The Single Most Important Aspect of Niche Site Success

kevinToday we have a guest post from Kevin Graham, an HPD customer who also owns a bulk hosting platform. For the past few months, he’s been building links and making money with one of our sites. He’s also been blogging his progress in a case study of his own (link to this is further down the page).

For this post though, Kevin has given a very “beginner friendly” introduction to link building, how and why it still works, and a few suggestions of his own. 

Over to him.

When you’re buying a prebuilt site from Human Proof Designs, you’re purchasing a site that has already had a lot of the hard work done for you. Dom and his team have taken care of the niche selection, keyword research, content writing and site building for you – all of which can be daunting for beginners to this business.

However, there’s one piece of the niche site success jigsaw puzzle that still needs to be done. And that’s working on the link building, in order to get your fresh new site to rank on the first page of Google. In this article, I’ll be talking about how and why links matter and how you can get links for your niche web site.

Why Do Links Matter?

Step 1: Build or Buy a Niche Web Site
Step 2: Get Quality Links
Step 3: Get Traffic and Profit

While there are over 200 ranking factors that are considered by Google’s algorithm, the most important factor is still links to your web site (aka backlinks). Google has experimented with removing backlinks from their algorithm before, and the results weren’t good. I believe that backlinks will continue to be around for quite some time as the most important ranking factor.

When someone links to your site, Google’s algorithm treats that as a vote for the quality of your web site. The more votes that you get from other trusted web sites, the better your chances of ranking highly in the search results. But, before you rush over to Fiverr and buy 10,000 backlinks for your site (definitely not a good idea), it’s important to know the difference between a backlink that will help your site and one that will either do nothing or hurt your site.

The Difference Between High Quality and Low Quality Links

Google has a list of trusted, authoritative sites that are where their record of the Internet starts. Think along the lines of trusted publishers of newspapers, magazines, and other authoritative sources. These trusted sites link out to a selection of sites that they trust, and then those sites link out to other sites web sites, and so on and so on. The closer a site is to the first list of trusted sources, the higher quality the links are from that site.

HPD-Article-Link-Graphic

In the diagram above, we see cnn.com (which we can assume is a trusted site) linking to siteA.com and siteX.com, and siteA.com linking to siteB.com. If you get a link from siteX.com or siteA.com, it’s going to be a more powerful link than a link from siteB.com, because siteX.com is one step closer to cnn.com.

Google previously shared their quality or trust rankings of web sites publicly through their PageRank indicator in the Google Toolbar. However, they stopped sharing updates of this number with the public in December 2013 – almost three years ago. Instead, we now use backlink inspection tools, like Moz Open Site Explorer, Majestic and Ahrefs who have their own metrics, which is our best bet to guess the potential PageRank and trust of a site.

How Can I Get High Quality Links to My Web Site?

There are a wide range of strategies to get links for your web site, but typically, the easier that a link is to get, the less likely it is going to be a quality link. Directories of web sites or blog comment links are pretty easy links to pick up, and therefore are generally low quality links that will provide very little value.

So, how can you get these all important, quality links to help rank your site? There’s a number of ways, and they’re generally referred to in three different categories.

  • White Hat: White Hat links are those links which are generally within the parameters of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, which means your site is unlikely to get penalised from your own link building efforts. Guest posts (like this one) on relevant sites within your niche or industry is a great example of white hat link building.
  • Grey Hat: While not technically within the Webmaster Guidelines, these types of links can often appear to be very similar to White Hat links to visitors to the site. This is the type of link building that I use for my affiliate sites including the case study site, rebuilding sites on expired domains to link to my money sites.
  • Black Hat: This one is a contested category, but generally involves using automated software tools to generate a large number of links, typically using “spun” (automatically rewritten) content or injecting links into hacked web sites – the Russian SAPE network is a good example of that.

Guest posting, when done right, can be a great strategy to build quality backlinks – but the outreach and time that is required to produce high quality content for other people’s sites that they are willing to publish it can be tough. This article took about five hours for me to write and edit, and getting it posted leveraged the connection that I have built up with Dom over several months.

Guest posting has been used for about 10 years now as a method of getting backlinks for sites, which means that most web site owners have seen hundreds or thousands of guest post pitches in the past, and may delete your email without even reading it. If I was trying to get this published on someone else’s blog that I have no connection with, it could have taken 20-50 emails to find a blogger who would be willing to publish this post for me. The general principle for guest posts is that you should save your best content to be posted on other sites, so that you’re more likely to get your posts approved and get traffic from that site from readers who decide to click through to visit your site.

Here’s a few more popular white hat link building methods:

  • Broken Link Building: Made famous by Brian Dean of Backlinko, this is where you find a page that no longer exists on the web. You then recreate a similar page, ideally better than the old one, and email anyone who has a link to that page, asking them to update the link to point to your new page instead.
  • Infographics: Much like guest posts, getting infographics published can be very tough now as they too have been overused as a method of link building by bloggers for at least 5 years.
  • Skyscraper Method: Similar to the concept of broken link building and also shared by Brian Dean, except it doesn’t rely on the old post going offline. Instead, find a great piece of content that is already ranking, create a better and more in-depth version and then reach out to people who are linking to it, asking them to include your link too.
  • Round Up Posts: Who doesn’t like to share a link to a blog post where they’ve been included as an expert. Corbett Barr of Fizzle has used these successfully in the past and they’re a great method of getting links and traffic when launching a new blog.

My Favorite Way to Get Links

Depending on your industry and the quality of the information on your web site, it can be very tough to get white hat links. If your site only contains affiliate content, it can be very tough to get other web site owners to link to your site.

This is why I like to use Private Blog Networks, a grey hat link building tactic. In the true definition of a private blog network, it is a private network owned by you that you use for linking to your own sites. By owning your own network and using it exclusively to link to your sites, you’ll have better control over the quality and can generally avoid a lot of the problems associated with public networks.

Over on my blog at Bulk Buy Hosting, I’m working on a case study that involves taking a site that I bought from Human Proof Designs, and building links to it from a network of 20 expired domains.

In the first seven weeks of the case study, I bought a site from Human Proof Designs and built up my network of sites, and now I’m doing monthly income, rankings and earnings reports. If you’ve ever been curious to see how much you can earn from one of the HPD’s prebuilt sites, I’m sharing all of the numbers in my monthly updates. The case study also includes the information you need to follow along. Buy a niche web site, get quality links and then profit.

  • Kevin Graham

    Hey Dom! Thanks for letting me share this guest post on link building with your audience. I’ll be monitoring the comments section to answer any questions that people may have.