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How Can I Get Free Text Links?

December 5th, 2007

free-text-links.jpgOne of the most important aspects of website promotion is the procurement of more inbound links to your site. For many webmasters, this has become a real challenge, especially in light of Google’s recent actions which have penalized many sites that sell text links or have participated in sponsored review programs such as Pay Per Post. Moreover, many of us may not have a lot of money to spend on text links and would rather do it in the bum marketing fashion, which for those not familiar with the terminology roughly translates to “promote your website for free”.

So how can you get free text links without having to resort to obvious spamming or black hat tactics? Well, there are a few different ways to do this that will actually work as long as you’re willing to invest a little bit of your time:

1. Post in relevant forums that allow signatures. Most bulletin board services, known more commonly today as forums, will allow users to place at least one link to a website of their choice in the signature. This signature line appears at the bottom of every post made by any user that enables this feature. This presents a good opportunity to obtain many one-way backlinks from the forum site after you make posts there. For best results, choose a forum that is relevant to the topic of your site; these links will generally carry more weight with the search engines.

2. Post comments on blogs. Most blogs that allow comments will have a URL field above the place where you are supposed to type in your comment. By placing your site’s URL in here before posting, you can get a free link back to your site. It is advisable to make sure that your comments are relevant to the topic of the blog post and add value in some way; if the comment appears too “spammy”, the blog owner may delete it.

In order to save time in finding relevant blogs, you can go to your favorite search engine and use a very specific query such as this one:

“your favorite keyword” “powered by wordpress” “leave a comment” -”comments closed”

This will tell the search engine to return only WordPress powered sites that allow comments and have your chosen keyword somewhere in their content. Because WordPress is one of the more search engine friendly blogging platforms, this will make your job easier. If you want your comment links to also pass PageRank in addition to providing traffic potential, you can add the words “dofollow” or “nonofollow” to the above query to increase your chances of finding blogs that do not use the dreaded rel=”nofollow” tag.

In order to make sure that a blog is properly following comments, you can look at any posts that contain comments while having the Firefox Search Status plugin enabled. If the blog in question is using the nofollow tag, the URL of the commentator will display with a pink box around it. If you don’t see any pink boxes around the commenters’ names, then these links should be able to pass PageRank.

3. Trade links with other webmasters. This one almost isn’t worth mentioning because the value of two-way links has declined somewhat since the early days of SEO. However, if you encounter a useful, popular website that you don’t mind linking to, doing a link exchange can still provide a nice traffic boost even if it doesn’t count much toward your search engine rankings.

4. Redeem for text link advertising at PTR sites. This is a little-known technique that I have used to great effect back in the heyday of paid autosurf programs. The acronym PTR stands for “paid to read”, and as you might expect, a PTR site is one that pays you a small amount of money to read advertisements such as paid emails or banner ads. Most of these kinds of programs will allow you to redeem your earnings in the form of advertising on the site in lieu of an actual cash payment.

Although most people will simply take the cash, redeeming for ads can be a very powerful option if you know how to use it. Many PTR programs will sell text links on the home page of the site for small amounts of money (typically one to five dollars), but if you don’t mind clicking on some ads first, you can get these links for free by redeeming your earnings with the program.

With some well-chosen anchor text and the right programs or products to promote, it is possible to generate significant earnings through referral commissions with this method. It is especially useful if your site or program falls within the “make money online” category because the type of traffic that you’ll attract will usually be comprised of online income seekers.

5. Have your site submitted to social bookmarking networks. Over the past year, sites such as Digg, StumbleUpon, and other community-based content networks have grown tremendously in popularity. They can bring significant amounts of traffic to your site if enough people decide that they like the content of at least one of your pages. This technique works best if you have befriended other people besides yourself that can “vote” for your site after it has been submitted. This will greatly increase your chances of reaching a certain critical mass that will allow your site to be viewed by a broad cross-section of the social bookmarking communities.

Alternatively, you can simply focus on writing particularly interesting content that will attract the attention of many readers, enticing them to vote for your articles and link to them from their own sites. This is commonly known as “linkbait” in Web 2.0 jargon. It is often difficult to predict exactly which articles will turn into linkbait after they are submitted, but if you can get at least one page that really takes off in this way, the benefits in terms of both traffic and link popularity are well worth the effort.

6. Write more high quality content. Otherwise known as the “old-fashioned way”, this is probably the most reliable method for getting free text links to your site, even if it seems like one of the slowest. If your content is above average quality and you can keep publishing it on a consistent basis, eventually other site owners will see it as a useful source of information and naturally link to it without being prompted. For most people, this will require a significant amount of time and perseverance, but once established, quality content will become an investment that will pay dividends long after your posts have been written and published.


9 Responses to “How Can I Get Free Text Links?”

  1. comment number 1 by: bloggernoob

    i’ve found that buying text links are such a waste of money. a lot of free ways to get some nice text links like you mentioned.

  2. comment number 2 by: Karlonia

    Well, I don’t think that buying text links is necessarily a waste of money if you do not pay much for them to begin with and also manage to target them properly.

    Back in the “glory days” of investment autosurf programs, I made lots of money by buying inexpensive text link space on PTR programs with small amounts of e-gold and profiting from the resulting signups and referral commissions.

    I’m not sure how well this would work for driving traffic to this blog, but the amounts of money involved to run this kind of campaign are so small that it would probably be worth it just to run the experiment and test the results.

  3. comment number 3 by: Jake

    I disagree with searching for “powered by wordpress” when looking for blogs to comment on.

    1. Many Wordpress blogs do not have this in their footer. For instance, you have a Wordpress powered blog without any mention on it outside of the source code.

    2. Some Wordpress blogs have comments disabled or the Website field not functioning or not existant, thereby not giving you a text link. An example of this would be the How To Geek.

    3. Lastly, there are many other blogging platforms that have URL fields on the comments. If nothing else, Blogger and Typepad.

  4. comment number 4 by: Karlonia

    @Jake:

    1. This a very good point- the particular query that I mentioned would actually filter out a lot of WordPress powered blogs that do not have “powered by WordPress” on their pages. I noticed that the How To Geek has “WordPress Theme” at the bottom, so this might be another keyword phrase to try. I’m not sure what to do about blogs that have no mention of WordPress at all in their text, unless there is some way to search the source code.

    2. True, but I attempted to address this issue with the -”comments closed” part of the query. The minus sign in front instructs the search engine to filter out all sites that have “comments closed” in them so that we do not waste time searching through blogs that have comments disabled. As with the point above, this is certainly not a perfect solution- many blogs with comments enabled will still be filtered out by this search.

    3. Yes, this is certainly true; however I have noticed that on Blogger blogs, the comment URL actually links to the profile instead of directly to the commenter’s website, so this doesn’t help much for SEO. For Typepad, which is used at the lp.org site, the link can be direct, but the anchor text is determined by a pre-filled profile, making it slightly less desirable than WordPress. Nevertheless, if we want to include other blogging platforms in our search, we will need to use a different query.

    Overall, it looks like I may need to edit the post somewhat in order to clarify the limitations of the search query that I originally suggested. The basic idea was simply to narrow down the search results and have a quick and convenient way to find easily “commentable” blogs. Meanwhile, if you can come up with a better search query to use, I would like to try it!

  5. comment number 5 by: Eric I.

    We all know the importance of back links when it comes to SEO (or you should) but what some people fail to realise is that what that actual link says is very important. That’s where anchor text comes in. Anchor text is the text that you click on and search engines pay close attention to what text in actually written in here. Sometimes anchor text can better describe a webpage that the actual webpage itself. Search engines and particularly Google understand this. Goggles algorithm is based on who links to whom and with what anchor text.

    For example take a look at the two examples below and see if you can guess which would be the best anchor text for the keyphrase “speed boats”.

    1. the best speed boats money can buy
    2. speed boats

    Google tries to match what a searcher types with a relevant webpage and if a webpage has a link pointing to it with the words “speed boat” then that page is considered more relevant. So you see you have to match your anchor text with your keyphrase. If someone had typed in the first example then that text would have to match what a searcher is typing in to Google. However it doesn’t end there you must make sure that the page the anchor text is linking to be relevant for that search term or Google is less likely to return your webpage in its search engine results pages.

    The search engines will just think you’re trying to spam its index so that’s why making sure your link is on topic and points to a relevant webpage. Another way to supercharge you back links is to make sure the page that your link is on is also on topic and is a related webpage to your topic.

    As I said earlier this doesn’t end here you must make sure your landing page is well optimised for the keyphrase you have chosen in your anchor text. You will need to make sure you use the proper, title tag, description tag, headers, content and even file names.

    A SEO company that is very good at these things is this one and would recommend you use them for your website design needs as well.

    So to get more link juice from your back links I would recommend you follow these basic rules and you will see better rankings for your website for your chosen key phrases. However I would recommend you use a Professional Search Engine Marketing Company to do this as this will save you lots of time and money.

  6. comment number 6 by: St. George Utah home builders

    nice tips for searching for dofollow blogs in google. There are some search engines that only search for dofollow blogs, plus there are programs as well. I use G-lock blog Finder, which works relatively well at sorting out the different types of blogs.

  7. comment number 7 by: online paday advance

    I love the G-Blog finder, the gold edition as well as a ton of other search engines. I don’t blog on only do-follow, and I seem to get a lot of fun things to look at and read!

  8. comment number 8 by: Cash Loans

    Wow this is a great post, thanks for sharing this information with me. Getting links is always important.

  9. comment number 9 by: Muhammad Morgan

    I am a webmaster myself and I always seek information on the net on how to increase website traffic and make a good website.

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