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Getting found on Google is a game-changer for small business owners. When you show up on the first page of Google when people are searching for your product or service, you no longer have to hunt for customers; they are coming straight to you.
Search engine optimization is the process of getting found online, and while it is a very complex world to navigate, the payoffs are immense. There are many tactics and strategies that go into search engine optimization, but one of the most important rank signals your small business can obtain is a backlink.
What is a Backlink?
A backlink is whenever another website links back to yours. This is when a website features your URL that people can click on. Backlinks are important to Google because Google uses backlinks as a tool to validate who you are and if you are an expert or authority in your niche.
Link building is still one of the most effective SEO (search engine optimization) strategies because it tells Google that you are deserving of prime real estate – page one of Google. That is why Madeleine Costa, Founder and CEO of Succeeding Small, has prepared 10 backlink strategies that you can implement today to grow your small business.
However, it is important to note that link building is about quality over quantity. You do not want links from just any website. In other words, you need to be very particular about where you are linked because you inherit some of the authority of the website that is linking to you. For instance, if you are getting links from a spammy website, Google will think you are a spammy website too and will use your strategy against you. Madeleine points out that this is important to keep in mind as you strategize and plan to get backlinks.
If you want to learn how to scale and gain visibility for your small business, then continue reading to learn about 10 link-building strategies that you can implement today.
Do you have people in your business that you often refer back and forth? Who do you work well with? Are there people that are aligned with what you do? If so, ask them for links. For example, if you do business with people regularly, sometimes they have your logo on their page, so you can find opportunities like this to be able to get featured on their website and get that URL pointed back to you.
Though it is important to remember whenever you’re dealing with other small business owners, you want to remind them that you actually need your URL on their website, not just your business name. You need to make sure that there is a hyperlink pointing back to you or some other sort of internal link that goes directly to your website.
Madeleine recommends getting a list of people you do business with on a regular basis and figuring out where you could best live on their websites. After this, she says you can pitch them this in an email or over the phone. Often enough when you ask power partners for a link, they ask for one back – this is called a link exchange.
While a link exchange is not ideal in the world of link building, it can still be helpful for your small business. However, Google does not value link exchanges as highly as they value just one link, so that is important to take into consideration before taking part in a link exchange.
Guest Blog Posts
This is a very common SEO practice that enables you to get your URL on the internet, as well as boost brand awareness and authoritative publications where you can. The best way to do this is to research local publications or industry-specific publications and see if you can find a place where you can apply to be a guest author. If you cannot find a place to apply to be a guest author then try finding an email where you can pitch them a blog post idea or a blog you have already written that will fit within their niche.
Another way to do a guest blog post for link building is to find people who are similar in your business lane, where their audience could benefit from what you have to say. To do this, try finding people who are in a different division of what you do or something complementary to what you do. Madeleine points out that they do not need to be in your local area, they can be from all over the nation.
For instance, if you are a landscaper, you can reach out to a custom home builder in a different location and write a blog post about the 10 best trees to plant in your yard. Likewise, if you are a skincare company, you can reach out to an esthetician school and write a blog post about the benefits of healthy skin care habits. Therefore, it is important to include complementary industries when looking for places to write a guest blog post.
If you are lucky enough to find a high-ranking website with a similar audience, you will be able to not only get that backlink, but you’ll hopefully be able to start spreading some brand awareness.
Sign Up for Haro
Haro stands for Help A Reporter Out and is a platform where you can subscribe to their email chain. Haro will send you email requests from journalists trying to write an article who needs quotes from industry experts like yourself. This way you, and your small business can get featured in publications. Haro is an easy way to start link building and if you are on top of checking your email, you can capitalize on some great opportunities.
However, Haro has a fast turnaround time, so it is important to respond to these emails as soon as possible.
Content Marketing is one of the best link-building strategies. Madeleine even points out that this is one of the best returns on your time as well. For example, when you invest in your actual content production, it does so many things for you on top of link building; it benefits your search engine optimization when you are adding content to your website, and if you are distributing content marketing on your social platforms, it helps build brand awareness.
So, content marketing is an excellent strategy for many reasons, but when it comes down to building backlinks with your content, there are a couple of different types of content that you can create. Some of them include blog posts, ultimate guides, linkable infographics, or even a survey where you go and interview all of your clients or industry professionals and turn it into a blog post with actual data behind it.
These surveys are great opportunities to obtain backlinks because people love logical proof to refer back to. People are attracted to, and often link back to that type of content. The idea is to create linkable content that someone can reference and link back to. Madeleine recommends taking this into consideration when planning and creating your content so you can be strategic and efficient with your time.
Industry Specific Directories and Organizations
Directories are an easy way to obtain listings to receive more backlinks. A listing is usually wherever you have your business name, address, phone number, and website, whereas a backlink is more of an organic, natural hyperlink on a website. However, some of these organizations can be beneficial to your backlink portfolio because they are really high in authority.
Some places you can receive a listing are on your local chamber of commerce or better business bureau. While you have to pay for these backlinks, they are great backlinks to have and are often extremely beneficial to your small business. However, other ways you can get a listing is if you have special accreditations or certifications from an education program, as there are often directories that include certified providers.
Another great way to find industry-specific directories is by typing into Google “best landscaping companies in Colorado Springs”, if you are a landscaper, and see what pops up on the first page of Google. If there are industry-specific organizations, see if you can submit to be featured on them. Directories are often very easy and effective backlinks to acquire for your small business.
Community Sponsorship Opportunities
Is there a little league team in your local area? Do you have any upcoming events in your area? If any of these places have a website, you can sponsor them and get your business logo and URL featured on their website.
This helps you build brand awareness but also contributes as a backlink toward your website. These may not be high authority backlinks but are beneficial to your local authority. This will help Google know that your business serves a specific area.
If you are hiring, post job descriptions on as many websites as you can. These websites will all link back to your website and they will often stay alive even after you have hired someone. This may not be the best high authoritative link-building strategy, but it can definitely help with your brand awareness.
So Madeleine says this is a good way to build links and get attention towards your business from places like Indeed, LinkedIn, or any industry-specific career directories that you can possibly find. You can also post jobs at local colleges. This will help your local authority and get the position filled as soon as possible.
Vendors or Suppliers
If you have particular brands you represent, suppliers that you purchase from, wholesalers that you work with, or vendors that you go through see if you can go and get a link on their website to receive a backlink.
You can reach out to them through email, mention that you use their product or service, recommend it to your own clients, and ask for a backlink as a return of the favor.
This is a personal favorite of Madeleine’s. You can do this if you have a class or program that you run and if there is a local trade school or a vocational opportunity near you. You do not have to donate a lot, it can be $500, a thousand, or whatever it is you want to offer. After this, run a contest for people to receive this scholarship, make it a really big deal, have them write an essay or submit some sort of application and then donate that money.
This not only benefits the winner and your link building but also is a great PR opportunity. You can write a press release about the scholarship and contact local news channels to spread the news. This is Madeleine’s favorite marketing strategy because you are able to help the community and also benefit from it by increasing your brand awareness and backlink opportunities.
There are a lot of SEO tools to investigate what backlinks your competition has. Succeeding Small uses SemRush, but Moz is also a notable tool to use for this. With these tools, you can plug in your competitor’s domain and see where they get their backlinks from.
With this, you can often find industry-specific directories you can become a part of, guest blog post opportunities, and more to mirror the backlinks your competitors have and do them better.
The downside of this is often these SEO tools can be pricey, however, they can be worth it if you want to create an effective and efficient backlink strategy.
Succeeding Small is Here to Help you with Your Backlink Strategy
Creating a backlink strategy is difficult even if you are an experienced SEO professional. It can be time-consuming and take a lot of effort. That is why Succeeding Small is here to help you create an effective backlink strategy for your small business. If you have any questions about backlinks, SEO, or want us to help you grow your small business, do not hesitate to contact us today!