Everybody has to start somewhere, and when you’re trying to build credibility and bring people to your website basically from scratch, there are myriad opportunities available to build links around the Web that will make users and search engines, alike, take notice.
Here at Website Magazine, we’ve provided a step-by-step guide to link prospecting for when you’re starting with close-to-nothing (e.g. time, money and resources). However, when all is said and done, the whole reason why we prospect for links is to find those websites that we want to build close relationships with that will be beneficial for both parties.
So, although there are some more “hands-off” techniques for acquiring links on the Web, such as submitting your site to a directory or a local business listing site like Google Places, the best way to go about building quality links is still to seek out quality, authoritative websites or blogs in and around your niche. You should forge a relationship with them through direct requests, or by providing them with contributed content.
Let’s look at a few of the best ways to build links and, more importantly, relationships with other websites, especially when you don’t yet have the credibility or resources to get your content published in “high-profile environments” that will naturally garner some links. When you’re starting from zero, how can you go about getting good links?
Just like in real life, the best way to approach someone is to be open and honest. Direct requests for links are not only the most obvious way to go about introducing your site and its content to others. And going directly to a website owner to request a link beats asking a group of strangers on a message board, because you have no way of controlling who will respond to you and how worthwhile their website’s will be for your link building efforts.
There are a couple of ways that you can go about getting in touch with a website owner or webmaster, including through social media (although this isn’t recommended) or a website’s contact form, but probably the most effective method will be to simply send a direct request email. However, remember that you’re trying to build relationships here, so if you’re going to send a direct request email, do so in a way that shows that you’re familiar with the website and its work, and explain how you could benefit them, as well.
Start by looking to see if the website(s) you’re interested in link to some of your competitors or not to determine if they’re even willing to link out (some may even have a specific email address listed on their sites for people interested in link building). Then, make sure that your link request appears to be relevant and beneficial to both you and the linker.
Keep Them Updated
One way to prove that linking to your website will also be beneficial to the linker is to provide them with some valuable information or content right off the bat. Perhaps you could initiate your relationship by supplying the other website with a news release about something your company or website is doing, or something happening within the niche that you both operate in. Anything they can use to improve or add content to their websites could be considered “beneficial." It’s all about having your thumb on the pulse of your industry and proving your worth to the desired linker. Services like PRWeb allow users to create and distribute press releases for little-to-no cost.
Again, this can be done through social media or other outlets, but the most direct and effective method is email, and it probably will be for the foreseeable future.
Give Away Content
If you want to get links from a blog, or a website that features a blog, there is no better way to show off your value and provide something beneficial to the prospected linker than by writing up a guest blog post and sending it to them. If they publish it, not only will this automatically give you one link from their website (since they’ll likely link to your website somewhere in the post), but it will also help you establish a relationship with them that is mutually beneficial from the outset, and that will greatly improve your chances of getting links from them in the future.
The main thing to remember is that good link building is about more than just acquiring citations from other websites that are kind of related to your niche or industry; it’s actually about forging lasting and valuable relationships with others. By just taking some initiative and offering something valuable to other websites, you’ll eventually be able to do that, and improve your site’s credibility in the process, even if you’re starting from zero.