When I created my niche site for overcoming relationship difficulties, one of the things that I learned was to focus on natural search engine rankings by creating quality back-links to the site. This will help push your site further up the listing in a search engine query, and greatly increase the chances of someone clicking your link for their keyword search. You can create back-links by a few different methods: posting on forums which allow website addresses to be included in author signatures, getting other bloggers to link to your site, and through article marketing which creates articles that can then be picked up by other authors and provide links back to you.
I’ve tried the forums. I’ve joined different ones, and commented on other people’s posts. I even got sucked into telling my own story. It’s definitely a place to go to generate traffic, but I grew a little tired of it.
Getting other bloggers to link to the site isn’t as easy as it sounds either. And the way that Google ranks websites, chances are I wouldn’t benefit a whole lot from the links that I might receive. I can whine to some friends to include a link, but we’re all running PR1 sites, so it’s really not very effective.
I have had a little success with a Twitter account that I created specifically for that niche site. I’ve gained a couple of followers, and had some hits on the site because of that. I think I need to work the social networking angle more. I actually enjoy social networking very much, although it can be quite time consuming.
The most recent arrow in my SEO back-link quiver is article marketing. Basically you write an original article on a niche topic, and submit it to an article directory. If approved, your article becomes part of their giant database, allowing other people to use that article on their site or newsletter, with credit given to you. You gain links directly from being in the article directory, and from every website or newsletter that publishes your article. I’ve heard quite a bit about article marketing in podcasts. “Article marketing isn’t sexy… but it works!” is the line that I remember most.
EzineArticles is supposed to be the best place to get started. After that you can spin your article using software that will re-work your original article to make it look slightly different and allow you to submit it to other article directories. I don’t know if I’m sold on that concept or not, but it’s something to keep in the back of my mind.
When I read through EzineArticle’s article submission guidelines, I almost gave up without finishing them! They are quite lengthy, and very specific. You can use this particular type of punctuation in your title, but not that. You must include this in the body of your article, but definitely not that. Some of the things are common sense… keep self promotion to a minimum… but then there are other things that I had to be careful of. Don’t end your title with a period. Umm.. ok.. why not? Doesn’t matter. Just don’t do it. I started to wonder whether article marketing was right for me. What if I wasn’t good enough to get an article approved? There was only one way to find out.
I wanted to write something brand new, but the more I kept thinking about it, the more daunting the prospect became. So I reached into my bag of tricks, and pulled out an article that I had written last year for another project I had been working on. The Hapless Romantic. It was still original. It was still mine. I didn’t consider it to be “published” because I think only 3 people other than myself even knew that it existed. So I polished it up a little, and changed the title to conform to EzineArticle’s submission guidelines. After I submitted my article I was informed that it would take a week or so before it was reviewed and then I would receive notification as to its acceptance or not.
Last night I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email informing me that my article was accepted, published, and that I was now an “expert author” on their site. I assume that expert author is given to anyone who has an article published, and not necessarily an indication of my writing skills being any more or less superior to other authors. Still, it has a nice ring to it. Expert author. Expert author. Expert author. OK, OK… I’ll try not to let it go to my head. 🙂
One of the things that came as a shock was that EzineArticles automatically posted a link through my Twitter account to the article! That reminds me… I really need to go see if I can find that setting in their preferences, because I am not comfortable with every article that I write being broadcast under my Twitter account. There are projects that I would like to dabble in that may or may not work out for me, and I don’t want to publicly advertise to everyone when I am doing something off the wall.
Will this one article really make a big difference in the amount of traffic driven to my niche site? Probably not. It’s part of a broader strategy that includes more articles, and some of the other points that I mentioned earlier. But it certainly has given me a much needed boost of confidence!
And yes, in case you’re wondering what the article is, you can read it here. Just remember, I wasn’t planning on making the article public because it’s one of those touchy feely subjects that no one wants to read unless they’re experiencing it. Had EzineArticles not broadcast it to the world (or the people following me on Twitter) you probably wouldn’t even know that it existed. 🙂
I realize that this post is a little long… so if you’ve made it to the bottom…
Thanks for reading!