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How to Make Money Online

The Ultimate Free Guide, by Gary Simon

Beneath, you will find a very elaborate guide (22,000 words) I personally wrote about making money online. I wrote it with the anticipation of selling it, but because I'm so giving, I decided to make it free (the same day I launched the version that cost money.)

So if you really want to learn how to make money online and quit your lame job, just read my guide and you will have a very good understanding of where and how to begin.

Table of Contents

How to Make Money Online

SEO: OffSite Optimization

    Off-Site Optimization is the process of attaining backlinks from other websites.  A backlink is simply a link that points *to* a page on your website (or the home page), *from* an entirely different and separate website.  As you can see, Off-Site Optimization at first glance is very simple, but it's also the one section of this entire article that most online businesses fail to address.  Without backlinks, you simply won't receive much traffic from the search engines.  Traffic is what makes or breaks a business, without customers, you could have the greatest website on the internet and ultimately fail and not make a dime.

    While Off-Site Optimization is a simple concept, it can also be the most tiring due to the leg work involved in generating backlinks.  But the pay off is always big.  When you take the time to generate quality backlinks coupled with proper On-Site Optimization, you will rank for your target keywords and receive what you want, which is consistent targeted traffic.

    A backlink looks like any other link in HTML:  <a href="http://yourwebsite.com/your_page.html">Anchor Text</a>
First the href=" " is where the link will take the visitor once they click it.  And the Anchor Text is the keyword you're trying to make the page specified in href rank for.


Types of Backlinks

    Now that we know what a backlink is, let's examine the different types of backlinks.  In SEO, there are generally 4 different types of backlinks.

  1. Natural
    A natural backlink is when a webmaster of another website, or someone posting on a forum or blog, willingly links to your website without you having requested it or without some sort of a deal taking place.  Natural backlinks are always very quality backlinks because it appears as being 100% natural and unintentional, which is what all search engines want.  If you want to maximize the amount of natural backlinks your site or page(s) on your site can receive, you do it by publishing quality content.  Quality can mean many things, anything unique or creative, or elaborate and informative.  People like quality content and will therefore link others to share the page/website.

  2. Link Exchange
    A link exchange is when website A links to website B, and website B links to website A.  Due to the nature of a link exchange, they are generally the most inferior in quality opposed to the other 3 types of backlinks.  This is because search engines are smart enough to see the link exchange taking place, and devalue the strength of the link.  However, that is not to say that they can't help your efforts in ranking.

  3. 3-Way Link Exchange
    In a 3-way link exchange, there are 3 websites involved, but still only 2 webmasters (yourself and someone else).  Because link exchanges are an obvious attempt at SEO and are devalued by the search engines, some believe a 3-way link exchange makes it more difficult for the search engines to notice the exchange.  It's when WebsiteA (your website) links to WebsiteB (not your website), and WebsiteC (not your website either) links to your WebsiteA.  The other webmaster owns both of those websites.  It's most preferable to take the route of a 3-way link exchange instead of a standard link exchange if possible.

  4. 1-Way Link
    A 1-way link is like a Natural link, except it's an intentional deal facilitated to make the link occur.  Most of the time, you have to pay for a 1-way link.  But other times it is possible to generate 1-way links without paying, which is discussed later on in this section.


    Whenever possible, you want to avoid No-Follow links.  A No-Follow link looks like this:
    <a href="http://yourwebsite.com/your_page.html" rel="nofollow">Anchor Text</a>

    If you see rel="nofollow" in any of the above 4 examples, you should contact the webmaster and have them remove that tag if possible.  rel="nofollow" tells the search engine spiders not to count the link towards any ranking.  It means the link is worthless to you as a webmaster.  It won't hurt you, but it won't help you.  Some big social media types of websites automatically include this tag on any external link, because these sites tend to draw in a lot of search engine spam (an attempt by webmasters to generate backlinks, usually in an automated fashion).


Backlink Qualities

    We've all heard the phrase before, "Quality over Quantity", and backlinks are no exception.  The quality of a backlink is determined by several factors, which are listed below.

  • Quality Content
    If the page that your backlink is placed on has little to no content, then the quality of the content is bad.  You should always prefer that there is some unique content on the page that your link is placed on.  All it has to be is a few paragraphs of unique content.

  • Google PageRank
    Google PageRank (or PR for short) is a measure of the value or importance of a given page on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest).  The biggest factor that determines a pages PR value, is by the quality of backlinks that page has received.  PageRank is also passed down from within the website itself.  For example, let's say the homepage of a website has a PageRank of 4.  And then that webmaster adds a new page of content to the website and links *to* that page from his home page.  In due time, the new page will receive some page rank from that internal link. 

    Every page on the internet has an associated PR.  You can view the PageRank of every page you visit by downloading a plugin for the FireFox browser (which I recommend using over Internet Explorer).  Once you have Firefox installed, you can download the plugin at: http://www.quirk.biz/searchstatus/ - Once you have this plugin installed, open Firefox and on the lower right hand corner you will see 2 fields.  PageRank and Alexa.  (Alexa is covered next). 

    If a page does not have any PR, it could be due to 2 reasons.  It's new and Google has not yet updated the PageRank system (it can take a few months), or because the page itself has no quality backlinks from other page(s) or websites.

    In the SEO/Webmaster world, PageRank is often solely used to determine the value of a page.  You will see how this works later on in this section in the generating backlinks topic.

  • Alexa Ranking
    Alexa is a service that measures the amount of traffic a website receives, and ranks it against every other website on the internet.  A low Alexa ranking is better than a higher alexa ranking.  Check out the Alexa Top 500 Sites page to see which sites receive the most traffic on the internet.  As you can see, Google is #1.  Alexa updates its rankings every couple weeks, so it is quicker than PageRank.  But do not confuse Alexa with Google PR, alexa is only the measure of the amount of traffic that a website receives.  Alexa is not page-specific, it is only site-specific - meaning that each individual page on your site will have the same exact alexa ranking.

    Alexa Ranking is usually not an important factor when generating backlinks.  It can only give you a very rough idea of how much traffic a site receives and even more rough idea of how many visitors will click on the link and sent to your site.

  • Other Backlinks
    The fewer backlinks a page has, the better.  You want your backlink to be placed on a page that has as few other backlinks as possible.  That's why "friends" pages or "Links" pages are inferior.  When search engine spiders are crawling pages and happen to find your site being linked to (a backlink), they also take into consideration the amount of *other* backlinks on that page.  The more backlinks, the less value your backlink will receive.

  • Banned Sites
    Some websites are banned from Google, and you definitely do not want a backlink on a site that is banned.  You can check to see if a website is banned by visiting Google.com and typing:  site:www.thesite.com  - If there are no results, then that website is either banned, or too new and hasn't yet been indexed.  You can check the age of a domain by typing this in the address bar of your browser: whois.sc/thesite.com  -  It will provide you with information about the domain, as well as when it was registered and when it will expire if not renewed.

    So if you type site:www.theirsite.com and no results show up, and their website is more than a month old, then it's safe to say that that website is banned.


How to Generate Backlinks

    There are many ways to generate backlinks, and I will outline each of them below.

  • Webmaster Forums
    Webmaster forums are online communities where other site owners come to chat many various topics specific to website ownership.  There are a few that provide specific forums for buying/selling links, and exchanging links.  You can use forums to generate all 4 types of links mentioned above.  By purchasing links you can generate 1-ways, by mentioning your site (when relevant) in a post, you can generate 1-ways through a *forced* natural link, you can also even mention your website with your target anchor text in post signature to generate a lot of links.

    DigitalPoint Link Exchange Forum, SitePoint Link Exchanges
    These two forums alone will provide you with enough potential link exchanges.  You can browse through existing threads posted by other webmasters, or you can start your own thread.  You generally will only want to exchange links with other sites that are at least *somewhat* similar in nature.  If you start off with a brand new site that has a page rank of 0, it will be tough at first but you if you work with it enough, you can build some exchanges with other sites of higher PR.  To at least get some initial pagerank, you might even consider purchasing a 1-way link from a PR4+ site for a period of time.  If you familiarize yourself enough with these forums, you will begin to understand how it all works.

    DigitalPoint Link Sales Forum, SitePoint Advertising Space for Sale
    These forums are specific to either buying or selling links.  The difference between this and exchanging links is that you're generating 1-way links instead of exchanges.  They're more quality links, but you're paying for them.  Here's a tip:  Most webmasters who sell links will sell you right along with other external links that are/were purchased from other webmasters.  I always prefer that my 1-way appear more natural and not along with other external links.  So it won't hurt if you request that your link is placed somewhere else.  You can even to offer to write a free article about whatever your the topic is you're trying to rank for (and link out to your site within the article using your targeted anchor text), and have them add the article to a page on their website, and link to it from their home page.  This way you generate a very natural looking link instead of being clumped together with other links.

  • Manual Method of Generating Links
    You can use search engines (like Google) to search for the keywords you're trying to rank for.  Visit the top competition (say the top 50 results) and note the contact information.  Contact each webmaster via email and let them know you would either like to exchange links, or purchase a 1-way from their site.  You can even offer free articles or other bartering services (I offer free design sometimes like logos) to generate 1-ways.

    There are actual applications you can use to do all of the grunt work mentioned above.  Some applications will automatically scan a list of results from specified search engine, search each site for an email to contact, and send out an email with a response you specify before hand.  The plus side is it cuts back on a lot of work, the downside is that it's not very personal.  Doing it manually allows you to let the other webmaster *know* you actually visited their website by mentioning something specific.  Webmasters who have sites that rank high for specific keywords are used to receiving these emails and ignore most that appear to be generated automatically.

  • Quality Content
    As mentioned earlier in this section, quality content will lead to natural 1-way links.  Quality content combined with the Social Bookmarking method below can help spawn thousands of natural 1-way links.

    Here's a true personal story.  One day I wanted to see if I could make it to front page digg.com (which is a huge social media site where visitors choose which stories/content are made popular) by writing a really elaborate tutorial on how to design a logo.  So I spent that day writing a long tutorial on logo design, and then submitted it to digg.  It hit front page digg that day and I succeeded (and received thousands of visitors).  Almost a year later I decided to check out if my website garysimon.net receives any traffic (I didn't expect to see any traffic since I never SEO'd it) and to my amazement, it received quite a bit of traffic.  I discovered I ranked #1 for keywords like "How to Make a Logo".  After looking into it, it was all because of the tutorial hitting front page digg.com.  Because digg.com receives so much traffic, people who own websites will link to specific pages that are mentioned on digg.com, and that's what happened.

  • Social Bookmarking/Media
    There are many social bookmarking sites that allow you to spread your website or specific page(s) on your website to other people.  The primary purposes of these social bookmarking sites is to allow its visitors/users determine which content is to be made important/popular.  Usually this means whatever link you submit (whether it be your home page or a specific page on your site) has to be interesting enough in one way or another for people to like it and make it popular.  The more people that like your site, the more traffic it will receive.  Below is a list of the most popular social bookmarking sites/services.

    Digg
    Digg is very simple to use.  You specify a link, choose which category it belongs to, and then submit it.  Once you submit it, it will get shown at the top of the upcoming list in whichever category you specified.  If it's popular enough, people browsing that category will either "Digg it" up, or down.  The more diggs you get, the more of a chance you have at making your submission reach the front page.  There is no set number on when this can happen.  One thing that helps is by telling your friends with digg accounts to "digg" your submission.  It also helps to receive more diggs if your site has traffic already, and you link to your submission from your site for your visitors to digg.

    Twitter
    Twitter is different than Digg.  Twitter is all about increasing your number of "Followers". The more people who follow you, the more people that will read whatever it is that you "tweet" (or say in other words).  If you have many followers and mention a link you want to SEO (and is also quality content), the more people there are that are likely to willingly link to your page.

    Reddit, StumbleUpon, Technorati, del.icio.us

  • Press Releases
    A press release is a specifically structured article that you can submit to various press release syndication sites in order to generate 1-way backlinks.  Within the press release, you can link to your website using specific anchor text.  There is a specific structure to writing an effective press release (and also one that will get accepted), you can do a search on Google to find out what that structure is "How to Write a Press Release". 

    PRWeb.com, PRNewsWire.com, PRLog.com, are services associated with submitting press releases.

  • Article Directories
    There are many article directories that you can submit articles to.  The article can be about anything, and you can link out to your site within the article using your target anchor text.  There isn't a specific structure required for articles you submit like there is with a press release.  The only stipulations that exist are usually a minimum word count, and the amount of links that are outbound from the article.

    EzineArticles.com, SubmitEaze.com, iSnare.com, ArticleDashboard.com, ArticleFeeder.com are sites/services based around article submission.







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