Regardless of your industry, if you own a small business in the digital age, you need a web presence. Ideally, your online presence should consist of more than a bare-bones website offering nothing beyond general information about your business. Your website (and social media accounts, and Google My Business page, etc.) should help leads not only learn about your business, but also learn why they should become paying customers.
One way you can attract customers is by publishing blogs, videos, podcasts, or other forms of content which allow you to demonstrate your expertise while also offering value to those who visit your website. To ensure your content delivers a substantial return-on-investment, it’s also wise to implement a link building strategy.
Link building involves giving other digital publishers a reason to link back to your site in their own content. When others are willing to consistently link to your site, Google’s algorithm interprets this as a sign that you post quality content. This increases the chances of your site showing up on the first page of results when users perform relevant searches.
If you have little experience developing a link building strategy for a small business, don’t worry. The following essential tips will help you get started:
Publish Strong Content
This may seem obvious, but it’s a critical point, and thus deserves to be emphasized first. As search engine algorithms have become more sophisticated, they’ve learned to “recognize” when business owners have partnered with each other to link back to their respective sites and pages. Forcing links into content simply to improve a page’s ranking is actually against Google’s policies. You could be penalized if you’re caught engaging in a link building scheme.
Second only to partnering with experts who can help you establish a strong and ethical link building plan, publishing quality content is the best way to generate links to your site. Other publishers are more likely to cite or promote your content if it genuinely deserves attention. Your chances of being penalized are minimal if others are only linking to your content when doing so is a natural choice.
Link to Others
This may seem counterintuitive. If your goal is to attract more attention to your own site, why would you link to someone else’s?
The answer is simple: When you link to another business owner’s content, they may appreciate the gesture. If you continue to link to others’ content, over time, they might “return the favor” by linking to yours when it makes sense to do so.
However, just as it’s important to publish quality content on your own site, it’s also important to promote quality content when deciding which sites and pages to include links to in your blogs and pages. Don’t include links merely to get the attention of other publishers. Include links to provide value to your leads.
Contribute to Relevant Digital Publications
Your own website is by no means the only site where you may publish content. It shouldn’t be. You can cast a wider net by also contributing blogs and articles to digital publications that cover topics relevant to your industry.
Often, the editors of such publications allow contributors to link back to their own sites. Spend some time finding publications you can contribute to, and pitch their editors stories as frequently as possible. Over time, posting content on other sites can direct a lot of attention to your own.
The words “over time” are important. You shouldn’t expect a link building strategy to deliver outstanding results immediately. Link building requires persistence. If you’re patient, though, your link building strategy will help your business thrive.