Approximately 1 week ago we launched a site for our client the FIU President’s Council. This was a brand new site starting from scratch, not an existing site. We had great on-page SEO, meaning we have page titles, meta tags, headers etc. But for a site that is undiscovered or not yet relevant, even the best on-page won’t do much to fix the problem. Google needs to find the site relevant to index it high, and at this point we didn’t have any inbound links. Google weighs a link as a vote of confidence – for that reason, no inbound link is a bad thing. From this perspective, the new President’s Council website was an orphan site.
So I developed a strategy. I would make inbound links to the FIU President’s Council site from places I can control. A few of these places include FIU News, Alumni Association, FIU A to Z index, blogs that have comments open, etc., and on all those I make links using the words FIU President’s Council that link directly to the site’s homepage.
In approximately two to three days time, we landed the number 1 spot in Google, yet none of the sub-pages showed up very high in Google search results.
Then I suggested the client go through search results here . Most of these results are the sites of members who we can ask to link to the site from their sites or their profiles. This will drive up the relevance.
Another three days or so later I searched Google for “FIU President’s Council” and I found many of the other pages where much higher in the Google search results. They were also starting to show up number one in Yahoo and Bing because the SEO method holds true across all search engines.
Another nice result is that even if you search for just “FIU president” the FIU President’s Council site shows up as the number 2 result in Google, which I will chalk up to both the onsite and inbound good SEO practices. I was genuinely surprised at how fast this got results, so I suggest you experiment and see what kind of results you get. Take note, I would call these practices more of an art than a science.
If you want to track inbound links to your site, two easy free tools are Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics.
NOTE: In case it was lost on you while reading this post, I applied the technique I was talking about throughout this post. I made links to FIU President’s Council using the exact words that I want it to show up in Google for. Be sure to click these links and help drive up my Google ranking.
Feel free to share any feedback or results you have gotten from your own experiments.
UPDATE: There was a follow up post since my making this live from Brian Kelly at UK Web Focus (a blog about higher ed web issues in the UK). The posts was titled How Researchers Can Use Inbound Linking Strategies to Enhance Access to Their Papers – it shows some inbound linking results they have used to get more access to academic papers.
UPDATE 7/23/12: KISSmetrics posted a great article today about “the basics of how website content is crawled and indexed, plus some great ways to get the Googlebot to your website or blog to index your content sooner rather than later.”