Although the latest Penguin update, a Google algorithm change targeting sites with low quality backlinks wasn’t as large as its previous iterations, it still proves that the search engine is at war with those trying to manipulate their rankings.
At the same time, you need links.
It doesn’t matter how well your new site is optimised, without them it stands little chance to rank.
Sites that have been live and active on the web for many years attract a substantial number of links when well promoted. But, what about those sites that are brand new? How should they go about getting quality links right off the bat?
So how should you build links for a completely new site? Here are approaches you can take.
Create Comprehensive, Evergreen Content.
I’ve saved the most important strategy for last. If you only adopt one of the strategies from this post, it should be this one. As mentioned earlier, links in 2015 must be earned. And the best way to earn them is to create content that other bloggers and content marketers will want to reference.
This type of link-attracting content is sometimes referred to as ‘link bait’. However, only creating short-form, ‘flashy’ content that attracts controversy or debate, or that strokes the egos of influencers (in the hopes that they cite your content) is missing the point.
Over time, this type of content will naturally attract links and citations, with very little additional work on your part.
Get listed in the High Quality Link Directories.
Don’t spread too far – we recommend you only stick to Best of the Web, Yahoo! Directory, JoeAnt, and Business.com. These are well regarded and send high trust signals to the search engines.
While some online directories have gotten a bad rap or have become irrelevant, certain directories can still pack a punch when done right. A few of these directories include Yahoo! Directory and Best of the Web. Also, if your business services a specific geographic area, find some good local directories to submit to, such as Google Local or use a service like GetListed. Optimizing and including your site in local data sources, search engines and directories can help boost your local search visibility.
Submit Press Releases to PR sites.
A good way to pick up press is to submit press releases to PR sites. PRweb, PRleap, and PRnewswire are all great places to spread news about your launch. If your product isn’t news worthy, it won’t get picked up. Produce something great that’s worth talking about and you should have strong success with press releases.
Make sure you optimize your press release for dissemination. Top Rank Blog has a good guide to use using your press release as a marketing tool. Optify also has a SEO-specific post on optimizing your press releases.
Guest Post on High-Quality Niche Sites
While guest posting for the singular purpose of earning links is no longer recommended, it can still be a great way to build your brand, expand your reach, and earn authority in your niche. And yes, including a link in your bio is still okay, and still counts as much as any other link!
The problem arises when you begin contributing guest posts indiscriminately, without carefully considering the quality and relevance of the site you’re contributing to. Not only will having inbound links from low-quality sites not drive targeted, relevant traffic to your site, but they can actually lead to your entire site being penalized.
When deciding which sites to contribute to, ask yourself the following questions: Are their guest bloggers generally well-known, high-calibre individuals? Is this a niche or industry that’s relevant to my business? Is this site popular and respected among my target market?
These are all important considerations, as having inbound links on low-quality sites could lead to unwelcome, long-term consequences.
Blog Based Link Building
If you’re thinking of starting a blog for your company, be sure to network online with complimentary blogs. Share industry news, original ideas and useful tips and you’ll attract links, often times, without asking. Link to other blogs in your industry, and reference fellow industry bloggers. They’ll notice and may link back. Links that come as a result of sharing useful blog content with others can attract traffic in the short term and boost search engine rankings overall. Just look at our own TopRank Online Marketing Blog with over 700,000 inbound links as an example.
Forums & Online Communities
Regardless of who your target audience is, they probably already hang out somewhere online. Find out where and go join them.
Here are some advanced search queries you can use to find relevant forums and groups:
- inurl: + keyword + forums or groups
- intitle: + keyword + forums or groups
When you enter these places it’s advisable to listen first before you speak. Get a feel for the discussion, ask and answer questions, and then tell your story. Don’t be the person who signs up, spams a link to their own website and then vanishes into the night, never to be seen again.
Links from Local Organizations
If your company is registered with the Better Business Bureau or the Chamber of Commerce, the links from these sites can be very relevant for geographically specific terms and topics. Also, locate other local businesses and organizations that maintain lists of businesses to request a link from.
Here are some people you should get to know:
- Local council
- Local Chamber of Commerce
- Local newspaper
- Local college or university
- Local sports clubs
- Local business directories
- Local community groups
- Local charities
- Local businesses
A great way to get immediate traffic and also get a good link influx to your website is create linkbait. Spending a day or so to create something worth sharing is beyond worthwhile for a starting website. Matt Cutts, Google’s head of Webspam, offers some great tips on his blog for creating good linkbait. SEOMoz.org also has a comprehensive article on Social Media Marketing tactics, where you can find specific tips for submitting to each social media website.
Create a Crunchbase, Squidoo, and Aboutus.org page
Aboutus.org attempts to have website profiles of the internet, while Crunchbase has profiles of tech companies with follow links. Squidoo offers a custom lense for any business or person willing to create one. Getting on these sites is a good way to start reputation management on your own SERP, and also get a few more links to your site. If you create a good enough website bio on Aboutus.org, you can submit for consideration to get your link do-followed.
Your competitor’s links
Your competitors are building links too. Analysing their link profile can reveal a lot of low-hanging fruit – links you could quickly create for your site too.
You can discover your competitor’s backlinks using tools like SERPs Links Tool or Ahrefs.
Recreating competitor’s links is a complex operation, and definitely one deserving a separate post. But to give a quick run through:
Once you have a list ready, assess each link by checking the following:
What type of a site the link is on – is it a blog, PR news site, media publication or a personal site. The reason for doing this is to assess your chances of recreating the link. For instance, if the link is on an industry blog or a resources page, you could get in touch with the site’s webmaster and ask for an inclusion. But if it’s an editorially given link in a newspaper, there is hardly any chance that you could get included as well.
What’s the strength of the domain – the last thing you want is to create links on spam or less reputable sites. Therefore, assess if the site that links to your competitor is worth the effort. You can do so in a number of ways:
Check PR – PageRank (PR) is Google’s own metric assessint the site’s importance, reliability and authority on the web. It is slowly becoming redundant, yet for the time being you can still use it as an indication of the site quality.
Check DA – Domain Authority (DA) is a metric invented by MOZ to assess how website might perform in search engine rankings. The higher the metric, the better the projected performance.
Use common sense – lastly, answer yourself whether you’d like to be associated with the site in any way. If the answer is no (because it looks suspicious, the content is poor or even very low quality, it has no social signals indicating any readership etc.), then perhaps it’s better to let the link slip this time.
Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a platform that connects journalists with news sources.
Once you register as a source and select topics you could provide insight in, HARO will start sending you daily emails with related journalists queries.
Respond to those you could add something valuable to. You might not always be selected for a further interview. If it happens though, you will gain free publicity along with a valuable, editorially placed link.
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