It’s done. After months of dreaming, planning, sketching, wireframing, designing, and developing, your brand new website is alive.
But now what? Now that your website is live, the real work has begun—the work of building links and authority. Your website is only as awesome as it is authoritative.
So, how do you take your shiny new website from its new-kid-on-the-block status and give it some link love?
Don’t Do Link Building Like This
First, there are some ways to not to do link building. Most of these are obvious, but let me just run through the basics.
- Don’t use a link network
- Don’t buy links
- Don’t exchange links
- Don’t do directory submissions
- Don’t be stupid
I had to get that off my chest.
All too often, I’ve seen new sites rush off to build authority, only to completely ruin their site and their business through crappy link building practices. This is not the way to go about things.
The only thing worse than having no links is having links from shoddy, low-DA websites. Instead of boosting your authority, you’ll be working from a link deficit. Worse even, your site could be penalized right off the bat.
Be really careful.
Instead, Do Link Building Like This
The days of wild crazy link building are long gone. Today is an age of strategic discernment, content curation, and personal brand building. The traditional realm of building links has been eroded by the rise of content marketing.
This leaves you, the new website owner, in the unique position of not having a defined strategy for link building. Your approach is one of caution, and not explicit link building, per se.
For that reason, I can’t give you a tactical or methodical approach for building links. What I can do is help shape a strategy for building a site authority and reputation. The links will come. But you have to avoid the dangers. You have to be strategic.
Be a Content Marketer
Everything starts here. There is no such thing as link building without content marketing.
Every point that follows in this article assumes this premise—unleashing powerful content on a consistent basis.
If you want links to your new site, you’ll need content on your new site.
Be a Networker
Have you heard the sales phrase, “People buy from people?” The same holds true for building links. People link to people. They don’t just link to a website. They link to an author, a piece of content, or a legitimate source of information. There is an interplay of like, trust, and knowledge behind legitimate linking.
I came across Drew McClellan’s graphic, which I’ve shared below. In his article, he described how people buy. It’s all about trust. He wasn’t talking about linking, but the truth still applies.
In the intersection of liking, knowing, and trusting, there is linking.
Here are a few practical things you should do:
- Build your social profiles by connecting with people in your niche. Just start by getting on people’s radar. As you make these connections, you’ll start to develop your presence. People will become aware of who you are.
- Strengthen your interaction with other sites and authors by linking to them. Most sites I write for today are sites I’ve linked to in the past. We’re not doing a link exchange. Instead, we’re sharing a professional relationship that is built on the authority of great content.
- Develop your reputation by personally interacting with professionals in your niche. Ask them for help, offer your assistance, or just get in touch.
When I link to other articles, I often do so because I know the other writer, entrepreneur, or marketer. We’re all in this niche together. We work with each other, buy from each other, and learn from each other. It only follows that we link to each other.
In this way, it seems like link building happens naturally, but it’s actually a result of networking. If I don’t know the writer personally, I at least trust his or her content. Maybe I follow them on Twitter or add them to my circles on Google+.
My first point in this article was the logical starting point—content marketing. My second point builds on that foundation—making personal connections. The following point has to do with enhancing your personal brand.
Be a Personal Brand Builder
Links will come in when your personal brand is recognized.
After years of working in this industry, I’ve realized the incredible importance of a personal brand. I can’t separate my identity as an individual from my professional accomplishments.
As an example, I developed Quicksprout as a resource for people to learn about SEO and content marketing. It’s also become a place where I blog about the lessons that I learn in business. My identity as a personal brand is linked to my website, and produces a lot of high quality and valuable links.
I’ve watched other entrepreneurs do the same thing. Gregory Ciotti of Help Scout, Leo Widrich and Joel Gascoigne of Buffer, Rand Fishkin of Moz and others have all proven the power of personal brand building. Their personal brand stature has produced huge amounts of valuable linkbacks for their websites.
Link building is increasingly a public relations game. You need brand exposure to get links. You need a personal brand to get links.
Be a Social Sharer
Yesterday’s cocktail parties or “networking sessions” are today’s Google+ circles, Twitter conversations, and LinkedIn discussions.
In order to create a broader awareness of your brand and identity, you have to be present and active on social media networks.
A casual look at your analytics data will probably reveal a decent amount of linkbacks from social media sites. Many sites that I work with receive as much as 30-40% of their traffic from social media alone. That’s a huge amount of traffic!
That traffic translates into a lot of linkbacks. As people access your site on social platforms, they will share it and link to it. Every time you publish an article on your site, share it on social media. Share it several times if you have to.
As long as you’re active on social media, you’ll start to get links to your website.
“Link building” as it is traditionally defined is fraught with risks, gray-hat techniques, and dangerous mistakes. Don’t approach link building in a let’s-build-some-links kind of way. If you do, you’re headed for dangerous waters. Instead, consider link building as a byproduct of being a networker, a content marketer, a local expert, a personal brand, and a social animal.
Links will come. And when they do, your new website will develop some serious authority.
Featured Image: foto infot via Shutterstock
Post Image: created by author for Search Engine Journal