Building Your First Links

by Spencer Haws

Building links is hard.

It’s been a weird, hard part of SEO for a long time. However, we used to be able to get away with slightly easier, slightly shadier tactics.

Back in the day, you used to be able to rank a site by setting up some special parameters on some software and pushing a button. Literally.

When people started getting penalized for those tactics, a big portion of the SEO community turned to private blog networks (PBNs), including us.

And it wasn’t long before the big Google hammer pounded us into oblivion!

So now, we’re doing link building the right way. It’s a bit harder, and it takes a bit more work, but in the end, it’s much, much more effective, and it’s much, much better business.

So what works now?

There are a few things that work now.

The first and most important thing to remember is that outreach will be the cornerstone of any link building efforts.

Outreach includes guest posting, the skyscraper method, and basically anything where you’re building a relationship with someone to get a link.

We’ll cover outreach in our next lesson.

Today, we’ll talk about the first piece of the puzzle: a good set of base links.

What are base links?

Base links are a set of links that will get your site a bit of authority, relevance, anchor text diversity, IP diversity, brand recognition and link juice.

Typically, they’re not going to get you to the top of the SERPs. They will give you just a tiny bit of momentum, though, and they’ll be a really great foundation to build on.

Base links have the following characteristics:

  • They’re fairly easy
  • They’re clean
  • They’re diverse

When you build a set of base links, you don’t want to have to work super hard. You just want some good links pointing to your site.

In total, you should shoot for 30-100 base links.

That’s not a hard and fast number; it’s just a rough guideline, and the ease at which you’ll be able to get links will depend largely on your market and your existing connections.

Where do you get base links?

The idea behind a set of base links is that you get them from anywhere as long as it’s relatively easy and 100% clean.

So, while I’m going to give you some ideas, if you know of another good, clean, easy place to get links, go for it!

Here’s a few links I like to get as base links…

1. Infographic links. These are really easy, since there are a number of different infographic directories, and plenty of them will give you a dofollow link. Here are just a few:

  • Visual.ly
  • Topinforgraphic.com
  • Coolinfographics.com
  • Nerdgraph.com
  • Infographicsonly.com
  • Dailyinfographic.com

2. Directory links. Directory links are tricky, since some of them can be kind of spammy. However, there are plenty of good directories out there, and they can give you some surprisingly powerful links. The most important thing to remember here is to only have your links listed n relevant pages. Here are a few of the directories I recommend most:

  • Best of the Web
  • Moz
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Hot vs Not
  • JoeAnt

3. Blog aggregators. Blog aggregators are pretty much exactly what they sound like: sites that aggregate blogs in a bunch of different topic areas. You have to be careful here, too. First, some are spammy. Second, some are picky, so you have to have some good content on your site before you submit. The good news, however, is that these are totally free. Here are a few good ones:

  • Alltop
  • Technorati
  • Blogarama
  • Bloghub
  • Regator
  • Icerocket

4. Business and 1-800 number listing sites. You can get a 1-800 number for a few bucks. This makes it pretty easy to get a few good base links from sites that compile lists of businesses and their phone numbers. Here are a few good business directories and 1-800 listing sites you can submit to:

  • Crunchbase.com
  • Activerain.com
  • Kudzu.com
  • Biznik.com
  • Inter800.com
  • Intertollfree.com

5. Sharing sites. These days, there’s a sharing site for pretty much everything: images, audio, logos, infographics, video, etc. Most of these sites let you have some kind of link in your profile, and some will allow you to stick dofollow links in the descriptions of your stuff. There are tons of these out there, so don’t be afraid to poke around. Here are a few, though:

  • Yourlisten.com
  • Reverbnation.com
  • Podcastdirectory.com
  • Designshack.net
  • Styleboost.com
  • Logogala.com

6. Ask people you know for links. This is about as simple as it gets, but these links can be clean and easy, and they can be powerful to boot, especially if you have web-savvy friends. Of course, these links work best if you can get them on relevant pages, but take what you can get.

7. Blog comments. You don’t want to spend too much time commenting on blogs, since almost all blog comments links these days are no-follow. However, they can still provide a bit of anchor text diversity, and it’s one of the few linking opportunities that can refer visitors to your site. They’ll also have a pretty high relevancy score if you comment on good, relevant pages.

8. Forum links. Forum links are similar to blog comment links in that many of them are going to be no-follow. They also have the additional downside of typically having a low page authority. However, the relevance is typically off the charts, and you can totally control the anchor text. The key here is to actually provide value to a forum, so you don’t get deleted by the moderators.

Wrapping it up!

There you go! That’s 8 solid strategies that can get you a handful of clean, easy links fast. If you can get 5-10 links from each, you’ll have a pretty solid set of base links to work off of!

Up next…
Advanced link building with outreach.