Successfully launching a new website is a difficult undertaking. Part of the difficulty is that many businesses don’t realize how much work is left after the website launches. A brand new website has an uphill climb to gain any authority from search engines right away.
In order to hit the ground running, you need to work like mad to build relevant links to your new site. Not sure what makes a good link building strategy? You can start with our simple 6-month link building plan.
What Is a Link Building Plan?
A link building plan is a formalized and structured set of techniques for generating backlinks to your website on a timeline. It follows best practices for earning more links back to your website to increase your plan’s effectiveness and to avoid being penalized by Google.
The importance of building links to establish your new website as soon as possible cannot be understated. Links are the lifeblood of any website SEO campaign:
- They establish the trust that Google has in your website so it ranks higher in search results
- The better visibility your website has in searches, the more you improve your website traffic and brand awareness among new customers
- Generate direct referral traffic from people who see and click on the links
Whether you are a new business launching your first website, or an existing business launching a brand new website, you need links. It can take time for a new website to really start generating the traffic, leads and sales that you need it to. Using established link building techniques can help you accelerate its growth.
How Much Does Link Building Cost?
There are two types of link building, each with a different type of cost. First is the free method, where you do not pay for links. Instead, you use established techniques and tools to generate links naturally.
However, there still is a cost for this type of generating links. It comes in the time you have to spend earning links this way. There is also the cost you sacrifice doing this instead of spending time doing things that directly generate sales.
The other type of link building is paid. These are usually in the form of sponsored guest posts on other websites, and one recent study found that the average cost to buy such a link was $361.44. Another study found that the range of cost for link buying was between $150 to $1,000.
Types of Links You Need to Build
When you are creating any link building plan, there are four types of link building to keep in mind:
- Links to your homepage, which is the most important to have strong SEO
- Links to your “deep” pages, such as any specific product, service or category pages
- Links that contain your brand or company name in the anchor text
- Links that contain important keywords you are targeting for SEO in the anchor text
These four types of links will combine to give your new website the best total boost in SEO that you could hope for.
A Simple Link Building Plan
When you are just starting a new website, you can keep your link building techniques simple. More advanced and complicated strategies can wait until you have already built a solid foundation. That makes the starting phase for you a bit easier. You can now focus on the fundamentals and established best practices.
Month 1: Planning
The first month of your link building strategy should be for creating a comprehensive link building plan. You should be covering every possible aspect of your campaign:
- What types of links you’ll build
- How many links of each type do you want to target
- What specific deep pages you want to link to to increase their SEO
- What keywords do you want to target to have in the anchor text
You can also start setting your overall goals. You should be doing research into link building tactics for similar types of businesses and markets as yours. That way, you will have a good idea of what your goals should be.
The best way to do this research is by analyzing the backlink profiles of your top competitors.
There are some tools and services you can use for this research, which will help you in two ways. First, you can get a good idea of how many links you will need.
Second, you can mark down the links they have for your own targeting. Some websites you can try to get links from directly, but you may also get good ideas for the types of websites to look for. That will help you down the line.
Then you can start asking yourself: how much traffic do I want to be getting at the end of your 6 month plan? What do you want your website domain authority or domain ranking to be? What do you want your page authority rankings to be for your important pages?
Month 2: Content Auditing (Finding Assets You Have)
Auditing your content for link opportunities is not as easy when you are launching a new website. The problem is that you do not have months or years of historical data to find your best pages to use for generating links. You also won’t know what pages are lagging behind that you can improve or repurpose.
However, there will be some data that you can use as you are creating your link building plan. You can look at the early returns for the content you launched your website with and ask yourself four important questions:
- Where does your website currently stand, is it performing as expected?
- Do you have content that is not clear that can be repurposed for your link building plan?
- What content do you have that can be best utilized for click bait links?
- What content has performed the best on social media?
Any content you have that has performed well early should be a focus for building links, both in terms of website traffic and on social media. Those are good indicators of your best available resources to build your planning around.
You can also do a content gap analysis to compare your current content with the top performing content of your competitors. The aim is not to simply match their content, but to make yours better. That way you can try and earn links from the same sources that link to them.
Month 3: Creating Pages/Assets
Now is where you start using your research and planning from the last two months and putting everything into action. It’s time to use the competitor analysis, content gap analysis, and content performance so have done so far. With it, you can start creating high quality content as link building assets.
Here are a few points to use as a guide when making these new pages:
- Treat these new pages as “pillar content” that is something people will want to link to
- Make them comprehensive in the information they provide
- Present the information simply so it is easy for people to digest
- Create them around topics that people find interesting with writing making it seem even moreso
The goal of this pillar content is for other websites and blogs to link to it on their own volition. These are the best links to earn, because they are natural (which Google likes) and establish your site as a trustworthy and authoritative source.
These pillar pages are also great for passing on the benefits of the links they generate. First, pick two or more keywords and heavily focus on them within your content. You can then use internal links to other relevant pages on your site, which passes on some of the SEO juice the pillar page earns.
If those links to other internal pages can use well optimized anchor text related to important keywords, you’ll be on the right path. It won’t be as often, but you might find people starting to link to those secondary pages as well.
Month 4: Social & Promotion Channels
You might not realize just how important social media is to link building, but you can’t have a successful campaign without it. We touched on social media earlier by noting how you can use the performance data of your posts based on your website content. Here’s more of an explanation as to how it fits into link building.
The truth is that many bloggers, content creators, and even other business websites will often use social media to mine for content ideas. Social media in this case acts like an RSS feed, where you get your content in front of real link building prospects.
When you have great content go viral on social media, you are almost assuredly going to see some links come from it. It also allows you to find prospecting opportunities yourself, as well as a direct avenue to engage with them. Whenever you get a link in a guest post, you can promote them on social media so they — and by extension, you — get more exposure.
Here are some tips to follow for getting the most out of social media for your link building:
- Create an account for your business on the big social media platforms
- Follow the big influencers in your industry, see what they do and how they do it
- Refine your social media posting based on past performance, see what headlines, hashtags, times of the day, days of the week, and so on get the best clicks and shares
- See who likes, shares and engages with your posts to spot link prospecting opportunities
Outside of social media, you can also follow similar strategies with alternative promotional channels like forums and other online communities. Share snippets of your content, add links, engage with people in the community. You may find other bloggers or websites mine them for content ideas where you can get a link.
Month 5: Start Blogging
Now is the time to spend building up a blog on your website. Blog content is a great source for link opportunities for a few reasons:
- Good blog content will earn direct and natural links
- Having a good blog with quality content will give you more credibility during your eventual outreach
- Blogs, like social media, are directly mined for links and content ideas by other blogs
- Adds fresh, timely content for the social media part of your strategy
To build a good blog with great content, you need to plan it out months in advance using a content calendar. This allows you to pick out specific topics and keywords to write your content around. This is important for getting links with the anchor text you want.
It’s also a good opportunity to add links in your blogs to websites that you have found in your prospecting research. This can give you something of an “in” during your outreach as something to build your relationship with them. Many sites are more than happy to form a reciprocal relationship for links.
Month 6: Outreach
All of your research and link building steps in the first five months have led to this final month for outreach. By now you should have formed a pretty comprehensive list of websites that are good opportunities to contact in some capacity.
There are a few types of prospects you can contact for link building outreach:
- Websites that link to your competitor content that you think you have surpassed
- Websites that have already linked to some of your content on their own accord
- Blogs you’ve come across that allow guest posts or sponsored articles
- Specific bloggers, writers, editors, etc that engaged with you and your content on social media where you have built the start of a good relationship
Your outreach can be a bit of trial and error. You’ll learn as you go how to formulate your initial messaging and what avenue you use to contact them. It can be better to think of it more as networking and building relationships.
There are many challenges that face a new website when it comes to building links, whether you’ve done it before or not. That’s why it is important to create a simple but comprehensive link building plan.
A good plan should include the types of links to get, how many you should aim for, and what steps you need to take to get them. It starts with research to guide your content creation, and runs through social media and blogging until you can start reaching out to other sites.
Having a 6 month plan for your new website will help you build a great foundation for your future. With it, you can move onto more advanced link building techniques to take your website to the next level.