Last Updated on by Artem K.
When you are just beginning to develop your own business, there are many different things you should take care of on your own.
However, link-building for startups should not be on your to-do list…
In fact, it should be 100% outsourced to a performance-based monthly link building service like LinksHero because we have tons of experience working with SaaS link building, E-commerce link building, and many other projects (see our link building case studies).
Link building is a process that requires a lot of knowledge on the topic, as well as time and skill, something that is usually not available for a freshman-kind business owner.
Thus, even though startups usually have a limited budget dedicated to particular tasks, link building still should be a part of it, simply because it is the most efficient method for all the websites to promote businesses through an increase of the traffic on those websites.
And if you need to learn more about the process of link building for startups and how you could benefit from it, you might want to continue reading this article!
Link Building: Why Should You Utilize it?
Link building for startups is a common technique used to increase traffic and improve the ranking of the website that is provided by an SEO agency.
Link building is a technique of finding websites with content that you think your target audience visits and placing your relevant links there, sometimes, with the same process being done back on your site.
People— and, most importantly, Google — perceive such links on the websites that they read to be trustworthy, meaning that the content is worth their attention and could be potentially helpful, and as websites are created for almost any sphere, be it a marketing blog or a golf website, link building is an important technique that should be used by website owners to bring more traffic and thus, clients.
The most important thing about building links is that they should be of good quality: high-quality links are hard to find these days, which is why business owners will not have enough of their free time searching for them, but SEO agencies like ours will.
Link Building Practices Best to be Avoided
While going through your link-building process, you need to think about the quality of the links that you choose so that they will help you to create a healthy link profile.
A healthy link profile is one that was created fairly so that the links used would not be stolen and could provide you with relevant content similar to your own.
Spammy link profiles, on the contrary, are present in lots of low-quality websites, and they simply will not help website owners to raise their SEO performance. In addition, they most probably will be the reason for Google search engines to clamp down on your website so that your rank and traffic will not be as good as they could have been.
Here is the list of SEO strategy practices that we avoid while working with your website, as well as make sure that the websites that we are considering for placing your links in do not use them:
Overemploying Link Purchasing Techniques
Nowadays, there are a lot of SEO strategies that include different schemes for buying the links in advance, and although they might work for a few months, sooner or later, various search engines will find out about them and might penalize your website permanently.
What is more, most search engines know about such schemes in advance, and the only reason why they still do not block a website using unfair methods is that they are waiting for the new policy updates to be placed so that a particular type of manipulation would be destroyed once and for all. Do not underestimate the algorithms and regulations used by search engines: they are constantly being developed.
Here is the list of some tactics used by unreliable SEO agents that could act as a red flag for you to go and find another company for link-building services:
- Using links taken from personal blogging networks;
- Placing links near the phrases like “promotional content” indicating the fact that the link what bought;
- Adding links to the comment section of the blog post;
- Using links with referring domains that are related to educational institutions, such as the ones ending with ‘.edu.’
As we had already mentioned, such tactics could be efficient for a short period, but you should not forget that aside from algorithmic clean-up of Google search ranks, there are also manual retributions that you could receive from Google employees: that way, once the website of your choice receives a penalty from search engines, all the links that are located on this site will also be liable to the same punishment, or at least will get a lower ranking.
All in all, link-building schemes are definitely not the best way of increasing your website’s traffic: the risks are simply too high, which is why link-building processes are not as easy as they might look at first sight, and hiring an SEO agency is a must.
Showing Irregular Link Building Attempts
You should also be careful with the link velocity of your website and of the ones that you are considering for your link-building strategies, as Google and other search engines take it very seriously when your website drastically reduces or increases the number of links being used.
Your goal is to grow the number of your links gradually with time as your website’s traffic and content grow. As your link-building company, we will make sure to keep your link velocity constant or a bit bigger every month, as no one expects a big and strong link-building strategy from a startup.
Google will perceive your website as suspicious if you start growing your links too fast: what you always want to do is create valuable links over time; guest posts and outreaches to influencers are something that could help you with that.
Neglecting Link Diversification Strategies
Many different aspects could help you to diversify your link-building process so that the search engines would not think that you are manipulating them and, thus, not decrease your rank and traffic.
Three main things could be done by us to ensure that your link-building profile is diversified, such as:
- Use various backlink types (guest blogging posts, editorial links, links from directories, and so on);
- Make sure that the external links of your choice have various domains;
- Choose links with different anchor texts that are still related to your topic.
Google and other search engines need to see a diversified link profile so that they can objectively consider your website and rate its quality.
However, this does not necessarily mean that all of your links should be of high quality: on the contrary, you should keep the quality diversified as well; only a few very respectful websites could afford to have high-quality only links without getting penalized.
Your link-building process should be natural, which is why we would try to develop great connections with other websites or influencers and exchange your links based on the relationship built between your website and theirs.
This issue is especially important for startups, as it definitely will not look natural for beginners to have high-quality links only: instead, you should try to reach out to other startups and influencers in the industry in which you are working. Only a few of high authoritative sites would look normal in a link-building profile of a startup.
However, this position could also give you a few advantages: for instance, it would give you a chance to agree to create the same anchor text with one or two other websites. That way, you will gain better traffic without the risk of being penalized for that.
All in all, diversification is the key to a great link profile that would not get your website blocked when new algorithm changes are made. As it is said, do not put all your eggs into one basket, as the risks of losing everything will simply be too high, especially for a startup.
Vital Canons for Building Links
Aside from discussing each link-building strategy that could be used, it is important to mention the main principles of link-building first, as they are crucial for any of your strategies to work as they should.
Below you will find information about these link-building principles which we use while creating link-building strategies for clients:
High-Quality Content Only
The very first thing that a person interested in the link-building process should think about is the quality of the content used on the websites: make sure that the websites you are considering for building links already provide their existing readers and clients with high-quality content that is also useful for them.
Content creation for the links that you will place on other websites is not an easy process as well, which is why you might want to create a content marketing strategy first that would include research reports on your competitors and, thus, a demonstration of their pros and cons. This, in return, could give you an idea about your own desired approach to creating content.
This is the main characteristic that will sooner or later bring you high-quality backlinks and, therefore, more potential visitors and customers, which is why it is essential not to forget about it.
Following your Marketing Goals
Every page of the website under consideration should be filled with links of relevant content for your own marketing goals so that the traffic that you would receive would be of decent quality.
Thus, a website created for informative purposes would benefit from placing not only links to other websites that could have additional information on the topic but also from authoritative websites that could confirm the ideas written on your site.
The link-building strategy should always be in sync with your marketing goals, as this is the only way to provide yourself with genuine traffic that would only benefit your business.
Prioritizing DoFollow Links
There are two types of links that could be placed on websites, i.e., dofollow links and nofollow links.
As we already know, the quality of information located on the websites is quite crucial, which is why there should be more dofollow links on the sites, and they should have high-quality content.
And although nofollow links such as the ones referring to Wikipedia or social media posts could help create additional traffic and thus be used in your link-building process, they definitely should not be a majority in your link-building strategy: putting too many nofollow links will simply ruin the quality of your content or bring you undesired traffic.
Appropriate Anchor Texts are a Must
Anchor texts are quite important for Google search engines or any other search engines that you prefer to estimate your website’s authority, as they help the engine to understand the topic of the texts that you have.
Thus, it is important for the link-building strategy to include only those websites whose anchor texts are similar to that of your page that you plan to place on other websites: that way, anchor texts will help you to receive traffic that is actually interested in your services and could potentially bring you more profit.
However, companies should be careful with the similarity of anchor texts to their own: almost identical anchors could be perceived by Google search engines as manipulations, which in return would penalize their websites.
Quality links are still important, which is why we would approach your link-building strategies by searching for websites with similar content but with decent quality and uniqueness as well.
Building a Powerful Link-Building Strategy
Now that we have discussed what techniques you should avoid and what principles should lie at the core of your link-building efforts, it might be helpful to show you methods that are actually efficient and could be used by us while building a link-building profile for you.
The quality of the content that you publish on your website or look through when choosing the sites for your links is not the only important thing for effective link building. You also want to find sites that are consistent with the content they publish.
Search engines pay attention to the frequency of new content being published, which is why you do not want to put your links into low-quality sites that publish new guest posts once a month or worse, every day: the best choice is a website that has its content plan to which it sticks.
The same could be done within your website: create an editorial calendar with particular topics that will be covered on a weekly/ monthly basis: that way, you will always have ideas about the type of content to publish and avoid writing a blog post just to fill a blank space on your website.
Constructing a Link Hook
Aside from your link-building strategies, you could also help out other websites by putting links with their content on your pages.
Take a minute to think why we would want to put a particular link on our website. We guess that your first thought would be that they are helpful for the content you are publishing.
Well, you can do the same thing by putting informative and original content on your website so that other sites would want to build links with you.
Here are some tips about the kind of information that is usually getting the most attention from other websites:
- Original data related to research, case studies, interviews, guest posts, and so on;
- Looking at some topics from another angle;
- Posting emotionally engaging content with personal stories and photos might help you out as well;
- Using infographics, photos, and unique designs that would increase the interest in the information you are providing;
- An overview of a topic that would be a convenient resource for a citation on other websites.
The best-linked website is the one that is helpful for the posts of other sites, which is why you would benefit from making guest posts or articles with original information that many would want to cite with the help of editorial backlinks.
Scanning Brand References
When the quality of a product is good, many high-authority sites will be more than happy to write about you. However, it is quite common for them to forget to put a link to your website: sometimes by mistake that they will want to fix it, and sometimes not.
By monitoring mentions about your startup, you could actually obtain organic traffic that does not take too much effort from you to get, and there are lots of different tools such as Google Alerts that could help you to do this kind of monitoring: simply put a notification for yourself to check new mentions on a particular basis, and you are good to go!
Forming Powerful Connections with Other Website Owners
A link is basically a relationship between two things, which is why link building is also something that could be considered as a relationship between websites or, more specifically, between the people that own them.
Thus, the easiest way to ensure that you will always have a chance to build links constantly is to reach out to other business owners with a genuine desire to become collaborators: this would be especially easy when your content is already of great quality and the only thing that you would need to think about further on is the desire of another person to actually obtain new connections.
Here are some tips about approaching other business owners with a request to help each other out that are used by us as well:
- Be brief and concise; no business owner has the time to read long emails. What is more, do not indicate that your email could contain spammy materials, as it would drastically lower your chances of sending a message that would actually be read;
- Suggest a way how you can help them right now: for instance, you may indicate that there is a broken link on their website and that your content could actually replace this original broken link;
- End your email with an interesting question so that the receiver would have an extra interest in replying to you.
Emails are not the only approach that you might try out with business owners to build links with them; here are some other techniques that we find helpful:
- Guest posting is something that you could also suggest to the owners with whom you would like to collaborate, and some people find guest posting to be an even more effective link-building tactic than simple emails, as it gives you more control not only over the content of the article that you will write for someone but also over the quality of links that will be chosen.
- However, such a technique is rarely used by startups due to their lack of authority in the market, which is why new business owners should aim to receive guest post opportunities but collaborate only with those companies that already have good-quality content on their websites.
- Youtube videos or podcasts are another great way of receiving more attention as they will help you to diversify your links simply because they would not be placed only on websites. You could try to contact content creators on different platforms like Youtube or Apple Podcasts that are similar to the sphere in which you are working: who knows, maybe they will be glad to give you some air time or exchange the links so that your products would be mentioned in return for their links being put on your website.
- CSS galleries could also help generate links on various types of sites. The design of your website is also something that could be appreciated by many people, not only by your readers or the sites linking to your website but by CSS galleries: it can be helpful to submit your design to some gallery, and if the answer is positive, you could receive more original traffic.
As you can see, there are many opportunities that you could use for collaborating with other people, not only through guest blogging or emails, which is why you should try all of them to understand the origin of a bigger attention to your business.
Repurposing Your Articles
The process of creating content is definitely not the easiest one, which is why you might find it difficult to come up with more original posts or even promote your already existing pages.
You would be surprised to find out that your old content could actually be repurposed and reused: for instance, you can take an old article and make a video or a podcast out of it, as well as try guest blogging with this content.
That way, you will give an old but interesting article new organic traffic by putting links to the original page inside of an Instagram or Twitter account so that any content could create more high-quality backlinks.
Advertising Content on Social Media
Although social media produces a nofollow link and thus might not be directly connected to high-quality traffic, the content which you post in your accounts can change this situation and bring you customers interested in your products.
You can duplicate the content in your social media or post links to your website there, which could help you to engage with your audience and other influencers, making your startup well-known so that it could bring more dofollow links not only through guest blogging or broken link-building techniques.
Social media has lots of tools that could be helpful for your company’s promotion: for instance, you can make giveaways with certain rules for the participants to be able to win something. You could give your followers a small gift, such as an informative guide, in return for posting a direct link to your website or sharing your Facebook posts on their accounts.
You will not gain a new dofollow link from a potential customer if you are planning to go through your digital marketing strategies once a month only: online businesses need constant engagement with their audience so that natural link-building can take place.
Utilizing Broken Link Building Approach
We had already briefly mentioned broken links above, but now we can dig deeper into this topic to show the potential that it has.
Broken links are basically dead links that no longer work. There could be multiple reasons why this has happened: maybe the original linked page changed its address, or it was blocked by new search engine algorithms.
What is important here is that such broken links could be used by startup site owners in their SEO strategy: you could simply research different websites related to your own business sphere and find some broken links there that could be replaced by the content that you have on your own website.
That way, another website owner would receive an incoming link that could replace old ones and thus raise the ranking in search engines, and you, as a startup owner, could gain more traffic while still maintaining quality criteria created by those search engines.
Frequently Asked Questions — FAQ
What Are Backlinks?
Backlinks, also known as inbound links, are the links used to cite one website in the content of another one. They are extremely helpful for raising your site’s SEO metrics, such as the ranking of the website or the quality and quantity of traffic received back to the website whose link was placed on another site.
How Long Does Link Building Take?
When a professional SEO company like ours does a link-building strategy for you, the most important question is not how long it will take but when you will see the results. Thus, do not expect your website to rise in the rankings right away; as we had already explained, the website’s owner should create a natural-looking increase in traffic, which is why significant results will be seen at least after three months of consistent work.
What Makes a Good Link?
A good link is one that was not bought from someone but received by a website because of its trustworthiness. Thus, a good link will bring you high-quality traffic from potential customers and will allow you to grow in popularity successfully over time. Diversify your links and try to collaborate only with people whose websites are of good quality so that search engines would help you to make your company better known.
How to Find Guest Post Opportunities?
It is hard to find guest post opportunities when your business is just developing; you will need to ask for them from other people. Thus, the best way to discover a potential website that would allow you to make guest posts is by analyzing the market in which you are working and finding other startups or companies that could be interested in the content that you could provide.
What should you avoid in link building?
The biggest mistake that you could make looking for websites to post your links is buying your place in them. Google search engines are quite good at indicating whether a link was bought or not, and such a violation could permanently penalize your website. Try to grow your link profile as your business grows so that your traffic looks natural.