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Link Bait: Attracting Links To Your Website

You know it is funny in a way. Webmasters have learned that the most important thing that they can do to improve the traffic to their website and to attract attention from the search engines is to build links to their website.

But when it comes time to actually start building links to one's website, people typically pick out the hardest way to accomplish the task and then they get to work.

Working Hard

People have been told about various ways to build links to one's website, and they go through the process of picking out the method that they would prefer to use. It is kind of ironic that most people pick the method that they believe will be the easiest and least expensive to achieve, and when all is said and done, they will have picked out the hardest, least effective method of building links.

For example, most newcomers to online business choose:

* Reciprocal links;

* Directory submissions.

With Reciprocal Links, people buy a software package that helps them to search out websites that are supposedly "related" to theirs and then they send an email to the person who owns that website, proclaiming the benefits of trading links and asking for the link.

With directory submissions, webmasters can get software that is supposed to help with the process, but it takes hours just to submit one's website to a few dozen directories. Fortunately, there are service providers who also provide submissions to web directories. Regardless of how you get links submitted to web directories, you generally have to pray that those web directories are approving submissions, since most owners have abandoned their directories.

Beyond the time required setting up links in this fashion, and the frustration of getting very few links for the amount of time spent, the worst part of the equation is that the search engines tend to ignore links gained through these methods, and few humans find and follow those links.

Internet newcomers using these methods frequently spend a lot of time trying to promote their websites, and in the end, they have accomplished nothing more than wasting a lot of their limited time and energy.

Working Smart

What if I could show you a better way? Would you be intrigued enough by my methods to try them for yourself?

My point in sharing this with you is not to annoy you, but to help you get better results in much less time.

When we launch new websites, we ignore reciprocal links and web directories altogether. We consider both to be a complete waste of time, effort and money.

Let me put this into perspective for you by giving you a real life example.

On November 18th, 2008, we bought and built a new niche domain: www.shoppingtraveldeals.com/blog/

Today is December 27th, so this site has only been active for just under six weeks.

We purchased the domain on the 18th, had it set up with content on the 19th, and then on the 20th, we started promoting this website. We released our first and second reprint articles, promoting this site on the 20th of November. We released our third article on the 24th and the fourth on the 25th. Then we released our fifth article promoting the website on December 15th.

We also set up bookmarks for the main page of the website in Stumbleupon, Digg and Propeller.

In the 39 days since we bought this domain, our website has seen 520 unique visitors. The site received 86 visitors in November and 434 so far in December.

Now here is where it gets interesting.

We have received traffic from 66 unique web pages, and we have received click-through traffic from Google and Windows Live, with 86% of our search traffic coming from Google.

On our search engine traffic, we have received traffic on 171 unique keyword phrases. In order to better understand this search engine traffic, we ran the top 25 search terms through Google to see where our website ranked in the search results, and this is what we came up with:

* Two #1 listings;

* Ten listings that were ranked from #2 to #4;

* Ten listings that were ranked from #5 to #10;

* Two listings on page two of Google's search results (#11 to #20);

* One listing on page three of Google's results (#21 to #30).

We built this website with the express intent of earning affiliate commissions in the travel industry. The prognosis is good, as we have already started earning money from this website, and in terms of our current earnings, we expect to be in the black against our initial investment into this website, within about three months.

More About Reprint Articles

The concept of the reprint article is to write an article and give it to other webmasters to use in their websites and newsletters, in exchange for a link back to your website.

Those articles that seek to teach something of value typically get published more frequently than those articles geared to sell a product or service. It is our fervent belief that the Author's resource box - the paragraph that follows the article - is the only place where a writer should try to sell his or her wares. The goal of the resource box is to get a reader to your website, and your website is where the real selling should take place.

Reprint articles offer good value to the people who use them wisely. But the online marketer must first be willing to invest the required time or money to have appropriate articles written and/or distributed.

While it is true that I work for an article distribution company, it is important to note that our guiding principle is that each article distribution company will reach a different and unique audience. As such, we always use our own service to distribute articles and occasionally we use our competitors' article distribution companies as well.

We distribute ALL of our own articles through our own company, because we know that our service does provide real value. But for some articles, we do go to some of our competitors to increase our reach and to reach new audiences.

We actually learned to do this from some of our more successful customers, who suggest that there are certain publishers that only we can reach, while my competitors also have certain publishers that only they are able to reach. As a result, many of our customers use two or three article distribution companies, and we do too.

Working Smarter

While reprint articles is a tool that we consistently utilize to build links and to grow traffic to our websites, there remains a more long-term, yet more valuable approach to building links for our websites.

Link Bait is an idea where you create a resource that people find so useful that they feel compelled to link to it from their own websites.

Look at it this way. With reprint articles, we have to write the article, and then distribute it through the sources we choose to use to get it into circulation. All told, we will invest several hours into writing, and then we will invest another hour to distribute the article.

All told, we will have spent four to five hours to write and distribute this article. In turn, we will receive dozens or hundreds of links from related web pages (the links are from "related web pages", because we designed the article content to look like what we are trying to promote). Writing and distributing articles typically creates a great return of value for our businesses.

But consider this. Last week, we created a resource page on one of our websites ( www.techcentralpublishing.com/more-article-directories.php ). This page is a list of the +1200 article directories we know to exist on the Internet. We were not the first website to offer such a list, but we may be the first to give the Internet community an easy method to add new sites and to flag bad sites, automatically from the page where the list is displayed.

If you are able to create a page such as this that people find extremely useful, then people are more inclined to link to your page, without you even asking them to do so. The beauty about building pages like this on the Internet is that all you have to do is to let people know it is there, and then the links will roll in steadily.

One Link Bait page we built on May 1st, 2004 has been used by the public more than 38,000 times according to its built-in counter. And according to a Yahoo search, it has more than 10,000 inbound links from third-party websites.

We built the page (www.thephantomwriters.com/link-builder.pl) in a day, wrote one article to let people know it was there, and then we left the page alone for more than four-and-a-half years.

Do you see how it is much easier to build one link bait, notify the world, and then to let people link to your web page for you? The time invested in our Text To Hyperlink Converter was less than 12 hours, yet it has attracted +10,000 links with almost no promotion on our part. And this article will generate +100 links in exchange for five hours of our time.

In Conclusion

We are working smart when we write and distribute articles to promote a website. The Shopping Travel Deals site attests to the value of reprint articles to build links and traffic to a new website quickly.

But we are working smarter, when we invest the additional time to build a link bait web page that people will appreciate and link to for us, without any additional effort on our part.

Trey Pennewell is part of www.thephantomwriters.com support staff. In the quest to bring more effective Internet promotion tools to their customers, The Phantom Writers is proud to announce this week that in conjunction with professional video editors and voice-over personalities, they now offer professional Video Creation Services. It has been made possible for online marketers to easily convert their promotional articles to Video Articles. Explore the unlimited possibilities of Video Marketing at: thephantomwriters.com/video-article-marketing.html

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