Backlink Ideas – Document Hosting Sites

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A quick note:

I created a draft of this post weeks before the Penguin Update from Google.  While many people are still dealing with the aftermath of Penguin and Panda, building backlinks by syndicating your documents and articles via document sharing sites is still a great way to be heard…and pick up a backlink or two along the way.

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Most people know that in order to rank for certain terms in the search engines like Google, they need to build quality, keyword specific backlinks to their website…but, don’t know where to start.

Enter this series of posts where I will walk you through great, free backlink ideas that anyone with a computer, website/webpage (there is a difference) to promote, and an internet connection can do when they have some time.

Quality Backlinks From Quality Content

First, lets talk a little bit about content.  Content has always been and will always be king.  In my opinion, if you want long-term, lasting backlinks then you need to create good content.  This is not hard if you: 1) are know a lot about your product/industry 2) are passionate about what you do.  By creating good content, be it a report, how-to, review, video, podcast, or blog post, you are giving yourself a great platform for quality backlinks (as well as doing a host of other things like building your authority).

More important than the “backlink opportunity” is that you might get someone to read / watch /listen to your content that you would not otherwise have been able to get in front of had you not posted your document on this site.  That IS the goal.  The backlink is really a side-benefit.  Keeping this in mind with all of your link building efforts will pay dividends.

In short, I am going to assume that you are not reading this because you are lazy and uninterested in what you are doing with your online venture(s).  If you are looking for quick link ideas so that you can build links to your Acai Berry affiliate page, sorry…but, I am gearing this towards people will real, unique content.

Building Links With Document Sharing Sites

With that out of the way, let’s talk about today’s idea: Building Backlinks With Document Sharing Sites.

Why Document Sharing Sites?

Document sharing sites are a great way to publish your content in a professional format or simply in a different format.  You can share PDF files, Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint files.  You can share simple text or RDF files.  There are a host of other file formats that many document sharing sites support, but it really is not important to list all of them here.  What is important is that the major search engines (and a bunch of smaller ones) have the ability to parse or read these files.  It is also important to realize that using one of these formats might be a big help to a potential user or customer.

For example, you might have a checklist put together for traveling with a small child.  Using the PDF format would be great to use because when people print it out, it retains your original format and layout.  Printing from a web page will probably not do that.  Maybe you have created a Powerpoint presentation that explains the benefits and features of your new product…this might be a great way for you to present your product to a new customer or client.

In my mind, and this is simply my own opinion, it also seems more natural to me that if you are really in business, you will have content created in a host of different formats that can be found all over the internet.  If you are a car stereo manufacturer, it would stand to reason that your installation manuals, product brochures, press releases, catalog(s), product lists, price sheets, promotional videos, podcasts, radio ads (audio), and any number of other items would be found on retail, personal, and other websites.  As someone who has always been working with search engine optimization, I have always tried to think about what would make any website look “natural.”  Publishing content beyond basic HTML is something any company is and has been doing.

The reality is, these are another great opportunity to get your content seen.  AND, it is a great and legitimate way to get a backlink to your site.

List of Document Sharing Sites

I am writing this post in Mid September, 2011…and this list is sure to change and evolve as time goes by.  A good way of finding sites to submit to is to use the “related” operator in Google (here is a great guide to Google search operators).  Once you have a good site that you like to use, type in related:websiteyoulike.com on Google.  You will get a list of websites that are probably good candidates for you to submit to.  Here is a list of sites that you may want to post your content to:

  1. Scribd
  2. Docstoc
  3. Google Docs
  4. issuu
  5. box.net
  6. 4shared.com
  7. esnips
  8. mediafire
  9. Zoho
  10. Docshare
  11. authorstream
  12. divshare
  13. slideshare
  14. yudu

This is by no means the end-all-be-all list of document sharing sites.  This is just a starting point.  If you are looking for sites to share Powerpoint presentations, then search for “powerpoint sharing” or “powerpoint sites”.  You can even use the “filetype” operator and search for Powerpoint documents in Google (filetype:.ppt).

What Should I Publish?

We touched on some ideas of things you can publish above in the talk about your assets.  Anything that is or could be of value to your clients or customers…or to anyone really, is something you should consider publishing.  But, don’t just start submitting stuff willy nilly.  Read over everything you are considering publishing.  Be sure that there is a way for people to get more information, know how/where to order your product, sign up for your newsletter, or whatever you are trying to get them to ultimately do in at least one, prominent location in the document, video, or audio.  Give them a little blurb about you or your product and with a link using descriptive anchor text.  Don’t just whip through this without much thought.  You will be surprised at how much traffic this stuff can generate.

If you are really good, you can use Google’s URL builder so that you can track every link in every document (if you are using Google Analytics).  Yes, you will get your link juice using this stuff…it may just take a little bit longer to kick in.  Having this information is great.  Or, you can leave out the Google URLs. I have seen one person in particular mention that he doesn’t think it is a good idea.

Submitting Content

There is never a substitute for doing something yourself.  The reality is, nobody will do something as well as you will.  But, there are a number of different options when it comes to submitting your documents to these sites:

  1. Do it yourself – Yeah, this is the best option, but submitting to these sites can get pretty boring.  Worse is actually setting up the accounts…see below for help with that.
  2. Pay someone to do it for you – There are tons of people out there who are waiting to take your money to submit documents for you.  IF you go this route, be sure that you will get a detailed list of what was submitted, to what site, when, and the document URL so that you can make sure the document is available online and can be found.
  3. Use software to submit – This is probably going to have the lowest success rate, but can obviously cover a lot more ground than you or the human you are going to pay to do it for you can.  The reality is, most of the people you might pay are probably using some kind of submission software.  There are a couple of big software platforms out there
    • SE Nuke – I am not a subscriber…it just felt a little slimey to me when I went to check it out.  It has a ton of features beyond simple submissions…but, I cannot speak to it as I do not subscribe to the service.
    • Magic Submitter – This is a much lower cost alternative to SE Nuke, and I have seen it work.  However, I think the days of automatic submissions is really numbered.  Completion rates/success rates for these applications is not good. And, if you are writing real content (like you should be) then you want every single submission to work, right? Do it manually.

 Rich Snippets

One final thought for those of you wondering why you want to publish your hard work on someone else’s site.  There are a number of good reasons that come to mind.  First, diversity.  While some people (like Warren Buffet) think diversification is not a good idea, in this case, I think it has merit.  Not only are you able to leverage the authority of some of these big document sharing sites, but you are also making sure you do not have all of your eggs in one basket.

Today, with Google’s Penguin update giving many webmasters pause, those who published real, quality content (not spun articles) on 3rd party sites may have more traffic coming their way than they did before Penguin, or more than they would have had they only published content on their site.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in building a strong website with great content as the cornerstone, but diversifying with 10 or 20 percent of the content you create is not a bad idea.

The point of this section though is to talk about Rich Snippets.  You can add Rich Snippets authorship to many 3rd party sites…and I don’t see any reason why it will not be a part of just about all of them soon. So, this is a great time to get on this before everyone is doing it.

 

 

How to Add Rich Snippets Authorship for HubPages

Following up on how to get your picture next to your SERP listings, I thought I would show you that you can also get Rich Snippet goodness for authoring articles on OTHER sites as well.

Today’s example is going to be HubPages.  I am not going to get into “what HubPages is” other than to say, it is a site where authors can publish articles.  They have a lot of authority in the search engines as HubPages has a lot of content to offer users.  So, if you are an aspiring author or publisher, it is a great resource to help build your own authority.

NOTE: This tutorial assumes you already have Rich Snippets showing for your own website, or you have them showing for a website that you contribute to.  If not, please see this Google Rich Snippets How-To….and that you have a HubPages account. =P

Now, on to getting Rich Snippets to show for your HubPages listings in the SERPs…

Edit Your HubPages Profile

The first thing you are going to want to do is log into your account on HubPages.  Once in there, you will click on “my profile”…

The My Account link on HubPages

 

…and then click on the Edit Profile link…

 

Edit HubPages Profile

 

In the text box you are presented with, you will want to modify your bio so that you have a link pointing to your Google+ profile.  The link will have to have ?rel=author appended to the end.

 

Adding Google+ link to HubPages bio

I would recommend the anchor text (the text of the link you will create) be your name with a “+” on the end (no space).

Clicking on the hyperlink button in the text editor will give you a pop-up like this one.  Use the URL to YOUR Google+ profile and add the ?rel=author as shown below:

 

Formatting the Google+ Author Link

 

Ok, so save all of that business and let’s move on to the next step.

Add Contributor Link to Google+

The other part that makes all of this work is “claiming” your profile on Google+ by adding a link to your hubpages profile FROM Google+.  So, as we did in my Rich Snippets tutorial, we are going to add a contributor link.  Rather than rewriting it all here, please just see my original Rich Snippets tutorial if you are not sure how to add a Contributor link to your Google+ profile.

Testing Tool Time

Now that you have added a link to your Google+ profile from your HubPages profile, and vice versa, we are ready to test things out.  Using my wife as our example again, we will put her HubPages profile URL into the Google Rich Snippets Testing Tool

Danielle's Hubpages Profile in Google's Rich Snippet Testing Tool

 

You should see your picture displayed next to your listing when you enter your HubPages profile URL (danielle’s is http://daniellebianchi.hubpages.com) into the testing tool.  If that works, you should also be able to enter the URL for a piece of content you have uploaded to HubPages:

HubPages Rich Snippets Sample

 

It is really pretty simple.  If you run into problems let me know in the comments below and I will see if we can’t get it working.

Best,

Jason

 

 

How to Add Google Rich Snippets to Your Web Site

If you are living in a cave or just had a baby, then you are excused.  Otherwise, I am sure you are aware of Google’s Rich Snippets…or at least have seen them in the SERPs.  Rich Snippets can be anything from an author picture, thumbnail image of a video, stars from a product or service review, list of audio files, or even the breadcrumb navigation from your website.

Tracking people’s eyes has shown that there appears to be a positive correlation between having an image next to a SERP listing and interest.  So, the bottom line is, if you want people to check out your listing on the Google search results pages…getting some images next to them is a great idea.

Rich Snippets is one of Google’s advancements that, I believe, will pay huge dividends to those who choose to be early adopters.  Not only does Google get to jazz up their SERPs, they get some additional benefits as well…

Author / Publisher Association

That’s right, part of the deal here is that Google is able to associate (or authenticate if you like) authors and publishers.  The Author Snippet (your mug shot) is provided by associating a piece of content (article, video, blog post, etc) with a Google+ profile. You link your content to your author page on your website OR you can link a piece of content or author page on a 3rd party website to your Google+ profile as well.

IF you do it right, you get the disco lights.

How Do I Get Rich Snippets Next to My Listings?

Armed with the right knowledge, you can easily add Rich Snippets to your web pages displaying your photo next to your SERP listings in just a few minutes. You need to accomplish 5 things the first time you add Rich Snippets to your website (we will cover all of them in detail below):

  1. Create a Google+ Profile if you don’t have one
  2. Add your website to your Google+ Profile
  3. Associate your content with your author profile on your website
  4. Link your author profile on your website with your Google+ profile
  5. Notify Google that your website is Google Snippets enabled

Here is a breakdown of how I would attack the Rich Snippets program:

  • Add Author Rich Snippets
  • Add Rich Snippets to 3rd Party Websites
    • Adding Rich Snippets to Youtube Videos
    • Adding Rich Snippets to ArticlesBase
    • Adding Rich Snippets to Tumblr
    • Adding Rich Snippets to Hubpages Author Page
  • Add Rich Snippets Breadcrumbs
  • Add Rich Snippets for Audio Files or Podcasts

But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  We will start with the most important one and go from there.

 Adding Author Rich Snippets to Your Website

Rich Snippets Author Example
Rich Snippets Author Example

Sexy, right?  So, here is how we accomplish this…

Setup Google+ Profile

First, you need to setup a Google+ profile.  So, run over to the Google+ sign-up page and either associate your Google account with Google+ or create a new account.

Add Your Website to Google+

Second, we need to add your website / blog / whatever to your Google+ profile.  The way you do this is by adding yourself as a “Contributor” to your site.  So, click on the arrow next to your avatar in the upper right hand corner (when logged into Google+), then click “View Profile”, and finally click “Edit Profile.”   If you scroll a bit, you will see “Contributor to”…click on it.

Edit Google+ Profile
Edit Google+ Profile

Next let’s click “Add Custom Link”:

Adding Contributor to Google+
Adding Contributor to Google+

Next, we will enter the URL (aka website address) of your website:

 

Entering Contributor URL
Entering Contributor URL

The first box is what you want to have displayed on the screen (“golod.com” and “Jason on Youtube” in this picture).  Next is the URL of your website.  Click “Save.”

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IMPORTANT: I almost forgot to mention that you will need to upload a QUALITY picture of yourself.  Obviously, you are not going to have a picture displayed next to your listings if you don’t have a picture of yourself in your Google+ profile.  If you don’t have a good picture, go and take one.  Don’t go ahead without it. You don’t want to risk the Google Rich Snippets team nix’ing your acceptance into the program because your picture is crap.

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Click the “Done Editing” box in the bar at the top of the screen and we can move on to the next step:

Done Editing Button

Associate Your Content with an Author Profile

Now, we need to associate your content with your Google+ profile on your website.  There are two ways to go about this:

  1. You can associate your content (blog posts, articles) with an author profile on your website AND then associate your website profile with your Google+ profile (yeah, that is two separate steps…stay with me).
  2. OR, you can associate an individual piece of content with your Google+ profile.

Now, you have to make the decision here.  Obviously, if you have a blog or a website that you have authored lots of articles or posts on, you are going to opt for door #1 above.  If you only have a few pieces of content or pages, you might opt for #2…but, I would not recommend it…here is why.  It would be more flexible to use the proper markup to associate each page or post with your website’s author page.  This gives you the option to expand or change things much more easily down the road should things change (and they always change, right?).

Creating an Author Page on Your Website

If you use WordPress, please see my (upcoming) post on how to add an author page to your WordPress blog.  For the rest of you, here is how you can add an author page.  Most of you already have an “About” page on your website…if you do, you can skip to the next paragraph.  If you are still reading along, then you will need to create a page on your website that will be an author “bio” for you.  You can put whatever you like on the page.  The key for right now is that the page exists.

Create the Author “Relationship”

Now that you have your author page, we are going to let the world know that you are the author.  Well, the reality is there is going to be next to nobody that will see what we are about to do…but, the search engine bots will.  We are going to use the rel=”author” attribute to let the search engines know that your author page tells them who created all of this junk.  So, if you have an “About” link on your navigation bar (you should, btw), we are going to add a rel=”author” attribute to the anchor tag.

On my blog, I have an “About Jason” link on every page as it is located right at the top in my main navigation menu.  If we take a look at the html anchor tag for my navigation bar, you will see this for the “About Jason” link:

<a rel=”author” href=”http://new.golod.com/jason/“>About Jason</a>

As you can see, the anchor tag has some additional info in there…  rel=”author” is making an association that every page that I am the author of this website.  If you add this to every page on your site, you should be fine according to option 2 of the Google Rich Snippets Authorship page.  However, I actually do what both steps on that page indicate….for a couple of reasons:

  1. I wanted to make sure it worked
  2. I want to give people a chance to read more about me should they find something I wrote interesting. My profile doesn’t have anything super-awesome in it right now, but I can add it in the future if I would like.

So, you will need to add a byline like “Posted by” or “Written by” or “Author: ” to your articles or posts. Of course, you will add your name after the byline and link your name to your author profile page on your website.

Link Your Author Page to Google+

Stick with me, I know this is tedious.

Now, we are going to want to add a link from your website’s author page to your Google+ profile.  We accomplish this by adding another attribute to your Google+ profile link.  In my case, my Google+ profile url looks like this:

https://plus.google.com/105529091549806108461/about

According to Google, you can simply append (add for you illiterates) ?rel=me to the end of the URL.  But, I have had issues with the Rich Snippets Testing Tool recognizing that method.  Instead, I simply add it as an attribute in the anchor tag as we did above.   So, we get something that looks like this:

<a rel=”me” href=”https://plus.google.com/105529091549806108461/”>Jason Golod</a>

In this example, the numbers are unique to my profile. You will want to go to your profile page, copy the URL and paste it accordingly.  The key is that you add the rel=”me” attribute to the anchor tag.

The Rich Snippets Testing Tool

OK, so we only have one step left.  But, we have to make sure it is all working properly.  So, let’s head over to the Rich Snippets Testing Tool and verify that your markup is correct.

  1. Copy the URL of your author profile on YOUR website.
  2. Go to the Rich Snippets Testing Tool
  3. Paste the URL  and click submit

You should see something like this:

Rich Snippets Testing Tool Sample Output
Rich Snippets Testing Tool Sample Output

If you see your mug instead of mine, move to the next paragraph.  If you don’t, be sure you have done all of the following:

  1. Created a Google+ profile complete with your picture
  2. Linked TO your website FROM Google+ as a Contributor to link
  3. Linked TO your Google+ profile from your website’s author page with the rel=”me” attribute

If you have and it still doesn’t work for you, leave a comment below and we will get you straightened out.

For those of you in the front of the class, now we are going to copy a URL from a blog post or article you have written on your website and past that into the tool.  You should see something similar as before.  The title of the page will likely change, but the important thing is that your mug is showing up to the right.  If there are any major errors, you will see that below the listing, but if your picture is there, you are a happy camper.  Now we can move to step 5.

Telling Google You Are Rich Snippets Ready

They don’t make this page easy to find, but here you go:

https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dHdCLVRwcTlvOWFKQXhNbEgtbE10QVE6MQ

Go to that page and fill out the form.  In a couple of weeks your mug will start showing up.  Google needs to re-crawl all of your pages after they “flip the switch” before it will show up for a particular page.

Hope this helped.

Jason

Link Building Strategies: Google Image Search

In June of 2011 Google upgraded some of the search functionality of its Image Search.  One of the interesting new features was the ability to search using an actual image. So, instead of typing words into the search box, you can enter the URL of an image, browse for an image saved on your computer, or even drag an image from your desktop to the search box (very cool).

At first I was not really that interested in the whole deal, but after coming across an article today on How to Build Backlinks Using Google’s Image Search, I have to say that I am thinking of a few different ways that it can be used in your link building strategies.

Jason Stinnett does a great job of showing three examples of how you or one of your clients might be able to benefit from a few quick image searches:

  1. Research Someone:  Jason shows an example of how to gain some background information on someone who is active on line.  Maybe it is one of your competitors, maybe it is someone you want to meet.  Whatever the case may be, you can quickly gather information on where they interact with others online.  Link opportunities abound.
  2. Find Guest Posting Opportunities:  Looking for some blogs to post your unique content and expand your reach?  Do you know a competitor or avid guest blogger that works in your industry? Grab their avatar and in a matter of seconds you should have a list of websites to peddle your latest and greatest piece of work.
  3. Low Hanging Fruit:  Working for a big firm or do you put out a lot of articles or press releases?  There is probably a lot of your content out on the web right now that is not linked to a relevant page on your client’s or your website.

I am sure it is a matter of time before some crafty individuals mash up some stuff to allow you to find all of your website’s images on the web.  Copyscape for images anyone?

Best,

Jason