Since the release of Google’s new “Panda” search engine algorithm, the quality of the backlinks pointing to a website has become more important than ever in determining its PageRank and standing on search results pages. Submitting articles to free directories to build backlinks was once a staple of online marketing. However, Panda has greatly reduced the traffic that article directories receive, making article marketing a less valid way of attracting backlinks than it once was. In fact, too many backlinks from article directories known to contain poor-quality content can potentially damage your website’s reputation. Attracting backlinks to your website and remaining competitive in a post-Panda environment requires a bit of creativity and finesse.
People love the idea of getting something for free, and if you announce a contest properly by sending notes to several of the major websites related to your field, you will likely get a mention – along with a backlink – from several of them. Smaller blogs that get most of their content from these primary news sources will also follow suit. If you operate a product review website, you may already have items that would make excellent contest prizes. If you do not have something that you can use as a prize, consider asking a company related to the topic of your website to sponsor a contest. This attracts positive publicity for both you and the company. If your website is new and is having difficulty getting readers to comment on articles and form a community, consider offering a prize to the person who posts the most high-quality comments within a specified period of time.
An infographic is an illustration that presents a large volume of information in a small space using pictures, graphs and other visualizations. Infographics were very popular tools for website promotion in 2010-11. Although they have not lost their power to educate and inform, infographics no longer attract backlinks based on novelty value alone. An infographic needs to be cleanly laid out and visually attractive. It also must present information that people are unaware of or use known information to draw a new conclusion that people may not have considered previously. A great infographic takes information that requires a great deal of time to compile and presents it in a format that can be read and understood in minutes.
Panda rewards websites that publish original content. Although adding your own spin to news headlines found elsewhere on the Web is not entirely unoriginal, the websites that you use to discover news to report on will always be more authoritative than your own if you solely follow this approach. You can greatly enhance the value of your website by creating content resulting from your own original research. You might conduct a study related to your website’s topic and publish a report of your findings, or write an original how-to article based on your field of expertise. Information not available elsewhere in any form attracts attention, and attention attracts backlinks.
Although it may hurt a little to write content and give it away, an article published on another website can sometimes be more valuable to you than it would be on your own website. Make a list of the most influential websites in your field and write a high-quality, original article full of relevant content. Send copies of the article to the websites on your list and ask if they would be interested in publishing it as a guest post. Like you, the owners of these websites want content that is not available elsewhere, so after offering your article to one website, wait a few days for a response before offering it to someone else. Each website that accepts you as a guest author adds to your portfolio of high-quality backlinks. In addition, people who frequent these websites will see your name and come to recognize you as an authority in your field. Do not be intimidated by the idea of approaching major websites; you might be surprised by the number that will jump at the opportunity to receive high-quality content for free. Guest posting may even lead to regular work as a paid contributor.
Nothing attracts backlinks quite as well as controversial content, and it is possible to publish something controversial without offending or alienating your website’s existing audience as long as you can back your statements up with facts. For example, publish a post explaining why the leading product in your field of expertise is inferior to a lesser-known product, or publish evidence proving that a tweak or modification commonly believed to improve the performance of a product does not work. You could find a recent statement made by someone considered an authority in your field and prove why it is incorrect. If approached correctly, all of these controversial topics have the potential to attract backlinks to your website without generating negative publicity.