POP QUIZ: How do you build links to a website that is not yet live?
Those who are new to the Web might wonder why you would want to do that. Let’s suppose your website takes 4 months to develop. If you build some links to your domain, then SEO-wise you can hit the ground running when you are ready to go live. Imagine going live and already having 100 links indexed by Google. You have a head start.
But who wants to link to a non-website? Nobody, of course, except…
Let me tell the story of a shy little girl named Melanie. Her parents moved to a new town, and let’s just say that the kids at her new school were a little less than welcoming. What’s a girl to do when nobody wants to be your friend?
Be your own friend, of course.
Eventually, anybody who is a good friend to herself will radiate confidence and self-esteem and will emit an aura of worthiness. Soon, Melanie had plenty of friends, just because she was a good friend to herself.
So, too, with link-building. If you are not yet ready to seek links from other people, set up links to yourself. Here are a few ideas how to do this:
Set up pages at Social bookmarking and social networking sites. Most of them allow links in your profile, and the more friends you have and the more items you vote on, the more link juice your profile will have. LinkedIn is great for SEO . FaceBook is good. Squidoo is ideal (Set up lots of topical pages and network, network, network). MySpace is useless from an SEO perspective.
Submit articles to general article directories and how-to/expert websites. In the resource box, you can place a link. These links are hardly ever checked by the website administrators, unless something looks fishy. Make yours an exquisitly useful, quality article and most places will accept it.
Submit comments on DoFollow blogs. Some blogs automatically add all comments. Some bloggers will read your comment and approve it if it adds value, without looking at your website. Some bloggers will follow your link and nuke your comment. (I did just that a few minutes ago, which is what inspired me to write this post.) Ah…but if the commenter had posted a lengthy comment that really added to the discussion, I might have approved it, and I think most bloggers would … although some might remove the active link to a non-functioning domain. Keep in mind that who you link to matters.
Set up blogs on other domains. You can set up blogs on Blogspot and WordPress and on hundreds of smaller websites that allow users to set up blogs. many of these overlap with the advice above to set up profiles at social networking sites.
In fact, you can build hundreds of links before you even have a website. All you need is to harness the power of user-generated content on other websites. However, there are a few caveats.
1. It still requires work. You might not yet have content on your own site, but you have to put quality content on the other sites, and the better the quality the more links you can build.
2. It helps if your site is live. It might take 4 months to develop, but in 24 hours you can have a nicely designed on-topic interim home page live on your domain. I suggest you do this.
3. This is not hoity toity SEO. This is guerilla SEO. There is nothing wrong. There is nothing shady. It leaves a bad taste because it should not be like this, but given that the longevity of links and the gradual accumulation of links does count to your success, it would be foolish not to take advantage of these opportunities to quickly position your new website to compete with the established players.
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