Establishing links to your sites is almost always essential to rank anywhere in Google. In a few rare exceptions, you can find extremely low competition keywords that require no link building whatsoever.
For most sites; whether you are creating micro niche sites or a large authority site; some sort of link building will be required. However, with the aggression that Google has shown towards poor link profiles (via the Penguin update), what type of link building should be done for niche sites now? In addition, Matt Cutts has mentioned that the next Penguin update could be even worse.
Today is the first post of several that I will be doing over the next few weeks that explores that question. Specifically in today's post I want to compare and contrast some of the types of links that are typically used for micro niche sites vs. Authority sites. While the business model for both of these sites is very similar (rank in Google, get free traffic, monetize that free traffic) – the mindset is quite different.
The Difference Between Micro Niche Sites and Authority Sites
Here is the major difference in strategy for building micro niche sites vs. authority sites; and hence, the difference in link building tactics.
- Micro niche sites are built en masse (typically). The idea is to have hundreds or perhaps even thousands of sites that all make a very small amount each. These small sites are created with only a very small number of articles (1 to 5 usually). Out of the hundreds built, perhaps only 50% of them are worth keeping, and probably 20% overall are the real money makers. Its kinda like throwing wet spaghetti noodles at a wall and seeing which ones stick. Because of this “en masse” strategy, most of the process has to be automated – including link building.
- Authority sites focus on quality from the very beginning. Rather than trying to “throw spaghetti at a wall” to see what sticks, authority site builders pick 1 topic and focus on one site for months – and perhaps its the only site they ever build. These sites require dozens of articles and may get fresh new content continually (how much and how often really depends on the site). Because of this more hands on approach, the link building should also be more “manual” and less automated.
Link Building for Micro Niche Sites
This section is not meant to be an all-inclusive guide to link building for small niche sites. I've written a blog post in the past for a link building strategy I have used here (but its dated).
Getting links to your micro niche sites almost certainly has to be automated in some way. The feasibility of getting natural links, copying your competitors links, using guest posts, or getting other high quality links is just not realistic with dozens of sites each and every month. The micro niche strategy is more about finding keywords that don't require as many quality links.
So, when it comes down to it, if you choose keywords that are too difficult with a micro niche site (especially when you are working on dozens of others at the same time) – this becomes a site that just might get dropped rather than one that gets quality link building.
So, by necessity, the micro niche site builder needs to automate as much of the link building process as possible. Some automated link building tactics include:
- Using Unique Article Wizard to submit spun articles to hundreds of article directories and blogs. I still use Unique Article Wizard.
- Using services like Article Builder or Simply PLR to get pre-spun content that can be used in many different places to get links. I use both these services.
- Web 2.0 properties like WordPress.com, Tumblr.com, Squidoo.com. (hint – use Article Builder or Simply PLR to automate the content creation for these).
- Social bookmarking (lots of automated tools to do this).
- Article directories (lots of automated tools to do this).
- Web directories (automated tools or Fiverr). I haven't personally done this for my micro niche sites, but others do.
- Profile links or blog comments – I don't recommend as these are extremely low quality links.
- Public blog networks (lots of different services out there – but always at risk of getting discovered and shut down).
- Use your own private network of sites (expired domains). I haven't used, but can be a source of higher quality links. You can read more about this controversial method here.
In a nutshell, this covers most of the automated ways that I and others have used to build links to micro niche sites. Remember, these are NOT high quality links for the most part! And I'm not saying all of these should be used when building small sites. These are just links that can be automated, and therefore work well when building a high number of sites. Once you find the sites that perform well, you can then move on to creating more content and acquiring higher quality links (discussed below).
Overall, if you are building lots of small sites, you will likely need to employ some of the above tactics in order to automate the process. Yes, they are lower quality links, but they are also easy to acquire which makes them feasible when you have a large portfolio of sites.
Link Building for Authority Sites
Overall, these lists are not meant to be a discussion of ALL the tactics that can be used for back linking, but the below list will show some of the strategies that can be used for authority sites. In general, an authority site will target a slightly bigger keyword than micro niche sites; therefore, the link building will need to be more involved.
As such, you cannot automate high quality links (which are usually required to rank for bigger keyword topics). Here are a few ways to get links to your authority sites:
- Copy the links of your competitors using OpenSiteExplorer.org. See what sites are ranking in Google for your keyword, and then try to get the same links that they have. I am often surprised at how many links I am able to copy! Get a 30-day free trial to Open Site Explorer right here. Keep in mind that the links listed at the TOP of Open Site Explorer are the most powerful links (so try to copy those first if possible).
- Guest Posts.
- Establish quality Web 2.0 Properties. The difference here vs. web 2.0s for micro niche sites, is that you maintain and continually blog on these properties. Also, you would use unique, high quality content.
- High-end web directories (can't be automated).
- Network in your niche (get to know the other bloggers/sites in your industry and start interacting with them). Leads to natural links.
- Link bait campaigns (could be lots of things, but anything that attracts links naturally – not quick and simple to do).
- Use your own private network of sites (expired domains). Again this could be more risky or even “shady” – but its a common link building tactic and works when you have other quality web properties.
Obviously there are more methods than those listed here, but in general, these are higher quality and less easy to obtain types of links. The upside is that they also tend to have a much bigger impact on your search engine ranking for the long term. These are links that “stick”.
So, if you are building an authority site, you should not be trying to use the lower quality link building tactics used for micro-niche sites. On the other hand, if you are building micro-niche sites, you likely will not have the time or money to use the link building tactics discussed for authority sites. You link building strategy will be determined by the site building business you choose to pursue.
I've Only Scratched the Surface
When it comes to link building, there is so much more that needs to be discussed. For that reason, I will be writing several more posts on the subject in the next few weeks – so stay tuned!
Overall, your link building strategy will be dictated by the type of site and overall approach you take. If you are building LOTS of micro niche sites, you will through necessity need to automate much of the process; however, for authority sites a more manual approach is a much smarter option.
What do you think? Do you see a difference for link building for micro niche sites vs authority sites? I would love to hear your thoughts.