For a startup, it’s understandable that liquid funds are short. For small business and startups alike that have a bootstrapped budget, I’ve collated some link-building tactics, which are great for growth hacking the popularity of your links for better SEO.
Post-penguin, we already know the SEO basics with the importance of great content being a primary factor for SEO rankings, alongside using optimal keywords to name your metatags, URLs and image tags, H1/H2 headlines, infographics, and guest-blogging as a means of getting your content out there. But what other content marketing and link-building methods efforts should we be adopting for better SEO?
Submit an XML sitemap and Robots.txt to Google Search Console
XML sitemaps help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex and Ask.com to better index your site. A sitemap lets crawlers see the complete structure of your site and retrieve links to pages and posts.
Some useful sitemap plugins for WordPress that automatically creates sitemaps for your site are:
Alternatively you can use a generator that doesn’t limit you to 500 pages:
Submitting your sitemap can be done via Google Search Console after your site has been verified through following these instructions.
Robots.txt files do the opposite and indicate which parts of your site you don’t want search engine crawlers to index.
Use a Table of Contents for your posts
A table of contents is a great way to organize your content and is a much underused on-page method to highlight key words, which makes it easier for crawlers to pick up.
Use Anchor Text through comments on other sites and forums to link to your site
We know the key for startups is to use growth hack methods to build up links to your site through other existing popular sites and platforms. One method is to use anchor text with high quality key words that link to your site through commenting on existing popular sites and platforms that already generate a lot of views. For example,
<a href=”http://www.example.com”>Example Anchor Text</a>
Try to avoid being marked as spam through genuinely contributing to relevant articles and don’t come off as too self-promotional. Answering questions on forums and websites such as quora.com helps build rapport and showcase your expertise whilst link-building to your site.
Use schema.org vocabulary or micro-data generator rich snippets
A schema markup is semantic vocabulary that helps search engines identify key word markups for on-page SEO. For example, an image markup done with microdatagenerator.com would follow as such:
Image Object Information Copy and paste into a notepad before putting on your page:
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/ImageObject”>
<h2 itemprop=”name”>Apple Crumble</h2>
<img src=”http://www.gourmetfoodie.com/apple-crumble/” itemprop=”contentURL” />
By: <span itemprop=”author”>Gourmet Foodie</span>
Photographed In: <span itemprop=”contentLocation”>Australia</span>
Date Uploaded: <meta itemprop=”datePublished” content=”Nov 11, 2015″>2015-11-11
Description: <span itemprop=”description”>Apple Crumble Slice of Cake </span>
Another method is to use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper.
This can be used for articles, book reviews, events, local businesses, movies, products and so forth which will generate HTML code for you to input into your website. Just remember to test the code through fetching the URL with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool afterwards to validate that your code is rendering correctly.
Alternatively you can use the All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets Plugin if you are using WordPress.
The search engine will produce a Search Engine Results Page (“SERP”) entry with the following tags, which highlights the data which will give you a leg up from the competition and provide snippets that are more encouraging for audiences to click.
Use high quality directory listings
Directory listings are essential for link-building and can benefit your business from registering your company information with search engines.
Some Australian websites to list your business include:
Source: SEO Copilot
Some of which and more are free include:
Use content sharing platforms to generate buzz
On top of more popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter and Linkedin, don’t forego the chance to share your content on these content sharing and micro-blogging platforms.
Flipboard is a social-network aggregation and magazine format platform founded in 2010 by tech entrepreneur Mike McCue and previous Apple engineer Evan Doll.
Scoop-it is a social publishing platform which launched in 2011 and is a content-marketing haven for curating content to drive more traffic to your site. There is also a Scoop.it Chrome extension, which makes it easy to collect and share online content.
Yahoo’s Tumblr hasn’t been able to create quite the same buzz as Weibo but is a micro-blogging platform that’s great for SEO.
Paper.li is another free content curation service that lets you publish your content in a newspaper format to share with others daily. It also comes with an easier subscriber and mail-out function to gain viewers to your content without the hassle of integrating a subscriber list with platforms such as MailChimp.
Save on ads and create publicly available presentations
Television or even Youtube video advertisements can be costly and time-consuming to create. You can save on ads and feed regular content into slides on social publishing platforms such as:
Founded in 2009, it’s a great way to create easy online presentations that are publically available. Over 60 million users are on Prezi. Though it does now cost up to $13.25 per month, it’s a substantial cost saving tool compared to paid ads.
Scribd is an open publishing platforms for sharing documents of all kids from business presentations to academic papers. Though it does cost $8.99 per month, it’s no more than a Netflix subscription and lets you access unlimited books, audiobooks and audio content as well.
Linkedin’s Slideshare gets an estimated 70 million unique visitors per month and is an extremely effective free platform for creating presentations. Just as with other social media platforms you can build follows and follow content for up-to-date feeds on industry news and topics.
Visme lets you upload three presentations, infographics or banner ads per month month free of charge. They have a thorough range design templates available for use, which makes it easy to customise slides and ads for PPC. As a relatively new platform, get in first and make use of a great content marketing tool for link-building.
Create your own link shortener
Though I don’t condone the use of link shortening for social media, as no one clicks on what they cannot see for added security, if you must use a link shortener, create your own. This points users to your site first, increases click-through-rates through the appearance of a reputable link and creates branding for your site. Socedo did it, so can you. Use YoURLs to create your own shortener.
These are some basic link-building methods that work great for business and content growth hacking on a bootstrap budget, and will give digital marketers plenty of work to do for optimising content marketing. If you have any more to share feel free to comment! Open to suggestions.