I'm only going to discuss this once. Why? Because it seems that no matter how many times I try to get people to listen to me when I mention this topic, they don't really hear me. So I won't waste my breath. Those of you who do listen this one time, however, are the smart ones.
ByLinks. That's the term I've coined for this link building strategy, and it's one that can be the quickest, easiest, and cheapest way to obtain a huge number of backlinks from a wide variety of sources, in a completely legitimate manner. ByLinks refers to any type of tool, extension, template, skin, widget, or gadget that includes a Powered By, Designed By, or any similar "By" link that links back to your site.
ByLinks have been a staple of the internet community for years. ByLinks are nothing new. Web designers have been placing Designed By links at the bottom of their clients' websites forever. Tools such as stats counters and applications like phpBB forums have used ByLinks for years. So what's different now?
The main difference now is twofold:
- Web 2.0 has brought with it a "sharing/viral" mentality. Users are now used to seeing widgets that they can grab for free, use for free on their own sites, and share with others. Once users start sharing these widgets, they tend to go viral quickly.
- There are now limitless products that ByLinks can be attached to.
In reality, ByLinks could have been attached to limitless products years ago. But it is only within the recent past that the passing around of these products has become the norm, and with that normalcy comes opportunity.
Sure, Link Baiting is a hot topic, but many "boring" businesses find it difficult to come up with link bait for their niche. (Yes, clever people can come up with link bait for any niche, but not everyone is clever).
The difference here, in my mind, is that ByLinks can be attached to anything and that "thing" does not have to be related to your niche. Own a grout cleaning service? You don't need to come up with some clever link bait idea that relates to grout cleaning. Simply distribute something for free – anything – no matter how distant the relation is to grout cleaning. Attach a ByLink to that "thing" and you're on the trail of backlinks to your site.
So, what are these "things" that you can attach ByLinks to? I believe widgets are the ultimate future for ByLinks, but don't count out any of the older ByLink-appropriate avenues. Here's a list of some off the top of my head:
- Free embeddable, shareable widgets, widgets, widgets, widgets and gadgets too
- Free embeddable SEO and Webmaster tools
- Free CSS / HTML templates
- Free Forum skins (phpbb, vbulletin, invision)
- Free Blog templates (Blogger, MoveableType, WordPress)
- Free Shopping cart skins (X-Cart, OSCommerce)
- Free CMS/Portal skins (PhpNuke, Drupal, Joomla)
- Free Wiki skins
Notice the use of the word "free" in every one of those items listed. The idea here is that you are giving away something of value to people to use as they wish. The only requirement is that the ByLink remain in place. I suggest not policing this at all. Yes, many people will remove the ByLink. Who cares? Move on. The number of people who will not remove the ByLink still makes the effort more than worthwhile.
Which of those ideas listed should you use? Any or all of them, but I believe widgets have the brightest future. If you haven't been keeping up with widgets, start reading up on them. I won't point the way. You're perfectly capable of searching to find everything you want to know about widgets. They are already huge, but they are still very ripe to be exploited (er, capitalized upon). But whether you choose to attach ByLinks to widgets, gadgets, tools, skins, or whatever, pick one or more and start doing it! Here are a few tips from my own research.
- A decent ByLink-attached product can earn hundreds of backlinks per week – starting immediately upon release of the product.
- A terrible ByLink-attached product is still not going to be a complete failure. You almost can't lose out no matter how bad a job you do. Even the worst widget/thing will garner some backlinks.
- Releasing at least one ByLink product per week can produce astounding results.
- Many ByLink products can be produced easily within a few hours.
- Once you create a ByLink product, upload and list it within the directories, forums and repositories that list such widgets/skins/whatevers. Users flock to these repositories to find what they are seeking.
Of course, the very first thing I can hear people screaming about is that the backlinks you obtain may not be from relevant sources. This is true. Your grout cleaning website may indeed obtain 5,000 backlinks from 5,000 diverse niche websites, none of which may be at all related to grout cleaning. It certainly wouldn't be a bad idea to get a few grout-cleaning related links via your standard backlink-obtaining methods. Nevertheless, I personally wouldn't turn down those 5,000 diverse backlinks, would you?
The second thing I can hear people screaming about is that the ByLinks are usually in footers, and therefore they won't be as valuable as non-footer links may be. Ok, I'll concede that point. Will I still turn down those 5,000 diverse backlinks because they are in footers? No, I wouldn't. Maybe you would. Hey…up to you.
As with all SEO tips, one thing is never the ONLY thing. Never rely on just one method. On the other hand, include as many of the legitimate methods as possible into your repetoire of tactics, as this diversication will enable you to successfully navigate the ever-changing SEO waters. Making use of ByLinks is one link building tactic that you should add to your repetoire. I'm just saying it once.