The Key To Gaining Organic Links – It’s Not Only Quality Content!

The Key To Gaining Organic Links – It’s Not Only Quality Content!

Posted by on Dec 12, 2010 in Blogging advice

The Key To Gaining Organic Links – It’s Not Only Quality Content!

The sweetest links are organic links. These are the types of links that happen without your direct effort – it simply means that someone has linked to your site or page because they liked it.

If you agree with the above statement, then notice the word LIKE.

Someone must like your site to link to it. Of course, they can simply like the content – it can simply be just very useful like the Wikipedia type of content where there’s mostly massive amounts of text on the page and very few (or none) other elements (pictures, graphics, videos, forms, etc.).

These types of sites do get organic links but they must really have an authority status and be well known to get them.

Most other sites get links from fellow webmasters and bloggers because they like the content AND they like the looks of the site.

Most webmasters are concerned with what their visitors will think about them if they send them through a link to a boring site. (Either boring content or boring looking.)

That’s why most webmasters prefer to link out to NICE looking sites. I think you now realize what the point of this post is:

The better looking the site is, the higher the chances for organic links!

Note: I haven’t done a scientific study to prove this with exact measurements so this claim is based on my personal experience and from reading many case studies and stories mostly from the SBI forums.

That’s where you see webmasters either struggle getting links or others wondering what’s the story with these links since “I’ve never built many links and yet I have 5000 daily visitors.”

I am sure that there are always elements of luck in there and if those webmasters built 100 sites they definitely would not have had exactly the same experience with their traffic.

But there is a pattern.

And if you observe carefully you’ll see that most webmasters who did not work very hard on getting links and still got them (meaning that most of them were organic) have very good looking TEMPLATES and CONTENT pages.

I believe that a site that attracts organic links MUST fit both criteria – although the template is probably less important than the look of the content.

Just to state the obvious – the content MUST of course be useful and not some regurgitated and rewritten stuff from the Web.

But to gain organic links in time, that content must be wrapped in a nice package. The template and the colorful and interesting elements of the page make that page looking very nice.

I want to share some examples of very nice looking sites (in my opinion) that have either already proven that they got many organic links (webmasters sharing their story) or that they are on a very good way to gain organic links in time.

Gardening Quick N Easy

This gardening site’s first cool impression is its 3D header where the wheelbarrow sort of sticks out the header. You can also see nice design of the left and right column (not usual straight line), great looking pictures in the content area and great looking photos in the right column.

The footer graphic again impresses with the 3D effect.

What this site on gardening tips tells me is that someone has put a lot of effort into the design of the site and is therefore SERIOUS about their online business.

It is the owner of the website that convinces me in a few seconds that this site is something special and since it impresses me it will definitely impress my visitors of my site if I decide to link to it and recommend it.

And many webmasters will like to share their discovery of this website with their visitors. Bingo – another organic link.

Of course, keep in mind that before organic links happen, someone must discover you therefore you need to rank somewhere in the top 10 for some key keywords related to this niche.

So the first part of link building through article submissions, directory submissions and some link exchanges will have to be done.

The Chic Fashionista

The header of this fashion advice website is again customized in a way not often seen. The links to the Blog, RSS feeds, Facebook and Twitter are embedded into the graphic.

The first impression (first few seconds of seeing the site above the fold) is that this site has a lot to offer and is somewhat special. It’s customized and different from a regular cookie-cutter 3 column template.

You’re even more impressed once you scroll down a little bit: every link to specific page has a corresponding graphic design. There are 42 total links to inner pages of this site with a related graphic.

That immediately suggests that someone has put a lot of effort into the site and therefore must know what she is talking about and is therefore an authority on the topic. Most other pages of the site are as colorful and interesting as the homepage.

Stocks For Beginners

The design of this stock market for beginners site is based on a call to action. The most wanted response (MWR) is for a visitor to subscribe to the newsletter.

The design is very clean and simple and yet it looks very professional.

This is not a Made for Adsense (MFA) site built in one afternoon – and the visitors instinctively know that. (Since they’ve seen many MFA sites in their past experiences with Stock Market and other types of sites)

Again, there is a lot of attention to detail that can been seen in matching colors, related images at the bottom of the homepage near the links to T2 pages and strategic placements of newsletter sign-up boxes and Google search boxes.

If you go deeper into the site for example to a page about stock market charting you’ll also notice that there are real time charts on the site and this is not just another MFA site.

While this webmaster’s plan is to generate some income from Adsense, the ads are not intrusive and “in-the-face” and this kind of site will also most likely get lots of organic links in time.

Note that ads and affiliate links appear deeper in the site and not immediately on the homepage above the fold as is the case in the Gardening Quick N Easy site and the Chic Fashionista site.

Spearfishing Tips

The header of the Spearfishing Tips and Techniques website again impresses with good colors and images and so does the general look and feel of the site.

This site is looking to earn more with Adsense but I would advise the webmasters to take down the ads and work for some time on links to really climb up the rankings and then decide whether Adsense is really worth it on this type of site.

Some of the pages of this site are shorter but a page like the bottom hunt spearfishing techniques is the type of rich content that will definitely attract organic links in time.

If most of this site was built this way then success is only a matter of time.

Top Spy Secrets


The Top Spy Secrets is to me one of the most cool looking sites. It’s definitely a type of template that you rarely see.

It’s also most likely very effective when it comes to Adsense CTR since it’s a 2-column template and the main content area is almost as narrow as the Adsense ad.

The visitor reading that page will HAVE to scan the ad if he wants to keep reading the content.

Again, note the attention to detail and all the small customizations like the red Top Secret sign, the design of the horizontal navigation and others.

Conclusion

If you see someone on the street (or many other settings like parties, business meetings, conferences, …) dressed really really well and smart, what is your first thought?

In most cases that is is someone important.

It is only their “look and feel” that makes the first impression and we tend to make some very profound conclusions based on this first impression.

We can also be fooled very easily by that. 😉 But that’s how the world works and that’s how the human mind works.

The goal of your template and your content is to make that first impression which can many times be much stronger than the impression the visitor gets when they actually read what you have to say.

And if your visitors who also own websites and blogs and use Facebook, Twitter and other social sites are impressed immediately by the look and feel of your TEMPLATE and the richness of your content, they will link to you much more likely.

And since links are THE KEY to high rankings, then having a good looking template and putting a lot of effort to make your content interesting and colorful is also the KEY to long-term success online.

Can you build a high traffic website with a plain looking template? Yes you can.

But unless you’re lucky with some great links (like getting listed on high PR pages in DMOZ and Yahoo Directory) it will take you much more time and effort to achieve that because not many other webmasters will link to you organically.

Take some time and look at the above four websites and study their pages. They all follow quite a simple 2 or 3 column format and yet they are interesting and unique.

They are not as complex as the CNN.com or Yahoo.com homepages and yet there’s no need to complicate things.

You can make a simple two column website look very clean, professional and that it conveys the status of authority through richness of the content.

You will definitely “convince” many webmasters who visit it to link to it and recommend it to their visitors.

And once the organic links start to happen, it’s time to start partying. 😉

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    8 Comments

  1. Tomaz and others,
    I certainly think an attractive look and feel is important. In following the SBI Action Plan I have tried to balance that with site simplicity as well.

    [Reply]

  2. Hi Tomaz,
    Great post, is definitely some food for thought. I’m definitely going to try and spice my site’s design up a bit since despite its good content, it is lacking somewhat in the design department (am more of a developer + content writer than designer).

    I definitely agree that a good looking site – along with great content – is essential to getting organic links.

    I’ll also try taking off the ads from the homepage. Nearly all of my revenue is from my inner pages hence hopefully removing the homepage ads will result in more backlinks without any real loss of income.

    Thanks for the food for thought! 🙂
    Tristan

    [Reply]

  3. Tomaz,

    So very true on making the first impression. I’ll definitely have to really get into the module on CSS/HTML within the Action Guide.

    Thanks,
    Sabrin

    [Reply]

  4. I guess it depends to a degree on the content of your site.

    For example, I wanted to create a simple and reasonably attractive look and feel that encourages visitors to focus on the content rather than being distracted by the design, good or bad.

    Good design can attract organic links, but maybe there’s an argument to suggest it should also go unnoticed — poor design sticks out like a sore thumb.

    [Reply]

  5. Hi Tomaz! I love this blog and your posts in the SBI forum, I am browsing through those all the time! Do you think that it’s possible to create a beautiful-looking site design using SBI’s templates (not the CSS or HTML ones, just the blockbuilder ones with 3 columns and navbar on the left) and the blockbuilder? I haven’t the faintest idea of web design, which is why I chose SBI, because I didn’t need to know how to use any web design programs or understand any HTML at all to use SBI. Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Tomaz Reply:

    Hi Serena,

    I think you can get very close a great looking site with a basic blockbuilder. And to move to HTML Upload you don’t need to know HTML.

    A website designer creates a HTML template for you and when you build a page you just need to know in which fields / sections you need to enter title, description, keywords, content, etc.

    There’s very little HTML you need to know – typically just how to position an image left or right. And a few other tricks you learn along the way…

    The question is also whether the site’s niche requires a great looking site or not. Some more informational sites don’t really need a super looking site, while others – travel, entertainment, sports… – typically look more colorful…

    [Reply]

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