Comments for Backlinks

Anyone reading my previous posts on search engine optimisation (SEO) and Google PageRank should be under no doubt that getting backlinks is vitally important for increasing your standing in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and PageRank stakes.

I mentioned that the anchor text, the text that your link is actually attached to, should also be closely related to content of your site and that your inbound links should originate from a page of similar content and higher PageRank. That's quite a large wish list, even at Christmas time. Barring making a collection of websites yourself or getting on familiar terms with lots of like-minded webmasters, it isn't going to be easy to achieve these links - or is it?

Leaving comments on websites and blogs is the ideal way of getting those all important inbound links. If you aim for sites of a similar theme and higher PageRank you've got it sorted. I am not advocating spamming - spam is the scourge of webmasters worldwide and you're likely to get spammed a hundred-fold in return. You must always read the article you are responding to, form a quick and reasoned opinion and then write something of relevance. If it is the first time you have commented on a particular site it is worthwhile reading the comment guidelines beforehand.

I have a tried and tested strategy for leaving comments. It works - I have been able to obtain inbound links from PR6, 7 and 8 webpages relatively easily. Most blog comment links are 'no follow' meaning, in theory, that they can't pass PageRank to the destination page. In practice these are still a potential source of traffic and have value for search engines apart from Google. I have thought long and hard about whether to share this strategy with my readers, because some of you might notice that I have tried this on your site! Below I outline the key points of my strategy:
  • Aim for websites that are relevant and have a higher PR than your own.
  • Only choose those that allow comment writers to leave their link (sounds obvious). Quite often the comment field will ask for your name, email address and web address. In the published comment your name usually appears as the anchor text - you may like to leave a different name which is more favourable anchor text (I'd recommend you do, but nothing that sounds too spammy).
  • If the comment guidelines allow it you can append your link after your comment as well.
  • Only aim for websites that display comments on the same webpage (at the same URL) as the article. Do not leave comments on sites that display comments in pop-ups.
  • Check the PR of the actual article you are commenting on. Quite often the homepage of a site will have a high PR, but the page with the article (and comments) will have a lower PR. Don't make the mistake of thinking PR8 site means PR8 articles - it isn't true.
  • Here's an example of what I mean in the above point: An article called 'Comment for Backlinks' appears on the front page of a PR8 blog at the URL When a new article is published the URL of 'Comment for Backlinks' becomes something similar to and it is a PR0 page
  • For the reason above always look through the archive to find an article to comment on. Go well back in time so that the article has been well crawled by the Googlebot, has lots of incoming links itself and has an updated PR.
  • Aim for articles that have relevant keywords in the URL.
  • Avoid trawling for multiple articles on the same website. Ideally you need to use this strategy on several sites at the same time. Keep an eye open for new sites with a similar content to your own.
Remember that if you have a PR0 site it doesn't take too many PR6 or PR7 inbound links to give you a good advantage in the next PageRank update. I hope you can use this strategy to gain some quality inbound links and if you've found it useful please link to us and spread the word!

AdSense Preview Tool

Previewing ads with the AdSense Preview Tool.

There are times when you may wish to prevent certain ads from being displayed on your site - for example, those which are directly in competition with your own product or service, which is one of the curses of contextual advertising! To do this you need to apply a filter to the ad(s) in question. I will explain filters at a later date, but to apply the filter you need to know where the ad points. This isn't always evident by looking at the ad - the actual URL might not be displayed in the text depending on the format. Probably the easiest way to find out where the ad leads is to click it but, if you do this carelessly, you run the risk that Google will think you are making fraudulent clicks. You want to avoid this because they will almost certainly ban your AdSense account - once banned almost impossible to get back into the program.

The Preview Tool is a useful little plug-in for Internet Explorer 6+. It allows a publisher to physically click on their ads without the fear of incurring invalid clicks. The tool only works with Internet Explorer, so if you only use Firefox, Safari or Opera it isn't for you.

Install the Preview Tool by clicking on the following link (check the link properties for your own piece of mind before clicking): Download Preview Tool. Close your internet browser windows before running the registry file. The file will self-install and then you can open up Internet Explorer and use the tool. Use the tool by browsing to your AdSense bearing page, right clicking and selecting 'Google AdSense Preview Tool'. The preview tool will open in a new window, and will display a sample set of ads for that page.

You have three main options with the previewed ads:
  • 'Choose Options' - which allows you to view different ad formats and geographical variations.
  • 'Choose Colors' - which allows you to experiment with the colour palette of the previewed ads.
  • Click on any ad displayed in the preview window to see the destination page. By ticking the check-box next to the previewed ads you can also see the destination URL.
If you wish to uninstall the Preview Tool download and run the following registry file (again, view the link properties for your own piece of mind before clicking): Download Preview Tool Uninstaller.

Welcome to AdSense4Dummies

A tiny piece of housekeeping I have so far neglected - the adsense4dummies small print:

About this Blog:
AdSense4Dummies offers independent and impartial advice on the Google AdSense contextual advertising service. Our coverage is becoming more diverse meaning we also cover topics such as search engine optimisation, marketing and other webmaster-related topics.

Sponsored Entries:
Please note that AdSense4Dummies may occasionally include sponsored entries. I will endeavour to write all sponsored entries in a tone which reflects my true opinion of the subject - advertisers please be aware of this before you submit your proposal. Sponsored entries will always include the words 'advertisement' or 'sponsored post'. I hope that these posts do not detract from your enjoyment of my other posts.

Copyright Notice:
If you find any of the information on this site useful you are free to reproduce and republish it elsewhere on condition that you acknowledge and provide a back link to AdSense4Dummies.

The Quest for the Golden Google PageRank

Google assign PageRank based on the
way different websites link to each other.

Introduction of Google PageRank.
Google PageRank (PR) is a measure of how important a particular web page is compared to other pages online. Web pages are assigned a PageRank score between 0 and 10. A PR0 site is least important and a PR10 site is most important according to Google’s reckoning. Webmasters strive to get as high a PageRank as possible. A high PageRank means higher standing in the search engines, increased traffic, increased product sales and brand awareness and personal satisfaction on the part of the webmaster. There is also a high degree of kudos attached to having a high PageRank site. Google are very secretive about the process of assigning PageRank values. One of the key factors they do reveal is that the link structure to and from your site is crucially important. PageRank is not determined by how much traffic your site actually gets, but rather the potential it has to attract future traffic through links. There are many, many reviews that claim to give you the secret of getting a high PageRank quickly – I am making no such flamboyant claims. What I present in this article is a consolidation of the key points I have found elsewhere.

The PageRank System.
The PageRank system counts a link from one site to another as a vote for that site. The site that has the most inbound links, having given fewest outbound links in return stands highly in this head-to-head system of voting. Another detail that Google reveals is that sites which are them self important (high PageRank) have more weight when voting (linking to) for a site of lesser importance (low PageRank). Google update the PageRank assigned to every website on three or four occasions a year.

The content of the link origin and destination pages is also important. It is advantageous to attract links from web pages with similar content. A link from a PR2 page about holidays to a PR0 page about holidays has more weighting than a link from a PR2 page about pets. The actual anchor text, the text containing the hyperlink, is also very significant. It is desirable to have specific keywords in the anchor text, which relate directly to the content of the destination page.

Content is king. Google indexes pages using an automatic crawler called the Googlebot. Googlebot explores all web pages on a regular basis and can detect which pages are active (eg. regularly updated) and inactive (eg. dormant or rarely updated). Pages which are actively updated are crawled more frequently than those that aren’t. A site updated daily can certainly expect to be Googlebot crawled once a week. You can check this out for yourself – do a Google search on a particular keyword and compare the cached pages of a frequently updated site and a dormant site – you’ll see the active site has been cached, hence crawled by Googlebot, more recently than the inactive site. The fresher your content, the greater its depth, the more likely it is to be thoroughly explored by the crawlers. Original content is better than copied content – avoid cannibalising Wikipedia to bulk up your pages.

Building PageRank – Getting Links.
I’ve already said that the ultimate aim is to have as many inbound links, preferably from relevant high PageRank sites, and as few outbound links as possible. Links to your site can be either reciprocal, where you link back to a site linking to you, or non-reciprocal, where a site links to you but you don’t link back to it. It goes without saying that non-reciprocal links give you an advantage in the head-to-head voting stakes, but these are inherently difficult to obtain. The internal link structure of your site is also a consideration – a good flow of easily navigable pages is preferable to a disorganised mess.

Reciprocal links are worth chasing, but will only be beneficial if you link exchange with a relevant site of equal or higher PageRank. Obtaining reciprocal links is simply done by firing off a polite email to your target link partner. You will have even more influence over your potential link partner if you compliment their site and explain how relevant it is to your own. Better still if you tell them you and have already linked to them - nine times out of ten, if you say you have already linked to someone, they will feel obliged to return the favour and link back to you.

Non-reciprocal links are harder to come by, but a good place to start is the online directories – specialist directories of high PageRank being the most effective option. Aim for those directories that don’t require a reciprocal link. To avoid spammers most directories will require you to register. I recommend starting a new email account specifically for this purpose – the directories will invariably try and spam you themselves! Entering the same data in the registration forms of many directories can be a very tedious process, but persevere and consider the long term benefit instead of the short term inconvenience.

Forums are a brilliant hunting ground for Googlebot because they have a very high turnover of new content. Capitalise on this by joining a few different forums, posting regularly and appending your link in your signature block. Very shortly you’ll have your link on hundreds of different forum pages, multiplied by the number of forums you’re involved with.

Buying links is also another option but I’d personally avoid it and look for organic, content-based links every time.

PageRank Summary.
PageRank is a measure of how important your website is compared to others. A high PageRank leads to increased traffic, increased product sales and brand awareness. As a webmaster you should try and increase your PageRank by:

  • Trying to get non-reciprocal links.
  • Obtaining links from sites with a similar theme.
  • Obtaining links from sites with an equal or higher PageRank.
  • Keeping your site original, fresh and regularly updated.

I hope you’ve found this article useful. With a little extra effort link building now it really is possible to achieve a reasonable PageRank in the future.