A few weeks ago I was driving down the highway. It was late at night and I was tired. The radio was starting to put me to sleep. Suddenly a song come on that woke me up – I could not believe what I was hearing. The song was that bad.

I am no expert when it comes to music. The last time I played an instrument was in grade 6 music class. It was the xylophone – I simply had to hit a a couple keys with a wooden mallet whenever the teacher pointed at me. I do not know anything about timing, rhythm or beat. But I do know how to listen to music. I know what music should sound like.

What I heard on the radio was not music – it was painful noise. No rhythm, no beat and the singing was nothing more then a girl squealing forced rhymes. I listened to the whole song just to find out if it was some kind of joke. Would the DJ admit that it was something his 5 year daughter composed and asked daddy to play on the radio? But at the end of the song the DJ only said, “… and that was The Shaggs”

The Shaggs

The Shaggs were a 3 girl band from the late 60’s. The girl’s ages ranged from 18 to 22. They had no intention of having a band, their father did. He had visions of being a big shot manager for the next big thing in music – his daughter’s band. He pulled them out of school and made them practice and play. He spent the family savings to buy instruments and record an album. The albums where distributed by the father to all the local stations.

Of course success did not come as the father had anticipated. And the reason is obvious – the music is terrible. It sounds like the instruments and singer are being thrown down a long flight of stairs. No tempo, erratic and completely off-kilter singing. The lyrics are about Halloween, a two legged dog, and how great parents are. It is simply bad music.

When I got home I was curios to find out who The Shaggs are and how they got on the radio. As shocked as I was when I heard how bad the music was, it was nothing compared to my amazement when I saw that on Amazon the album has a customer rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 and 131 reviews.

How Did The Shaggs Get On The Radio

They did not have thousand’s of hours of training, they did not have a million dollar promotion campaign, they did not have brilliant lyrics. How did they do it? How did they get popular enough to be heard on the radio?

The answer is what bloggers call a great backlink.

The famous musician Frank Zappa heard the album and publicly stated that the Shaggs are “better than the Beatles”. Why he thinks so or what he was on does not matter. What matters is that he said it. Suddenly The Shaggs were in the spotlight. People started to buy the album and listen to the music – it started to be played on the radio. Thanks to all the resulting publicity, in 1996 the Rolling Stones called the album one of the 100 “most influential alternative releases of all time”.

Terrible music but a big seller, all thanks to Zappa.

Focus on Getting the Zappa Backlink

The mantra you hear over and over again is that you need backlinks. The more backlinks you get the better chance you have of success. You might have the best blog in the world but without backlinks nobody will ever see it.

You are suppose to submit your blog to directories, make comment on other blogs, and submit articles. Accumulate as many as you can,the more the better.

True, this will increase the number of backlinks to your site. But even a hundred of these backlinks do not compare to a Zappa backlink – a backlink from a major player in your niche.

Get a backlink from the top blogger in your niche because it is worth more then the 100’s of backlinks from blog comments and directories. A nod of approval from someone famous and respected will instantaneously bring your blog into the spotlight. If they have a following of a 100,000 then suddenly 100,000 eyes will be on you.

How To Get the Zappa Backlink

Obviously the problem is getting the Zappa backlink. It is not easy and there is no step by step process to getting one. Nobody can give you advice on how to get it, there is no formula. You have to be creative and original. You have to find a way to get the attention of a big player and get them to mention you. There is the chance you will get lucky and receive one without trying, but more likely you will have to work hard for it.

A perfect example of a great backlink is this guest post. This blog is very popular with 1000’s of visitors a day. By putting in the time to create this guest post and having it accepted I suddenly get lots of exposure. The backlink from this high page rank blog can turn out to be my Zappa backlink.

You have a choice: you can either diligently spend a hours every week accumulating little backlinks that might make your blog a success over time. Or you can spend those hours going after the big score. The one big backlink that is worth a 100 little ones.

About the Author

Roman Jelinek is a new webmaster with a blog and website describing in detail what is involved in creating, maintaining and profiting from a site. Charts and statistics are used to reveal How This Website Makes Money Online. If you find the article interesting, do take the time to subscribe to his feed.

77 comments on “How a Great Backlink Can Make You An Instant Success

  • I loved this article. Never heard of the Shaggs but understood about the Zappa link instantly. Thank you for explaining it so well.

    I have a transport related blog, we are a courier company. Who on earth would want me as a guest blogger? I have a good readership of my blogs, who wants to guest blog for me?

    Bear that in mind when I say that in theory these ideas are great, but the practicality – well it’s beyond me! 🙂


  • Excellent article Roman!

    The reason I think a “Zappa” backlink can be so influential for a blog is the fact that it could be the beginning of hype, and whenever something is hyped up, people tend to follow.

    I agree when you say you should chase that major backlink rather than hundreds of little links, because if you do get it, the little backlinks will naturally follow without any extra work on your part, because of course, bloggers also follow the hype created by the major blogs, not just the visitors.

  • First of all, I’d love to thank Roman for an amazing guest post, one of the best I’ve ever received, and an example of how to approach the blogger you wish to submit the guest post to.

    Before even knowing if I would accept this post, he took the time to study the way I “code” my posts on Blogsessive, and also added the “About the author” box and sent a HTML version of the post. This has made it so much easier and faster for me to publish it. So, it’s not only about the quality of the post, but also the form. Thanks again Roman!

    Now, Lee summarized it really well, quality attracts quality. Good guest post -> good backlink -> more good backlinks.

    Sarah, you have two choices if you wish to guest post, depending on what you want to achieve:

    a. You need backlinks, then try a guest post on a high-profile blog, on that blog’s topic, even if it’s outside your blog’s area.

    b. You need new readership, then try to guest post on blogs in your own, or very similar niche.

  • I guess post frequently and it occasionally works out for me. If you have to weigh the weight of your post. Is it something you want to keep on your blog to build rankings on the search engine queries or would the link juice be better to grow your audience.

    Nice job to Roman!

    I use this theme at http://www.seowebhelp.com because it is the best, and just because of this theme, I’m now a loyal reader of the blog.

    Will there be a 2.new simple balance theme?

  • Great post and I agree completly. You can spend hours commenting blogs and being active on forums but by getting a popular blog owner to mention you, you will receive thousands of visitors. But as you wrote above, it’s also the most difficult method to gain publicity. A much easier method is simple to write a guest post.

  • @Jatropha
    You stated: “but back link is not enough for ranking”. Although I agree I think you missed the point of the article.

    Let me try to rephrase the article:

    Say there are two things that you know nothing about – blog design and macro economics. But regardless of these limitations you have a blog about what the US should do to fix the economy.

    Due to your ignorance the blog design is crap. The layout is confusing and hard to navigate, the color contrasts are hard on the eyes (bright yellow font on green background), terrible SEO (no header info, no keyword use in title, dead links, etc). Basically you ignore all rules of having a well designed blog.

    Also due to your ignorance the solutions you propose for the economy are stupid. Any slightly education person can tell within the first few sentences that you have no idea what you are talking about. Only a complete dullard would agree with you that the solution is to shut down universities and to invest in the monster truck industry.

    It would seem that your blog is doomed to fail. But I disagree – your blog can succeed even with its crucial defects. All it would take for your blog to become a huge success is for Oprah Winfrey to publicly state that she starts her days by reading your amazing blog.

  • Love how you put this together! Nicely done

    Content will be useless unless it won’t hit its big break. The idea about backlink is true. I have read a self conducted study about it. However, it didn’t mention about Zappa, just plain backlinks; the more the better.

    Meanwhile, content is still the big part of the success. People might be influenced by a credible tribe leader who mentioned your blog but the exposure won’t last for so long if your content is just a big blah. Perhaps quality content + backlinks would lead to a huge success.

  • Amen to that. There’s no question about the power of the right backlink. In the eyes of the readers, I suppose a Zappa backlink is way up in the list. In the eyes of a google robot, I guess a Zappa should also be complemented by a high PR.

  • The back link is play a very important role to increase page rank . Add comment to some one web site also help to increase the back link because it allow us to add the web URL of our web site . But it also allow us to put the name of the commenter . So , the name is a key word that also help to increase traffic of the web site . Do you agree ?

  • This reminds me of a remark in a Copyblogger article, Why No One Links To Your Best Posts, http://www.copyblogger.com/no-links/. And I quote:

    “A mediocre writer that’s friends with every member of the Technorati 100 will become a popular blogger faster than a brilliant writer with no friends at all.”

    I don’t say I’m brilliant, but I do know what it means to be ‘well connected’.

  • So true. I know a few guys who do well promoting marketing stuff just because they know a few “Zappas”. Too many people try and generate momentum by getting little links, but one massive backlink is like strapping a rocket to your blog.


  • Is not a bad idea the great backlink can make you really famous, I am sure but not just a guest article, you must keep doing some others to get also a more hard presence on the field.
    Excellent article anyway

  • Of course, you are exactly right about getting the Zappa backlink for a blog, but if you have 10, 20 or more sites to get backlinks for, do you have a different strategy? Or, is the answer simply look for 10, 20 or more Zappa type links?

  • @ Partha Bhattacharya – great quote. This is how the so called “gurus” maintain their status. Not by being particularly good but by networking with other so called “gurus”. I’ve learnt in 5 years from people “working” the strategies than I’ve done from any so called guru.

  • My web site is not yet get the page rank . I am try to comment on many different blogs by putting my web site URL in there . Is this called Back Link ?. Is it really help to increase google page rank ?

  • Alex, first of all this is my first visit to your blog and believe me, i simply love the look of it. i hope someday i am able to come up with such elegant websites, not to forget such high value PR.

    anyways, Alex, you mentioned in this post that hours of time spent on creating smaller backlinks, maybe hundreds, is equivalent to 1 big backlink. Also you said that a person may become successful overtime with those thousands of tiny backlinks. Is this true? i mean i know your advice is to catch the big one, but not everyone gets through with it. So would the smaller ones, many, really work well??

  • ^ Thanks for the comment and the kind words! Now, this amazing article was written by Roman, a guest of Blogsessive and you can find a link to his blog at the end of the post, but let my try and answer your question.

    Simple answer: Yes, many smaller links work well. Tested. My PR is proof of that.

    Let me develop on that. You can either choose to go after the big fish, or after the smaller fishes. It’s a matter of how much time you spend getting the results, how many resources, compared with the value of the end result.

    Actually, I’ll develop even further in a new article tomorrow. Check back.

  • Alex , thank you very much for give me the guideline . I will try to comment more and more on your blog as well other . Anyway , your blog topics are very interesting to me . Now i am addicted to comment on your blog .

  • Hello ‘How to start a website’

    Alex answered your question. But I can extrapolate a little more.

    Time is limited. So you need to choose between two methods:

    1) Do you want to spend that time building lots of limited value backlinks that buildup over time – this can be viewed as the Turtle method, slow and steady but making progress everyday. For example, leave comments on blogs, add your site to directories, write articles, join forums with a signature line linking back to your website etc.

    2) Or you can spend your limited time on getting a great backlink – the Lottery method, many failures and risk of never winning, but if you do win you win big. For example, you could try to befriend Darren Rose at Problogger. Leave meaningful and insightful comments on his blog. Send him impressive emails. Maybe even try to meet him at a conference during one of his presentations. Unfortunately, even after doing all this work there is a good chance that he will not notice you – you are just one in a thousand bloggers that he comes across every day. But if he does notice you – if you do impress him, and he mentions you on his blog then that will be like winning the lottery. It could skyrocket your blog into instant success.

    In the end it is up to you and what kind of person you are. Are you the turtle or the lottery player?

  • Thanks for your reply alex. but now few more questions popped in my mind. I am sorry i shouldn’t be asking you to reveal you PR secrets. But then its good for new comers like me to learn from webmasters like you.

    OKay now i am jumping to the question 🙂

    1)Tell me how much did it take for you to get that PR, that is PR6.

    2)Was that out of smaller backlinks?

    3) Did this increase in PR give boost in number of visitors to your site?

    Alex you got to reply to these questions because i am begining to work hard on some of my sites, and don’t want to end up doing the wrong thing!

  • Zappa=Oprah or any other high profile celebrity.

    @Narith: I read somewhere that commenting on low PR blogs works as well as commenting on high PR blogs. They say the goal is to have as a balanced mix of backlinks from sites with different authorities. In my opinion, I say target 80% high PR and 20% low PR blogs

  • Its in the human nature they always try to spam something which gives them even a little bit of an advantage. I run a few forums and i had dofollow there before but had to change it to nofollow because of the amount of spam. Most of them are humans and not automated programs. Comments like ( Great Post ) ( Appreciate the contribution ) and ( Wow its amazing ) are posted quite often and at once one can know its spam.

    I would only say if you need a backlink from a comment…you should earn it…at least read the post and comment if you have knowledge on it.

  • Backlinks is one of the best and most effective ways to get high positions in search engines and milk these positions for targeted traffic. But getting quality one way links is a big job.

  • Thank Udegbunam Chukwudi very much for giving me the answer where can we can comment to get high Page Rank faster .I agree with you , comment on the higher page rank web site get more effective than the lower page rank web site .

  • Backlinks are a vital source for any website owner. Chasing the big ones give you greater clout with both google and alexa.
    Sometimes getting a backlink on a high PR ranked site can cost you big time.
    I have seen a PR8 site selling backlinks for $1,750 a month and they had 8 available slots.
    Thats a lot of money. Any site with a PR of 5/6 can earn between $50 and $200 per link.
    Them backlinks are worth chasing.

  • Great blog, explains some of the reasons why some sites only have about 50 or 60 backlinks and are ranked high, I’m working my butt off getting hundreds of backlinks and am left wondering why my site is failing.
    Once again it seems to be who you know.

  • Great blog, Alex.

    I just found your site and find a lot of inspiration from it. You are worth watching and I will watch as I go down this path.

    Keep up the good work.


  • Great blog, Alex.

    Thanks for the great advice.

    We all spend so much time concentrating on getting the best backlinks and you have certainly hit the nail on the head.

    Thanks again

  • Great article! I am at the moment working on backlinks, Yahoo, aol and altavista already list my site as having backlinks, except for Google? My site Mars-blue.comis only a couple of months old. Does it take a while for Google to list how many backlinks I have? Google list my site with 57 indexed pages out of 190. Thanks

  • Great info mentioned here ! two thumbs up ! !
    Backlinks have always been a mystery for me. I enjoy blogging and adding comments to other people sites, however, you are never guaranteed a backlink. You must work for it. I agree 100% with everything you have mentioned here.


    Dave L.

  • Great article about the backlinks,now i got more info about back links.and thanks to Alex too for giving us info about Backlinks with DoFollow Sites to increase PR.

  • I have been studying backlinks and found your article very promising, problem is I have a website which is Computer Programming Support ( http://codesociety.net ) How do i go about stating it on blog comments or anywhere to get those strong back links without ‘spamming’

  • Making a cool effort for backlinks is always well worth it. But I feel bloggers are just to obsessed with protecting their blog with the nofollow plugin. Why not maintain a good blog an delete the spam but don’t unfollow your regular readers. That sucks!

  • “have a transport related blog, we are a courier company. Who on earth would want me as a guest blogger? I have a good readership of my blogs, who wants to guest blog for me?” Mee too its the necessary evil of the net

  • that all guys sumitted great comment for back link but i just want to say back like support your site to make place in search result this is one of the best example?

  • What a great post! It really put things into perspective for me. It validated what most of us already know is, what you put in is what you will get. That’s how I’ve been doing business on the web. The Zappa backlinks perspective really made me realize how one important moment can REALLY make a difference. You got to be in the right place at the right time..

  • And the race is on. Who can get the most PR 7 backlinks in the least amount of time and still have a site indexed by Google when the smoke clears? A little melodramatic? Maybe, but it does make a point. The fight over backlinks is one of the biggest SEO fights in the game. Everybody seems to think it’s the holy grail of search engine optimization. But is it? And are all backlinks the same? Most think they’re not. And while that’s technically true, they aren’t the be all and end all that some would think. This article explains.

    Okay, let’s be honest. A PR 7 backlink is going to be worth a heck of a lot more to your web site’s climb up the SERPs than a PR 0 backlink. But how much different are they really? Well, for starters, in case you’ve been out to tea somewhere, Google has recently downplayed the importance of PR and even took it out of one of its tools. They’re not saying it doesn’t count anymore. They’re just saying that it’s not the big thing that people think it is. And personally, I couldn’t be happier. But that’s another story.

    Truth is, I’ve got some sites that have PR 5 and 6 backlinks that are nowhere to be found near page 1 of Google’s search engine while I have sites with PR 1 and 2 backlinks that are on page 1. Why? What’s the reason? Well, the simple explanation is that there is a lot more to ranking with Google, or any search engine for that matter, than just backlinks. If that were the case, people would just beg, borrow and steal to get them. But even more important is the content on the site itself and even more important than that is the relevancy of the keywords to what people are searching for. Add to that mix the amount of time that the site has been online and……..(?)

  • I met Frank Zappa. He was sitting alone in a bleacher section of a Boston club. There were no big acts there so I was surprised to see him there. I sat next to him, said hello and made some small talk. We were interrupted by a pretty girl who offered to perform a sexual act on him. He dismissed her out of hand and actually seemed offended that she would broach such a subject while he was engaged in conversation with someone else. He rolled his eyes at me as if he had dealt with such behavior before. He was very friendly, polite and seemed quite intelligent. Since the Shaggs were from nearby New Hampshire, perhaps they performed that night. If so, they made no impression on me because I never heard of them until I read your post. Frank had a dry wit. His props to the Shaggs probably originated there. Btw your “Zappa” link strategy is spot on.

  • At first, Yahoo! was the most popular search engine until Google entered the scene. Yahoo! said goodbye to its throne with Google’s amazingly accurate results.

    Yahoo! and Google make use of different algorithms like MSN. Make an effort to know the differences of the two’s algorithm in order for you to get better rankings.

    Yahoo! Algorithm

    When it comes to indexing web pages until performing the algorithm to produce search results, Yahoo! is the same with all the search engines. Yahoo! Slurp is the name of the spider of Yahoo! while Googlebot is for Google.

    Several SEO people say that the way Google and Yahoo! ranks a website is contradictory to each other. Google focuses on backlinks and other Off Page factors while Yahoo! focuses on keyword density, title, headings, URL and other On Page factors.,,,,,,,,,,,

  • Hi Alex,

    I just came across your blog and I just wanted to let you know that I really like it – very valuable info here!

    Thanks Roman for this very informative post.
    There are so many schools of thought on SEO and ranking in SERPS, depending on who you listen to. I agree with you Roman that a few high PR backlinks are more valuable than hundreds of PR 0 backlinks. If the backlink is coming from a high PR blog or website in the same or related niche, and if the backlink has the anchor text with your target keyword, I understand that this also helps.

    I like the example you have given Roman, it makes it very easy to see the importance of a high quality backlink.

    It takes some thinking to actually get that very important “Zappa link” that can propel one to success. I think that being prepared to “give” of what you know and of your time – by writing and submitting first-rate guest posts on famous blogs can help anyone to get that “Zappa link”.

    Alex, you mentioned above that you were going to write a post on the effectiveness of many smaller links in helping to get high PR or ranking in search engine results position. I would like to read this article – I have looked here, but couldn’t locate it – is it here? I’ll look again.

    Thanks again – much appreciated!

  • This is a great article Roman, and a good idea for all budding internet marketers, thanks very much. The problem is that one Zappa type backlink will not provide the solution in the longer term.

    Backlinks fade quickly with time (even Zappa links) and in order to create a sustainable business you will need lots of backlinks to compliment your Zappa link.

    It’s true this is one piece of the puzzle but if you really want to see your business work you need lots of good backlinks promoting lots of great content with good on-page SEO as well.

    It’s only when you’ve got all the pieces to the puzzle working in harmony with each other will you start to see the success we all strive for.

    By the way… I think ‘The Zappa Link’ is a great name for it!

  • Roman,
    I just found your post in Google.
    You have written many months ago but still valuable. as you said “A perfect example of a great backlink is this guest post” .
    exactly I am using this strategy to get the backlink.



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