by Ray Blakney, CEO and co-founder of Live Lingua
Have you recently launched an online business and ensured that your website’s on-page SEO is nothing short of pristine? Are you wondering how you can further bolster your domain’s ranking without having to spend thousands of dollars on PPC advertising campaigns? Luckily, there are a number of highly effective and easy-to-implement strategies to amplify your website’s SEO. And most of these initiatives are free!
In my journey of launching and growing the Live Lingua online language school on a bootstrap budget using SEO, I have discovered a bevy of highly effective strategies to amplify a site’s ranking beyond on-page SEO.
Here are a few of them to try out for your own domain.
1. Share Data.
Every single online startup generates data, whether they know it or not. An ecommerce website generates sales data, CRMs generate usage data, and so forth. One fantastic SEO strategy is using this data to generate reports, infographics, and white papers, which people love to share and refer to. Through promoting these data-driven materials, you may be able to secure fantastic backlinks from major news outlets if the topic is right.
If your startup is too new and does not have enough users to generate the data just yet, then you can follow a strategy that I, myself, implemented in my SEO journey: getting industry data from public domain sources like the U.S. government. The data they create is so insightful about our society, consumer spending habits, etc., but it can be extremely difficult to read and comprehend. It also does not look sharable.
My recommendation is to take data from these sources, use it to create aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-comprehend infographics and/or articles that explain the data, and put these materials on your business’s website. People and publications will likely link to your nicer source, which will increase your site’s backlink profile and boost its overall search engine ranking.
2. Appear on Podcasts.
This is an all-new opportunity in link-building and SEO, but it is very powerful. If you or someone else on your startup team appears on podcasts on a consistent basis, you can have a robust and extremely white-hat way of building backlinks. This is because most podcasts have their own websites that link to the company websites of the guests in the show notes. This means that every 30-minute podcast you book can get you a backlink (not to mention access to a new audience and social shares).
Even better, it is compounded because most podcasts are also syndicated, so you not only get a link from the podcast’s website, but also you will probably get links from sites like iTunes, Spotify, etc. Those links are usually nofollow, but they can also help by diversifying your link profile.
3. Do Manual Outreach.
The idea of creating the best content to rank has been disproven over and over again. You can write the best article, create the best ebook, or design the most informative infographic in the world, but unless people link back to it — in Google’s eyes, “vote for it” — you probably will not rank on the first page of Google unless your domain already has thousands of links to it.
The solution to this is to do manual outreach — once you have the content, find people and publications that you think would be interested in it and email them to ask if they would be interested in sharing it with their audience. If your content really is that great, about 2-3% of those people you reach out to will in fact do it.
One method I use to find those people is doing a Google search for a similar topic and then using a tool like Ahrefs.com to find out who has linked to the top-10 articles on that topic in the past. I then find their contact and email them. Since they have linked to something like this before, they have a higher chance of doing it again.
One word of caution here: do not EVER pay for the links. Some websites you reach out to will say they will link to you if you pay them. Never do that, as that is against Google’s terms and conditions and could get you banned from search results forever.
4. Give Away Your Product or Service.
Give away one of your business offerings for free and let people know you are giving it away. Not only does this help organizations and make the world a better place, but also it has a high possibility of getting you links. You can get links from the organizations you give the free business offering away to, and it can get you listed on websites that list free services for charities and NGOs. I, myself, have used this technique in my businesses by giving away either free products, services, and more to charities.
Another excellent and effective way to promote your free business offering is by doing even more outreach to websites dedicated to “freebies”. Once you have the free offer, contact these sites that list free offers to see if you can be included — the more features you secure on these freebie websites, the more backlinks you will get to your website!
5. Ask for Reviews.
Now, don’t confuse this with asking customers for reviews to include on your website. In this strategy, you reach out to online publications or bloggers in your industry to give them free access to your product. You then ask them for a comprehensive review. Many websites already do this, and it has both an SEO benefit and PR advantage; your website will get even more backlinks, and you will also have the opportunity to add something like “Featured in ‘PUBLICATION NAME’” on your homepage, which will boost your company’s credibility.
Just a word of warning here: when you are asking for a review of your product or service on a legitimate site: you are asking for just that, an honest review. So you may get some reviews that tell you things you do not want to hear, but that feedback may also be the most useful because it will tell you what to improve — and you will also still get the backlink!
To Wrap It All Up.
For all online businesses, there are so many other effective search engine optimization strategies beyond on-page SEO. The above tried-and-true SEO tactics should help you get well on your way of growing your online startup without having to drain your business’s budget on advertising and other digital marketing initiatives. Now go out there and be great!
Ray Blakney is the CEO and co-founder of Live Lingua, a renowned online language learning platform. An award-winning, Filipino-American entrepreneur, speaker, and podcaster, Ray builds and helps others build 6- and 7-figure businesses on a bootstrap budget using SEO.