If you’re running a blog, such as a WordPress blog, and trying to generate revenue from it, you should be using trackbacks and pingbacks. That is, you should be creating links throughout your blog posts that link to quality, relevant postings on other blog sites. The benefits of doing this are numerous:
First of all, if you’re posting quality content on your own blog, (as you most certainly should be) the owners of the blogs you link to will likely approve your trackback. Once this is done, you will receive a link to your site on the post you linked to on the other blog. This can, of course, generate the occasional click from an interested reader of the other blog — especially if you’ve crafted and enticing headline for your own article.
Secondly, it will add apparent value to your postings and your site in the minds of your readers. People who are interested in the specific content you provide will be presented with other information related to their interest which they may never have otherwise been exposed to. The more high-quality, relevant information you make easily accessible to your readers through web-links in your blog-posts, the more the apparent value of your website will rise in the minds of your readers. As the apparent value of your site increases, the likelihood that visitors will return, or become regular visitors, will also increase, along with the likelihood that readers might share your site on their social media pages. All of this translates only into more traffic for your site. And, more traffic translates into a greater potential for more revenue.
Another way that providing quality, valuable links in your blog content helps — contrary to what you may have heard — is that, when you link in your blog postings to another blog’s content and they approve your ‘trackback’, (some blog owners set their blogs to approve all trackbacks automatically, but most require the owner’s approval before your trackback link will appear on their site) you receive a link directly back to your blog posting which contains that link, and it appears on the page of the other blog. As mentioned above, the presence of this link can generate the odd click-through back to your site. But, much more than that, most major search engines will count this as a ‘backlink‘ to your site, and your site should gain search engine ranking just by the mere fact those links exist.
Now, it was said above ‘contrary to what you may have heard.’ And, you may be wondering what was meant by that. Well, most blogging software these days, including WordPress, is set-up to automatically formulate any trackback link as what’s called a ‘no-follow’ link. This adds a short piece of code to the HTML which creates the trackback link back to your site and basically tells search engine robots to ignore the link — don’t follow it — act just as if the link doesn’t actually appear on this site.
Because it takes some finagling in order to set most blog software up to automatically create ‘do-follow’ links instead of ‘no-follow’ links, and there’s usually not much incentive for the average blog owner to display ‘do-follow’ links as opposed to ‘no-follow’ links, thus there’s not much incentive for the average blog owner to engage in the required finagling in order to make it so, the vast, vast majority of blog websites out there will display your trackback links as ‘no-follow’ links.
In theory, the fact that your trackback links are appearing on other blogs as ‘no-follow’ links, you shouldn’t be able to realize any sort of ‘backlink’ SEO benefit from having those links out there. Whether they’re there or not, the search engines are treating them as though they’re not anyway. So, it’s really quite pointless to spend time linking to other blogs in order to reap ‘backlink’ benefits. Right? Well, not quite.
In theory, that’s how it’s supposed to work. And, there’s a lot of people out there who will tell you that is how it actually does work. The reality is that, in practice, as opposed to theory, it’s quite different. The ‘no-follow’ attribute is not an all-powerful, immutable directive mercilessly imposed on all parties and enforced by some omnipotent internet dictator. Search engines are entirely free to treat it as they wish. They can fully and outright ignore it if they wish. They wouldn’t be breaking any laws by doing so, or anything like that. The ‘no-follow’ attribute is nothing more than a suggestion from the creator of the content a ‘no-follow’ link appears in.
And, when it comes to outright ignoring ‘no-follow’ attributes on trackback links, there’s very, very strong evidence that’s pretty much exactly what Google does. Google most certainly does follow ‘no-follow’ links. If you don’t believe me, experiment by getting a trackback or two on some other blog that creates only no-follow trackback links, wait a couple of weeks, then log into Google Webmaster tools, go to the ‘Search Traffic –> Search Queries’ panel and look through your list of sites linking in. The site containing your trackback link will be in there. Whatever is happening, it’s clear that Google is not “ignoring” no-follow links.
So, what’s ‘the trick’?
Well, here’s what I do: When I’ve completed writing an article for a blog, I’ll read it through and look for words or phrases for which I guess there might be interesting and valuable information related to the topic of the blog post, for which people with an interest in the topic of my post would also find interesting, and which likely would be available on other blogs on the internet. Let’s say that within my blog post the following line appears:
“The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.”
Perhaps people reading my posting might be interested to know more about lazy dogs? So, I head over to Google and I enter that search term in the following format:
“lazy dogs” +pingback -Disqus
Entering the search term in such a way, Google will return to me web pages which contain the term “lazy dog” AND “pingback”, but do not contain the term “Disqus.” The restriction on the term “Disqus” is in there as a time saver, as any site running the Disqus comment application on their blog would show up in the search results because the application contains the word “pingback” in its code. However, the Disqus application will not create a trackback link if you link to a site using the application. So, linking to sites that use the Disqus application, for the purpose of creating trackback links to your own site, is a complete waste of time. Those sites will not create the trackback links you want if you link to them. It’s also why you should most probably NOT be using the Disqus application on your own blog if you’re trying to earn revenue from it. Many other blog owners will not link your blog if you’re using it, preferring instead to link to another blog with similar information for which they’ll receive back a little trackback love.
Once I find within the results what appears to be a good quality site which contains valuable and interesting information that I believe would hold appeal to interested readers of my blog posting, I’ll create a hyperlink from the “lazy dog” term appearing in my post to the blog posting I found, and voila! If the owner of that other blog approves my trackback, I’ll have a new link to my own site that will generate the occasional click-through from readers of the other site, add apparent value to my site in the minds of many of my visitors — thus, increasing the likelihood they’ll return to my site, become regular visitors, and/or share my site with others — and, create a backlink to my site as well.
So, are you doing this with your own postings? If you aren’t, you should be. It’s important to remember, though, that you absolutely should NOT ‘trackback spam’, or blog-spam — that will ONLY hurt you. It will greatly diminish your site’s apparent value in the minds of your readers, and it will cause search engines to punish your site and give you lower rankings. The days of ‘any link to my site is a good link’ is long gone. Spamming WILL hurt you. It will NOT help you. So, only create trackback links to good quality sites and make sure the information contained on the page you’re linking to is highly relevant to the topic of your blog posting that you’re linking from. Try to make sure that readers with an interest in the subject matter being discussed in your blog posting will also very likely have an interest in the subject being discussed on the page you’re linking to, and that readers of that page will very likely have an interest in the subject matter of your post as well.
Also, don’t go crazy and link every single phrase in your post to some other site. Keep it to a few, top-quality links per post. What I like to do is shoot for about one trackback link in every second or third paragraph of my post. However, very often, I can’t find enough relevant, high-quality blog postings to meet even that limit. Quite often, a 1,000+ word blog posting of mine might contain only one or two links to other blogs — or, sometimes, even none at all.
Remember the all important mantra when deciding whether or not to include a link, or when deciding how many to aim for in your post: “Quality over quantity!” Repeat it: “Quality over quantity, quality over quantity, quality over quantity!”
Strive to only include links to good quality blogs that contain pertinent, relative information that will be of interest to anyone interested in your posting — even if that means including just one or two links, or even no links at all, if you can’t locate a single decent quality blog posting to link to.