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Link Development Forum

Using Creative Commons to build link popularity
Using free content to boost inbound links

 10:25 am on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Some of you may be aware of Creative Commons already, but for those of you who are not - let me briefly explain.

It is a system that enables you to retain the copyright ownership of content, while also permitting free re-distribution by other people, subject to accreditation being made to the original author.

It is a very good way of securing mass distribution of content that you are willing to give away - while still retaining some level of ownersip of the original copyright.

Now, lets look at this from a link building perspective.

Lets say you have some very interesting content that you know lots of other web sites would love to reprint as well.

Release it under the Creative Commons policy.

Now, loads of other sites can use the content for free - but have to credit you with the authorship.

We have a database of "Widgets" which has been cited in a large number of publications - all good linkages.

Now we have released that database under a Creative Commons license, under the condition that the authorship (our web site) is retained.

Now, anyone can duplicate the content for free - but they must link to us.

So, now - for no effort on our part - we are starting to build up a body of sites linking to us, as a condition of their using the content.

And even better, the page and sites that link to us are all relevent to us, and hence that also boosts thematic linking as well.

So, in addition to spending hours seeking out new inbound links - we now have a web page that generates good quality, theme relevent inbound links for no effort on our part.

Now, you are not going to get a lot of additional traffic from this - as the content is on the other web site, but it boosts the raw number of inbound links you have to your site - and hopefully boosts the theme relevency of your site into the bargain.

So - if you have something to give away - do so, and get "paid" in the form of backward links!

[edited by: martinibuster at 8:18 pm (utc) on June 10, 2005]
[edit reason] Widgetized. [/edit]



 11:25 am on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

That is a BRILLIANT tip, thanks!

Would you mind if I ask, did you use an article submission service to get your article "out there"...or how did you let other site owners know that you had this content?


 12:28 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

I agree, this is a brilliant tip, the beauty of this method is that there is no limit to the kind of common creativity you can employ - give away for free and get a link to your site, you get so much more then you give.


 1:02 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Would you mind if I ask, did you use an article submission service to get your article "out there"...or how did you let other site owners know that you had this content?

Generally, the content I make available under the Creative Commons system is already highly ranked as valuable data and it can found via search engines already.

Also, many "competitors" reguarly read our sites and discover the content.

We have the standard Creative Commons button and details at the bottom of the page - making it apparent that the content can then be copied, subject to linkage.


 4:41 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Lee - Yahoo has a Creative Commons Search, still in beta. Make sure you put the link back to a Creative Commons license on the content you make available.


 5:06 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

If you distribute the content and let other website use this content, Is Google see that the other website duplicate the content? Assuming, you have got the license from content but that content is already indexed by Google but you use that licensed content in your website, is that duplicate content problem occurs?


 8:42 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hey, this is a great idea. I have some friends who do stuff with cellular phone websites, probably your competitors. I'm going to tell him to do this, too.



 10:18 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Am I missing something here? How does this differ from the usual form of online pr, where you write an article and when it's used you get a link back (hopefully). Most of these online pr websites request the publishers of this "free content" to credit the author. How is this different?


 1:56 pm on Jun 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

It doesent have to be an article, it can be anything, it just needs to be attractive enough so someone will see it as good enough to be included on his page and then viola you have your link.

I saw this guy used his online service for this purpose and gave it for free to everyone - he received a nice link for many people who naturally decided to use that attractive thingy. Now what happens, he knows that with new 10 000 links with free choice of anchor text he can get on the top 10 for his top keywords and that means $$$$$$, in the first scenario when he sold his service he had problems with credibility, and he would average 10% of what he will now earn with the traffic he will get from all the new links.


 2:44 pm on Jun 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

The creative commons doesn't specify that someone has to place a link to you. It just says they have to give credit.

If you offer more restrictions on top of the creative commons by saying "You must provide a link to me" then you're not actually using the creative commons license.


 2:15 am on Jun 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think this could cause a serious duplicate-content penalty.
Basically you are telling them 'go ahead and scrape my content as long as you link to me'
what if they outrank you for your own content?


 4:07 am on Jun 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

A very interesting tip, thanks! This is really a very good example of "out of the box thinking".

The creative commons doesn't specify that someone has to place a link to you. It just says they have to give credit.

From the license (if you choose attribition):
Attribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor.

So you can demand links from websites who use the content it seems. I am certainly going to study this more, I found the idea behind creative commons sympathetic already, this is really great stuff.


 5:04 am on Jun 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks dutch_dude, I thought I was right, guess not.

I wonder how you would specify this. It seems odd that the licence itself would refer to "the manor as specified in the license" when describing this.


 2:32 pm on Jun 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

We simply state that www.widget.com is cited as the author.

No need to explicitly make it clickable as the domain will still be registered by google etc.


 7:24 pm on Jun 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

If I'm not mistaken this is an old trick, which I have used faithfully. I actually submit articles because I generally have something to contribute and the backlink is just an incentive.

If you do a search on my name "Ant Onaf" you will see tons of places my articles are listed...but if you check my backlink for my site you wouldn't see the promised effort. How come? I'm baffled by it at this point, but I may also be in G's sandbox just because of the article submissions...because I built links too fast...that's my thinking.

Here's another thought: I was thinking about running my own free page counter service...this will definitely get you many backlinks...also I would like to here from anyone who has ran their own free page counter service or have advertised on a page counter service. Is there any gold in it?


 7:47 pm on Jun 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

I know someone that does this. So let me explain in order to give others an idea. I actually have his link on my page homepage.

He's a subject matter expert in my field. He's not some regular Joe blow in the industry. He's a Professor of Finance Emeritus at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His site his a big one in my industry and ranks well in damn near every relevant keyword.

How does he get links? Well he's started a pact (or creed) that unites everyone in my industry by a set of rules and ethics. Almost like a code of good business. In order for him to link you in his database you must create a page dedicated to his written "creed" and you must link back to him from the homepage.

So if you're the last answer in your industry start something similar. It works too. I get good traffic from his site and leads.

And because he's the last answer in my industry he can control links with an iron fist. If you don't meet his standards as a professional he won't bother wasting time adding you to the database. It's brilliant.


 7:55 pm on Jun 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

mrowton is write.

If I where your competator. I would take all your articles, change 30% of the words, add some keywords, and at the very bottom of the article in the smallest font possible I'd write "Original Article by YourName". I wouldn't provide a link.


 7:56 pm on Jun 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

I don't ever allow anyone to publish anything of mine unless I haven't published it on my own site first because of the duplicate content penalty. Google often doesn't know who published it first and the one with the highest rank often wins and you may get penalized with duplicate content.

Also there are those who will take your content and publish it themselves with their own name on it.

I would recommend anyone who wants to do this to do the following:

1. Don't publish it on your own site

2. Publish it in a well known newsletter first that dates the articles.

THEN you have 3rd party proof of who published it first in case there is ever copyright infringement disputes.


 5:07 pm on Jun 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

antonaf wrote
...but if you check my backlink for my site you wouldn't see the promised effort. How come? I'm baffled by it at this point, but I may also be in G's sandbox just because of the article submissions...because I built links too fast...that's my thinking.

if your checking backlinks in google - forget it. they hide most of the results on you - it's top secret who's linking to you.
check backlinks in Yahoo to see the real results - you can bet google 'knows' about the same links but just hides them.

Lorel - i was thinking the same thing Publish articles for re-copy but not on your own site. That way everyone showing your article can fight over the dup-content while they are all linking to you.


 9:38 pm on Jun 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Do you all think that NOINDEXing the page with a meta tag would work to avoid the dupe content penalty -- I'm been planning similiar tactics towards content but still want to feature the content prominently on my own site as well for my users to read.

The other question is -- does the dupe content penalty afflict a page or a domain? If just a page than it seems there is really no harm in letting it be indexed and having the chips fall where they may.


 1:07 am on Jun 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

A NOINDEX on the page would be the best bet because that would block bots that follow links to the page. Also any links to the page should have rel="nofollow">I can't vouch for this page<
Not sure how that would be interpreted on internal links though.

Dupe-content may only penalise a page but that would also drag down inbound and outbound links to that page, so the site would be affected by it if not penalised as well.

another idea would be to submit a google sitemap with those pages omitted


 5:08 am on Jun 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

In response to the dupe content penalty...my thinking with this is...if when you submit articles you should use your domain link in the "About the Author" passage. By doing so, those that publish your article will be responsible for adding this passage with your link included.

What I'm getting at?
If your article is published (let's say) 10,000 times with the "About the Author" passage which has your link, then the SE's will notice that your site is the authority of that article, because in each published article it points back to you.

If I'm missing something or wrong, please someone explain.


 4:51 pm on Jun 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

antonof - I think that is the way it 'should' work but not always.
if you have 10,000 backlinks from your article, then you have 10,000 backlinks - that's all.
What if someone posts your article who already has 20,000 backlinks?
Here the dupe-content filter comes along and gives the authority to the highest PR site hosting the article.
That is the problem.


 3:42 am on Jun 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

There is no duplicate content penalty. Your site won't get ranked lower on all it's keywords if you have some content that is all over the web.

What happens is when there are multiple (nearly) identical pages that would satisfy a searcher's query, the search engine selects one of them. Likely to be the one with the highest PR, although there may be more factors.

So thinking up all sorts of complicated stuff to prevent a "duplicate content penalty" will only cost you traffic. In this case because you will have lots of incoming links from the duplicate pages you will extremely likely get ranked for it. If not, there is always your link for the visitor to click on ;)


 11:59 am on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

If you really want to get a LOT of PR write a popular open source package. Take a look at the PR on the home page of phpBB or for even less effort host a bunch of other peoples open source projects (eg. sourceforge)

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