Links are like popularity votes. The more links to your website, the more traffic you'll get and that means more potential customers for your small business. However not all links add value. When building links, quality counts more than quantity. Numerous links to low ranking websites will not do much to raise your search engine rankings and could even penalise you, if they are seen as a spam attempt by search engine algorithms.
Your backlinks (links to you from other websites) should act as markers of your expertise, authority and trustworthiness. They are good ranking factors that will then help “recommend” your business to the search engines. The best backlinks to acquire are from the websites and blogs of trusted influencers in your industry and complementary businesses. Links provide excellent sources of traffic, in addition to helping your site’s position in the search engine rankings.
Getting backlinks and increasing web traffic
Building backlinks is a process that requires a bit of effort but there are a variety of simple actions you can take to encourage other relevant sites to link to yours:
- Earning links through high quality content – Quality is better than quantity. By providing the best content, you increase your chance that other sites will refer to you. This can be done with a blog, by writing white papers (that readers download), or creating video tutorials etc. And when you have created this great content, make sure you market it. (see the next point)
- Social Media outreach – Let people know when you add new content on your blog by sharing it on your social media channels and providing the links back to longer article.
- Produce content people will want to share – if you are on social media, the key is to engage with your target audience. It could be a link to a blog post, template, infographic or e-book, as long as it is useful and engaging. If your product or niche is not very share-friendly then come up with related topics that are more link friendly.
- Grow your reviews – using sites like Yelp or Google Maps and Facebook. If you have a satisfied customer, take the opportunity to ask for a review and send them simple instructions on how to go about this.
- Reach out to other relevant websites – Offer a one off or regular guest blog post, with links to your site. Stick to sites that are relevant and complement yours.
- Think local – If your customers are mostly within a local geographic area, consider partnerships for link building with local businesses.
- Submit your website to search engines and directories – Make sure your contact details are accurate and up to date.
- Being easy to find online – Ensure that relevant business associations have your correct link information on their published lists of websites.
- Sponsor an event or charity – This is not only good for business and brand recognition but provides more ways to be found online via links from other pages back to your site.
- Offer opinion and comment – Add constructive commentary on other blogs and websites to broaden your reach.
- Search for mentions of your business by other sites – Using a tool like brand mention you can search the web for any mention of your business. Then use the Cntrl+F (find function) on the webpage to find your business name. If there is no link, ask the author if they will insert your web address.
- Internal links – Within your own website, links are important too. Creating links between your own blogs, infographics and other sources will give your reader more reason to stay on your site. This helps your content work harder for you and can keep visitors on your site for longer which lowers your bounce rate.
For your small business, good quality links are great way to improve your search engine ranking and increase web traffic. And like any SEO activity, it’s an ongoing process. Make it part of your regular marketing activities to maximise your online presence.