Confession: I almost slapped Ryan Jones the other week at SMX West. “I don’t have to build links,” he said. “We put out a new product or announcement, and bam: There’s 10,000 links.”
Unfortunately, he’s right — even if the slap would have been justified. If you do SEO for a big brand, like Ryan, you typically don’t have to put effort into link building. They already have an established following of fans, critics and media just waiting to talk about them.
But for the rest of us, us commoners if you will, we don’t get to enjoy such a luxury. When you’re a new website with no established clout, no established authority, and no gaggle of swooning fanboys (or angered skeptics) waiting with baited breath over your every move, links are your lifeblood. So where should you start?
I cannot stress enough how important it is to guest blog for links, especially if no one knows who you are. Get the right topic on the right blog, and the results can be pretty astronomical. You get the link juice, sure, but you also get traffic, brand awareness, and potentially even conversions.
As I mentioned last month, I swear by guest blogging communities like Blogger Link Up and My Blog Guest. Instead of you finding the opportunities, they come to you. Blog owners will send out a query on the type of post that they’re looking for, and you can respond if you’re a good fit.
Offline To Online Relationships
If you’re new to the online realm, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re new to the offline world.
The first place I go when building links for a new client is finding any partnerships, relationships, or even just friends they’ve worked with or built offline. Then, parlay that connection online. People are much more likely to link to you when they already know who you are and can vouch for the work you do.
Forums & Online Communities
Whoever your target audience is, they’re probably already hanging out somewhere online. You need to be there.
Find these online communities, forums or discussion groups and join them. You can use these search queries to find these forums or discussion groups:
- inurl: + keyword + forums, discussions or groups
- intitle: + keyword + forums, discussions or groups
Word of the wise: Establish your credibility first. If you go in there firing out links and praise, it’s like saying “I’m Erin. Marry me?” Take some time first to get to know people there: ask questions, answer questions, tell your story, whatever. Just build the relationship first. And when you do post a link, don’t let that be your last post.
Every community has a local chamber of commerce. Join it. You get a great link and great exposure to other networking opportunities. If you live in a bigger city, there are also directories specifically to list local businesses in that area.
Also, target your local press. Local journalists are craving for content to write about, so if you’re doing something within the community, let the media know about it.
Whether it’s your staff doing a day of community outreach, helping a local charity or nonprofit organization, or just doing something really cool, people will write about it. We got press coverage and a link just because we hired 24 people over half a year. Whatever you’re doing, let people know.
Give Stuff Away
I don’t know where you stand on the link bait debate, but frankly: I dig it. The whole point of link building is to create things that people like and want to link to. (Of course, don’t do something for the sole reason of going viral.) And what people like is to get free stuff. Host a giveaway or contest that is related to your business (don’t just giveaway an iPad ) which will put you in touch with people in your target audience.
What are some other good links to get for new websites?
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.