Link building has remained the foundation of search engine optimization efforts for all types of business entities regardless of their size. However, the quality of links and the methods of acquisition have changed over the past several years.
In SEO, backlinks are essentially links your website receives from external websites for being an authority source within your niche. Technically, search engines consider backlinks as a sign of trust and incorporate them as a ranking signal in their search algorithm.
Therefore, getting quality backlinks from reliable online resources is a great way to boost search engine rankings.
Pre-requisites of SEO Link Building
While backlinks influence search engine rankings, they still work in tandem and rely on other technical SEO aspects to be effective. In other words, building backlinks without having an SEO-friendly site architecture may not produce desirable results.
Answer the following questions prior to launching a backlink acquisition campaign.
Is your website technically optimized?
Make sure your website is technically optimized for search engine crawlers and offers a good user experience to your potential visitors. Ask your SEO team to fix any potential technical SEO issues relating to site speed, mobile friendliness, duplicate content, 301 redirects, 404 errors, canonicalization and meta tags among many others.
Does your website have a strong site architecture?
Building an SEO-friendly site architecture means making your site easily crawlable and discoverable by search engine crawlers. Moreover, it also means designing a site structure that your site visitors can easily navigate. With an SEO-compliant site structure, you will get optimum value from your link acquisition endeavors.
Does your website have valuable content?
A website carrying tons of great content and super useful resources sets itself up nicely for backlink acquisition efforts. In fact, websites with valuable resources tend to attract high quality backlinks more naturally than others. Therefore, you need to invest in building great resources on your website before commencing your link building campaign.
Building Links for Small Business Websites
The process of acquiring links may change drastically from business to business, depending on their SEO goals and online marketing budget. If you’re a small business and starting off your SEO campaign, you’re likely to have a small budget rather than a large one.
Note: Building a great backlink portfolio revolves around creating great content and digital assets such as useful guides, insightful blog posts, infographics, charts and eBooks. Therefore, most of the link building techniques these days are based on content creation.
The following are some of effective link building methods for small businesses.
Submit to Niche-Specific Directories
As a small business, you should submit your website to all the popular niche directories, particularly the ones that are relevant to your region. For example, a small business offering pest control services in the New York area would like to be featured on the relevant section of BBB.
Combine your business niche (e.g. fitness) and directory to form key phrases to create a list of directories for submission. For example, you can search for “fitness + directories + New York” and find a list of local directories.
Make sure the directories are of high quality and have some editorial guidelines. Don’t submit to non-relevant online directories.
Use Skyscraper Techniques
Invented by Brian Dean of Backlinko, Skyscraper is a kind of link building technique that helps you earn backlinks from qualitative and relevant resources.
It starts with identifying your competitors and exploring their popular resources. You could use tools like Open Site Explorer or Buzz Sumo to spy on your competitors and discover their popular content.
In the next step, you need to create similar resources (but better quality) that can easily outshine the existing resources. Make sure your content is comprehensive, in-depth and top-notch.
Once you have built the resources, you need to create an outreach campaign and request relevant blogs if they could mention your resources. As per reports, this technique has paid off in many cases.
Write Guest Posts
Guest posting has remained quite a popular way of earning backlinks. The process is quite straightforward. All you need to do is find relevant blogs that are looking for guest bloggers. For each blog that hosts you as an author, you earn at least one backlink to your site. Moreover, you can get a constant flow of relevant traffic to your site if your content performs well within their site and on Google Search. Here’s a list of small business blogs that are accepting guest posts currently.
Create a Resource Page
Creating a resource page on your website is a long-term investment which is likely to reap positive results down the road. For example, you can create a resource page for all small businesses in your area and make it information rich for end users. With high quality information, your resource page could be used as a reference in various discussion forums. It could also be linked to from high quality resources, helping you earn natural backlinks in the process.
Search for Business Mentions
If you believe your business has some brand presence across the industry, you could use tools such as BrandMentions to discover sources that are using your name without linking back to your website. You can simply get in touch with them and ask if they could link to your website. This is a great way to explore potential link acquisition opportunity and leverage your brand presence.
Leverage Local Partnerships
As a small business, you can partner with other businesses in your area and organize events, conferences and ceremonies. This will create an opportunity for you to earn backlinks from the event pages.
Note: Don’t fall for easy and cheap link building tactics at any cost. Not only are they a waste of time, they can be potentially dangerous to your online presence as well. Always follow link building best practices and ethical approaches to link acquisition.
Link building is a continuous process in SEO. You must keep pushing fresh and useful content, and building digital assets to earn valuable backlinks to your website. It requires careful planning and a lot of dedication. However, in the long run, it’s well worth the efforts.
Have you ever run any link building campaigns. What were the outcomes of your last link building campaign? Please, let us know in the comments below.