SEO on a Nickel – Using Google Reader for dofollow links

As I sit in my recliner with the Olympics glowing in the periphery, I can’t help but think how few people have the motivation to devote four years at a time for their shot at glory.  I’m fairly certain a lot of these athletes forgo making a decent living to pursue their passion.  As I mull over all of that dedication to hard work, I realize just how much I like being lazy.  So in this edition of SEO on a Nickel, I’ll offer up a quick and easy way to continuously build links – blog commenting.

Now, let me say this first.  I do not condone spamming blogs for links. If you read this blog and use its contents as ammunition to spam other blogs, there is a good chance you will be eaten by polar bears…but I digress.  Let’s get down to business.  Here’s the tools we’ll be using today:

  1. Google Reader
  2. Google Alerts

Short list, eh?  I said this was going to be a testament laziness, didn’t I?  Okay, so here’s the idea.  If you don’t have much time, a great way to find links is to set up a handful of relevant searches in Google Alerts and spend a few minutes each week looking for relevant blogs to post on in Google Reader.

The first thing you need to do is recognize what linkable assets you have on your site.  Is your home page a valuable asset?  Is it a site that has particular value for a product category or a niche interest?  Perhaps you have an article section with valuable information, or some tools on your site that make it easier to find the right product or calculate an important equation.  Regardless, most sites have some specific linkable assets, and if not, start by making some unique content that relevant sites in your industry would want to link to.

Secondly, do a couple of searches in Google blog search to identify some searches that provide a healthy amount of returns.  If you sell blue widgets, you may just want to do a search for “blue widgets” or if you want something more specific to blue widgets, you might want to search  intitle:”blue widgets” which will return only blog posts with the phrase blue widgets in the title.  Handy, eh?  If you want to take it a step further, you can add some additional elements to your search to find blogs that are more likely to be dofollow – or as some of the industry insiders call them, “footprints”.  An example of this would be blue widget “allowed html tags:” which is a footprint in the comment section used on many blogs that tend to allow dofollowed links within the comments.  The link query tool from Ontolo can be used to show you a whole bunch of ideas for this (use your keyword and then select conversation from the linkable opportunity type drop down).

With some queries in place, get into Google Alerts and set up your search:

Keep up on your blue widgets.

Keep up on your blue widgets.

Once you create your alert, you can choose to edit your alerts where you can select the option to view in Google Reader.  Otherwise, I suppose you can have them sent to your inbox (but that’s sooooooooooo 2008).  Now, you can set up a time each week to find appropriate blog posts where your comment can add value through providing a link to your site.

Once again, I recommend that you don’t bombard every blog you come across.  Chances are you’ll find some blogs that are good communities to participate in aside from building links, so if you’re a good citizen, you can make some worthwhile connections that may lead to a bevy of other opportunities.  So keep that in mind before you start angering people…or the polar bears.

The SEO polar bear hates blog spammers!

The SEO polar bear hates blog spammers! Image courtesy of

And I would be remiss not to point out that I fleshed this post out from Navin Poeran’s suggestion on Search Engine Land a while back.  That post will open your eyes to the immense number of ways you can use search queries to identify linking opportunities.  Until next time, I wish you lazy but successful link building.

Adam Henige

Adam Henige is Managing Partner of Netvantage Marketing, an online marketing company specializing in SEO, PPC and social media. Adam heads the SEO and link building efforts for Netvantage and has been a contributing blogger for industry publications like Search Engine Journal and SEOmoz.

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Using Google Reader to build links to your site and increase rankings…

You can work hard or you can be successful while being as lazy as possible. Building links is hard work, but this tip can help you build a routine that makes it a bit easier….


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