But here's the big secret: Quality has ALWAYS mattered to Google!
It's just that they always have to readjust their approach to ranking sites to take into account the new tactics that some black hat marketers have implemented over the previous months. What this means is that no matter what niche we enter into, we should always strive to provide valuable content to our site's visitors. Quality will always win!
Same goes for our linkbuilding campaigns. We shouldn't be trying to find a work around to building links. We should just be building valuable articles and comments on sites that Google has already determined are adding value to the internet experience. All linkbuilding is simply piggybacking on the success of already successful sites. Just choose the ones you want to add value to and you're good to go.
I can hear it now "But Adrienne, this is too time consuming! I don't have time to write articles and chat on forums all day." To which I say, "How much time have you wasted trying to learn and implement every SEO system that has come across your desk?" Of course there's no time left to write when you're busy watching hours of video and reading pages upon pages of content telling you basically the same thing as the last item you purchased on the subject.
You would be surprised at how much you can get done when you aren't buying every WSO that you hear about. This is also why it is so important to choose a niche that you already have an interest in. It is easy to bang out 2 or 3 articles in half an hour when you are already familiar with the subject matter. And as time goes on, it only gets easier. Not only that, but you will naturally hit upon those oh-so-coveted long tail keywords that will drive the search engines to check out your site more often. If you want to make sure you get more of these long tail keywords into your work, you should check out a Firefox plugin called "Wordtracker SEO Blogger". It's a great way to get ideas of keywords in your niche that are currently being searched without leaving your page.
Now, if you want to bump the viral aspect of your already valuable content, you can start doing things like connecting your RSS feeds to your Facebook account, Fanpages or Twitter; social boookmarking; creating videos, Amazon Kindle books etc. You are still adding value, but now you are letting people across all social platforms know more about you.
If you really look around, you'll notice that people who supposedly "don't know anything about internet marketing" have thousands of followers on Facebook and loads of comments from regular visitors. Often with little to no backlinks! Now they may not have the benefit of understanding all the monetization methods that we here on WF have, but they do understand how to be social and interact with their audiences. They enjoy what they do, so they build value by engaging with people across many platforms and they are able to build very loyal followings. Yes, if you build it, they will come! Just do what they do, but do it better!
Often with IM we get blinded by quicker and easier ways of doing things, but when it comes right down to it, skimping on quality is not the place to do it. If you've been doing this for 6 months or more without any or much success, then you should really reconsider your approach. You probably already know enough to start implementing the techniques you have learned thus far. In fact, I know you have enough information under your belt to make your sites rank to the top of Google for your keywords.
Over the past 5 months, I've been doing this with my original sites that got me into IM in the first place and the results have been very rewarding. Even my e-commerce sites have flourished better than before by using this simple, no-fuss method. I build about 8-10 high quality links per month to my stores and that's enough to have me ranking on page one for some excellent, profitable keywords! I don't even build links to my blogs except for feeding them to my Facebook pages. And it only took about 2 weeks to see a surge in traffic by posting once every 5 or 6 days. So much easier than going after hundreds or thousands of links. Also a lot cheaper and less time consuming.
Hope this helps someone out there!
888 -- To your prosperity in the year of the dragon.