How to Make Your Content Discoverable to Earn Editorial Links

I’ve already done a very useful round-up of how one can still build / attract solid backlinks to your site. Today I’ll follow up with a few more general, yet resourceful tips on how bloggers can still earn backlinks to their content.

Bloggers can still build links, and those who have always sought out solid links in the first place will find much of the practice hasn’t changed. You are still aiming to provide quality, valuable content that explores a topic you are an expert in. You are potentially going to link to other sources – either your own, or third party – in order to further enrich that content. You create something of value, and you deserve links coming in – this is a short story…

Let’s look at that in more details:

Create Good Content

In the end, your best bet is always going to be creating good, solid and engaging content that people want to share. I won’t pretend that there is some magic formula to follow that will get you those links, or that will boost you into viral status… there isn’t. But the better your content, the more likely it will be seen and enjoyed.

Bookmark this blogging guide to get a better idea of what types of content you can create and how to do that right:

Blog content

Get Your Content Out There…

There’s nothing wrong in being discoverable. There’s nothing wrong in being pro-active about being discovered. And I don’t mean asking someone for a link. I mean being pro-active about letting more people see your content (and possibly link to it at some point)

The most obvious is probably social media. You want influencers, or just others, to share out your work. Targeting your user base is one way, but jumping on someone else’s coat tails is a great boost for visibility, and increasing chances of even more social links.

Viral Content Buzz is a great way to put your content in front of eager social media sharers for wider reach. In most cases, this is the easiest (and free!) method to get your content discovered by bloggers as well!

A new term has been coined recently: “ego baiting”. This is the process of mentioning someone in your content, as well as quoting, praising or even scorning them. In theory, they should fall victim to their ego and choose to share out that content, or link to it as a reference for their own post. It sounds a lot shadier than it is; if you have a genuine statement to make about someone else or their work, there is no reason you should write about it.

3 Rules of Relationship-Powered Link Building #pubcon from Ann Smarty

Chances are, you have taken part in ego baiting without even realizing it. You know those top ten lists you make that link to people’s content or websites? Those mentions potentially catch their attention, leading to those “Hey, a shout-out to (Your Name) for including me in (Article)!” social media posts.

MyBlogU is a great way to attract people to your content who will then help you promote your content on social media and link back to the articles they got featured!

MyBlogU

If you make one of these posts, or anything else that heavily features another blogger, send them an email letting them know they are in it. Maybe they will share the link, maybe they won’t. But at least you will have taken a shot.

If you have any ideas for building links as a blogger, let us know in the comments. We would love to hear from you!

High-Quality Directories and How They Add Value to the Web

I am in the industry long enough to have witnessed both the growth and decline in the popularity of “web directory” phenomenon.

Web directories emerged prior to search engines as the means to help people discover websites online. During Google times, web directories were used to build backlinks and extra visibility for a website. Then they became popular among link builders – from where the concept abuse started.

There is an argument that link building hasn’t killed web directories. What happened instead is that directories were no longer needed (search engines did the job) but is it really so? To me, it’s the same as to say that Wikipedia is not needed thanks for Google Knowledge Graph (yes, I realize the knowledge graph is being built based on Wikipedia, hence the sarcasm)

The difference between web directories and search engines is that high-quality web directories are heavily moderated. The purpose of today’s web directory is to provide the well-structured database of high-quality websites.

Hence good directories can still be useful:

  • To build your site co-citation signals
  • To put your site in the most relevant immediate contest
  • To build more brand name mentions and awareness (to help build digital footprint)

Below I am listing selected directories that are still driving value to your website (if you are listed there) but more importantly, provide valuable user experience.

Featured sites:

 

Requirements to be listed

Why is it here?

Dmoz

No “mirror” and non-original-content sites”, no sites with illegal content, no sites with mostly affiliate links

The fact that Google still trusts Dmoz enough to show “anchor text or listings from” it is pretty self-explanatory.

Business.com

“Sites must serve as a resource for businesses or business professionals”. They actually have very strict guidelines listed here

Listing your site there actually drives traffic and brings trust. Note: I did find a few a bit forced “exact-match anchor text listings there” which I’d avoid if I were them

Dir Journal

No sites with broken links, only family-friendly sites, sites with cross-browser support, no sites with pop-ups,

Each site has a separate page listing * some stats, helpful links as well as description and most useful pages from that domain. That could become a powerful brand name asset! They also offer free webmaster tools and have a separate “local” directory

JoeAnt

“Our users expect relevant results with appropriate ratings”: sufficient content and contact info (for business websites) are required

I actually LOVED the site search feature ** showing different features of each website: It shows the site is very-well curated!

Yahoo Dir

Cross-browser support, no sites with “under construction” pages

It’s hard not to mention Yahoo when talking about directories. They say it’s too expensive to justify it though.

Jasmine

No pharmacy, affiliate-only, redirected sites (The guidelines are rather vague: “it is difficult to name the exact websites we reject”)

Best results are labeled. Category pages have lots of content beyond links. They provide 100 / 300-word review for each site (So they write the copy themselves: Neat!)

No websites with illegal or pornographic content, no affiliate or MLM sites, no mirror and non-original sites

The site overall is very user-friendly. I liked the individual listing pages: They have “related articles” and the ability to comment and rate

Isoosi

I actually couldn’t find clear quality guidelines on their submission page (I can assume it’s located elsewhere)

Positions itself more as a “human-empowered” search engine (they claim to have a crawler of their own), has a great focus on community

*Dir Journal listing screenshot:

Dir Journal

**JoeAnt search results:

JoeAnt

Honorable mentions:

I wasn’t able to find any arguments pro or against the below directories (or something worth noting in the “Why is it here?” column above), so I am just listing them because I know they have a very good reputation:

  • Aviva directory: One of the oldest, best-known directories out there. They say it’s trusted and can even drive traffic.
  • Alive Directory: Interestingly, it shows number of clicks on each link (A good sign it’s actually able of sending traffic)
  • Skaffe: I like that they show Google Plus button and have “Address” and telephone. I wish they supported that more (most listings provide no telephone; I couldn’t find a zip code that would have any search results)

Further reading:

What are your thoughts about web directories nowadays? Please share your thoughts!

Is Your Authority Site Safe From Negative SEO? A Look At PRWEB And PRNewswire

[Disclaimer: Contributors' views are their own. They do not necessarily represent Devshed views ]

Last month I wrote an article about Google’s payday loan update which seemed to hit several sites but bypassed YouTube.

This month I have decided to go and take a look at two of the most popular press release sites and see if they have recovered from the penalty.

The 1st site I looked at was PR Newswire, who was getting an estimated 441,000 organic visits per month in May before the penalty. As you can see in the image below they are now driving an estimated 47,800 organic visits per month to the site after the penalty.

 pr newswire traffic

The 2nd site I have been monitoring is PR Web, one of the other big players in the Press Release niche. PR Web was getting a whopping 760,000+ estimated organic visits per month in May and since the penalty they are getting just over 34,000 estimated organic visits.

prweb traffic

Due to these penalties both press releases companies have made sweeping changes to what they will allow to be covered in their releases moving forward.

For instance neither agency will allow releases to be published about HCG, Green Coffee Beans, Raspberry Ketone, Garcinia Cambogia, Electronic Cigarettes or Payday Loans.

Most of these products Google will happily to advertise for profit, as seen in the image below.

 garcinia

If you think about the implication of these penalties it should also make it pretty clear that negative seo can be applied to most anyone, regardless of the size, age or reputation of the site in question.

Let’s put this in perspective, both of these sites have millions of existing links pointing to them over the course of several years in the business. The behavior of a few black hat SEO’s out there caused the sites to lose rankings and traffic for keywords which resulted on up to a 90% drop in estimated organic traffic.

While it is unlikely this was an intentional negative SEO attempt the result was the same, the sites were penalized due to behavior outside of their direct control and links they did not build themselves.

How difficult would it be to replicate this same pattern of bad behavior and victimize other, smaller sites that are standing in the way of your rankings?

Matt Cutts put out a YouTube video discussing how negative seo is easily combated through the disavow tool and how webmasters might just find it a minor inconvenience to disavow links.

Below is a snapshot of PR Web’s 26 MILLION links across nearly 200,000 domains I am not sure about you, but I would think reviewing even 1% of those links to be more than a “minor” inconvenience, even if you are lucky enough to have a full time webmaster on your staff.

prweb links

The point is no matter what you do it is in your best interest to regularly check your backlink profile in Google Webmaster tools and 3rd party tools such as Majestic Seo. Many times the penalty is not applied right away and by the time you figure out you have been a victim of negative SEO you may have to go back months to see where those links have come from.

What do you think; do you think Google has made it too easy to use negative SEO as a tactic?