Thursday, March 20, 2008

Long-Term Link Growth, Part III

Let me begin by reminding you that there are lots of reasons why inbound links are beneficial to your site. First of all, links bring traffic. If there are a lot of fingers out there on the ‘net, pointing the way back to your site, there’s a much bigger chance that people will follow those and come to your site, especially if these links are from sites where your audience already gathers.

Second, the search engines will rank you higher if they see lots of inbound links. They equate inbound links with importance and popularity. And if they think you’re important and popular, you rank higher.

Finally, if a lot of other sites and pages are linking to yours, then there are more opportunities for the search engine “spider” programs to find you, and index you. You can’t be found on a search engine if the search engine doesn’t know you exist! One of the best ways to get indexed is to get lots of inbound links!

In the previous two articles in this series, I talked about quick ways to get inbound links, then other ways that took a bit more effort, and finally, in this article, we’ll talk about some of the slower, but most effective ways of getting inbound links. These methods take the most time, effort, and creativity, but in the long run, they draw the most traffic and the most search engine value.

  1. Submit to DMOZ is a directory of websites. It’s indexed and maintained by humans, rather than robots, as a free service to the users of the ‘net. One of the nice things about getting your site listed in DMOZ is that not only does it provide a very valuable inbound link to your site, but it also gets you listed in lots of other search engines (they often index the sites found here).

It’s quick and easy to sign up (you have to follow their specific instructions), but since it’s maintained and indexed by humans, it takes a long time to be included. Submit to this one early in your site’s life so as to maximize effectiveness.

  1. Get someone else to write about you

Some time ago, as I was starting up a website for a game I’ve been designing (notice that clever linkback right there?), I noticed in my traffic statistics some clickthroughs from a blog I’d never heard of before. I jumped to the blog and found out, to my surprise, that he’d found my game and reviewed it! And his blog review was drawing traffic to my site. More surprising was the fact that months later, I was still getting traffic from it, even though the review was buried in his archives.

If you can get someone else to write about you, that’s a really cool way to get a really great inbound link. In fact, it’s kind of the “holy grail” of website promotions. It has the most value because, since it’s written into the content of the other person’s article, the search engines give it more credibility. The search engines give it more weight still because it’s not reciprocal.

Add to that the fact that the other site’s readers become curious about your site through the “endorsement” of the site they visited (who might be one of their favorite and trusted sites). They click through to see what the fuss is about.

The challenge in getting someone else to write about you is, of course, having something at your site worth writing about. Sometimes it can take a while to think of that uniqueness, that angle. Be creative and think about it, and it will come to you.

  1. Write some really good stuff at your site

In his book, “Purple Cow”, Seth Godin talks about how to get people talking about your site. He says that if you want people to remark about you, your site needs to be “remarkable”. So, you want to have some content at your site that’s worth talking about. Think of your audience. What are they wanting to know? What are they searching for? What problem do your products solve? Write some information that people are looking for and people need. Don’t be afraid to even be a bit controversial. That can often draw attention and traffic.

These strategies, combined with the quicker ones in the previous articles will, over time, build up a catalog of inbound links that will draw the traffic to your site. This traffic will be targeted and qualified as your potential customers.

Mark is the co-director of, the search marketing consulting arm of Clickincome ( Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his MoBoy blog.

More Ways to Get Inbound Links, Part II

Last time I talked about some quick ways to establish some inbound links to help your website. This time, I’m continuing with that. These methods that I’m going to talk about are a little slower in effectiveness. While the first set of ideas dealt with getting inbound links set up quickly, these are more concerned with addressing your target audience.

Remember that there are three steps that underlie all of internet marketing. First, to identify your audience, to know who you’re trying to market to. Second, to find where they already are on the ‘net. Search out the blogs they read, the forums they participate it, the sites they explore. Third, to get links to your site visible in those locations. If you follow those three steps, your traffic will grow and your website will prosper.

So, first of all, you’ll think about who you’re trying to market to, and you’ll find out what websites they’re already surfing. Then follow these suggestions:

  1. Write An Article, Submit It To Other Sites

What does your audience want to learn about? What information (not just products) are they looking for? What problem is out there that your product solves? Take the answers to these questions and write an informative article around them. Make it about 750-1000 words long, and make sure that it’s filled with good, relevant keywords.

Then, go and find articles directories on the ‘net and submit your article to them. One to try is, but there are many other. Just go to google and search for “Articles Directory”. Once your article is accepted, they’ll make it available at their site, including a link to your site. Right away, that gives you a linkback. In addition, if anyone comes to the directory and uses your article in their site or their ezine, you get more inbound links.

Don’t just wait for the directory to distribute your article. Go out and find sites and blogs that are of interest to your audience. Offer your article to them, in exchange for a linkback.

  1. Reciprocal Linking

Reciprocal linking is simply the act of exchanging a link. You link to me, and I’ll link to you. This is often looked down on in promotional circles, claiming that it has a lessened impact on the search engines. While this may or may not be true, I, myself, get a lot of traffic from my reciprocal inks. The key is to exchange the links with relevant sites, not just anyone. Remember: Find your audience!

  1. Post Relevant Comments On Relevant Blogs

Find blogs that are of interest to your audience. An easy way is to do a search for your site’s theme or focus with the word “blog” after it. For example, you might search for “fishing blog” or “skydiving blog” or whatever. Then, start visiting and reading the blogs that appear in that list. You might also check out the blogs that each blogger is linking to, because they’ll probably be similar in subject matter.

While you’re there at a blog, read a couple of postings. If one of them inspires a thought, post it as a comment on the blog entry. Most blogging systems have the ability to input a URL with the comment, so use your website. That’ll create an inbound link.

Now, don’t just go to blogs indiscriminately leaving comments. At the very least, they’ll get deleted. Rather, post thoughtful comments on relevant blog postings. Add value to the conversation.

  1. Post Relevant Comments In Relevant Web-Based Forums

Website-based forums are a little trickier to find. Most of them are a part of someone’s website. So, while you’re out surfing for reciprocal links, look for the word “forum”, or “bulletin board”, or maybe “message board” on someone’s website. Click in and check it out. If you can add to the conversation, do it, and have your website address in your message, establishing an inbound link. Remember, always make it relevant!

  1. Write About Someone Else, Then Tell Them

If you find a cool website that you know will be of interest to your audience, write about it and post that in your own site or your own blog. Include a link. But don’t stop there. Go back to the site and tell them that you wrote about them. It’s a good bet that they’ll be excited to see someone else writing about them, and they’ll link back to your site telling their visitors, “Check out our review at!”

Most of all, as you’re out on the ‘net, just keep looking for ways to share your site with others.

Mark is the co-director of, the search marketing consulting arm of Clickincome ( Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his MoBoy blog.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Quick Ways to Get Inbound Links

We all know that inbound linking is one of the biggest factors that influence a page’s search engine ranking. It’s all a part of that game we call “link popularity”. Originally pioneered by Google, it plays an important part in virtually all search engine algorithms, now.

In addition, inbound linking brings directly clicking traffic. Can’t beat that, now, can you?

The thing is, that it can take some real time to build up a significant amount of inbound links. A lot of people don’t realize just how long and steady this process can be. You’re not just shooting for five or six links, here. Ultimately, you’ll want hundreds, even thousands of inbound links. That can take some hours, and some long-term effort. Even still, there are a lot of things that you can do to get started very quickly.

Each one of these suggestions takes less than a half hour to complete. Granted, the results won’t be fancy, but the inbound link will be established, and that’s the bottom line.

  1. Make an informational page on a free two-page website

This one is especially effective for customers of Clickincome, but even still, anyone can go there and sign up for a free two-page informational/brochure website. With the free site established, build a main page and an informational page that reflect the subject matter of your main web page, or talk about the uses of your products. Think inform, not sell, and your pages will be more impactful. Write the text with some good, strong relevant keywords. Link both pages back to your website. Then go and register the site with Google and Yahoo.

  1. Make a blog

There are hundreds of free blog hosts out on the ‘net. Two of the most popular are and You can create a new free account in a matter of minutes. Write a single blog posting that’s relevant to your site’s theme, and add a link to your main website. Blogs hosted at popular sites also get indexed by the search engines often, and that will mean that your main site will also get indexed quickly and often.

  1. Make a Facebook and a Myspace page

Two of the biggest social networking sites today are Facebook and Myspace. You can join both of them for free, and set up a profile webpage with links back to your main site. Each one will take you under a half hour to set up, and you'll have more inbound links!

  1. Make a Squidoo Lens and a page

Sites like Squidoo and are called “Social bookmarking” sites. Once you create an account, you create a page of your own. Squidoo calls it a “lens”. Basically, it’s a page where you share your favorite links, and, of course, one of your favorite links has to be your own website. You can also add affiliates, and other stuff to your profile to attract other visitors as well as make a little cash.

  1. Make a YouTube channel

One of the cool things about YouTube is that you don’t even have to make any video clips to create a page there. Simply go to the main page, sign up, and choose a few video clips to add to your profile page (your “channel”), and add a link to your main site. Make the video clips relevant to your website’s theme, and they might even draw traffic.

Remember throughout this process to keep the content relevant. Use things in each spot to attract your audience. Set these up in places where your own audience is going. Get in front of the people who are interested in your products. Also, as you're setting up the inbound link to your main site, remember to use keywords in the link text!

Another important thing to remember is to interlink all the sites and pages you’ve built. Not just to your main site, but back and forth to and from each other as well. That way the entire network shares the love!

Doing these simple things can jump start the inbound linking on your site. You can, of course, go back into each of these sites from time to time and adapt them. Choose new videos for your YouTube channel, add a blog entry, add some more relevant links to your lens or your page. Update and maintain them, and they’ll serve you well.

Mark is the co-director of, the search marketing consulting arm of Clickincome ( Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his MoBoy blog.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

From Dust Thou Art…

Let’s face it, much of life is drudgery, mundane, and annoying. I’m not talking about the real struggles or hardships, I’m just talking about the gnats in your ears all day long. These are things that bug you, but don’t really shut you down.

We’ve all got them. I think that a large part of success in life is being able to take those things and transform them into something beautiful, something useful, something positive. Can you see beauty in the daily grind?

A long time ago, I was working at a one-hour photo lab. One of my co-workers and I, on a day off, took our cameras to a park and each shot a couple of rolls. We came back and developed our rolls of film. One of the other co-workers was looking at my shots as they came out of the printing machine. He said, “I don’t get this one. Why would anyone want to take a picture of a rusty old tin can?”

He held it up. It was, in fact, a photo of a rusty tin can, with the label peeled half off, nestled into some mud and grass. I just shrugged. I said that I was intrigued by the colors and lines that I saw in the composition. He looked at it again. “I guess I never thought of it that way…”

And then we went on with our day.

But that stuck with me. I hadn’t thought of it as an ugly can, but rather intriguing and beautiful lines and colors.

The other day, I got an email forwarded to me of a man who is getting a significant amount of notoriety on the web because of his own efforts in this very thing. Look at this picture:

The image is, of course, famous, and the sketch of it is very well-rendered by someone with some real artistic skill.

Here’s one of my favorites by this same artist:

What makes these pictures even more stunning is the realization that the “canvas” and medium this artist is using is the dust that accumulates on the back window of his car as he drives down his unpaved country road to his Texas home. Here, the artist Scott Wade, stands in his “studio” and contemplates his next masterpiece.

To really enjoy this experience, go to his website and explore the gallery.

How many of us would be complaining about how the county never paves the roads, or how often you have to hose off the car? How many of us would see the opportunity in something so otherwise troublesome or mundane?

Scott has been written up all over the place. He’s appeared on television and in print numerous times. As an artist, he’s getting quite a name for himself, simply because he looked at the normal and saw the potential for beauty.

So, think of the mundane and annoying in your life. What can you do to turn those pesky challenges into opportunities?

Mark is the co-director of, the search marketing consulting arm of Clickincome ( Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his MoBoy blog.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Sometimes My Life…

Recently, I’ve been focusing my studies and my attention toward topics of personal development. I’ve been reviewing things I’ve written here, and in other places, that deal with making me better.

I’m not really sure why that’s coming to the surface right now. I’ve learned in my creative side that when something moves from the back of my mind to the front of my mind it’s because I’m getting ready to deal with those things more. If I find myself thinking about an particular song or idea more and more, it’s a sign to me that, on a subconscious level, I’m ready to work on it.

So, maybe I’m getting ready to refocus on my own self-improvement again.

I’ve noticed that my work in that area ebbs and flows. Sometimes I focus hard on my goals and making my dreams real. Other times, I settle into a “groove of life” and coast. I’d like to be able to say that my whole life is one of constant progress and improvement, but that’s simply not the case. The reality is, however, that in the long run, I do get better. I make a push and I learn and grow, then I plateau and coast for a while, maybe even backslide a little. I make another push, and then rest.

I don’t think I’m all that strange in my patterns, either. I think we all go through “growth spurts” like that. I’m not sure that it’s a bad thing. But I think that if we’re aware of it, we can control it better. We can better take advantage of the times when we’re poised to grow, and we can keep from falling too far behind when we’re not.

A long time ago, I was noticing this as I was approaching a particular time of growth and pro-activeness in my life. It inspired me, and a very powerful song (at least to me) came out of it. Allow me to share the lyrics with you today:

Sometimes My Life
Words and Music by Mark Hansen, 12/14/98

Sometimes my life is like a river
It's hard to see around the bend
I just float along the current
Never knowing where it ends

Sometimes my life is like a highway
That stretches far as I can see
A long black stripe that I've been walking
A long black stripe ahead of me

Sometimes my life is like a mountain
It's easy to see but it's hard to climb
Sometimes my life is like a song
It's easy to sing but it's hard to rhyme

Sometimes I work against the current
Paddling upstream without an oar
I struggle hard and then I find
I'm a little closer to the shore

Sometimes I try to choose the highway
To take charge of my destiny
And each time I check my road map
I'm a little closer to eternity

Sometimes my life is like a mountain
It's easy to see but it's hard to climb
Sometimes my life is like a song
It's easy to sing but it's hard to rhyme

But I wanna climb that mountain
I wanna climb it all the way
And I'll be standing up there singing
And making rhymes for each new day

Sometimes my life is like a mountain
It's easy to see but it's hard to climb
Sometimes my life is like a song
It's easy to sing but it's hard to rhyme

But I'm gonna climb that mountain
I'm gonna climb it all the way
Then I'll be standing up there singing
And making rhymes for each new day

Now I'm gonna move that mountain
Move it to where I want to be
And I'll move it with a song
That rhymes me to eternity

It’s true that it’s much easier to look at the mountain than it is to climb it. It’s much easier to just hum the tune than it is to write it and to own it. It’s much easier to just raft down the river than it is to paddle and steer where you want to go.

Ultimately, however, easy doesn’t get you anywhere. It’s not easy to change your life. It’s not easy to make choices and follow through on them. It’s not easy to make a business or a life successful.

But it’s much more satisfying than the alternatives.

Mark is the co-director of, the search marketing consulting arm of Clickincome ( Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his MoBoy blog.