Many business people on the Web are obsessed with links. Actually, most of them are. And it makes sense. It’s well known that one of the most important things you can do to help your site rank is to build links to it. But that doesn’t mean you need to engage in outlandish linkbaiting attempts, beg for them or even go the route of trying to buy them. As a small business owner, there are lots of easy way to attract links that don’t require such exertion or impressive feats.
Here are 14 ways SMB owners can easily build links to their Web site. Go grab a pen.
Use What You’ve Already Got
Use your internal links: Start here. Internal links are the links on your site that point to other pages on your site. Naturally, you have much greater control over these than you will with a link that doesn’t appear on your own site. So use them as much as possible. That means being smart about your internal navigation, the structure of your site, your alt text and how you link within blog posts. You want to make sure you’re linking with the appropriate anchor text to help give yourself a small boost. Linking smartly on your own site can really have a high impact.
Find unlinked mentions: There are probably lots of times when customers and local organizations/media outlets mention your company but, for whatever reason, forgot to add the link back to your Web site. Contact them and ask for it! Often, these sources meant to link and either forgot or were pressed for time. By contacting them, you help remind them of their error and pick up some low hanging fruit.
Happy customers: Folks who are happy with your services will very often be willing to talk about you or link to you on their own site or blog if they have one. While, not every one of your customers will be Web savvy enough to be blogging, some of them will and they’ll take you up on the offer. You just need to remind me.
Share and Be Social
Directory links: A directory is similar to the Yellow Pages in that it lists sites by categories to help users find you. Listing your site in your niche-specific directories is a good way to build visibility to your site and you’ll also get a link back. To find relevant directories, use searches such as [keyword + directory] to find the ones that appear the most active/authoritative or where you see your competitors listed. Being listed in a directory typically requires you to simply submit your URL. Once you do, you’ll get a link back to your site.
Syndication links: If you’re a SMB blogger (which you should be!), submitting your RSS feed to a syndication service can serve a few purposes. First, it will expose your content to a new audience to help give it legs, but you’ll also get a link to individual articles as they’re posted. Over time, this can help you build up authority, readers, and, of course, links.
Blog comments: This is less effective than it previously was thanks to marketers spamming blogs to high heavens, but leaving valuable comments on niche blogs can also be a good way to gain some back links. And even if the blog nofollows the links, it’s still a great way to build exposure to your own blog and site, which can lead to additional links down the road
Link social media accounts: Make sure you’re linking to your Web site from Twitter (the bio link is nofollow’d but link anyway), LinkedIn (use the additional info links wisely), YouTube (put a link in the video description) Facebook, niche accounts, etc. You’re in complete control of these accounts so you want to take advantage of them as much as possible. Also, by linking all of your social accounts, you help make them stronger.
Use Your Content
Guest blog: I’ve already written about how guest blogging can increase your exposure, but it can also be a way to earn links. Because guest blogging opportunities typically allow you to add links within the content and to include an author bio, you can not only get a link back to your site, but you can link to relevant pages within the content of the post to earn some authority, as well. The author gets free content and you get to build authority and targeted links. It’s a win for all involved!
Article directories: Similar to guest blogging, submitting articles to article directories is another god way to get links from content. You’ll once again be able to embed links in the text, plus pimp out an About the Author box. Sometimes you don’t even have to write something new, but can find ways to repurpose or republish content you’ve written for a newsletter, blog or even on your site.
Write linkable content: I know it sounds cheesy, but producing create content is still the best way to get links on the Web. Become a resource and the links will follow.
Use Your Connections
Vendor/Partner links: The same way you can ask Vendors for testimonials, you can also ask them for links pack to your site. Ask your vendors to link back to your site via a Recommended Vendor List or maybe a page that details businesses that may be of interest to potential new customers. Many vendors/partner sites will already have pages like these in existence. You just have to ask to be included.
Join industry organizations: Whatever you do, there are probably local organizations in your area for people who do the very same thing. Join them! Often times they’ll give you a link back on their site. Or, if you don’t want to join, consider creating a resource or maybe even helping them with whatever your trade is and asking for a link. You may even find targeted customers who saw the link and liked your work.
Local organizations: Join your local Better Business Bureau chapter, the Chamber of Commerce and get involved with your school board. These organizations are famous for giving links to their members.
Sponsor/ Donate to charity organizations: If you’re already sponsoring a local team or charity, find out if they have a Sponsors page on their Web site. If they do, ask about being listed.
For a small business owner, link building often means getting creative and taking advantage of the natural opportunities already presenting themselves. Don’t be afraid to ask people to link to your site. If you’re providing valuable information and a great service, than people are going to want to link to and make their audiences aware of your presence. Link building as a SMB owner means scooping up lots of great local links. You just have to know where to start.