In the few months I've been a member here at Infobarrel, I've spent a considerable amount of time researching ways to promote my articles.  Keyword research and writing good content are of course the crucial steps (and sometimes mutually exclusive...), but another important means of driving traffic and boosting search engine rankings for your work is to build incoming links from other sites.

BarlRol - Promote your Infobarrel, Seekyt, and Wizzley articles!Credit: BarlRol.comThere are a variety of resources for doing this:  other writing sites, social networks, and more, too many to list and review in a single short article.  In researching some of these, I came across a number of social networking sites of the Digg/Reddit style, dedicated to supporting users of one of the big pay-for-content providers.  I decided that a similar site for some of the other writing sites as well; thus was born BarlRol.  (It's pronounced "Barrel roll".)

But this article isn't just about promoting my site.  BarlRol is my creation, but, as the guy on the "Hair Club" commercials used to say, "I'm also a customer".  (Not that anything is for sale on BarlRol!)  So this article is written to describe how I plan to use the site to promote my other work.

A Multi-tiered Strategy with SocialMonkee

A number of prominent Infobarrel writers endorse a strategy of multi-tiered linking for article promotion.  A primary destination article is linked to from one or more "second tier" sources - other writing sites, for instance - and a third tier of links point toward the tier 2 ones.

SocialMonkee is a popular tool for creating these third-tier links.  There are a number of write-ups about it here on IB, but the one that inspired this article and goes into detail about the three-tiered strategy is this one by Manspaugh.

My plan is to use BarlRol postings (among other things) as the second tier sites.  This will not only help my articles, but will build links to BarlRol itself to help that site gain standing with the search engines, thus helping its users' links become more valuable.

Stepping Through the Process

As an example of how I'm going to pursue this tiered strategy, I'll go through the steps to promote an old article of mine about flavored coffee.  First I'll log into my BarlRol account and created my second tier there.  For this example I'll create a standard link post by clicking the big green "Submit" button.  I'll enter the URL of my article, click Next, I'll enter a short description, select a category, and add some keywords.

Adding a post on BarlRolCredit:

When it's ready, I'll click Next to preview the results, then confirm the post.  (On another day I'll go to my BarlRol user profile page and click "Journal" to add an entry that doesn't show up on the ranking list but is a bit longer and more keyword-rich, and then submit that through SocialMonkee as well.)  The resulting post looks like this:

BarlRol new submission resultsCredit:

I'll grab the URL for my post from my browser.  It will look something like this:

A BarlRol post URLCredit:

Now it's time to establish my third-tier links!

It's Monkee Time!

Now I'll head on over and log in to my account at SocialMonkee.  The site offers a browser plugin to submit through, but I'm a fan of lean-and-mean browser setups with minimal plugins, so I'll be using the submit page on the site.

But first, a word about "spinning"

"Spinners" are software programs that take a block of text and swap out synonyns and phrases to generate one of more new variations of that text.  In general, I take a dim view of this process - it's cheating, and is the source of a lot of horrible, illegible spam content across the 'net.  I will absolutely refuse to use a spinner to replicate "real" content in any location where quality and human readability are required.

I make a grudging exception to that rule in the case of SocialMonkee.  Because I'm creating short blurbs and have total control of the "spun" structure, and because these are short blurbs and it's relatively easy to make them all make sense.  (Sure, they're probably never going to be read by a human anyway, but I don't want gibberish out there with my name on it!)  I can even write several short, differently structured titles and descriptions and just tell it to "spin" based on those.


On to the linkage!

On the SocialMonkee submit page, I'll enter the BarlRol link URL.  I'll structure a title and a short description that can be "spun" to something readable; the "spinning" is done by using brackets and the | symbol to indicate where the software should randomly choose a word or phrase, so "Flavored {creamer tastes|coffee creamer tastes|creamer packets taste} good" would result in three possible variations. 

Watch for subtle problems that could occur based on the inconsistenncy of the English language.  If the above had been written, "Flavored {creamer|coffee creamer|creamer packets} tastes good", one potential result would be "Flavored creamer packets tastes good", which isn't quite correct structure.

BarlRol link submission to SocialMonkee

Once I've filled out the title, description, and tags, and selected a category, I'll preview several times to get an idea how the spun text will look.  When I'm satisfied, I'll click "Submit to 25 sites" (the limit on the free version of SocialMonkee).  Over the course of several days, my link will be added on 25 decently page-ranked sites owned by SocialMonkee, boosting my search engine presence!