Building relevant, trust worthy links to your site is important to earn both relevancy and rankings for the keywords and topics which you are targeting. I usually think of links as votes for your site – the more votes you have, the better. Of course, the site doing the linking is also important. For example, a link from the New York Times is exponentially better than a link from the Po-dunk Press. You’ll want to gain links from sites similar to yours, using text related to your site’s content.
Link Building for Small Business
A great place to start building links is through outreach with current customers, suppliers, and manufacturers. You can ask customers to link to your site if they are highly satisfied with their experience at your establishment. If you buy from a wholesaler or manufacturer, very often their sites have a Store Locator in which visitors can find you through. Contact them and inquire about linking opportunities which can help their (and your) business. Most of all, the links are meant to be helpful for their users, not just building links for the sake of having links.
The best way to build links is to let them come to you, by providing a great web experience. Useful content, an attractive and easy to use site, and engaging in online communities are all great ways to do this. If your content is great, people will naturally want to share and link to it purely because you helped them accomplish a goal. More importantly, it can be a much more efficient use of time to create excellent content and attract links naturally, rather than writing hundreds of emails to webmasters.
A Link Is a Link …Or Is It?
It is important to know that not all links are the same. In fact, with recent algorithm changes in natural search engines, some links might even hurt your rankings. Specifically, you want to avoid “bad link neighborhoods” just as you would avoid bad neighborhoods in real life. Sites which are heavy on ads, not much content above the fold, pornography, and those that generally don’t “feel” right are those you should avoid. Additionally, every once in a while you may notice links being built to you with irrelevant or even inappropriate text. Your ultimate goal in link building is to outnumber the bad with the good, and create a diverse link profile using various (but related) forms of link text.
Unfortunately, contacting webmasters to take down undesirable links to your site is futile. Most of these sites have been hacked or abandoned, so their owners might not even receive your removal request. Luckily, just two days ago, Google followed Bing’s lead and provided a Link Disavow tool. Now, you can explicitly tell search engines which links you do not want to count towards your site. Only time will tell how this will work, but it is important that this is only a last resort. You should always try to contact the webmaster first, and if that doesn’t work, the link disavow tool may be your answer. If you are concerned about your link profile, we can work with you to conduct a full link audit.
Building links is an essential part of creating a successful and visible website. By utilizing current business partnerships and relationships, and combining this communication with magnetic content, you’ll be on your way to building quality links in no time.