Backlinking Your Way to a 5 Figure Income

Recently we received a question regarding backlinking and just how many backlinks are required to make a 5 figure income and while there are no hard and fast rules, I think I’ve seen enough data to give a decent answer.

But there’s always a caveat. When I say backlink I’m talking about a link that exists on someone else’s site that links back to a page on your site. More importantly, that site where the link resides is a site that Google views favorably because it has quality content and/or is considered an authority site.

I am most definitely not talking about article marketing and the hundreds of worthless article sites. In fact if there is one thing that you take away from this post it should be stay away from article marketing like the plague! Google’s fixation on quality will ultimately send all of the article farms to the same shadowy realm as the old link farms. Just say no to article marketing.

The 4 steps to backlinking development – where does your site fit in?

It’s been my experience that you can lump websites into one of four backlinking categories.

1. The website is up but has zero backlinks.

Planning an affiliate website and actually putting together all of the elements is a ton of work. And it doesn’t matter what your product or service is be it digital IR photography or something as unique as arc welding services it still takes research, content development and of course website design and development.

Launching your site is something of a mixed experience. Yes it looks great and the fact that you can actually see it is rewarding but on the other hand, without developing backlinks you’re going to be the only one who ever sees it.

2. The website is up and has 5 to 10 articles distributed on quality websites.

When you first start the process of distributing articles to sites it’s similar to the backroom leg work that goes into planning a website. You have to identify quality blogs or sites that welcome guest content and then develop a relationship with them.

I think this “management” task takes the steam out of some affiliates and they simply sit back and “see” what they can get. Each article has two links pointing back to two pages on their site so the total is only 5 to 10 links pointing at each of the 2 pages. Typically they “see” very little.

3. The website is up and has 20 to 30 articles distributed.

Many affiliates fall into this category particularly those that are doing this part time. Twenty to thirty serious backlinks to each of the two pages will bring in a fairly steady stream of qualified traffic and the site probably will be doing okay on sales. Not great they are starting to see regular sales.

And then the holiday season hits and for two months the site does great so the total income for the year looks like a nice part time job.

4. The serious full time affiliates.

These are the people who want to make this business their livelihood. They have 100 to 150 quality articles distributed meaning 100 to 150 links to each of their 2 targeted pages (200 to 300 pointing at the domain) and they are easily making the 5 figure income on a consistent and sustainable basis. It’s not done over night but it is easily done within a year and the neat thing about it is you don’t have to do it all yourself.

So if you have just launched a site for an infrared filter or whatever your niche is, your job isn’t over it has just entered a new phase.

The win-win story for guest content

Google loves new quality content and if all other factors are the same it is likely to rank new content above older links. Webmasters know this and the many are willing to allow guest postings to keep their content fresh and updated. In exchange for free content they will agree to one or two do follow links for each story.

Finding these sites is fairly easy using a Google search. But before you contact them, make sure that you fully understand their editorial guidelines. Review the types and styles of articles that are already posted to make sure that your pitch to the webmaster is relevant.

Then contact the webmaster (some of these sites actually have a link for “write for us” and present two or three topic ideas that you think would be a good fit for the site. If you can develop a good relationship with 30 to 50 of these sites and then just add 10 articles a month spread out over different sites, at the end of the year you’ll have close to 200 to 300 solid backlinks pointing at you.

[asa]B0052A1UA2[/asa]At some point in this process you are going to see a significant increase in sales and that’s when you can start outsourcing this task if you like. For example if you’re a great marketer but a so-so writer outsource the articles. This allows you to move on to another project and create another stream of revenue. This is the route of serious growth.

So what’s your take on this? Do you have any questions or tactics you’d like to share? If you do just put them in the comment box below.

About the Author:

James Martell is well known expert in affiliate marketing, outsourcing and SEO. He is a sought after speaker, affiliate marketing trainer and podcaster. James along with his wife Arlene a weekly series of affiliate marketing podcasts on iTunes. James lives in White Rock BC, a seaside suburb of Vancouver on west coast of Canada with his wife, Arlene and their 4 growing kids.

Five Ways that Industry Conferences Will Help Your Business Grow

How many conferences or trade shows are held each year for your specific industry?

Now, how many of these conferences do you regularly attend?

If your answer is “none”, then you are probably missing some important information, and you are definitely missing a great opportunity.

I got into affiliate marketing in 1999 because I had a gut feeling that I could do well in that business. That same gut feeling led me to attend my very first online marketing conference in 2002.

It was called the Commission Junction University, it was held in Santa Barbara, and as vacations go, it was wonderful. The food was great, the lodgings were plush, I met some great folks and being in Santa Barbara is always a good thing.

Of course, if the CJU were just a vacation, I probably would not have been able to justify the time and money required to attend.

Remember that gut feeling I was talking about? I was pretty sure that, in spite of the obvious features of this conference (the travel, the hotel, the food, the sunshine…) I would be receiving some real benefits that exceeded my original investment. It turns out that I was right.

The Benefits of Attending Industry Conferences

After three days in sunny California, I came home with more than just a few postcards and a tan. As a matter of fact, my wife Arlene was so impressed with the information and motivation that I brought back that she attended the conference with me, and we brought 40 more people with us!

I now attend several industry events every year. I usually advise my affiliates and colleagues to attend at least one, but preferably two online marketing events annually. The reasons for this are as follows;

  • Industry events are a great way to invest your time. You will learn more information and learn it faster than if you were just spending your spare time going through trade journals or surfing on the internet.
  • Industry events are a great way to invest your money. If you actually use the information you bring home, you’re earning power should easily offset the cost of the event. More importantly, if you work closely with your bookkeeper or accountant, you may find that most, if not all, of the expense of attending a trade show can be used as a tax deduction.
  • Industry events provide you with the opportunity to connect with other people in your industry who share your dreams and goals. This will help you build a network of like minds that you can tap into during the rest of the year.
  • Industry events give you the chance to benefit from the experience and knowledge base of your entire industry. This will allow you to learn from other’s mistakes and benefit from their combined wisdom without the expense and inconvenience of learning things “the hard way.”
  • Perhaps most importantly, attending an industry event can give you confidence by example. By meeting people who have found success in your industry, you’ll better understand what you are capable of, and you’ll be more likely to achieve your goals.

In the last decade, I have attended many affiliate marketing events, and my favorites are listed below. Keep in mind that you don’t have to be a full-time affiliate marketer to benefit from any of these events. Any business owner could use the information you’ll learn at these conferences.

The Best Affiliate Marketing and Social Media Conferences 2011

1. The Affiliate Summit takes place annually in New York and Las Vegas and may very well be the most impressive of these conferences in both size and scope. The Summit offers a mind-boggling array of educational events, top industry speakers and a seemingly endless supply of vendors and merchants.

2. The Blog World Expo is for bloggers, blog fans, and anyone who might consider a blog as part of their marketing plan. This event brings in bloggers from all over the planet for networking events and presentations.

3. The Webmaster World’s PubCon is not a publishing convention; it is an informal gathering of webmasters who share marketing strategies and advanced SEO methods. Webmaster World has managed to keep this a fairly laid back affair even though the gathering has long since outgrown the pub in which it started.

4. Commission Junction University was my first trade show, and it remains one of my favorites. The location is hard to top, and any time you assemble 800 Commission Junction affiliates in one room, you’re bound to come out with some great ideas.

5. AffCon is one of the newer affiliate marketing events, and like most new ventures, you can attend for free at the moment. Unlike many newer events, however, AffCon offers leading panelists, all the typical vendors and merchants, and a lot of information for beginning and veteran affiliate marketers.

6. The ShareASale Think Tank offers a slightly more creative atmosphere than other conferences, and that’s because the emphasis is on brainstorming rather than lecture-hall type presentations. That atmosphere is made considerably more fun by the parties, sports events and first class accommodations.

Nearly every business could benefit from some affiliate marketing, but these aren’t the only events out there. Whether you’re looking for plumbing trade shows or social media conferences 2011 has a bumper crop of options for you. You just have to know where to look.

Finding the Right Industry Event for You

I have an associate who has a weight loss website. His name is Matt Papas, and while he could benefit from affiliate marketing, there are several other kinds of conferences he should attend, too. He could attend a pharmaceutical or weight loss conference and find out the best way to advertise his Medifast diet coupons and how to cater to people wanting to know “Does the Nutrisystem Program work?

As another example, my wife, Arlene, runs a website called, so while she benefits from SEO and social medial conferences, 2011 may see her attending shows that focus on pediatric health care or child advocacy organizations.

Whatever Cause or Industry you would like to get better at, you’re only a search engine session away from a list of current industry events that will benefit you.

Pack Your Bags!

If you’ve been paying attention, you already know that you’ll be attending an industry event of some sort this year. You know that you’ll receive benefits that far outweigh the time and cost that you put into the event, and you know that the connections you make could last you a lifetime. I might even get to see you at one of my favorite get-togethers.

The only real question now is, what are you waiting for?


A recognized expert in natural search and outsourcing, James Martell is a leader in the affiliate marketing industry. His approach to the business is “real world” not some super secret technique. His methods are based on intelligent planning, solid execution and effective monitoring of results. His laid back “guy next door” style has made him a popular choice for speaking engagements at affiliate marketing conventions and events across the world. James is the host of the longest running podcast in affiliate marketing, and runs a highly successful affiliate marketing training series as well.

5 Reasons Article Marketing Is Dead!

The Bad Diagnosis

In case you’re not quite sure what article marketing is, I’ll let Matt Cutts, the guy in charge of Google’s Webspam, give you a basic description; ” you’re writing an article and you try to include a link at the bottom and you’re hoping a bunch of other people put up copies or mirrors or duplicates of that article and that those links might flow through.”

After defining article marketing so neatly, he then offers a minor warning, “Typically the sorts of sites that just republish these articles are not the highest quality sites”. The reasons for that are obvious. An SEO article is rarely well-written enough to be talked about, Tweeted about, submitted to DIGG or referenced on another website. Successful websites usually employ dedicated writers, because they are only interested in high quality articles.

This leads us to one of the main reasons that article marketing has outlived it’s usefulness;

Reason #1 – You Can’t Control the Quality of Your Backlinks

The problem is, once you’ve thrown your article into an article directory, you have no control over where it goes next. You might hope that your articles go to one of the top ten google sites for your keyword, but the likelihood is that your hard work will be snapped up by a low-ranking site with few, if any visitors.

A low-quality website produces a low-quality backlink, which won’t be very helpful for boosting your site’s Google ranking. If you’ve already put the effort into a well-written article, you may as well follow up by keeping some control over where is published.

Whether you’re trying to sell Yamaha piano keyboards or Kitchen Aid Mixers, or are just trying to post some Joovy Caboose stroller reviews, you won’t get many people’s attention if your website shows up on page 27 of the Google rankings – or not at all.

Reason #2 – You Can’t Build Backlinks with Duplicate Content

When Google first began presenting people with a system for cataloging and ranking other people’s websites, it didn’t take long for the savvy business types to realize their opportunity. Writing one good article and submitting it to lots of different websites was an easy way to raise their own Google ranking.

Predictably, it also didn’t take long for the folks at Google to catch on to the game, and they began filtering for duplicate content. That’s what it’s called when a person takes one article and posts it over and over again on different websites.

Duplicate content doesn’t result in good search engine results, so Google makes sure that people who post duplicate content do not get the results they are hoping for.

Reason #3 – You Can’t Build Backlinks With Duplicate Anchor Text

Another very effective filter on Google’s algorithm is the one that catches duplicate anchor text. Funnily enough, I just got off the phone with someone who recently learned about this filter the hard way.

He took several articles and spread them around to about a hundred article directories. Each of these articles were supposed to link back to a particular website, which would then send the aforementioned site happily up the Google ranking ladder.

It sounded like a good plan. So why, when searching for the keywords “Lasik Eye Surgery”, did his clients’ website then plummet from Google’s page three to page 30? He found the whole thing very unfair.

I sympathized, and after a few very sensitively phrased questions, I was able to figure out the problem. All 100 articles had the exact same keyword phrase, “Lasik Eye Surgery”, as the backlink. This is also referred to as the anchor text, and Google is very sensitive to it.

If you think about it, though, it’s really obvious. If 20 different webmasters chose to link to a particular website, it’s not likely that even ten of them will use the same anchor text, like Bumbleride twin reviews, for example. The chances of 100 webmasters accidentally replicating such a link, however, is about impossible.

The Google algorithm recognizes that sort of behavior for exactly what it is; a poorly conceived attempt to outsmart the world’s largest search engine. Is it any wonder that the aforementioned search engine then kicks those offending articles right out of the Googlesphere?

Reason #4 – You Can’t Raise a Website in A Bad Neighborhood

In the world of Search Engine Optimization, there is such a thing as a bad neighborhood. Your neighborhood consists of the sites that you link to, as well as the sites that link back to you. If you’re shopping for a house, you usually have some say over where you live. Once you’ve plopped your articles into a directory, however, they have no say as to where they end up.

To further complicate things, the website your article ends up on will effect the neighborhood that your website lives in. You may wonder what one has to do with the other, unless you’ve already seen the video I have seen.

It’s the one where Matt Cutts announced very publicly that your website’s rankings can now be negatively affected by the sites which are linked to you. In other words, if several lower ranking sites are linked to yours, they could actually harm your ranking rather than help it.

Reason #5 – Google Advises Against Article Marketing

Even since the recent Google Panda updates, we are still being assured that “article marketing still works”.

Sure. So did anchor text stuffing, article spinning and churning butter, but that doesn’t mean we should still do it that way.

It makes perfect sense most of the highly talented eggheads who know the best way to manipulate a search engine are already employed by Google. It also makes sense that any new or newly rediscovered method we come up with to artificially raise our site’s Google rankings will be immediately detected, tracked down and eliminated by the very folks we’re trying to work around.

All of the ingenuity, effort and money which has been poured into article marketing techniques has resulted in very little reward for article marketers. Of course, now and again certain folks have made a bit of money on these efforts, but never very much and not for very long.

What’s more, the return on investment pales in comparison to the amount that could have been made if they were working with Google rather than against them.

Someone actually asked Matt Cutts “… if he recommends article marketing as an SEO strategy?” His answer was pretty useful. “… so if I had to make a prophecy or forecast about how Google feels or how search engines feel about them in general, the trend that I am hearing and the sort of complaints that I am hearing are that people are not huge fans of article marketing and don’t view it as an incredible value add in terms of the content that gets added to the web.”

I got a kick out of Matt saying, “So if I had to make a prophecy or forecast…” as though it’s anybody’s guess. The guy is the head of search engine spam for Google, so he knows exactly how Google feels about article marketing, and more importantly, what they plan to do about it next week.

Granted, Matt Cutts is equal parts executive and cheerleader, so you might reasonably assume that he’s just as capable of propaganda as he is of upgrading an algorithm. However, it’s pretty hard to argue with results. Think about the last time you saw five identical articles pop up on a search engine page. Now, did the page say “Google” on the top of it, or did it say “Alta Vista” or maybe even “WebCrawler”? I rest my case.

Is Article Marketing Really Dead?

Perhaps this particular type of search engine optimizing may have a few last gasps left in it, but it has already outlived it’s usefulness. Because of the natural weaknesses of article marketing combined with the fact that Google has declared open war on it, the days of article marketing are numbered.

Your thoughts on this subject are most welcome.

About James

James Martell is well known as an affiliate marketing specialist in outsourcing and SEO. He is also a speaker and does weekly podcasts and affiliate marketing trainings. James is host of the Affiliate Buzz podcast on WebmasterRadio.FM (the first ever and longest running podcast about the affiliate industry), and creator of the Affiliate Marketers SUPER BootCamp where he teaches others how to make money with affiliate marketing. He lives in White Rock BC, a seaside suburb of Vancouver on west coast of Canada with his wife, Arlene.

What An Affiliate Marketing Business And A $1,000,000 Retirement Package Have In Common

I’ve been in the affiliate marketing business for over a decade but I never really made the connection between my business income and the income from any retirement program I may have. Like most people retirement is in the back of my mind but first I have to take care of today’s obligations like a mortgage, tuition, health insurance and gas for my favorite toy my Shelby Cobra replica.

But I had the opportunity to meet and work with a successful financial coach by the name of Todd Tressider and he really opened my eyes. Read more

How To Get And Stay Organized Online – The Key To Your Success

I’m a big believer that my success in internet marketing is largely due to my early commitment to organizing my effort. When I first got started in this business back in 1999 I was like many working at it part time. Initially I got lucky and was able to generate some decent income very quickly without fully knowing what I was doing.

However that sweet deal disappeared in the dot com bust and suddenly I was faced with reality.

I needed to start all over again, finding a new niche, building new websites and trying to figure out the best way to market my new affiliate products. It’s one thing to spend a couple of hours each evening on a single product knowing that it was going to generate money and it is quite another when you no longer have that product and you’re starting from ground zero. Where time wasn’t really a big concern for me while the dollars rolled in regularly, when that stopped time became extremely important.

It was right about then that I lost a critical password list. I knew I needed to learn how to get and stay organized online if I was ever going to succeed.

Just the kick in the butt that I needed

Now that may not seem like a big deal to you but trust me it was. I was feeling the pressure to get the business off the ground and now I have to waste precious hours trying to recover those passwords from the various websites. That’s when it dawned on me that I had to do a better job of organizing my business to prevent catastrophes like the password list but also to use my time as efficiently as I could.

Since that time I’ve been committed to improving the methods that I use to conduct business and am in a constant search for new time-saving tools to help me achieve just that. I’ve made process improvement an important part of my business model and it has really paid off.

The rewards of an organized business model

My wife Arlene and I have been working from home for over 10 years now and we are enjoying a fantastic lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong it’s not all worry free and no pressure, there are always challenges to be met whenever you run your own business but the benefits we have today are fantastic and I attribute them to our organized business model.

Today Arlene and I can’t even imagine working a 9 to 5 gig for someone else.

Today we enjoy a super short commute (30 seconds), a flexible schedule that we control and financial rewards that have allowed us to take a few amazing vacations. I knew I was making progress when I finally purchased my dream car a replica of a 1965 Shelby Cobra.

It’s a great way to live and you can do the same thing…if you get organized early on.

Laying the groundwork for an organized business model

You can start with your home office. Regardless where it is in your home you want to make sure that you have a minimal number of distractions and that includes family members or roommates. When you’re in your space the rest of the folks who live in your home have to understand that you’re not browsing for the latest sports scores, you’re trying to make a living and it’s not a good idea to interrupt you.

Your computer is your number one tool so make sure it’s adequate to do the job. If you have high-speed Internet connection and the pages are still loading slowly consider getting some more RAM for the computer. You can easily double the amount of RAM in most computers for under $50 and the difference in speed is well worth it.

You don’t need the latest whiz bang computer workstation you just need a desk that’s functional and a chair that will give you good back support. Likewise you don’t need a ton of office supplies.

What you do need is to spend the time to evaluate how you pursue your business. How are you going after your goals? How much time you spend on tasks or functions that are not directly related to meeting your goals?

A second here a second there

I found that one of the biggest time wasters in this business is simply navigating the Internet. The amount of time spent filling in usernames and passwords or filling in online forms is significant if you add it all up. And guess what… there’s a way to automate those functions.

Here’s a short list of 5 tools that I use every day to save time and get the most out of my work day:

  1. WordPress – okay you may not think of WordPress as a time-saving tool but it really is. When I design my first website back in 1999 I had to do it a page at a time in HTML. When I first learned how to create a WordPress website I was amazed at how fast the process was (literally minutes) and how robust the features were. Easy to build easy to manage, this is the best platform for affiliate marketers who have little or no technical skills
  2. Carbonite – this is your safety deposit box for all the files on your computer. Carbonite will automatically upload any file that has been modified and all new files to secure online storage facility. In short, this is where you log into to recover all of your files when your computer crashes. Think about the enormity of that kind of event. Forget for a moment the time involved, could you actually recover or re-create every file that’s on your computer? Probably not. Carbonite is a must-have to prevent a catastrophe.
  3. RoboForm – remember when I said I lost that list of usernames and passwords? It was a real pain and time-consuming trying to track them all down. RoboForm takes care of that for you. This little piece of software automatically remembers your username, password and any other personal identification such as e-mail address or physical address. When you land on the sign in page RoboForm will fill out the fields and automatically submit the information
  4. Snag it – this is another super time-saving software. One of the great time consuming tasks is the management and sizing of images. Snag it basically allows you to snag an image, crop it, add text and graphics and do it all on the fly. Managing images just doesn’t get any simpler than this.
  5. Google Documents – at some point in your business you’re going to develop a team whether you realize it or not. You’re going to want to interact and share documents with vendors, freelancers, affiliate managers and all the others that you work with. Google documents are a great way to manage information among those team members. You can share documents and you can collaborate on documents without having to create duplicate documents.

So what are you doing this weekend? Are you planning on watching that tutorial on WordPress small business themes? Let me suggest that you do this instead… spend this weekend really getting organized. Take the time to evaluate just how you do business and how you can streamline the workflow. Check out the tools listed above and others that can automate functions you frequently perform.

It may seem like small potatoes, saving a few seconds here and a few seconds there, but they add up that more importantly they keep your mojo going. There’s nothing worse than being fired up about idea and having to wait for slow page load or download. So take the time now to build that framework of organization that will allow you a faster success.


James Martell, his wife Arlene and their four children live in a seaside suburb outside of Vancouver BC. James is a recognized leader in the affiliate marketing industry and is the founder and co-host of the longest-running affiliate marketing podcast series on the Internet. James has been training and mentoring online marketers since 2001. You’ll receive actionable tips, strategies and money making advice directly from James Martell when you subscribe to his weekly Affiliate Buzz podcast by email, RSS feed or iTunes. You can also follow James on Twitter. You’ll be glad you did! ;)