If only there were an actual free tutorial about how to become a successful blogger! And what about the truth about getting backlinks and other SEO info? With all the “guru” internet marketing content out there, you’d think at least one person would give it to you straight without charging you thousands of dollars. Fortunately, it’s your lucky day because that person is me.
I’m writing a series of 30 lessons on how to make money online by creating niche blogs. All 30 lessons are free. All 30 lessons give you the entire process from A to Z without leaving out the details that is common with free content.
What’s in it for me? Premium ad and affiliate income eventually, but mostly, the pleasure of knowing I can actually help others learn how to become a successful blogger and quit their jobs. Honestly, I have such a large network of niche blogs already that I don’t need any of the income this blog produces. That’s why I didn’t put these lessons behind a paid wall. I make a living off the system I teach you in these 30 lessons, and I’m eager to share it with you for free.
Basically, it’s the info you expect to get when you pay $1999+ for one of those Twinkletoes Guru Wannabe’s latest and greatest programs (except they never give you their real how-to system because YOU are their system).
If you stop buying their sh*t, they stop making money. They toss you a few bones here and there, but they never set you up for blogging success.
I’m throwing you the entire animal and helping you navigate it.
Just to be clear… to me, blogging success means you get to quit your soul-draining borderline slave labor job. What’s your definition of being a successful blogger? Tell me in the comments.
Anyway, this is Lesson 6 and it will cover how to get backlinks. The answer is going to pleasantly surprise you, so keep reading and get ready for another epic lesson from Quit This Job! These lessons are cumulative, so it’s best to start with Lesson 1 if this is your first time visiting my blog.
When in Doubt, Do Nothing – Backlinks are so 2009
Being apathetic about backlinks is not laziness on my part. I am picky about backlinks because I respect good content… and I respect Google.
I’ve been stung by Google in the past for aggressive backlink tactics, and I don’t want to get on their bad side again. I want to get backlinks based on merit or not at all.
Back in Grizzly
What is a Backlink?
Quite simply, a backlink is a link from someone else’s website to yours. This increases the potential for one of that website or blog’s readers to come across your link and click on it. Google also places more value on your blog or website when someone links to you.
If the person linking to you has a very popular, high authority site, Google places even more value on your blog or website.
Backlinks are valuable for SEO ranking, but these days, they’re only valuable if they’re not forced and aren’t coming from shady sources.
As someone who is probably starting a blog from scratch with zero traffic or very little existing traffic, getting one of these valuable backlinks is incredibly unlikely. Do you think Neil Patel or Pat Flynn is going to hand me a backlink? Hell no!
What you need are natural, high-quality backlinks – and you can only get those in due time (and ONLY if you have awesome content.)
For many, many niches, backlinks are never a necessary ingredient for becoming a successful blogger.
Bad Backlinks Can Bite You in the Backside
Let me elaborate on what I said about getting stung by Google for shady backlinks in the past.
Pre-2009, I had a nice amount of niche blogs ranking well in Google for many keywords. I had a bunch of link farm blogs with automated, re-worded content that would link to my various blogs. I had a bunch of other random, shady blogs and pages link to my Adsense monetized blog posts. Back in the day, that worked well. It was spammy and useless to society, but it helped me earn a living online.
Google got smarter and caught on to the scheme. All of my blogs got ripped off the first page of Google. They didn’t even rank anymore after one of their algorithm updates, as a matter of fact. My traffic dwindled down to zero.
Getting forced backlinks is akin to playing with fire. By forced backlinks, I mean the shady dime-a-dozen type like directories, paid links (all types), hidden links (links with white text on a white background or hidden in punctuation marks like this), forum signatures (Quora is okay, though!), spammy blog comments, reciprocal links (you link to them and they link to you), etc. There are many other examples of bad backlinks.
These are the type of backlinks that “SEO professionals” on Fiverr or Upwork will get for you – all shady, blackhat backlinks. If you hadn’t already noticed, they like to brag about how many backlinks they can get you, yet mention nothing about quality (or at best, make hollow promises they can never honor).
You’re better off having zero backlinks than 1000 spammy backlinks. Don’t buy Fiverr backlink gigs. It’s a waste of money and it might end up getting your blog penalized by Google. You have no control over how Google treats spammy backlinks, so don’t invite trouble where it isn’t warranted.
If Google updates their algorithm in a way that further frowns upon these backlink strategies more than they already do, there is potential for your blog to get slapped by Google, making all your blog post writing efforts for naught.
The only way to combat this risk and keep your sanity is to not bother with any link building strategies whatsoever.
How to (Actually) Get Backlinks
Here’s the un-sexy, harsh, reality-based truth: If your content rocks, you will get legit backlinks in time – after you start ranking well for your keywords. In the meantime, don’t worry about it! People will find you naturally via Google; it just takes time: probably 8 to 24 months for most keywords.
That means yes (!!!) you can rank well for keywords with zero backlinks. If you follow Lesson 3 about how to do keyword research to the letter and pour your mind, heart, and soul into your blog posts, you’ll have no issues ranking well for your keywords. The traffic will start rolling in within a matter of… well, I already said it: 8 to 24 months! I know because I have done it multiple times in multiple niches.
You just have to buckle down and actually write those 30 blog posts!
What to Do Instead of Chasing Backlinks
This is what you should be doing instead of linkbuilding if you want to learn how to become a successful blogger and quit your job:
- Write more blog posts. This is always the answer to everything when it comes to my lessons about how to make money online. Blog posts, blog posts, blog posts! Long ones! 1500 – 3000+ words, as mentioned in Lesson 5 about how to write and format blog posts.
- Create YouTube videos based on longer blog posts (2500+ words). You have the “script” already because you already wrote the blog posts. Turn on your camera and record your charming self delivering that content in video format.
- Create Pinterest pins (if it works well with your niche). Pinterest works just fine for most niches, but it’s especially great for visual or inspirational types of niches like DIY crafts for kids, makeup tutorials, step-by-step car repair, before-and-after types of niches, etc. (These are just some examples I thought of off the top of my head. ***Pinterest works well for recipes, cooking, fitness, and weight loss, but those niches are so freaking competitive that I recommend you don’t pursue them as a newbie.
- Answer relevant Quora questions or post on Reddit and link back to your blog as part of the answer – perhaps to a blog post where you expand upon the answer you gave them. ***Do NOT do this until you have your original 30 blog posts published!
Why Social Media Backlinks Suck
I have a very strong point of view about posting on social media to promote my niche blogs. I don’t even want the Quit This Job blog to have a Facebook page. It’s just not worth my time.
I realize in the previous section I recommended uploading YouTube videos, pinning to Pinterest, and posting on Quora and Reddit. Those are special cases that have turned out to be worth my time and are platforms that do not require me to pay in order to reach an audience. Also take note that YouTube, Pinterest, Quora, and Reddit are platforms that generally have people seeking specific info, how-to guides, etc and not just aimlessly scrolling through memes, duck face selfies, and sushi photos.
The niche blog system I’m teaching you advises against posting on and collecting backlinks from the following garbage sources:
Facebook is a distraction (and a disgrace when it comes to privacy).
Twitter is a distraction.
Instagram is a distraction (and a disgrace since it’s owned by Facebook).
Snapchat is a distraction.
Guest posting on other peoples’ blogs is a distraction unless it’s a huge blog. You’re a newbie, so the huge blog gig isn’t gonna happen in the beginning. Forget it!
All of the above are a waste of time.
Let’s break these down, one-by-one.
Why Facebook Posts are a Waste of Time
Back in the day, Facebook used to display posts to all of your friends and followers, but those days are long gone! From a personal use standpoint, I guess that’s okay because then you only see content from the people you interact the most with. But from a promote your niche blog standpoint, it’s not helpful.
Facebook wants you to buy ads in order to promote your blog content. That’s the bottom line.
Meh. I’d rather not pay.
Some people have had good success with Facebook ads, but because so many people are trying their hand at Facebook advertising these days, you need to have a huge ad budget to get your ads and posts in front of enough people. One advertising dollar gets you less and less as the years go by. One day Facebook ads will implode and many peoples’ businesses will collapse along with it. But not us, right? 🙂
To me, Facebook ads are just a money pit that I don’t wish to participate in. I get lots of free targeted traffic from Google and the other minor search engines by simply doing keyword research and writing helpful blog posts centered around those keywords. W
Why Twitter Posts are a Waste of Time
Twitter posts are gone in a matter of minutes from followers’ home pages because the average person spews their Tweetable diarrhea dozens if not hundreds of times each day, pushing yours off the page completely.
Also, most people follow thousands of people.
Your Twitter posts get lost in the flurry of constant Tweets.
You can, of course, pay for ads. Ads that people will just scroll past.
Waste of time!
Why Instagram is a Waste of Time
For e-commerce sites, Instagram can be great. For example, my cousin and his wife own a vintage style jewelry website and they make a killing off Instagram. They post images of whatever they have in stock or of friends decked out in vintage pin-up clothes wearing one of the pieces of jewelry.
It’s pretty cool for them and for photographers. Not so cool for my purposes – or yours if you’re not selling physical goods.
Insta just doesn’t work for our business model. On our niche blogs, we’re either selling e-products or just placing ads.
We have information people want to read and that’s why regular run-of-the-mill Googlers are our target visitors. No one goes to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat to read about
Why Snapchat is a Waste of Time for Promoting Niche Blogs
Let’s face it: It’s a bunch of teeny boppers, 20-somethings, and immature 30-somethings on Snapchat. Are they going to read your blog post about lawn care or which archery bow is best for women?
They just wanna send each other nudes and duck face selfies with the stupid ass cheetah ears or flower crown.
I rest my case!!! 😀
Why Guest Posting on Other Blogs is a Waste of Time
This one might surprise you. Because guest posting on relevant blogs is the ultimate promotion tool, right?
First of all, in your early days, it’s unlikely to happen. You’re the new kid on the block and no one cares about your expertise because no one has heard of you and no one trusts you. If you don’t have even a single blog post to your name, can you blame them?
You have to prove your expertise by writing your own content.
By the time you have written your own content (your initial batch of 30 posts), you should then hit up the badass bloggers who have more traffic than you do and show them your proof of expertise, right?
In the end, you really only need to prove your expertise to the people looking up your keywords in Google.
And besides, the people who read their blog posts are just as passive as the people that will read yours; you both get traffic from Google after all.
That means next to zero people will click the link back to your blog in your byline
These badass guru bloggers know exactly what they’re doing. They certainly know how to become a successful blogger (because they are one already), but they aren’t going to show you how it’s done!
Your time and effort are always much better spent writing your own post on your own blog. That’s the honest truth!
That’s right, the secret of how to become a successful blogger is to actually write on your own blog and tune out everyone and everything else!
That way, when most visitors read only the first paragraph of your post – at least you got the pageview and will continue to get those
In the case of guest blogging, the big shot blogger got that pageview even though you did all the work of writing the blog post. Guest blogging is a pretty shitty deal for the guest if you ask me.
On that note… Anyone want to write a guest post for this blog?
I’m joking… I’m joking… 😉
This Concludes Our Un-Lesson About How to Get Backlinks & Become a Successful Blogger
You were probably expecting some elaborate backlink strategy for this post, but that just isn’t how my niche blog system works. I guess this lesson could better be called an un-lesson.
Sometimes, what NOT to do is just as important as what TO do.
I put zero effort into acquiring backlinks. Yet I manage to rank on page 1 of Google for a majority of my keywords by simply identifying attainable keywords and writing content that is better than others in my niche have written. In other words, I follow all the steps I outline in these 30 lessons.
Go the extra mile in your research and writing – and you’ll probably get natural backlinks and social media shares from people who genuinely love your blog posts. Even if you don’t (if it’s just not a shareable type of niche) you’ll still have your search engine traffic. Steady, sufficient search engine traffic is really all I care about, to be honest.
FYI: I’ve tried getting a moderate amount of respectable backlinks in the recent past to see how much of a difference it makes versus the times I didn’t get backlinks. And you know what? The backlinks don’t seem to matter as much as SEO experts insist they do in these smaller niches that you and I are tackling.
In competitive niches, yeah, it probably makes quite a bit of difference to try for good backlinks from established, relevant sites, but as I already mentioned: Those types of backlinks tend to come with time and killer content.
I realize could have just completely skipped over how to get backlinks, but because so many people obsess over backlinks and think that backlink building = SEO, I wanted to make sure I addressed this.
Like I have been saying all along on this blog, I give you all the details of how to make money online, step-by-step. I wasn’t joking that I’m here to help you for free.
You don’t need backlinks. You really don’t.
This wraps up Lesson 6 about how to become a successful blogger and how to (not) get backlinks. I hope you’ll join me in Lesson 7 where we’ll discuss how to do keyword research for YouTube videos.
Until then, get started on your next blog post and ignore all the social media nonsense! 🙂