The need for an all-encompassing SEO strategy has never been greater. With countless businesses getting their business online every day, competition in the online world is fierce. For those in the know, link building can be a key part of ensuring SEO success, particularly for small businesses. However, it is worth approaching with caution, with Google’s frequent evolutions, link building no longer finds success in the shady backlinking strategies of the past and quality links are now more important than ever. Our link building guide for small businesses is here to answer all of your questions and help you get started building your online presence.
What is Link Building?
Link building is the process of creating and maintaining links to and from your website in order to improve the overall SEO of your website. Link building can be an extremely useful SEO tactic to build up the findability and trustworthiness of your website. Google follows links to and from your website in order to index pages, illustrated in their video here. A high number of good quality links to your website can vastly boost the quality and trustworthiness of your website in the eyes of Google by establishing EEAT.
Whilst some links are not built for the purposes of SEO, such as links on journalistic websites, for this article we will focus on link building for SEO. We’ve put together a complete guide to link building to help your backlink strategy get off to the best start.
How Can Link Building Benefit My Small Business?
One of the clear benefits of link building, especially for small businesses is a stronger SEO presence. Although Google is tight-lipped about its exact ranking systems after previous ranking algorithms were manipulated in the past, linking is a beneficial part of ranking on Google.
A helpful aspect of any link building strategy is that once you’ve established good links to your website, more will inevitably follow. As long as your website offers value, more links and more visits to your website should result in a higher number of links from other websites that recognise your website as a source of authority on a subject. This is an important argument for why link building should be a connected part of your overall SEO strategy for your small business.
Build Your Brand With Link Building
As a small business, link building can also be a fantastic outreach activity. Communicating with like-minded businesses and websites during the process of link-building can help forge industry relationships and connections. Website linking strategies can also help create longstanding relationships with industry influencers and can create genuine advocates for your business. Link building through guest blog writing or other content can be a good way to raise awareness of your small business through the audience of another website, showcasing who you are, what you do and why you are an expert in what you do.
If website traffic is important to you, which it should be, this can be a great benefit of building links to your website. Through new, high-quality links, you should start to see an increase in the amount of referral traffic your website gets. This can be a valuable source of website traffic as you know that people visiting through these links have been recommended by an advocate of your brand or business.
These people have already been on a website looking at content related to yours and decided that they want to find out more. They may not make a purchase or sign up to your mailing list on the first visit but they have been exposed to your small business and what you do.
What Are Some Methods of Link Building/How Does it Work?
Now you know the basics of linking, you may be wondering how to create backlinks for your site. Link building these days is all about providing value. Often, links are built to a business home page or specific landing page that provides value or information such as a useful resource on your website. Creating guest posts on high-quality websites or showing you are the best person for the job on a trusted local business listing website are some examples of how to build backlinks without paying for them through content.
One thing it is important to be aware of when starting link building, especially as a small business, is that links will take time to have an effect on your business and that link building is an ongoing process. You won’t be able to simply create a few links and then leave them to do their work.
Where to Find Potential Links for Small Businesses
If you are looking for a way to build backlinks for your website as a small business, there are a number of options. From earning backlinks organically through shareable content to getting your website added to resource pages, we’ve explained the options below.
Earned Editorial Links
One of the best ways to build the online presence of your small business is through earned links. Whilst larger businesses such as international brands may get unasked for links easily, for small businesses, this can be a more challenging part of link building.
For example, when Nike bring out a new pair of trainers, a whole heap of fashion or sports blogs will likely report on and link to their products, without the marketing team at Nike having to do any outreach. A small local business launching a new product however may have to work a bit harder.
In order to earn links such as this, small businesses need to create something one-of-a-kind that provides real insight or value for visitors. For example, a small business may manufacture a new type of product that has never been seen before and that solves a massive pain point for its customer base.
Alternatively, it could create an all-encompassing guide that provides real value as a resource for those looking for information on a certain topic. These are both examples of pages that would be able to earn links from established websites and are more likely to stand the test of time as opposed to requested links to generic pages that offer no real value. The more useful or unique your page, the more likely it will be to be picked up by websites wanting to link to it, without the need for manual link building outreach campaigns.
Requested Editorial Links
Another form of editorial linking is through requests. Similar to earned links, you will need to create something that provides value to the person you want the link from. For example, if you work in the B2B sphere, this could be an interesting study you have conducted that could be shared by an industry news outlet or established blogger. Many small businesses use press releases in order to establish trusted links back to their website, emailing industry contact with key information can help build links from articles and coverage.
When building a linkbuilding strategy it is important to consider the type of content you want to link to. For example, if you are pitching your product to be included in a list of the top ‘x’ products, you will want to include a link to the optimised product page. However, if you are providing case study information for a factual article, you’ll want to include a link to that case study on your website.
If your website includes a lot of informative pieces making you an expert on a given topic, resource pages could be the perfect place to look. Resource pages are pages on websites that link off to a curated list of relevant articles and pages. The best type of resource pages are not simply a massive page full of links but are a carefully selected list of highly-relevant resources and will not be a free-for-all where anyone can submit a link.
Link Building Through Local Listings
One particularly useful link building strategy for small businesses is appearing in local listings relating to your industry or business. There are lots of ways to build links locally including places such as local directories or trade listings. However, be wary of putting your name to any old low-quality listing website out there as this may not offer any benefits. Local citations can showcase your business locally and build on your linking strategy. Monitoring the link strategies of local competitors can be a great source of information for potential local linking opportunities.
Using Link Building Software
There are a number of link building softwares out there to help small businesses and brand build up their backlinks, However, these should be used with caution. Automated link building software can often result in large numbers of low quality links causing your website to be marked as spam. Other link-building software however, can help you to identify backlink gaps in your website and suggest potential links you can then build manually based on things such as your industry and your competitors.
What Are the Pitfalls of Link Building – What Shouldn’t You Do?
One of the main problems with link building activities is that often people go for quantity rather than quality. Whilst this may have worked years ago, Google now has algorithms in place to detect spammy links and having a lot of low quality links can in fact harm your website’s SEO.
Sustainable link building or ‘white hat’ link building is an important aspect of any link building strategy and is the only way to ensure you don’t get blacklisted by Google for underhand tactics.
Page Link Authority
Businesses can often get caught out by people promising hundreds of links to their website in return for payment, not realising that this could in fact be harming their website in the eyes of Google. Page authority or domain authority should be a key factor when looking at links in your backlink strategy. Pages with a high domain authority (you can use tools such as SemRush to check this) are the best types of backlinks as they pass that authority from their page to yours through the link. As an example of this, a link gained from a site such as BBC News’ business pages to your site would hold more authority than one from a small-time blogger writing about a number of different topics.
Another element that sometimes causes confusion is finding the right type of website to build links to your website from. Getting links from trusted websites in your industry is far more important than getting links from websites in unrelated, irrelevant fields.
For example, if your business supplies specialist aquatic supplies, a link from a high authority fish care specialist website will have far more value than one from a website that talks about the best places to visit in Wales. Relevant anchor text and baby anchor text (the words surrounding your link) can also affect how Google sees your link. This applies to cases of guest blogging for links. If the purpose of the website is purely to publish guest blogs with links or the site topic is completely unrelated to yours, the chances are Google won’t place much authority on your backlink.
Top Tips for Starting Link Building as a Small Business
- Create content worth linking to that provides value to visitors
- Focus on quality over quantity
- Create clear goals for your link building campaign
- Make sure links are from websites relevant to your business
- Avoid bulk buying links from cold call ‘experts’ who promise overnight success
Call in the Experts in Small Business Link Building
Our small business SEO experts are well-versed in finding and creating valuable links for your website. Our tried and tested methods will help you find success through a strategic manual link building service in the mindset of a full SEO strategy.