In terms of search engine optimization (SEO), there are three categories of tasks that every website owner must complete if they want their site to be found at the top of a Google or Bing search engine results page. These task categories are:
- On-site optimization, such as writing a proper HTML title tag, a good META description tag, ensuring that your site can be crawled, etc.
- Creating great content, because no website can achieve long-term SEO success without great content.
- Promoting content to build links, because no one will find your great content unless you promote it.
Of these three categories, the last two are 95% of the SEO puzzle. As crucial as on-site SEO (#1) can be, it’s relatively simple to complete. Creating great content – and then promoting it like crazy to build links – is challenging and time consuming…especially if you have a brand new website.
Here are six tactics you can use to build links to a brand new site:
1. Help somebody out. If you’ve just launched a new website, one of the best ways to raise your profile and get some free links is to do something for free. You can offer a free product or service to a local business or non-profit in exchange for a link, for example, or you can announce a giveaway and promote it to industry media, run a contest on Facebook, etc.
2. Your new site design is probably unique, and you can leverage that. Website design galleries – which are often studied by web designers looking for new ideas – are a good link building opportunity if the design of your site is unique in some way. Perhaps the layout is unconventional, the color scheme is particularly handsome, or perhaps your site integrates a new tool or feature in a unique way.
Whatever the case, submitting your new site to design galleries for consideration certainly can’t hurt you. If the person managing the design gallery decides to include your site, you’ll get a link.
3. Search for sites that link to more than one of your competitors and ask for a link. Look for websites that list off companies who sell the same products and/or offer the same services that you do. Then, contact the owners of these sites and ask for your company to be added to the list. Writing an email that says something like “even though we’re new to the industry, we offer the same products/services and we’re hoping that you might include our company on your list as well” is a good approach.
To find sites that link to your competitors there’s a competitive link finder tool from SEOMoz (subscription req’d) that works nicely. If you don’t mind doing a little work in Excel, you can gather and analyze your competitor’s inbound link profiles using Blekko for free (see Internet Marketing Ninja’s Blekko SEO guide for a good primer).
4. Submit to industry and niche-specific directories. If you’ve just launched a new website for your dental practice, for example, there are half a dozen dental industry specific directories that will list your site for a nominal fee. While these directory links won’t launch your site to the top of the search engine rankings overnight, they’re relevant links, and the directories themselves will send you some visitors as well.
Of course, the trick is finding these niche directories. One of the best ways to hunt them down is to use the Whitespark local citation finder. Even though you might not be looking for local links, you can still find national, niche-specific directories by having the Whitespark tool hunt for citations in large markets like New York, Miami, Chicago, etc, and then comparing the results from all of these citation searches.
5. Submit a press release. While the effectiveness of this tactic has declined considerably in the past 18 months, press release submission is still a decent link building tactic for new sites if you invest in a quality submission service such as Marketwire, Businesswire, or GlobeNewsWire. Just make sure that your release is a) interesting b) newsworthy and c) properly optimized.
Additionally, consider submitting a release using urlwire.com, which is managed by SEO stalwart Eric Ward.
6. Leave quality, interesting comments on blogs relevant to your industry. While “blog commenting” has some negative connotations in the SEO industry, it’s a solid marketing tactic that every site owner should leverage as much as possible. By leaving intelligent, compelling comments on blog posts that are relevant to your industry, you will raise your profile with bloggers and generate some referral traffic to your website. Just make sure that when you comment and link to your site, you do so with your real name. No one likes to see blog comments by someone named “Canada Payday Loans.”
How have these strategies worked for you? Can you think of other simple strategies new site owners can take advantage of?