We've all heard it -- people don't want links from new Web sites. Why? It's assumed that new sites don't have enough quality backlinks, and haven't earned "trust" in Google to pass real value. However, if you flatly skip over links from new sites, you're losing out on immense opportunities. It's time to rethink the matter.
I admit to having encouraged this line of thinking by telling people to go after links from old, trusted sites. Going after high-value targets is just one strategy. Even with that strategy, you cannot skip over new sites without any analysis.
That would be like a stockbroker refusing to consider a stock that hasn't been around for at least 20 years, or an employer refusing to look at resumes from people who haven't been in the workforce at least 15 years.
Today's new site could be tomorrow's rock star. Most successful companies start small. Cisco Systems was started in a garage by a married couple. GE was started in a barn. Starbucks started as a single coffee store in a public market. The same holds true of Web sites. Most sites, just as traditional businesses, start small unless a large corporation develops it.
If a large corporation is developing the new site, go after the link because the site has a greater likelihood of success. Usually such sites will have a superb promotional budget -- not to mention links from the corporation's site(s) to jumpstart it.
What to look for?
Usually, you can easily sift through sites by learning how they're handling promotions. Look for those sites with marketing budgets, as those will be the safest bet. Be careful of sites that think they're the "best" and expect the world to magically discover them. We all know the type and have heard the pitch.
Find out what type of advertising the site is doing. It might just surprise you to find out they have a targeted advertising program going after specific demographics. Most will gladly share with you what magazines, journals, newspapers, television and other media outlets they're advertising with. Also, find out if they're running a PPC campaign.
The Real PR (Public Relations)
Find out what type of PR campaigns they're running. This might be in-house, or through an agency. Discover where they're trying to get publicity. They may already have several mentions in mainstream media.
Quality of Backlinks
Examining the site's backlinks can tell you a great deal about the quality of the promotions. If it looks like they're gaining links from quality sites, then they're on the right track and worth your time. Are there links from the media or industry sites? Go for it! If all their links are from blog comments, template links in blog themes, or low-value link trades, move on.
Is the site being developed by a company that has a record of successful Web sites? There are many large and small publishers who have a solid history of developing and promoting Internet properties. They've learned from their previous successes and failures. These types of sites generally will provide much more value over time than the new Webmasters that still operate under the fallacy, "build it and they will come."
The point is not to skip over link opportunities just because a site is new. Instead, find out if they're doing a notable job of promotions. The more they promote their site, the more valuable links from it will become over time. Think of it as investing in the stock market. Look for undervalued, or unnoticed, sites that have a high likelihood of rising in popularity.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!