How to get links to your business’ website
There are two reasons why gaining inbound links to your website is important: links are a ranking factor and they generate traffic.
The number of quality links pointing to your website is one of the factors a search engine — Google, Bing, etc. — takes into consideration when deciding where your site should rank for a particular search term. And — according to SEO experts — it is still the most the important factor. This is because a site which attracts links from high authority websites is seen as trustworthy.
Having links from other websites also boosts the volume of traffic coming to your site. Depending on where your customer or clients are in the buying process, they may be using other sites — such as local directories — to find particular businesses. Being listed on resource pages listing the top businesses in your area means that your customers can find you through multiple avenues.
But as links are so important it’s no surprise that they can be difficult to obtain. It used to be the case that some SEO companies would attempt to ‘game the system’ by using ‘black hat’ link building tactics that no longer work. Search engines have got wise to these shady tactics, such as buying links, submitting to spurious directories, and spamming blog comment sections and online forums with links back to your site.
But this doesn’t mean that you can’t find ways of improving the quality and quantity of links pointing to your site.
5 simple link building tactics for SMEs
1. Submit your site to local business directories and listings
Directory link building has a bad reputation, mainly because it has been exploited. But there are still a good number of reputable local listings sites and directories that will provide a link to your business website.
In fact, simple mentions of your business’ name, address and phone number on particular websites can be valuable even if they don’t include a link to your website. Particularly for local businesses, citations from business listings sites — Yelp, Yellowpages.com, etc. — and mentions on other sites — blogs, local newspapers, other local businesses, etc. — tell search engines that your business is relevant to searchers’ needs. For more information about link building specifically for local businesses, take a look at this great resource from Casey Meraz over on the Moz blog.
2. Get listed in industry-specific directories
Beyond directories, make sure you check the websites of any professional, business or trade associations that you’re a member of. This would also include business networking groups that you attend. If you are a member of one of these, it can be very easy to get a link back to your business’ website.
3. Get in touch with your suppliers
One of the most straightforward ways of getting links back to your site is by leveraging your existing contacts. At the most basic level you can think about all the businesses that your friends and family run or are involved with. Some of these might be relevant to you.
Stepping it up a bit, you can get in touch with your suppliers. Do you outsource any admin, financial, training or recruitment functions? Do you use any specific software packages? Have you collaborated or worked closely with any other businesses? If so, get in touch with them.
You may be wondering why they would be interested in helping you out. If you give them a great review as part of a testimonial or suggest that they can use your company as the basis of a case study, then they’re getting something in return.
4. Write guest posts and articles for other websites
Guest posting is still a useful strategy for link-building:
Guest blogging is the process of writing a piece of content which is then placed on another website, often with a link back to your own website in the form of a bio box or sometimes from within the content itself — Paddy Moogan (from The Link Building Book, 2nd edition)
The main disadvantage of guest posting is that it takes a long time — you can’t just pull together a quick article and fire it off to people. Instead, you have to go through a number of stages:
- Find websites that might publish guest posts
- Find the contact details of the person running the websites
- Narrow this list down to those domains worth getting a link from
- Create content that competes with what they currently publish
- Send emails about your potential guest post
- If accepted, distribute the page where your post is hosted
5. Create useful content and resources
The best link-building strategy is — and will likely always be — the creation of content that your customers find useful. Publishing fantastic resources will earn you links. There are a whole range of types of content that can be used as part of an overall link-building campaign but here are just a few examples:
Case studies: Aside from being useful for your potential customers and clients — giving them more information about your services — case studies are also really great at obtaining links back to your website. This is why you should think about writing case studies based on customers that you would like a link back from, such as those with particularly authoritative websites.
Careers resources for schools, colleges and universities: Even if you don’t recruit directly from universities or colleges, careers resources can be useful and link-worthy resources to produce. Educational websites are usually highly authoritative, which will improve the link profile of your site.
Tools and calculators: If you can design and produce some sort of tool, then this is the kind of ‘evergreen’ content that can slowly-but-surely attract links over a long period of time. Simple calculators can work well but are often overlooked. For example, a contract cleaning company could create a simple calculator that give a prospective client a rough quote of what they might expect to pay depending upon the services that they’re interested in.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of link-building, but these simple 5 steps will allow you to get started…