If you want to get people to your Website, being at the top of the list on the top search engine is key. Companies like Google and Yahoo spend millions of dollars developing the methods for picking where websites go on the list, and businesses spend millions of dollars a year trying to get to the top. Being there is just that important. So important that there’s thousands of people who make a living off Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
While there are hundreds of variables that determine a search engine ranking, one of the more important variables is links. Having lots of quality links to your site is key in getting there. Here are just a few tips on what links you want to your site and how to go about getting them.
Getting links to your website is easy. But not all links are rated equal. Links from good sources will help boost your website rankings, but there are also low-quality sources for links that can really hurt you. It’s important to not just get links, but get links from good sources. Here are a few ways to get links that will help you, not hurt you:
Social bookmark sites are a great way for people to share great sites they find on the Internet with their family, friends, and anyone else who might be interested. You can use these sites to share not only with loved ones, but also with the rest of the Internet. By creating accounts with popular bookmark sites, you can link to your site and describe your site with various keywords you want to be associated with. Plus, if people find your site and like it, they might just bookmark it too.
Web directories are another quality link that’s great to be on. These are a little bit like yellow pages for websites, but more exclusive. Site owners must submit their site for consideration to directories. If the site is chosen, they are added to the directory. Instead of using keywords like search engines, web directories are divided up by categories and sub-categories.
Releasing a new product? Starting a new website? Making another big move for your business? A press release is not only a great way to let people know about what’s going on with your business, it also adds links to your website. And if you choose the right news sources to put out your press release, they are very high-quality links that will give your SEO rankings a big boost.
Do you want to tell your customers and clients what you’re up to and gain links all at the same time? Why not start a blog. You can not only post frequent updates on your business and products, you can also add links to your websites that will boost your search engine rankings.
While many of these techniques are easy, they can be very time-consuming. If you have the resources, it may be beneficial for you to hire someone else to submit links to directories, write and make blog posts, submit bookmarks, and do other similar projects. This may cost a bit of money, but will leave you free to do more important business.
Fifteen Link-Building Strategies for New Websites
This collection of link-building tips are likely to guarantee that you will receive free links from already established websites. This differs from content-oriented development strategies which hope to gradually attract natural editorial links.
These link-building tips focus more on targeted link placement or link insertion, whereby you are likely to control the specific anchor text used. Some of them include agreements made with others and others involve one-way action on your part:
- Submit your site to web directories. This is a pretty monotonous process that can get you several hundred backlinks if you have the time. An alternative would be to hire a manual directory submitter. There’s a list of web directories you can use. You can also find some blog directories here.
- Submit press releases to PR sites. A basic press release about your website’s launch can be released to several PR websites, who will distribute it to various online news outlets. This is a good way to get a free link. I recommend using PRWeb and PRLeap.
- Reciprocal links with similar websites. It’s important to pick sites that are of high relevance so you’ll not only get links but traffic. Reciprocal linking can be useful from the beginning but don’t overdo it. You can find link partners by emailing them directly or searching through webmaster forums.
- Squidoo lenses. A Squidoo lens is fairly easy to create. It only takes around fifteeen minutes to set up one fully and you’ll be able to insert a bunch of anchor text links to your website along with your feed content. Hubpages is another similar site you can use.
- Article submissions. Create a short article on your niche topic and submit it to article directories for a backlink and some traffic. You might get more links if your article is picked up and published on other websites. There is a list of article directories, sorted by Alexa and PageRank.
- Social media profiles. There a whole bunch of social websites online which allow you to insert a link to your website on the profile page. Sign up for some of them, preferably using a username and avatar that brands your business or you as a person. This might come in useful when you decide to promote your site via the social website in the future.
- Social bookmarking/voting websites. Certain social voting websites like Netscape or Digg are often crawled by search engines and their links do help to get a website indexed. 3spots has the biggest list of social voting and bookmarking websites I’ve seen so far.
- Forum signatures. Sign up for some forums in your niche and start contributing to ongoing discussions. Insert a link to the homepage or some inner pages of your site.
- Create a tool, theme or widget. Pay a designer to come up with an add-on application or template that is related to a specific social network, popular website or platform. Include a credit link that points back to your designated website.
- Blogs on other blog platforms. Use existing blogs you have on other blog networks, or set up different versions of your blog on different blog networks like WordPress.com, Blogger and Xanga. Link to specific webpages on your website.
- Comment on other blogs. Start commenting on relevant and popular sites in your niche. Don’t just spam for links but focus on building a relationship with other bloggers as well. Write a relevant comment and try to avoid using keyword names or signature links.
- Guest posting on other blogs. Like article and press releases, this one involves having readily available content you can send out to certain blogs in your niche. This is great for getting relevant links and traffic.
- Hold contests. Some websites often offer contests in a bid to attract anchor text links from bloggers. An example is the iPhone giveaway on Gary Lee’s site. Contests allow you to determine the specific anchor text but its possible that too many links using the designated keyword may harm your domain instead.
- Collaborative projects. You may need to develop an article specifically for a writing project, blog carnival or meme but it will usually get you a couple of backlinks, depending on the number and generosity of the participants involved.
- Offer your expertise. This will apply if you have a specific skill set such as web design, copywriting, translation or SEO. Write to an established website and offer to revamp/optimize their website in return for a mention or credit link on a webpage. This offers excellent branding, particularly if your offer is picked up by a website with a decent audience.
This list is by no means comprehensive but it shows just some of the off-site methods I use to build links for very new websites. After I get a bunch of links, I’ll usually focus on niche networking and the development of exceptional content that’ll help to rapidly build a readership.
For those readers just joining us, this is post #8 in a series of 10 on the intersection of search engine optimization and public relations, “Top Ten SEO Tips for PR Professionals“.
Besides content optimization and making sure a site’s news pages and digital assets can be found and indexed, attracting relevant inbound links is the next most important tactic for improving search engine performance of public relations-related content.
There are literally hundreds of ways to acquire good links. There are even more ways to acquire bad links, so knowing the difference can be important. Read more about that below. But first, we’ll describe some general guidelines for news content link building.
Whenever PR professionals execute digital communications, there should be links included in those messages. The best content in the world is unlikely to rank well in search engines if there are no links pointing in. It is essential that link sources (whoever you’re pitching stories to) are informed about the content so they know to link to it. Don’t just broadcast links either; give a reason why there should be a link and make it easy to do so.
News content creation, optimization and ongoing promotion are all critical for successful SEO efforts. Promoting optimized content makes potential link sources aware and increases the likelihood of link acquisition for news content. Where should you include links? Start with emails pitches, press releases, newsrooms and any other news content being published to the web.
Including full URL links in press releases can often result in an added bonus for link-building efforts because some content management systems that copy press releases as content from newswire feeds will convert full URLs to a hyper link, but ignore or strip out anchor text links. Making it easy for readers of news content on blogs, newsrooms or elsewhere on the company website to save, bookmark and share can also add to the link-building effort.
General linking guidelines for news content:
- Earn links with great content
- Promote optimized news content on social networks, vial email, RSS and within past media coverage
- Link up with marketing and business partners
- Include links in pitches and other news content promotion
- Cross-link internally
- Embed anchor text and full URL links in news releases
- Social bookmark pickups
Many online mainstream news publications do not link out, but some do and blogs associated with online publications tend to be a little more liberal about outbound links. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of knowing to ask. When a media relations effort results in confirmation that a company, product or spokesperson will be included in a story, be sure to ask if the journalist would link to a helpful resource on the company site.
Don’t just ask for the link, but provide something useful to link to. Many times a simple request and having a useful resource can result in the highest quality links you could ask for.
When promoting news content on social media sites (we’ll be covering SEO, PR and Social Media in our next post) it’s important that you’re sharing news content and that it offers unique and/or distinct value. Submitting press releases to social news sites for example, is rarely going to be productive as a way to attract positive attention within the social community. Social communities tend to distrust formal marketing communications. They do respond well to creative, clever and useful ways to communicate information and ideas that are not formal or overtly trying to “sell” something.