Friday, September 4, 2009

Got a Ghost Site No One Visits? Bring It Back to Life with Backlinks!

by Ernest Sharpe

Is yours one of the host of ghostly low-ranking sites that haunt the web? No one sees you, no one notices you. You're invisible. People walk right past you. Sometimes people walk through you. They must have made typos because they leave the moment they land.

Why? You've got a good-looking site, solid copy. You've nicely niched your business by service or locale or whatever. That site cost you time, labor and money. You built it and they did not come. It's enough to make you lose your faith in a movie slogan. So what's the problem? That's a head-scratcher! Let's take it step by patient step.

The Two "Hafta-Haves" of SEO

So maybe your problem is SEO? Can't be, you say. You're optimized! You've got as many keywords as the Lost Dutchman Mine has gold nuggets.

Trouble is you're just as lost. If keywords aren't keeping you back, chances are you're not properly backlinked. That's the other half of SEO, just as important as keywords; some would say more.

(Okay, okay. SEO is more complicated than keywords and backlinks, but not a lot -- at least for a small business. If this is a home-office project or the equivalent you can do much of this yourself -- or at least find out what you need.)

Web Word of Mouth

Back to backlinks. This is a two-minute article and we've got to keep focus. Let's assume your problem is backlinks. What are they?

You know what a link is, right? Well, "backlink" is just a term for a link to your site-to any page of your site-from somebody else's site.

What makes backlinks so important? Thank-or blame-the Great Almighty search engine, (not its real name). Way back in another millennium backlinking is what distinguished Godlike's algorithm from Yahoo's and the rest. (Of course, now all the search engines count backlinks.)

See, think of backlinks as web word-of-mouth. When sites sport your backlink, they're tacitly endorsing you. Enough backlinks and you've got a propulsion that drives you up, up, up page rank.

Spreading the Word

So how do you get your links on other sites? There's lots of ways but there's no cheap one-stop solution. It will cost you: money if you hire someone, time & labor if you do it yourself. But it's worth it. You won't see the difference immediately. It's gradual, but in a couple of months--depending on the number and quality of your backlinks--your tune will at least be on the charts, maybe even with a bullet.

Four Ways to Build Back-links

We'll go over five ways to build backlinks, with special attention to article submission. Why that? Well, it's one of the best ways and since I'm a copywriter it's my field of expertise. The other ways I know something about, but writing I know like the back of my hand (mainly because when I'm at the keyboard, mostly what I see is the back of my hands). Four popular ways, in order of success.

5. Backlink buying - There's guys out there selling backlink sites out of their car trunks. Avoid. What you get for your money is a bunch of landfills nobody visits. The search engine spiders place value on popular sites.

4. Backlink exchange - Trade backlinks with friends and neighbors, or join an association and swap 'em. Helpful but problematic. All too quickly your site is cluttered with backlinks. Yes, you can put everyone on a "links page," but that's devaluing your colleagues' links and encouraging low-quality linkers.

3. Comment posts - Make a comment on a popular blog and sign off with your link. Trouble is spammers do the same, so most blogs have "nofollow" instructions for search bots, i.e. your backlink won't influence your page rank. Somebody can still click and visit, but it won't help your visibility.

2. Social media - Definitely worth your while, but takes lots of attention. Lots. If you like taking care of three-year-olds, social media is for you.

And the Number One Way to Build Backlinks Is...

1. Article submission - What this article is about. It's easy! And fun! Just write a short piece--600 to 800 word--on what you know, preferably something to do with your site. Work on it; make it as good as you can. Then submit it to the top content sites.

Then do another. And another. Do at least a dozen. Yes, I know. Hey! you say, "what are content sites? Where are content sites? Just how do you submit to content sites?"

And besides that, you can't write, or you hate to write, or you don't have time to write. "Do a dozen articles? Pal, you're outta your mind!"

Writing for Links? That Stinks!

Okay, so It's not fun and easy. And admittedly it certainly isn't fair. Good writing very likely has nothing to do with your business. People come to you to find a house, or get their teeth straightened, or do their taxes - not for "articles," for cryin' out loud!

You're absolutely right, but I didn't make the rules. Take your beef to Otherwise just accept it as part of the cost of doing business on the web. The good news is that if you can't write (or don't have time, etc), you can very likely afford to hire somebody who can. There's lots of content writers on the web. Some of them actually good. Where? How? How much?

Sorry, out of time and space. Find out the rest in my next thrilling installment: Content or Con Game? Getting What You Pay for.

About the Author

Ernest Sharpe is a longtime copywriter who will write for YOU at (Hey, did you notice how well this article was written? Organized, humorous, chrystal-clear. No misspellings, no grammactical errors, no phony word-fill to pad it out. --I can do that for you too.) Get smart. Get Sharpe!. -- Get Sharpe at