Anatomy of a 5-Figure Flip: Link Building

This is the fifth article in a series highlighting a 5-figure website flip. We’ve already reviewed buying aged domains, outsourcing web design and writing, getting repeat visitors, and conducting keyword research.  This article covers link building (for SEO and traffic generation).

It’s often said that on the internet, content is king.  I call BS.  Links are king, and content is queen.  A site with enough link equity can rank for competitive terms, even with pretty awful content — just look at Yahoo Answers.  A site with well-placed links on heavily trafficked sites doesn’t even NEED search traffic — it gets flooded with referrals.  He who has the most (and best quality) links wins.

The importance of a strong link profile is one of the reasons I decided to buy an aged domain (with high PR).  Buying an existing website means you get to start with momentum — you don’t have to overcome the inertia of a brand new domain.  You inherit goodwill from the search engines and any existing referral traffic.  It also provides enhanced leverage when you start to implement some link-building strategies.

Two Types of Links

Link building can be broken down into 2 main categories: link placement and link enticement.  With link placement, you are actively adding links back to your own website.  Examples of link placement include:

  • Article directories
  • Link directories
  • Blog comments
  • Other sites you own
  • Social bookmarking sites
  • User generated content sites (Squidoo, Hubpages, etc).
  • Guest posts on other sites

Most of these tactics are low value, so I either ignored them or did the absolute minimum necessary to get by (a few key directory submissions).  The higher-value exceptions, as I see them, are guest posting and blog commenting (when done right).

Blog Commenting for SEO

I identified a few key blogs in my niche that were either dofollow (their links pass a search benefit) or they had the top commentators plugin installed (with dofollow on the top commentator list).  You can easily identify these types of sites in your niche by searching for terms like:

parenting “top commentators”

I made sure to comment frequently on these sites, so that I would get a followed site-wide link.  If you employ this link-building strategy, you must offer value with your comments.  The last thing you want is to be seen as a comment spammer.

Blog Commenting for Traffic

I also targeted some related blogs to try to pull traffic.  My thought process was that by adding insightful comments to other sites, readers may be interested in seeing what I have to say on my own blog. More importantly, by contributing valuable content as comments to other blogs, those blog owners might decide to link back to me — either in their blogroll or in an upcoming post.  The key to this tactic is to leave really great comments.

This is a relationship building technique that can pay big dividends.  In my case, it was a contributing factor to getting invited to a blog network that became a good source of inbound links and traffic.

Guest Posting

Guest posting is the best form of link placement there is — you get a quality one-way link in the body of an article that you create.  You know the content is good and relevant to your topic.  You know the blog you post on has a strong link profile and gets traffic.  When done well, it’s a positive both for SEO and traffic generation, as you introduce your website to a whole new audience.

Guest posting also can form the initial basis for an on-going relationship with a partner site.  If you guest post a few times at a large site, you may find yourself linked to more frequently in round-ups, referenced in another post, or included in a blogroll.

The challenge with guest posting is that you have to make sure your site is setup well to receive this influx of new visitors.  I didn’t start guest posting immediately when launching Better Parenting because I didn’t want new visitors to arrive at a largely blank site.  After publishing around 60 articles, I felt that the site was getting sufficiently impressive that new users might decide to stick around (bookmark the site, subscribe to RSS, etc).

This is when I started to make a target list of sites on which to guest post.  I decided to sell Better Parenting before getting aggressive about guest posting (the site had enough other stuff going well for it to sell for a decent sum), but this strategy would have generated a significant amount of additional traffic.

Link Exchange (Enhanced)

Link exchanges have been around since the start of the internet — you link to me and I’ll link back.  While the SEO benefit has been minimized over time, and the value of these links is less than one-way links, exchanges with like-minded sites can still prove helpful.

I did a few standard link exchanges, but those were insignificant compared to what I call an enhanced link exchange — a blog network or affiliation.

To a lot of people “blog network” implies combined advertising and shared revenue.  That’s not the kind of network, I’m talking about.  I’m referencing a looser affiliation of sites, where you agree to promote each others best work.

I hooked up with a few other blogs in related fields (marriage, finances, lifestyle tips, and a mom blogger).  We all added each other to our blogrolls and once a week we highlighted the top post on each site throughout the network.  This allowed us all to build deep links — links that point to interior pages, not just the home page.  It also enabled traffic sharing: visitors of one site became readers of several.

We also assisted each other with social bookmarking on posts that we thought could go viral.  The bottom line is that it helps to have friends online… and you don’t need to do much more than ask to make it happen.

Other Ways to Build Links

In the next article, I’ll delve into link enticement, which yielded a great return for me in my website launch.  Until then, I’d love to hear from you — what other link placement techniques have you successfully utilized.  How have you been able to streamline the often tedious process of placing links?

P.S. — If you don’t want to miss any of the articles in this series, be sure to subscribe to our RSS feed.

  • Link building very important task of search engine optimization,in the link building there are many task include as a: Directory submission, article marketing ,blog comment, social bookmarking and forum posting etc.Thanks for sharing the information.

  • Absolutely wonderful article. I wonder what will ever become of mankind. Seems like that quick and resourceful will outlive all of our smart people 🙂 and thanks for posted!

  • You have a very good blog that the main thing a lot of interesting and useful!

  • Norylin Gonzales

    Hi God day,

    I’m looking for a  job.An online
    jobs(home-based).Im presently living here in Philippines.And I want to apply
    for one of the online jobs (directory submission—LINKER) ,SEO and link
    building work.  Could you please
    provide alternative contact details or could I contact them through you?


  • Anonymous

    I like the idea of ​​a stronger link exchange. I think the key is knowing your demographics and target sites that are not direct competitors? This seems much more useful and less spam letters in the form of link exchange that I said “Dear [insert name here] I would like to exchange links with you.
    search engine optimization company

  • I like the idea to link back to the website by commenting on the blog, thanks for sharing it

  • denzal wellington

    I like the idea of ​​a link exchange improved. I think the important thing is to know the population structure and target sites that are not direct competitors? It feels much more useful and less spam link exchange.

  • Generic Viagra

    I like the idea of ​​a link exchange improved. I think the key is to know the demographics and target sites that are not direct competitors? It seems much more useful and less of a spam link exchange I get letters saying “Dear [name here], I’d like to exchange links with you”, etc. ..

    Generic Viagra

  • Well written article.I will appreciated your writing skills..Am totally  agree with  you if you want to boost the traffic & rank of the site in the eyes of the search engine then your site should have well content & quality links. This is an informative article.Keep sharing with us. 

  • Its very nice blog.Its very informative information.User come into concern from the search engines
    and any obtainable transfer trafficand its also provides enhanced leverage when you start to implement some link-building strategies.Keep sharing with us.

  • Its very nice blog.Its very informative information.User come into concern from the search engines
    and any obtainable transfer trafficand its also provides enhanced leverage when you start to implement some link-building strategies.Keep sharing with us.

  • guest blogging is one of the only way in SEO that works for both traffic
    and link as if your content would be great people would definitely drop
    to your website to know the original post and as you are writing a post
    for the blog the blog provide back link to your website as a gem so you
    can gain both the thing in just one excellent post on a great traffic

  • Hi I would like to guest post in your blog. With your permission, can i ?

  • Yunus

    Hi, I gave enjoyed following these articles very much, but I can’t seem to find any of the following articles after this one : – “In the next article, I’ll delve into link enticement,”. Can you please tell me where they are.

    Also I love the market snapshot section, is is ossible that I can get this by email or do I have to visit the site every month ?

  • I dont like the Link exchange idea as it never normally works for me , but other than that some great ideas.

  • Hey, Eppie:

    Guest posting is also one of my preferred methods to build links, but I’ve gotten side tracked with other methods lately such as article marketing and press releases.

    One thing I have done (just recently) is create a list of online resources to help me stay better on track.

    p.s. Am totally into your “Anatomy of a 5-Figure Flip” series. Great work!

  • Rob

    I like the idea of an enhanced link exchange. I guess the key is to know your demographics and target sites that aren’t direct competitors? That sounds much more useful and less spammy than the link exchange form letters I get that read “Dear [insert name here] I’d like to exchange links with you” etc…

  • James

    I have found link exchanges when done right can be very beneficial, especially if you have more than one site in a niche.. One of the best resources is Digital Point forum’s Link Exchange section. If you have multiple sites you can arrange a three-way link exchange so that none of the links are reciprocal and hence are worth more in Google’s eyes. It does take some sifting to find quality sites in your niche to exchange with, but it’s a great way to quickly build solid backlinks.

    • @James – Good point on 3-way (or more) linking. I find that regular link exchanges, when done with other quality sites, provide both a bump in SEO and provide some relevant referral traffic. While the number of visitors referred may not be super high, the quality of visitor is usually solid.