Without a solid base of links, your site won’t be competitive in the SERPs — even if you do everything else right. But building your first few links can be difficult and discouraging, especially for new websites.
#1. Your brand name, domain name, and founder’s/execs names
The first one is basically looking for links that come from your own name, your brand name, your domain name potentially, and the names of the founders or people who run your company.
Step One: Search Google for the names in quotes.
If you have that, you’ll need to use your brand name plus some sort of signifier or identifier.
Step Two: Manually check the top let’s say 50 to 100 results to confirm that…
They link to the right place, and if they don’t, we should fix that. We’re going to contact those people.
If you can control the anchor text and where the link location points, you can update it.
#2. Sites that list your competition
Step One: Identify your top 5 or 10 most visible on the web competitors.
This is a process that you can go through on your own to identify, well, these are the 5 or 10 that we see on the web very frequently for searches that we wish we competed for, or we see them mentioned in the press a ton, whatever it is.
Step Two: Search Google not for each one individually, but rather for combinations, usually two, three, or four of them all together.
Step Three: Visit any sites in the SERPs that list multiple competitors in any sort of format (a directory structure, comparisons, a list, etc.)
Then in each of those cases, I would submit or I would try and contact or get in touch with whoever runs that list and say, “Hey, my company, my organization also belongs on here because, like these other ones you’ve listed, we do the same thing.”
This is a little more challenging. You won’t have as high a hit rate as you will with your own brand names. But again, great way to expand your link portfolio. You can usually almost always get 20 or 30 different sites that are listing people in your field and get on those lists.
#3. Sites that list people/orgs in your field, your geography, with your attributes.
This is sites that list people or organizations in a particular field, a particular region, with particular attributes, or some combination of those three.
Step One: List your organization’s areas of operation.
So that would be like we are in technology, or we’re in manufacturing or software or services, or we’re a utility, or we’re finance tech, or whatever we are. You can start from macro and go down to micro at each of those levels.
List your geography in the same format from macro to micro. You want to go as broad as continent, for example Europe, down to country, region, county, city, even neighborhood. There are websites that list, “Oh, well, these are startups that are based in Ballard, Seattle, Washington in the United States in North America.” So you go, “Okay, I can fit in there.”
List your unique attributes. Whatever interesting attributes there are about you, you can list those and then you can combine them.
Step Two: Search Google for lists of businesses or websites or organizations that have some of these attributes in your region or with your focus.
You can find lots and lots of these if you sort of taking from your list, start searching Google and discover those results. You’ll use the same process you did here.
You know what the great thing about all three of these is? No tools required. You don’t have to pay for a single tool. You don’t have to worry about any sort of link qualification process or paying for something expensive. You can do this manually by yourself with Google as your only tool, and that will get you some of those first early links.