Building links: How small businesses can bring about organic growth
We all know the importance of SEO to any business, but for one that finds itself in the lower echelons but is determined to grow, it becomes imperative. How a small business conducts itself online and makes the most of SEO can play a huge role in any hopes of growth.
It has been claimed time and again that one of the key factors in successful SEO is being linked, but without being a big name that can seem daunting. The world can be a confusing place for small enterprises, and it is not helped by the fact that link-building is amongst the most difficult things to achieve at this stage.
So how important are links in the grand scheme of things? How exactly can a small business build links and become an authoritative figure in their field, despite being relatively lowkey?
The importance of link building
According to Moz.com, domain level link features and page level link features remain the two most crucial factors when it comes to positive ranking. Meanwhile, Google themselves recently announced that along with content and RankBrain, links are amongst the three most critical factors in developing their search rankings.
The importance of this lies in the fact that it is a good indicator that your peers take you seriously. Nobody is going to refer to you or link you if your content is poor or you aren’t considered a genuine voice in your particular field, and this is why Google has made linking significant. It shows how much value your site holds to others, and in turn you will be ‘rewarded’ by Google accordingly. It makes it imperative that you can convince others to link you, because without it you’ll soon tumble down the search rankings.
Link building also comes with an extra factor that makes it all the more important to site owners; it is not in the operator’s hands and so requires extra effort. Unlike throwing in keywords, links require others to aid you, and so it is important to put yourself in a position where this is likely to happen.
How small businesses can link build
What does your audience want?
Firstly, your hopes of being linked depend on your content being something that a wide range of people may want to read or would find useful. This could include solutions to common problems and queries that your customers may encounter regularly, or offering an opinion on something you have a strong knowledge in.
From here, your content may be picked up by similar sites, or those covering content that has benefited from the information you have conveyed.
Look to include your keywords however; this will help Google understand what your business is all about and will also allow other sites to pick up on your key points easily.
Promote your content
Once you’ve perfected your content and feel it is ready to go, it is time to get some mentions. Strong and engaging content should be linked organically, but this can be boosted by you submitting your content to press releases and directories. Likewise, engaging with prominent bloggers and similar sites can see them link you.
It’s easy to sit and hope that others will link you, but you can speed up the process and improve your chances by actively looking to link them. For a small business, linking out provides the opportunity to build a working relationship with other companies, who can in turn help to boost your profile by linking back. Don’t underestimate the power of linking out.
One of the greatest tools in a small business’ armoury is the ability to tap into the local community and not be seen as a giant corporate machine. Look into local partnerships and sponsorships as a means of being linked. With it being local, you may already have some form of relationship and only need to ask for a link, but even if you don’t, you may find that local businesses are more receptive to helping their own community.
Elsewhere, writing testimonials for businesses that you have a regular interaction with could see them link you in exchange.
Find mentions online
By compiling a list of key words associated with your business, you can use any one of a number of online tools to uncover any mentions. Once you come across them, simply reach out to the website and request a link as attribution. It can be a rapid way of making the most of current mentions and converting them in to links.