The following post was written by Doug Cunnington. Doug has had some incredible early success with niche sites, and he shares one of his strategies here. This is the very first ever guest post that I have allowed on Dumb Passive Income. Believe me, I would not be publishing it if I didn’t think it provided value for you – my readers. This post does exactly that. This is a complete and comprehensive explanation and guide for how you can use free web 2.0 properties to create backlinks for your niche sites that you have complete control of. Take it away Doug!
Do you want more backlinks to your website?
Sure, we all do. Backlinks form the backbone of ranking your website.
PageRank (PR) is based on the backlinks to your website and the authority of the websites that link to your site.
PageRank (PR) does not hold the same weight in ranking a website as it used to. However, it is still very important – after all PR is the first System Feature listed in the introduction to Google by Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page.
If you are in the niche site industry, then you are certainly interested in getting more backlinks. This post presents a classic way to create free links that you own and control.
There are some best practices to keep in mind for 2014 and beyond. For example, you shouldn’t be spinning unreadable content to link to your money sites – It’s not 2012 anymore!
What you will learn:
1. Definition of a Web 2.0 Blog.
2. Advantages of Web 2.0 Blogs.
3. General steps to create a blog.
4. Best practices for content.
5. Best practices for adding backlinks while keeping your footprint small.
6. Some tips to get your blog(s) indexed by Google.
*Disclaimer: One of my money sites took a hit in the rankings and Web 2.0s were part of the link building strategy. However, don’t let that fact discourage you from using Web 2.0 blogs! Services like the HOTH use this type of technique as a main pillar of their link building.*
*I am 99.9% sure that Web 2.0s played NO role in the rankings issue. The site is still ranked on the front page, gets natural traffic everyday, and earns a profit each month. – Doug Cunnington
Web 2.0 Blogs
When I was writing my book, Niche Site Project Management, my wife helped me a lot by proofreading the early drafts. She had no background in internet marketing or niche sites. (Well, she did hear me talk a LOT about the websites but I am pretty sure it sounded like the teacher from the Peanuts cartoons: “Wah Whah Whahhaa…”)
My wife asked about what these “Web 2.0s” were that I kept mentioning in the book. I heard the Web 2.0s mentioned a lot but I couldn’t provide a good definition.
“Web 2.0” was coined around 1999 and signified web sites that were not made up from static HTML pages. The content for Web 2.0 websites allow the users to interact, collaborate, and generate content. Web 2.0 page at Wikipedia.
What is a Web 2.0 Blog?
A Web 2.0 Blog is a blog style website that allows the user to create and post the content to the website. It is really a subset of Web 2.0 properties that caters to bloggers.
Here are some examples:
One of the other characteristics is that the vast majority of Web 2.0 Blogs are free. In fact, I haven’t seen a paid service that I have considered using.
There are countless other free blogs out there. I stick to the big root domains. That is just a personal preference. Feel free to check out others that have quality blogs.
Why are these blogs good for link building?
First, these blogs allow you to create, own, and control your backlinks. This is huge.
There may be a time when you need to alter the anchor text for your backlinks because of a Google algorithm update. Maybe you need to move to a new domain because you wish to expand your niche website to an authority website so you will want to alter the backlinks.
If you don’t own the backlinks, then you need to contact the webmaster to request for changes to be made. That is at least one extra step and you have to count on the other webmaster to follow through on the request.
Second, the backlinks can target specific anchor text, tailor made for you backlink profile. Yes, this is kind of related to the first point but it is worth breaking out as a separate benefit. For example, in 2014 it might be very smart to use the naked URL for your domain or the brand name of your website for these links.
Third, these backlinks are FREE. There are a lot of places that you can get backlinks by paying. It can get very expensive so anytime you can reduce your costs, it is a good thing. In most cases, the savings goes straight to the bottom line. (Saving $30 per month on links is just like making an additional $30 per month.)
The Steps to Create a Blog
- Create a free email account to use for the accounts. I create a brand new email address to use for a set of Web 2.0 Blogs.
I haven’t heard of someone getting their email address blacklisted for a free blog but I would like to keep my personal and business emails out of the profiles. Head over to gmail, yahoo mail, aol, or outlook for a free email account. It just takes a few minutes. I have no issue using one email address for several of these blog accounts.
- Create a new blog on your target platform (tumbler/wordpress/ blogger). The process is pretty straight forward for all the blogging platforms.
You enter your email address and a password. Typically, you will need to confirm your email address by clicking a confirmation link.
- Name the blog something natural. Don’t target the niche with keywords in the url (in the subdomain).
Adding your keywords in the title/subdomain is not a deal breaker but it seems more spammy than a legitimate blog. A more generic blog title can potentially be used for several of your money sites.
- Fill out all the account profile information. This makes the whole site seem more authentic. Fill out every field and try to create an online persona that seems real.
You might have the opportunity to add a backlink to your money website in the profile. If so, then do it.
- Add 3 posts but don’t link to your site yet. More posts are better… The quality of the content should be dictated by the quality of your money website.
So, if you are trying to build a long term, brandable website, the content on your Web 2.0 site should be of a similar quality. In 2014, it’s poor form to use spun content to link directly to your money site.
Spun content was passable before and it might still provide some link juice but the shelf life will most likely be shorter.
As a reference, Level 3 quality from Text Broker is sufficient and acceptable.
- Be sure to add pictures and videos from Youtube. These will add more authenticity to the blog. Don’t just use a google image search and risk a copyright issue. I like to use morguefile.com for free and royalty free images. flickr’s creative commons is another source I like to use, although, you do need to provide attribution by linking back to the flickr profile.
Uniquely naming the image files is a great touch and you can use keywords in the filename, alt text, and description to add niche relevancy. You can embed videos from youtube if the user allow’s it. This is a great way to help google associate a keyword or topic to your blog.
- Each post should link to 2 – 4 authority websites that are not direct competitors, like Wikipedia, CNN, or other news sites.
These kind of links help google understand what keywords or topics the blog is about. It also puts your website in good company with very high authority websites. Don’t link to your money site yet…
- Wait about a week. There is a period where your site could be marked as spam. By not linking to your money site, a manual review of your new blog will yield no red flags for spam.
- Now that you have waited about a week, add 1 – 2 backlinks to your money site in 1 – 2 articles. The backlinks should be natural and relevant to the article or post.
Use your naked url, like “http://yourdomain.com” or “yourdomain.com.” for these links. Save the exact match keyword anchor text for your strongest, highest authority backlinks, like from a PBN.
- Some of the backlinks should point to the main page and other links should point to specific posts. The variety is good and appears natural.
If you research the backlink profile of a popular blog or website, you will most likely find most of the links pointing to a specific post or page.
- You can do a small amount of authentic blog commenting to help get your site indexed. This is a low risk way to get your blog indexed. Niche relevancy isn’t very important here, but if you can find a relevant website to comment on go for it.
A slightly riskier way to get your site indexed would be to get a highly rated gig from fiverr to point to your new blog (NOT your money site). The risk is low since the link is not to your money site.
- Repeat for the other Free Web 2.0 blogging platforms.
Overall the process is simple.
- Create a blog for free.
- Make it look real and authentic.
- Add some original content and link to authority websites.
- Add links to your money website using naked URLs or some other generic anchor text.
- Keep creating blogs until you are satisfied.
I would recommend a minimum of 3 Web 2.0 blogs and the maximum is limited by your time. The number of blogs you need is dependent on the competitiveness of your niche.
It’s really up to you. Most likely, you’ll see benefits by adding more blogs over time.
It is really important to keep the blogs and backlinks very organized. So, keep track of the blogs you create, the username, password, anchor text, and target URL. That way if you ever need to make an update, you can simply log in and make the needed change. Yes, it can be a bit of a pain to keep track of all the data. However, it will be a huge time saver if you find that you need to make changes to any of the backlinks. It will be even more valuable if you find that the links are very helpful and you want to use the blogs for more links in the future.
Advanced Indexing Technique
One advanced way to add authority to your Web 2.0 blogs while encouraging them to be indexed is to acquire high authority backlinks to them.
For example, you could find one of the several (*semi*-) Private Blog Networks (PBN) and purchase some links from there. (I am calling the PBNs “semi” private since they are sold to the public.) You would be able to build the authority of your Web 2.0 blogs to pass more link juice to your money sites.
Essentially, you would be building a PBN of your own with free blogs. You could utilize the blogs for multiple projects. The added benefit is that your money site is one layer further away from the semi-PBN.
As a THANK YOU to Matt and his readers here at Dumb Passive Income, I’ve created a free worksheet that outlines the process of creating Web 2.0 blogs and helps you keep track of all the critical information. Head over to http://nichesiteproject.com/dpi to access this FREE worksheet.
Sound like too much work? Rather pay somebody else to do this?
Consider one of the top services available – The HOTH – to build out tons of these types of links for you.
Thanks Doug for providing this excellent resource for the readers of Dumb Passive Income. I’ve personally dabbled with this strategy myself in the past, but certainly did not put enough time into it to do it right. After reading your post, I want to give it another shot to try to boost the rankings for some of my sites that aren’t ranking well yet. The beauty of this strategy that I foresee is the fact that it is so simple and would be really easy to outsource to a Virtual Assistant. I would only need to provide the content with links in place and then have a VA refer to THIS POST in order to create these properties for me! Can’t wait to give it a shot.
Readers: Make sure you check out some of the links within this post that lead over to Doug’s Niche Site Project site. I’ve been following his blog ever since he started it and he provides a ton of value and great information about niche sites. He’s had successes and failures, ups and downs – just like the rest of us who are creating niche websites. And he shares everything on his blog, just like I do here on mine.
Remember that there are several dumb ways to create passive income online, but only one site that is blogging about it! Dumb Passive Income… dot com.