We often talk about how it is vital for every small business to have their own website, but it’s also important to spread your brand across the web so it can be seen more easily. In our recent study, 60.1% of respondents said they would not trust a small business if they couldn’t find any information about them on the web.
By building links to your website, you’ll attract more traffic and help to get your company name out there so you’re more likely to get noticed. Effective link building is also very important for your SEO efforts. As well as on-page elements (such as keywords in page headings and body text), search engines place a lot of emphasis on off-page elements including the amount of links leading back to a website.
Here are four simple ways to get quality links back to your site:
1. Submit your site to directories. The key here is to focus on a small amount of good quality, recognised directories (see the panel on the right for some examples). Some will charge a fee, but it’s a great way to get a strong link to your site.
2. Write guest blogs. Could you write tips about your area of expertise? Then write a blog post and see if you can get it published by established websites in your industry. This will build your reputation and will often provide a link back to your site.
3. Make use of social media. Set up business profiles on social services such as Facebook and Twitter. Use these to provide updates and share useful content from your website.
4. Make the most of your community. See if the local press would be interested in writing a profile or review of your business. Also ask if any local business owners would be interested in linking to your site on theirs, whether they’re promoting a special offer of yours or sharing some advice you have for their customers.
Effective link building is a matter of quality over quantity. There is no use trying to get hundreds of links back from questionable sources — this could even harm your chances of ranking on search engines. One link back from a respected site is worth more than dozens from lower quality sites, so don’t be tempted to post your details on low-quality sites or directories just for the sake of another link.
Avoid agreeing to ‘link exchanges’, unless the site is of a high quality and relevant to your industry. Don’t be tempted to buy links, either. Companies or individuals offering ‘thousands of high-quality links’ will just post your URL on lots of low-quality sites. These days, Google’s algorithms are very complex and can easily spot these unnatural links.
Don’t try to ‘spam’ your link in any old place. Years ago some companies found success by posting their links in forum posts, as comments on blogs, etc. Google cracked down on this practice by changing its algorithms to recognise these poor quality links. It now penalises sites by lowering the search engine rankings of these sites, or sometimes removing them from their indexes altogether. With Google being the largest source of traffic for most websites, this is not a risk worth taking.
Link building can be a tricky business, but if your company gets a good reputation and you write good content, you should be able to build good quality, natural links back to your site.