Backlinks For Beginners – Part 2

Social Bookmarking For Backlinks

Overview

This is the second part of the three part series on how to rank your website in the SERP’s under more competitive keyword terms. If you have not done so, it is recommended you read over Part 1 first.

In Part 2 of this series we will look at Social Bookmarking sites and how they can be used to generate good quality backlinks. There are many misconceptions and myths surrounding just how many times you should submit your site to social bookmarking services, and in this article I will once again give you a “no nonsense” approach that you can use to generate as many backlinks as possible in order to build your Page Rank and Keyword Authority in a natural looking manner.

In my previous tutorial you learned how to rank an optimised web page under a competitive keyword by submitting articles to article directories. In this tutorial we shall be covering ways to create more external backlinks to your web page through a process known as ‘Social Bookmarking’.

This post won’t explain what Social Bookmarking is, as you should already be familiar with the term if you’re to gain anything from this post. This post will explain the exact ways you can use Social Bookmarking to create backlinks to your site that won’t be viewed as spammy by either search engines or Social Bookmarking sites. I’ll teach you the quickest and most efficient methods that work for me, and debunk some of the myths that are out there.

I’d like to start this tutorial by discussing some common misconceptions surrounding the ‘NoFollow’ command. We’ll then go on to specific methods that you can use to create backlinks through Social Bookmarking.

1. NoFollow Command

The ‘NoFollow’ command was originally designed by Google as a means of preventing spammers from acquiring mass amounts of backlinks to their websites. Since backlinks can influence Page Rank, which subsequently influences organic search results, Google decided to make it so that a backlink containing the ‘NoFollow’ attribute would not help increase the target site’s Page Rank, supposedly to prevent spamming.

A link containing the NoFollow attribute looks like the following -

<a href=”http://mysite.com” rel=”nofollow”>Anchor Text</a>

For this reason, many people consider NoFollow backlinks to be useless, and not worth their time. The thing is, is that such people are forgetting about one important thing -

Yahoo Follows NoFollow links

There are many debates and arguments surrounding what a NoFollow link is and what it isn’t, and I wouldn’t dare attempt to say exactly what a NoFollow link does, as I don’t believe anyone other than Google knows the answer to that – what I will say however is that Yahoo will index sites with the NoFollow link, and possibly uses anchor text within NoFollow links in order to help determine the Keyword Authority of a website, although this point is open to a lot of debate among Internet Marketers.

A common myth is that NoFollow links mean nothing . The truth is they do mean something, although no one knows exactly what. MSN looks upon NoFollow links less favourably than Yahoo, and Google less favourably than MSN, but Yahoo, at the very least, will count a NoFollow link as a backlink – that is a provable point.

There have been experiments where people even claim to have increased their rankings on Google itself using nofollow links. The problem with such experiments is that it’s hard to tell whether the ranking resulted from keyword optimization, or from NoFollow backlinks. I myself am skeptical about such things, and tend not to believe that NoFollow links have much weight in Google. I do however believe they have weight in Yahoo.

An interesting experiment using NoFollow links was conducted on this blog – http://www.michellemacphearson.com/do-nofollow-links-count-redux/ which makes for some interesting reading.

The Linkdomain command

I find it is often easier to determine a site’s backlinks through Yahoo than it is through Google, as Yahoo seems to update their backlink display more frequently. A good search engine command you can use to view most of your backlinks in Yahoo is the ‘Linkdomain’ command.

Simply navigate to Yahoo.com and type in “linkdomain:http:yoursite.com” (omit the apostrophes and replace yoursite.com with your domain). You will notice this displays a list of backlinks to your site, including those from websites with the NoFollow command.

The Yahoo “linkdomain” command is great for spying on your competition, however when it comes to monitoring your own sites backlinks, then using Google Webmaster tools is a necessity.

The Importance of NoFollow

I hope I’ve convinced you that NoFollow links do carry some weight. There’s a lot of discussion and debate between internet marketers as to exactly what NoFollows links do, however one thing is for certain – NoFollow links certainly aren’t worthless.

I believe it’s important you understand this point before we move on to Social Bookmarking submission, as the natural tendency is to ignore Social Bookmarking sites which only provide NoFollow backlinks. Since Yahoo does value NoFollow links, you should adopt the mentality of “NoFollow isn’t worthless”. Whilst Google is the biggest player when it comes to search engines, one can’t dismiss Yahoo which comes in at a close second.

2. Web Page Layout

Before we even think about submitting a web page of ours to any Social Bookmarking sites, we need to be aware of a few things.

First of all, Social Bookmarking sites weren’t created so that internet marketers could farm backlinks from them. Some people wonder why they get banned from Social Bookmarking sites all the time. They often think it’s because they’ve made too many submissions in a single day. The truth is actually quite the contrary.

You can usually make many daily submissions to Social Bookmarking sites (with a few exceptions) and not worry about being banned. The reason people usually get banned from these sites is because, quite simply, they submit spam. By spam I’m referring to submitting page after page of garbage with embedded affiliate links. Spamming isn’t how you succeed at social bookmarking, and if you’re creating a landing page for a website in the hope of quickly selling a product, then don’t be surprised if you get banned at every major social bookmarking directory you submit that site to.

Save the landing pages for PPC marketing – with SEO, we’re focused on quality moreso than anything.

As I explained in the Article Marketing tutorial, your site will become respectable and viewed as being authoritative within the search engines eyes only when you submit quality content that actually helps your readers. This doesn’t suddenly change when it comes to Social Bookmarking. The same principle still applies.

Now with Social Bookmarking we don’t need to create any more content outside of the web page we’re linking to – there’s no need to write any articles. The process is in fact a lot easier – we simply create a public bookmark on the Social Bookmarking site that links back to our web page.

For this reason it’s important the layout of our web page contains valuable information, as it’s going to be the only thing that readers of the Social Bookmarking directories look at in determining whether or not we’re submitting useful material or spam.

Our web page should follow a similar layout to our articles, in that its keyword optimized around relevant, useful content. The only difference with our web page and an article is that our web page may be attempting to sell a product of some form, and this is entirely acceptable, however we want to make this as discreet and non spammy as possible.

If you’re reviewing or comparing products then make the review sound as genuine and impartial as possible. If you’re just writing valuable information about a certain topic, write a recommendation at the bottom of your web page about a product that you find useful and include a single affiliate link. If you’re setting up a page that monetizes on Adsense, then make sure the page content is relevant and not spammy. Whichever approach you take, try not to be obvious about advertising any product or service.

You want the web page that you submit to the social bookmarking directory to be helpful to the user. An example of a helpful page which advertises a product is as follows -

“As mentioned throughout this page, you must take care when feeding your fish. Too much of the wrong fish food can make your fish sick, which may require that you purchase medicine. I find it useful to have a tropical fish sickness and disease guide handy just in case. One I use and recommend is *Insert Affiliate Link to Advertised Product*, which I’ve found to be useful in the past. Now with all that being said, tropical fish….”

Notice how we’ve made the advertisement in the above paragraph discreet, as if it relates to the subject matter at hand, as opposed to departing from it entirely? The paragraph immediately continues to read in a non-commercial tone after we’ve discreetly advertised our affiliate product. That is an example of the discreet form of advertising that you want on your web page. Social Bookmarking sites won’t view your site as spam if you offer quality information and they don’t perceive that you’re trying to directly market a product.

You may even go so far as to create an optimized web page that doesn’t advertise any product at all, but rather provides only useful content to your readers. Why would you want to go to all the trouble of creating backlinks for a web page like that you ask? Well, there are three reasons -

1. Relevant, optimised content will build your site’s Keyword Authority

2. You may create a link menu on your site to a “products” section. The reader won’t think you’re trying to advertise any product on your site, and if they’re interested in buying something, may click on that section without need of prompting from your part.

3. You could have Adsense or some other third party advertising on your site, which is normally acceptable by most social bookmarking sites.

So, for your web page layout remember to create a relevant title and offer useful content to your readers, and don’t make it obvious that you’re advertising a product. There’s a very low chance that your web page will be viewed as spam by Social Bookmarking directories if you follow these guidelines.

3. Bookmarking Submission

Now we come to the most important part of this tutorial – actually submitting your web page to Social Bookmarking directories in order to obtain relevant backlinks.

Just about all Social Bookmarking sites will allow you to enter the following fields when submitting your web page to them -

1. The actual URL of the page you’re submitting

2. The title of the Bookmark that will be displayed on the Social Bookmarking site

3. A description of the web page you’re submitting

4. Some custom tags that are relevant to your site

Now the problem with most Social Bookmarking sites is that they won’t allow you to include any anchor text in your link, meaning that you’ll obtain a backlink to your site in the form of “http://yoursite.com” as opposed to “Backlink Containing Your Keyword Phrase”.

This poses a great problem in terms of building Keyword Authority, however we can still establish some Keyword Authority by including our desired keyword phrase in the title of our Social Bookmarking submission, including it in the description of our site, and lastly by including it in the custom tags sections. This will still allow us to build some Keyword Authority through our backlink, as the web page containing the backlink will be relevant to our keyword, even though the anchor text is missing (remember this from the previous post).

Now it’s time to finally socially bookmark our site. Let me start by saying this – most automated bookmarking submission sites won’t submit your article to many Social Bookmarking directories.

Don’t rely solely on automatic submission.

The primary failed example of automatic bookmarking submission that I don’t recommend to anyone is Onlywire.com. I realise a lot of people stand by this site, however I find it quite simply does not work. The supposed “automatic submission” to 20 or so bookmarking sites has only ever resulted in me achieving maybe 2 or 3 backlinks at most. After doing some experimentation, I found that more than three quarters of the submissions on this site fail.

If you’re looking for a free, manual solution then a site I recommend is SocialPoster.com. For the purposes of this post I will explain how to do manual submissions through SocialPoster.com.

So without further ado, open up SocialPoster.com in a separate window.

You will notice that the section to the right allows you to enter the URL of the web page you want to link to. Obviously, insert your keyword optimised, relevant and informative web page in this section. ie: http://mysite.com/page1.html

Note: Do not insert a link straight to your domain ie: http://mysite.com. This is not recommended for two reasons -

1. It totally bypasses the Web Page Layout section of this tutorial, which explains the need to create a relevant web page specific to a keyword phrase. Linking to an entire domain is not specific or relevant enough.

2. Most Social Bookmarking sites will view your site as being spam. Spammers submit one page sites (usually consisting of a landing page designed for PPC) to Social Bookmarking sites and then wonder why they get banned. That’s why. Even if your domain isn’t a landing page, and does contain relevant content to your keyword phrase, don’t submit it. Submit a web page as opposed to a web site.

Once you’ve entered your web page into the URL description, enter a valid title that relates to your keyword phrase, followed by a relevant description of your web page which contains your keyword phrase, and finally enter about 5 tags that you want to get listed under (make sure at least one tag includes your keyword phrase, separated by a comma).

After you’ve done that, you may select your desired method of submission (General List, Frame submit, Light list). I find General List works best. Lastly, select ‘All’ under the ‘Social Websites:’ section.

Finally, click ‘Start Posting’. SocialPoster will cache all your web pages details on its server, including its title, description and tags, making submission an easy process.

All that remains is submitting your site to the directories on the list.

If this is your first time using SocialPoster, you’ll first need to register at each Social Bookmarking site by clicking the “R” next to the site in question, and verify your membership (unless you’re already a member of the site). Once you’re a member of each site, simply click the “L” button on each site in order to login.

Once you’ve logged into each site, simply go down the list of sites, clicking on “Post” next to each one. A new window will open up with your web page’s details already filled out for you. All you’ll need to do is follow the prompts for each site in order to have your web page bookmarked on that site.

Some sites are a little trickier than others. You may find it easier to avoid sites such as Blogger.com or Squidoo, which require you to write an actual article of some form. I often bypass these sites unless I have an article already written that I can submit to them. If you’ve followed my previous tutorial and already have an article written, then feel free to post the article to sites requiring content (such as Blogger and Squidoo).

4. Submission Frequency

A commonly debated topic is just how many times you should submit a different web page to the same article directory each day. Some people will say more than 2 submissions will get you banned, whilst others will say limitless submission are fine. I think the best way to find out the answer to this debate is to experiment yourself. Just as with duplicate content, if you take things for granted without experimenting for yourself, you may be missing out on a lot of things (such as quality backlinks).

Some people will never submit the same article to more than one article directory in fear of getting blacklisted by Google, and rather than seeing how far they can push it just once, they forever spend valuable time writing more articles than necessary. The same goes for Social Bookmarking – try submitting ten different but good quality web pages to the same Social Bookmarking site in one day. See whether or not you will get banned. I’m not suggesting you spam on purpose, rather the point I’m making is that it’s only through experimentation that you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t.

What will get you banned from Social Bookmarking directories however is submitting advertising, spam, useless content, or your domain name. Those people that say they get banned simply by making 2 submissions to the same article directory in one day usually get banned for submitting a commercial web page. Due to cause and effect, they believe it’s because they submitted too many web pages, when in fact the reason for the ban is most likely different.

Submit useful bookmarks to web pages that you don’t own -

A technique that many people use that works quite well is submitting a bookmark to a post from an authority website for every 2 or 3 bookmarks of their own. This method will help keep you below the radar, as your bookmarking submissions will be viewed as being more spread out and ‘natural’ looking.

Never submit the same web page to the same Social Bookmarking directory -

Just like with article marketing, you should never submit the same content to the same directory. If you’ve submitted a web page to a Social Bookmarking site and want your domain to gain more exposure within the same bookmaking directory, then create a fresh web page with unique content and submit that.

Conclusion

In this post we’ve covered ways to obtain relevant backlinks by submitting a web page to Social Bookmarking directories.

Socially Bookmarking your site not only has the benefit of obtaining backlinks, it also increases your sites exposure. Many bookmarking directories have a system where members can either give a bookmark a positive or a negative vote. If members of a bookmarking directory like your web page, they will “vote it up”, increasing your sites exposure.

I’ve achieved a lot of targeted traffic thanks to Social Bookmarking sites, even though my goal at the time was merely to obtain backlinks. If you can, try to become an active member of the community of more popular bookmarking directories, such as Digg or Propeller. The more friends and connections you have within a Social Bookmarking directory, the more positive votes your web page will receive.

There is one important thing you should realise however: Social Media traffic does not convert as well as search engine traffic.

Don’t become “socially involved” in a bookmarking site. Remember your primary goal first and foremost is to obtain backlinks for organic search engine listings, not to tell everyone how great your site is. Too many newbie internet marketers become trapped in the “social game” and before they know it they’re completely neglecting their internet marketing business. Remember your goal here isn’t to socialize, it’s to obtain backlinks.

It is now recommended you proceed on to Backlinks For Beginners – Part 3 (Social Bookmarking)