Link building is one of the most difficult, and beneficial, aspects of SEO. It requires persistence and planning to run a link building campaign well. But if you’re a small business with a limited budget for SEO, how can you build enough quality links to make a difference in your business? There are some ways and here they are.
- Reciprocal Linking – I’ll link to you if you link to me. Be careful with this. Google does not condone excessive reciprocal linking. For instance, linking with every LinkedIn connection you have will end badly for you. However, if you own a retail business and you link with a supplier’s website, that would be a healthy reciprocal link. Google appreciates links that are relevant to each other, that makes sense. A landscaping company with a link to a paver manufacturer makes sense as an example. Linking to the sports bar where the owner goes after work, not so much.
- Article linking – Developing outstanding content that other website publishers will want to link to is a great, natural way to get links. If our landscaper wrote an article on their site listing several types of mulch to use and how to spread it, a mulch company may want to refer to it in its own article. Presto, a natural link.
- Writing guests posts – Another way to get worthwhile links. If the landscaper can post the article on the mulch company site instead of their own, that would be a guest post. It is good and natural for the landscaper to put a link back to their site at the end of the article. The link would be something like “this article courtesy of ABC Landscaping” with ABC Landscaping as anchor text back to their site. DON’T OVER OPTIMIZE IT! One link would be enough for SEO purposes.
- Web directories – Listing your website on a kazillion different online directories will take a lot of work and deliver negative results. Listing your website in niche directories, plumbing site a plumbers directory for example, is a good link building exercise.
- Buying links,…NOT– I know what you’re thinking. “I don’t have time for this. Why can’t I just buy them”. NO! NEVER! You may get away with it for the short term but in time you will find your website, and your business, in Google Purgatory. Once you’re there, it is hard to get out. Trust me, you won’t get many calls when your site is on page 20 of a Google search. If you bought links it the past get rid of them. Those links are trouble. Useful information on how to deal with old, harmful links can be found here.
- Check out your competitors’ links – Maybe they have found links you have not. Search your competitors’ website with quotations marks around it, “competitor.com”, and the results will show you all the sites linking to it. Then you scroll through to find the ones not linking to you. Too busy to go through all that work. There are websites that will do that for you. Most charge a fee. Some give you a free look.
- Look for dead links to your own site – If your website has been up for a while, you may have links that no longer lead to somewhere. These links are caused when a webmaster types in your site URL wrong or if you changed your website. The links create a 404 page. There are plenty of deadlink checking tools on the internet.
- Turn your popularity into a link – You have probably been mentioned in an article on the internet for something or other. Make that notoriety work for you. Contact the webmaster of the page you were mentioned on and ask them to make the mention a link. Not everyone will agree but it’s worth the call or email.
- Support a local organization – Did you know sponsoring that little league team can be a link building opportunity. On the local level, giving support to local non-profits or charitable groups can produce SEO results as well as good PR. Most non-profits will offer a link to a company that gives a donation. A little weekend homework can help find some in your area.
- Lists – Try to get on a list. We got on a list of best SEO companies in Connecticut. We didn’t even know it existed but it was there. It’s a good backlink for us. Beyond that, people click on links presented in list form on a trusted site. It’s human nature.
Finally, try to find websites with high trust to link to. Moz has a measurement called Domain Authority that measures the relative trusts of different sites. Use their Open Site Explorer tool to determine the trustworthiness of a target site. For local business purposes, websites with a DA of 30 or more are good sites to link to. Once you have gained a backlink, don’t just assume that you will get instantly credited. Get your links indexed by Google with these backlink indexing methods.