How to Start Link building for a New Website.

It can be confusing when you have a new website and you want to start link building. There is a lot of conflicting advice out there about what type of links you should get and how fast you should get them.

Before we get started and get into the different types of links, I want to make sure that you are using 2 very useful and free tools. Google webmaster tools and Analytics. They are virtually impossible to beat for the price and give you important information about your links and keywords. More importantly, they keep you up to data about how Google views your site.

Now, lets talk about links…

Directory Links

These used to be the first thing you did when you had a new website. Unfortunately, they have been spammed and abused so much that most of them provide no value now and there is even rumours of Google de-indexing large numbers of them.
It may still be worth getting a link from a high quality directory like BOTW, but don’t spend much time on this type of link.

Blogroll links

These are a mixed bag. Theoretically, these should be great as they are a big endorsement from the webmaster of the site. In reality though, they have been twisted, abused and spammed to death.
I would still say that you need to take it on a case by case basis. For example, if a site has a handful of great sites that are totally relevant in is blogroll, you may want to get in their. If however, they have 50 sites to junk sites; run a mile.

These fall into the category of site wide links, so see that section for more info.

Site wide links

On first glance, these look amazing! Instead of getting 1 link, on a 50 page site, you get 50 links. Awesome! Well, not exactly. Google understands what is going on and only counts them as 1 link. Think of it as each site only being able to give 1 site 1 vote.

I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with them, they just aren’t as good as they seem and they clutter up your link profile.

Comment links

These are one of the most used link types by black hatters. Tools like Scrape box can generate thousands of junk comments and links totally on autopilot and they used to be quite effective but aren’t now.
Again, there should be no problem if you are posting genuine comments that add value, but you are relying on Google being able to separate your genuine comment from all of the junk. that’s a risk that I am not that keen on taking.

Social Media Profile Links

Generally ‘nofollow’ but a great way to start your link building anyway. This is where you put a link in yout profile on Twitter or Facebook etc. Linking froma quality profile isn’t going to hurt and might get you traffic from the social site.

Editorial Links

The kind of links that you get without asking when you are putting out top quality content and showing it to people. These are probably the best kind of links that you can get.
You can increase the chances of getting these by networking.

Guest Post Links

These are a close second to editorial links. Basically, you either write a great post and ask a webmaster to post it to their site or you ask a webmaster what they want and write it for them. You are getting your name out and adding value to a site. this also increases your networking range if you maintain the relationship.

Resource links

Oftentimes, older sites may have links pages or resources pages and it can be worth asking the webmaster of these sites for a link. (If your site is a good match)

Leading on from that, you can ask anyone for a link. Just coming out of the blue with that request is going to get you turned down a lot but its only an email!

Legitimate Business Links

Industry directories, local business listing, chamber of commerce etc. can all be great links.

Local links

Google Places, Yahoo Local, Bing business. these can bring in traffic and increase your exposure.

Reciprocal links

If you are doing this for reasons other than SEO, then there is nothing wrong with it. From the point of view of SEO though, they don’t carry much power.

I think you can probably gather from my descriptions, which links I think you should aim for.

Business listings, local links, resource links, social media profile links, guest post links, and begged-for links. Then go get your BOTW link and go back to the start.

Consistency is the key for most sites, that and focusing on putting out great content.

What is a Quality Link?

No one really knows the exact metrics that go into deciding how valuable a link is, but it quite clear that all links are not equal.

At one end of the scale there are all sorts of spammy types of links. I will define these as any type of link that adds no value to the web and is created purely for the sake of getting a link, normally for SEO. (I know that is pretty vague but I want room to wriggle!)

In times gone by and up to fairly recently, these links have been very effective. Google is getting smarter all the time though and their number one enemy is spam. Spam sites, spam content and spam links. So unsurprisingly, these links have been devalued to one degree or another. What is more, it seems that having those types of links pointing to your site now may actually harm your rankings.

So, if we ignore all of these types of links, and look at links that a normal site may have aquired in a more or less natural way, we would probably find, links from friends blogs, local contacts, forums that you participate in etc. These links are fine. They are clearly not spam and those sites probably have a small amount of trust and authority. They are unlikely to help you much though in terms of rankings for any competitive terms.

One link from a industry specific site of reasonable quality and age will more than likely have a larger effect than all the rest put together and one link from a world-wide recognised name like the BBC or CNN would probably give you a boost that is an order of magnitude greater.

So what factors influence the actual quality of the link? In no particular order, you should think about:

Relevance of the site to your keyword
Relevance of the page
Relevance of the text around the link
Quality of the site, age, freshness, original content etc.
Prominence of the link
Number of outbound links and their target
Alexa rankings to gauge popularity of the site.

These are of course just a selection and there will be many more factors, but these should get you thinking about where to get the best links for your site.