Thursday Links: Natural Backlinks and Lessons Learned From Micro Businesses

Two interesting reads for this Thursday morning:

A lot of you know Fraser Cain who runs Keyword (which incidentally happens to be one of my two favorite keyword tools). He has long advocated a “No Link Building” strategy where you focus on publishing content your site and let the links take care of themselves.

The Penguin update really seemed to prove Fraser right, but lots of internet marketers and SEO people are still manufacturing links. This time around, though, they’re going to do it right and build a “natural link profile” – which usually means getting more branded and random links, and fewer optimized links.

As Fraser points out, using data from his astronomy site, there is really no way to predict what a natural backlinking profile would look like. His top ten anchors for Universe Today are:

universe today
nasa wants your help in finding asteroids
cosmic rays they aren t what we thought
carnival of space
privacy policy
contact us
guide to space
1981 climate change predictions were eerily accurate
how did comet lovejoy survive its trip around

That is a random list of words and phrases. I have to agree that it would be difficult to fake that with any semblance of authenticity.


From Tim Ferriss, we have a list of 17 lessons learned from an in-depth study of micro-businesses (defined as a one or two-man operation that is usually started for under $100).

The three lessons I liked the most:

If you need money to get started, find it. A 23 year-old wanted to start a consulting business, but knew she probably wouldn’t get approved for a business loan. But she knew she probably could get a car loan. So she and her business partner took out a car loan for $17K, started their business, and paid the loan back in 10 months. The bank never knew there was no car.

Figure out what frustrates you, and then find a way to fix it. Are you having trouble finding a niche to work in? What is there in your day-to-day life that is really frustrating? Find a way to solve that problem, and you have a niche and product idea waiting to be made.

What are you really selling? Happiness. This is one of the most important marketing lessons you can learn. People buy based on how they think your product is going to make them feel.

Think about every beer commercial you’ve ever seen. What does it show? Lots of happy, laughing people having a great time – while they coincidentally hold a cold beer in their hand. The beer company isn’t selling their beer. They’re selling the idea of a party.


Do you know of a blog or site that I should be reading? Let me know in the Comments!

3 Responses to “Thursday Links: Natural Backlinks and Lessons Learned From Micro Businesses”

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  1. Hey John,

    Thanks for the link to the Tim Ferris article. I read the whole thing.

    You said – “What are you really selling? Happiness.”

    I agree that that’s the top thing to keep in mind when offering a product or service for sale. Happiness comes in different forms for everyone – but if we as marketers can solve a problem – whatever it is – then our customers are happy. At least for the moment.

    Blogs to read? Splork over at (caution – R rated for language)

    • John says:

      Thanks for the link, Jack. I used to read Splork but he was so damn depressing all the time that I stopped. Maybe it was just a rough phase for him.

  2. Not internet marketing, but a guy that has a great site and makes a living online: