Believe it or not, all SEO’s were newbies at one time or another. Launching a website and doing SEO for a small business can be a very exciting event for an individual or new business owner. However, that excitement can quickly turn to disappointment when the site owner finds out that they are getting little or no traffic. If they are getting traffic, it is most likely coming from family members or friends who they notified through an email or Facebook.
Being involved in SEO and marketing in general, I am usually bombarded by family members and friends with questions about marketing their website or their future website on the Internet. Because of this and my willingness to help just about anyone I know, you can usually find me in a small dark corner at a family party (it has to be small and dark because my wife gets ticked when I’m not up and socializing with everyone), on the phone in the car, or answering an email, Facebook message, or Twitter message about SEO and other internet marketing tactics.
I was on a call yesterday with one of my best friends from high school. Our conversation was focused on general search engine optimization principles and link building tactics that could provide a good foundation and hopefully, if he does them right, some strong rankings in the search engines. One thing I emphasized is the fact that what ever he does, he needs to build links naturally. A natural link building campaign is crucial for success in SEO.
A natural link building campaign is one that is just that, natural! Getting 50,000 links within the first twenty days of your website’s existence is definitely not natural. Getting a slow trickle of links coming into your website and then building up looks much more natural. Also, getting 50,000 links pointing to your home page with the same anchor text is not natural. Vary your anchor text and include long tail versions of your keywords. You should also build links to other pages of your site in addition to your home page. All of these things help with building a natural link campaign.
In terms of links, there are two types of links you can get for your websites, external and internal links. Both are very important and can make a huge difference in your search engine rankings. I want to discuss in detail, ten ways to effectively jump-start your link building campaign.
Friends & Family Members
When beginning a link building campaign, one very natural way of obtaining links is from friends and family members. I just opened up our family blog and counted all of the friends and family who we have added in our blogroll. The grand total… 41. How hard is it to simply call up (recommended – it’s more personal) or email your family and friends who have blogs or other sites, and ask them for a link to your new website? Not hard at all! In fact, because they are your friends or family members, they will probably do it without hesitation. You can do the same thing with Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.
Add A Blog To Your Domain
Google loves blogs! Google loves fresh content! Google loves internal links! Internal links from other pages of your website are a guaranteed way to help you increase your rankings in the search engines. Adding a blog to your domain is a great way for you to easily add new content to your website on a regular basis. In most cases, adding a blog to your main domain is rather simple and can be done in as little as three clicks of your mouse. Web hosting companies like myhosting.com, Hostmonster, & Bluehost offer one click installations of blog platforms like WordPress or b2evolution.
Adding a blog, posting to it at least once daily, and linking back to your home page and other important pages of your website with keyword anchor text is a great way to gain a lot of internal links. When blogging, you should also link out to other websites that interest you and websites that are in similar industries. You might also consider adding images, videos, polls, etc. Mix things up! Make it look natural! Most important, have fun!
Just about every city in the country has a local chamber of commerce; mine would be the Lehi Area Chamber of Commerce. Joining a chamber of commerce will not only get you a very good link back to your website, but also provides networking opportunities with other local businesses. Most times, depending on your business, you can generate new leads rather easily by getting to know other individuals and businesses in your area.
Developing relationships with local newspaper writers and always making yourself available for comments on news stories that involve your industry is a great way to build awareness about your company and get links back to your website (if the newspaper is published online).
Help A Non Profit Organization
You would be surprised how many non-profit organizations are operating in your city and your state. Every one of us has been given talents and certain things that we are good at. I guarantee that there is a non-profit organization that could use your help, whether it is with designing their website or painting the conference room of their new office building. If you offer of yourself and your services freely, you can most likely ask for, and get a link to your website from theirs.
Submit Your Site To Local & Industry Specific Online Business Directories
Anyone studying SEO can usually find a blog post about submitting your website to directories on the Internet. Yes, this is a valuable link building tactic, but before you go crazy and start submitting to thousands of directories, seek out local directories and directories that are specific to your business. Submit to these first and take your time filling out all of the information that they ask for. These will be some of your most valuable links since they are so relevant to your website and business.
You have probably heard the term social bookmarking. You have probably heard that social bookmarking is a great way to build links. Well, it is and it isn’t… You can waste a lot of time social bookmarking if you are submitting to the wrong sites. I limit my social bookmarking to Mixx, Propeller and sometimes Kirtsy. The trick to social bookmarking is to not only bookmark your website, your blog posts, and other things related to your website, but bookmarking lots of different things that interest you. This will make your bookmarking profiles look much more natural to both viewers and the search engines.
Write An Article And Submit To Article Directories
Writing articles and submitting them to sites like Ezine Articles, Article City, and Go Articles, also known as article marketing, is a great way to get links back to your website. Take time to write a very detailed article about your industry and submit it to a few article directories like the ones I listed above. You will get links back to your website by properly using the author resource or bio box at the end of the article. You should tell a little about yourself and your company, while adding keyword rich anchor text links pointing back to your website.
Write And Submit A Press Release
Writing press releases and submitting them to places like PR Web or Web Wire is a great way to generate interest and buzz about your business and also to get links back to your website. This method of link building is a little more difficult than other links that you can get for your website. Writing a press release takes skill… a skill, which the average person, like me, does not have. Press releases have certain requirements that must be met, a certain format that must be followed, and in most cases, need to be super interesting. Not having any of these elements can almost guarantee that your press release will either be outright rejected or not distributed to other news related websites.
Build A Hub Page Or Squidoo Lens
Building a Hub Page or Squidoo Lens is a fun way to get links back to your website. To date, I have built 73 Hubs and 25 Lenses for my own personal websites and hundreds for clients that I have managed. The most effective Hub Pages and Squidoo Lenses are those that have at least 450 words of text about a certain topic or subject, videos, pictures, polls, and other gadgets that are easy to add. You want to make the page as interactive as possible so it provides value for anyone who happens to read it. You are allowed two links to other websites from your Hubs and a handful of links (be conservative, don’t spam) from your Lenses.
Building links isn’t pretty. But, in order to rank well in the search engines, it is absolutely necessary. These are ten excellent ways for new companies or new website owners to start building links to their websites. There are many others and I encourage any of our readers to add to this list by commenting on this post.