Link Building Strategies For Small Business
Ask any digital marketer what their most challenging task is and they are likely to tell you that it’s link building.
Luckily, there are a few things that you can do in order to make getting started easier.
Let’s define what link building is, and what strategies local businesses can use to get results.
The basics of SEO is pretty simple.
A little keyword research here, a little on page SEO there, add a dash of local search engine optimization and boom you’re an expert.
However, what’s not so simple is building a solid reputation for yourself–specifically one that causes others to actually link to your website.
And Google’s advice doesn’t exactly uncomplicate matters.
On one hand, Google encourages you to get others to link to you. On the other hand, it threatens a slap on the wrist to those who dare build links.
Needless to say, this is enough to drive small business owners up the wall.
So what’s the answer?
In this article, we’ll talk about in what ways links influence results, as well as discuss a strategy that will drastically improve the way you build links.
Not only can you build authority, but you can also target commercial search terms that are most relevant to you and improve your organic search visibility.
Let’s get into it; here are some of my link building tips for small businesses.
Links In 2017: Are They Still Relevant?
According to a post by Moz, there are two factors that reign supreme: domain level link features and page level link features.
Sure, keywords and content are important, but they are much easier to improve than these two factors. This isn’t to say that there isn’t more to consider, especially if you own a local business.
In the case of local link building there are several factors that matter such as citations, Google My Business and NAP consistency. Even still, these local SEO factors take a back seat to links.
So, are links still relevant in 2017?
Moz’s post was released in 2015, but things don’t change very quickly. Even the newest developments take time to make a significant impact.
Penalties, Spam and Link Quality
Not to get too technical, but the introduction of Penguin led to a storm of people attempting to “work the system.” And by this, I mean reverse engineering in order to achieve a higher PageRank.
And why wouldn’t they?
Success would mean more visibility and greater financial rewards. Unfortunately, this led to over a decade of black hat tricks and subsequent penalties.
Believe it or not, Google is still dealing with the residue of the Penguin era. That’s why it’s important that business owners focus on building quality links. Long-term success is reliant on everything being organic; your links, search results and readers must all be real.
Start With What’s Easiest:
The important thing to keep in mind is that you should never start with link building. You should instead work on all other tactics first.
Make sure they are so well-implemented that they become almost automated. Make the most out of your easier strategies such as local SEO and on-page optimization.
It’s no secret, when it comes to local SEO there’s a lot competition out there.
And a large part of this is due to a smaller local pack, as well as the competition that comes with ads.
However, local SEO is still essential for small businesses who are in need of organic visibility. This is especially the case if you ever wish to earn a spot in the three-pack.
On-page optimization is the most basic form of SEO.
It’s quite simple if you’re a local business who plans to perform local SEO, because it virtually takes care of itself.
However, if your business plans to serve a larger audience, you need to be diligent about your strategies. Luckily, you can get an inside look and explanation of all the nuts and bolts in Serpjump’s beginners guide to SEO.
The guide will give you all the basics and need-to-know’s. The guide ensures that you learn about things such as titles, meta descriptions, site structure, URLs, navigation and how to optimize them.
Leverage Existing Assets and Relationships
It doesn’t take a lot of links in order to have a successful campaign. In fact, in many cases, most small business will only need a couple.
However, it’s important that you make the most of your resources and the businesses around you.
Perhaps your suppliers or trade organizations would be willing to offer some.
You should also consider getting links from top directories and portals. This strategy should work as long as the link is related to what your business offers.
It may be worth having a brain storming session with your team in order to come up with more, common-sense ideas.
Small Business Guide To Link Building
What’s so great about this particular strategy is that is designed specifically for small businesses. It’s something that we introduce after all other strategies have been implemented, and it’s generally the last and final push that a small business needs in their campaign.
The main goal is to make sure that your anchor text introduces your primary keywords in the most organic and Google-friendly way. Not only will this give you more authority, but it will also help you get more organic business traffic.
This strategy will also give you an incredible boost when it comes to rank for terms that you’re sure is best for your target audience.
Perhaps the best thing about this strategy is that its versatile.
You can implement it as a one-time deal, or you can do it time and time again.
It can be done on a small scale or it can be made into something much larger. And your competitor will never be able to copy it because it requires a certain amount of creativity. It may not be easy, but it’s strategic.
One of the most important parts of this strategy has less to do with technical issues and more to do with your mindset. With the right mindset, you can achieve way more than your competitors and in less time.
The key is to focus on producing quality content.
In other words, you need to offer something that is actually worth linking to. After creating something that deserves to be linked to, the only thing that’s left will be to promote the content to attract links.
In this way, you will be light years ahead of your competitors, because you will be offering something that they simply cannot. And this means you will be able to build links that they never could as well.
Ultimately, our goal is to make sure that the authority you build is organic, not artificial.
The only links we want to build for you are of the highest quality, because these are the websites that are the most trusted. Real websites are only interested in linking to other real websites. Google’s Search Console Help emphasizes just how important it is to get links from quality websites:
“Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote by page A for page B. Votes cast by pages that are themselves “important” weigh more heavily and help to make other pages “important.”
Let’s get into how the approach works:
Step 1: Provide value to your target audience
When thinking about what is most valuable to your audience, you need to consider what would help them the most.
Admittedly, this isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but when done well and integrated with your overall marketing plan it will help you to generate more business.
If you can find a way to use synergy instead of working in one, narrow bubble then you will be able to make more progress.
Let’s say that your target audience is interested in working from home. In this case your content would include things such as, work from home guide, list of jobs that allow you to work from home and list of websites that allow you to work from home.
Not only are these relevant to a business which provides employment information, but they also serve as a solid resource. This means that the content is much more likely to be linked to.
No one is a better judge of what type of content you should offer than you, the business owner.
Only you know what you want to achieve. You are most familiar with your goals. Maybe you want to promote a new business. Perhaps you simply want to up sell to your existing clients. Whatever your objective, you can easily achieve it when you start to offer content that helps your clients.
You content must be relative your your business, because it’s the only way that Google will be able to understand what you offer. This means generating links that have descriptive anchor text. And if you offer enough value within your content, it will actually enrich whatever article that has linked to it.
You don’t have to be limited to building for one service. This particular approach can be scaled and can be done for several topics at a time. Once published to your website, this becomes what we consider to be a linkable asset.
Local SEO has a little more flexibility in that you will not have to create award winning content–only a piece that provides value.
Step 2: Promote On Related Sites
No matter how well-written or valuable you content may be, you should never promote it to a website unless the website is both high quality and relevant to your page.
Sure, everyone wants their page to be linked to, but you will get the best results if your page is linked to naturally. In the best case, your content will enrich the article that has linked to it which will send out more organic signals.
Yes, the link is there for SEO purposes, but it is also there for the reader as well. To put it bluntly, the link has to actually make sense there.
Here’s what worked best for us.
First, we create content on a broad topic. We then break the article up into a series and turn them into subsections. This way, the reader may click the link and find more in-depth information about the subject. Even if the link is placed on the tail end of the article, it will still offer a great deal of value.
When you take the time to think about it, it’s a win-win situation. Not only are you building links, but authority and visibility as well. You’re also getting a large amount of positive referral traffic. And because it’s covering multiple bases, it will give you a great return on your investment.
Link Building Tactics for Local Businesses
How you can go about finding link building opportunities is an entirely different subject matter altogether.
However, there are a couple of quick tactics that I can suggest.
First, consider guest blogging. It’s easy to identify blogs within your niche. Use this as an opportunity to do a little PR. You’ll build credibility, awareness and give your rank a boost. You should also consider digital PR.
Sites like HARO make it easy to find link building opportunities. Not all of these website will be relative to you but some do offer branded links.
A Word of Caution
If you publish an article exclusively for SEO purposes, you’re doing more harm than good. Focus less on SEO and more on PR.Only release content you’re proud of. Only acquire links from sites that you want to be associated with.
Don’t abuse link-building strategies, use them to enhance your brand. And remember, as a small business you don’t have to do a lot of this; try once a month.
No matter what your niche is, don’t give into the trend of creating the fake traffic link.
Your time would be much better spent creating value, including commercial keywords, creating guest posts, using targeted terms in your anchor tex,t and measuring all of these results.
It only takes a few links for a small business to improve their ranking. Descriptive anchor text is a much better alternative to creating links that are unnatural. Building a small business requires a dedication to quality.
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