Search engines like to see links pointing to websites, it helps them decide which sites they should consider worthwhile, as a link to a site is a bit like a vote for a site. That’s a reasonable viewpoint as websites do tend to link to other sites that have something of interest to their own readers.
If you are trying to get a new website off the ground, how do you go about building links to your website? There are many ways to get “backlinks” but it is important to understand that some links are much more powerful than others. A single link from an authority site can be worth hundreds of links from other websites.
The best links to get are those which have your target keywords as the anchor text (the clickable text on the other site) and that also come from relevant sites in your industry or sites that are otherwise influential. (For example a link from The New York Times to your book-keeping website would be pretty powerful even though it is not related to your business!). As a prerequisite for attracting backlinks you’ll need to have some good content on your site, it does not matter if it’s a blog or a static website, give other website owners something good to link to then promote it by:
- Giving it a mention in your Twitter, Facebook, or other social accounts.
- Mentioning it in relevant forums and blogs that allow comments and links to articles.
- Bookmarking it at the social bookmark sites like Digg and Delicious.
- Submitting a shorter version to Ezinearticles or GoArticles (with a link to the main article on your site of course).
- Blogging it anywhere you’ve got a blog.
Other than promoting your content online you can seek out possible link sources in other ways too:
- Ask your suppliers to link to your site or get links from professional associations if its applicable to your business.
- Try to do a deal with a similar service in another city, a link to them from a blog article of yours in return for a similar mention of your website by them.
- Are there directories that specialise in your particular field? Links from specialist directories are great links to get.
- Are there prominent bloggers in your field? See if you can get links from them or a review of a product (with a link of course).
- See if you can get an opportunity to guest post in those other industry blogs with a link or two to your site of course.
Often even unrelated websites are useful, for instance local directories help to raise your profile locally and give a small amount of link juice and they are good citation references if you are hoping to get a Google Places listing. Similarly with local business groups and networks.
If you can write an article on your industry you could also try submitting at sites like Hubpages.com or Squidoo.com and article directories like GoArticles.com and Ezinearticles.com. Interlink them a bit and link most of them to your main site.
Don’t forget, that if you have an RSS feed you can add it to the various RSS distribution services like feedagg.com and feedage.com.
Remember, in the end SEO is about how you sit in relation to your competitors. If you competitors aren’t doing any of this, these steps might be enough for you to leapfrog them in Google. If they are doing this already it might necessary for you to just stay in touch with them!
Aidan McCarthy is a long time online marketer who runs his internet marketing blog Adsurf as a free resource for small business owners looking to learn more about online marketing. He also contributes at FlyingSolo.com.au, Australia’s largest small business forum. Check out more on building links at Adsurf.