authority from the link. Remember, irrelevant links may help with Page Rank, but not with Keyword Authority.

So how is it determined whether or not a backlink is “relevant” for the purposes of increasing Keyword Authority? It’s determined by three main things -

1. The Keyword Authority of the linking Website, 2. The Keyword Optimization of the linking Web Page, and 3. The Anchor Text of the link.

Don’t worry, I shall explain all three.

1. The Keyword Authority of the linking website

As given in the previous example, if you have a link from a site about Bananas and you were advertising Car Tires, the link would not give you much, if any, Keyword Authority. This is because the site about Bananas has nothing to do with Car Tires, and therefore Google will recognise that the site is not “authoritative” in any way about Car Tires. If however you received a link from Bridgestone Tires, this link would be incredibly relevant and would give you much more Keyword Authority for Car Tires than the Banana site would.

2. The Keyword Optimization of the linking Web Page

How relevant the actual web page that contains the link to your web page is will also contribute to your Keyword Authority. If a web page is heavily optimized around the keyword phrase “Bald Car Tires”, then the web page will give you greater Keyword Authority for the phrase “Bald Car Tires”. If however it is optimized around the keyword “Buy Car Tires” then you’ll receive greater Keyword Authority for that phrase instead.

Once again, Keyword Optimization is not be confused with Keyword Authority. Keyword Optimization can result in Keyword Authority, but it alone does not determine Keyword Authority.

3. The Anchor Text of the link

Anchor text is one of the simplest but most important things to understand in SEO. Anchor text is simply the text that is highlighted as the link to a website.That’s all it is.

A very common mistake that newbie Internet Marketers make is that they will try and get links from sites in the format of http://www.mysite.com. This will give you Keyword Authority under the keyword phrase of “http://www.mysite.com”. What terrible Keyword Authority that is! Who’s going to type your exact website domain or web page into Google? No one!

If however you created a link that looked like the following – “Buy Cheap Car Tires Today”, then Google would see that the link text is directly relevant to your sites contents, and will thus give you Keyword Authority under the phrase of “Buy Cheap Car Tires Today”. So how do you create a link in HTML containing a keyword phrase as opposed to the actual URL of the link? You simply amend the anchor text, as follows -

<a href=”http://mysite.com/”>Enter Keyword Phrase Here</a>

This is a good link that will give you Keyword Authority under a specific Keyword Phrase .

You don’t want a link like this:

<a href=”http://mysite.com/”>http://mysite.com</a>

As you can see, your website is already being listed within the “a href” tag. There’s no need to then go on and insert the same website in the actual anchor text, as this has nothing to do with where the link will point.

Obtaining the Best Keyword Authority

So for the best Keyword Authority, you’ll want  a link from another web site that fits into the same category as the topic you’re discussing on your web page. You’ll want the link to come from a web page on that website that contains optimized content for the keyword phrase you hope to gain Keyword Authority under. Lastly, you’ll want the actual link itself to be in the form of the keyword phrase.

But what happens if a site contains only one of the above three things, or only two of them? That’s fine too, it just means you won’t gain as much Keyword Authority as a site that contains all three relevant things. If however you received a good anchor text link from an irrelevant site with a high Page Rank, it will usually give you more Keyword Authority as opposed to receiving a link from a highly targeted site that had all of the above three things, but had little or no Page Rank. This is of course dynamic and varies greatly depending on the sites involved.

So what happens if you receive a lot of High Page Rank backlinks that have nothing whatsoever to do with your site, with irrelevant anchor text? You will notice that your Page Rank will increase, but your Keyword Authority for the phrase you’re hoping to rank under will not increase. It is important you understand this crucial difference between Page Rank and Keyword Authority. Page Rank by itself doesn’t mean much, Keyword Authority means everything.

3. Article Contents

One of the ways we can obtain relevant backlinks is through article marketing. Whilst the value of the links we receive from mass article submissions aren’t as great as they once were, they do still hold a lot of value.

You may have learned about writing articles as a form of sales copy in order to drive people to your site. When we’re attempting to obtain backlinks, we actually do the opposite. Since our goal isn’t to drive people to our site, but rather to obtain relevant backlinks, we will be writing our articles with an entirely different state of mind. We’ll be writing articles without trying to sell any product at all! We instead will be focused only on providing helpful, relevant and informative information within our articles, not even mentioning any product.

This may seem absurd, but let’s look at things from Google’s perspective for a moment. Google wants to provide the most relevant, non spammy and informative content possible to anyone that uses their search engine. They achieve this by providing search results that are relevant to the keyword phrase a person is searching for. The first sites Google will be displaying are those that they believe are “authority sites” for the keyword phrase that the person entered.

A long sales copy landing page about an Acne Treatment eBook isn’t going to hold the same authority for an organic listing as an educational site that explains the various medical conditions associated with acne. At least, not naturally. That’s because naturally the educational site will receive more backlinks from other websites, from people who think that the educational site has something to offer. It’s unlikely that people will be linking to a commercial sales letter (not naturally anyway). That’s where we change things as Internet Marketers. We manually create these backlinks ourselves, in order to pump up that Acne Treatment eBook landing page to compete with the educational site.

One way we get these backlinks from sites is by submitting articles to multiple article directories and placing a link within the article that leads back to our landing page. Now remember when I said that we need to include relevant and helpful information within an article as opposed to sales copy? That’s because Google will be determining our Keyword Authority based upon the pages and sites of where our backlinks are coming from.

If Google sees the source of all our backlinks as being articles that advertise the same product through repetitive salescopy, then there’s a greater chance these results will be filtered. Furthermore, many article directories will reject articles that are advertising a product, or that contain an affiliate link. Remember what our current goal is: it isn’t to drive a sale (not at this stage), it’s to create a relevant backlink. It’s important you grasp this concept.

4. Article Structure

Ideally, the articles we write for article directories should contain between 400 – 700 words with our keyword phrase occuring between 2-5% of the time. This is a good number to work between as 400 words give you the opportunity to properly optimize your keyword phrase, and setting the limit to 700 words will prevent you from wasting too much time on each article.

Remember, your article should consist of purely informative information, with no salescopy whatsoever. Your goal here is to gain Keyword Authority and Page Rank. Now, say that you wish to gain Keyword Authority under the keyword phrase “pet tropical fish”. You could structure your article as follows -

Example :
Article Title: “How to care for and feed your pet tropical fish”

Article Body: Provide informative information about caring for pet tropical fish (research the internet to find information about this subject if you don’t know it yourself). Repeat the keyword phrase “pet tropical fish” between 2-5% of the time without sounding too spammy. I personally aim for only 2%, as the keyword optimization here isn’t that important, and I find anything higher begins to sound spammy.

About the Author: You include this at the end of your article. This is the most important section of your article and is what will contain the backlink to your targeted web page. Remember, don’t advertise yourself or any product. Your only goal here is to create a link back to your web page that consists of anchor text containing the keyword phrase you’ve optimized the article under. An example of a good “about the author” section would be as follows -

About the Author: “Steven Heron is a researcher of tropical fish, and maintains a website about breeding pet tropical fish.”

Notice that my About the Author section contained no incentive whatsoever for anyone to click on the link? I didn’t advertise the site, because I don’t really care if anyone clicks on it or not. The sole purpose of me writing this article is to create a relevant backlink from the article directories I’ve submitted it to, not to get clicks on my link.

The backlink is relevant because it meets the criteria of a relevant backlink as was explained in the Keyword Authority section. Whilst the article directory I submit the article to may not have any authority on tropical fish, the actual web page itself of the article will be optimized for the keyword phrase “pet tropical fish”. Furthermore, the anchor text link to my web page contains the keyword phrase “pet tropical fish”. So we are meeting at least two of the three things we can do to obtain Keyword Authority, without being in the slightest bit spammy.

5. Article Submission

Now that you’ve created your informative, keyword optimised article that contains a relevant backlink to your web page, all that remains is submitting your article to multiple article directories. This is the most important step of all, as without submitting your article anywhere, you won’t be obtaining any backlinks!

Now before we proceed any further, let’s discuss what duplicate content is, and what it is not.

You’ve no doubt heard that you should not submit the exact same article to more than one one article directory, that you should amend it slightly in some way. This is because Google will supposedly penalize sites with duplicate content, and this is true to some extent, although I think “penalize” is the wrong word. If two or more sites contain the exact same content, then Google will usually only list one of those sites in its organic search results, effectively filtering the other sites out. This poses a problem for someone hoping to get an article listed within Google under a certain keyword phrase.

Our objective on the other hand is not to get our articles listed within Google. Our sole objective is to create backlinks to our main web page by placing a link within our articles. Remember that the contents of our main page will be 100% unique and original and will not be submitted to any website or article directory. Our articles on the other hand will be duplicate content. We couldn’t care less whether or not anyone actually visisted our articles. For this reason, the  ”duplicate content penalty” isn’t as important when we’re submitting articles.

With that being said, we have only one objective in mind when it comes to article submission – Quantity. Quantity. Quantity. The more backlinks we get, the better.

So where do you start in your article submission expedition? I could list a few sites, such as ezinearticles.com, goarticles.com, etc.. however there are literally thousands upon thousands of article directories out there that you can obtain backlinks from. There is no way I could list them all here. So to cut a long story short, submit your article, in its unaltereted state, to as many article directories that you can find. Don’t worry about editing it for each new site.

Now you may think this to be a little absurd, perhaps even spammy, however the truth is quite the contrary. Article directories love informative, original articles, even if they’ve been sent to a thousand different sites. The only thing they ask is that you created the content yourself, and that the author name corresponds to the name you use on the article directory site. For this reason I recommend using a generic author name on all the article directories that you submit your articles to.

Important: Don’t submit duplicate content to the same article directories -

The vast majority of article directories only want original content, and if you start resubmitting the same article again and again to the same directory, with only minor changes, then you risk getting yourself banned from that article directory.

As a general rule of thumb, I recommend that you create a fresh, 100% original article each time you submit an article to the same article directory. So after you’ve gone on your great article submission campaign, sit down and write a new article targeting a new keyword phrase that is relevant to your web page, and repeat the submission process again. Article directories will begin to love you if you continue to submit informative and useful articles to them.

Spread our your article submission over time -

Submitting articles containing your web page link to a thousand directories at once isn’t a problem, but don’t spam your web page link endlessly. For every one thousand articles submissions, you can expect to get anything between 30 – 60 backlinks fairly quickly. This is quite natural. If however Google starts to see that you’re getting 500 backlinks after you’ve submitted your article 10,000 times, in the space of just a couple of days, then Google will start to think that something’s not quite right, and you may filter out a lot of those links.

Now a lot of your backlinks won’t be counted due to duplicate content issues. Don’t be alarmed by this. You will find article directories that have any decent authority will have a lower chance of being placed in the supplemental results, and these are the main sites we want backlinks from anyway.

The longer your site has been around, the more backlinks Google will consider to be normal. So if you can, submit a new article to a thousand article directories once every week, over a period of 6 months. This will provide a natural looking backlink progression.

Conclusion

Some industries are hard to break into due to all the competition. Keyword optimisation on a landing page alone will not get you a front page listing for competitive keywords. If however you have an edge over your competition due to your Internet Marketing knowledge, and are able to amass enough relevant backlinks to give your site authority, then the profits can be potentially astounding.

This level of SEO is effective if done correctly. Remember to make your articles informative, helpful, and make sure you don’t advertise any product or service. Don’t put anything in your article that may even remotely be perceived as sales copy. Leave that to your main web page that the articles are linking to. Your goal isn’t to obtain clicks, it’s to obtain relevant backlinks that aren’t viewed as being spammy. All big sites need relevant backlinks in order to get listed under competitive keywords. Your site is no different and using the techniques taught, you can start to compete for broader keyword phrases.

It is now recommended you proceed on to Part 2 – Social Bookmarking For Backlinks