Much has changed in the world of link building. Older strategies like directory submissions, press releases, and of course buying text links are no longer as effective as they once were. What hasn’t changed is that a successful link-building campaign is the key to a winning search engine optimization strategy.
Let’s review a six-step plan to start a successful link-building campaign for new websites.
1. Invest in general Directories
Submitting a site to a directory nets a website its first “authority” links. It is also the fastest way for search engines to find and index pages. Submit to the following directories in order of importance:
- DMOZ, free
- Yahoo Directory, $299 annually
- Best of the Web, $99.95
- Business.com, $299 annually
- GoGuides, $69.95
- JoeAnt, $39.99
When submitting to directories always get listed in more than on category and don’t forget about regional categories. Not sure if this investment is worth it? Check the search engine results page (SERPs) for keywords and see if competitor pages have links from these directories. If they do, make the investment. And if they don’t, this may be what pushes a site ahead of its competition in search results.
2. Submit to Niche Directories
Submitting a site to directories that focus on a specific industry can provide more value than general directory submissions. Most niche directories are typically more flexible (allowing anchor text to be used), are more topically relevant and often authoritative. You will get valuable links from sources that are sometimes overlooked by your competitors.
3. Create Social Media Profiles
It’s absolutely essential to build a profile on social media sites for your company name, brand and as an individual. This will allow you to promote content to a large audience which can lead to many incoming links. While most social media sites do not pass on Google PageRank, some do. Even if you don’t have the time to build out these social profiles, at least reserve your name(s). Don’t forget sites like Meetup[dot]com, for example, which passes on Google PageRank and links to your site with the anchor text of your choice.
4. SERP Link Building
This stage of link building takes time and patience. Do a Google search for your top keywords and see what websites are ranking in the top 50 or 100 positions. These are all potential link targets. Start with the top results and move down the list, because these links tend to have the highest Google PageRank. To get them to link to you, see if the website has a “Links” or “Resources” section and request a link. Also consider expanding to non-competing but related sites to request links from their pages that complement your content. Offer to guest blog or contribute an article and you’ll build a long-term link partner.
5. Create a Blog
Create a blog and after it is up and running with a few actual posts, submit it to the top blog directories (search ‘blog directories’ at WebsiteMagazine[dot]com for a few resources). If you don’t link to your own domain or subdomains within posts, the incoming links won’t count and the effort will be wasted. If you don’t have time to write content for your long, consider hiring freelance writers to write for you. Promote your blog posts within your social media profiles and watch the links increase over time.
6. Write Articles Targeting Social Media
This takes the most creativity and hard work but it certainly doable. In order to be successful, it helps to build up your social media profiles and have an active friend network. The key is to create content that appeals to a social media-centric audience. The result is many more links to your website. This is a trial and error process; don’t expect every article to be a huge success. Keep trying new articles topic and link baiting techniques. When on takes off, it will make up for the others that didn’t get much traction.
The key to the six-step plan is systematically repeating the process. If you can manage to master any one of these forms a link building, you’ll be well on your way to the top of the SERPs.