This is a guest contribution by Charles Dearing
For small businesses, getting traffic from Google is one of the most effective and valuable ways to put their brand in front of the right audience and grow. Some of them focus on optimizing their websites to perfection. Others use clickbait to increase social shares and get more page views. And some small business owners try to build their online presence through constant quality content.
While all these methods are effective, there is one tactic that can get you more referral traffic to your small business’ website than any other technique.
We’re talking, of course, about link building.
Make no mistake, though: while the best link building strategies can help boost your ranking and get qualified traffic to your website, this technique is also highly risky. Google is very particular about what constitutes a good link building strategy, and even the smallest derail from its guidelines could get your site penalized.
So, how can you avoid getting on the bad side of Google?
Let’s examine some of the best and worst link building practices.
Focus on Creating Content That Naturally Attracts Links
You’ve probably heard this a million times already, but it bears repeating: content is of utmost importance in the digital age. Just think about it for a second: would people rather link to a page of your products or to an engaging article that has helped them solve a problem they were dealing with for a long time? The answer is rather obvious.
Keep in mind, though, that not all types of content are created equal, and some have a higher link building potential than others. For examples, infographics, studies, white papers, and videos have been proven to naturally attract links due to their high value and engagement levels.
By producing high-quality, keyword rich content on topics that are relevant to your audience, your blog will become a link generating machine simply because your prospects will perceive you as an authoritative voice in your nice.
Build Connections with Influencers in Your Niche
If you are a small business that is just now getting started with digital marketing, then the chances are that your content is not ranking very high in search engine results. Don’t worry, though. Just because you are at the beginning of your journey, it doesn’t mean that you can’t compete with the big wolves. All you need is to get quality links from relevant influencers in your niche.
Look for bloggers, thought leaders, and influencers in your industry and reach out to them. Don’t ask them to link to your website just yet. First, focus on building a meaningful relationship with them that could benefit you in the long run. Add thoughtful comments to their articles, share their content, mention them in your posts, and so on. Let them know that you are a valuable member of their community and they will be more likely to return the favor.
I use this tactic all the time for opportunitiesplanet.com and it has helped me get quality backlinks, expand my audience reach, and drive more traffic to my blog. Moreover, partnering with influencers is also an opportunity to gain more domain authority and improve your ranking.
Try to Get Some News Coverage
One of the most common mistakes small business owners make is assuming that the only sources from which they can get backlinks are other blogs and website in their niche. But, here’s the thing: getting press attention is a highly effective way of increasing your link building strategy.
Be careful, though: you want to make sure that the content you share with the local press is, in fact, newsworthy. Not everything that happens within your company requires press attention, so try not to create clickbait content with little to no value that will only drive reporters away. Use this technique only when you launch a new products or service, start a CSR campaign or want to share some controversial news.
Build Links Only From Authoritative Sources
Your goal isn’t just to get as many links as possible. A bunch of links from untrustworthy pages can do more harm than good to your ranking. Instead, you should focus on building a link network from authoritative sources that rank on in the top search results for the keyword that you are targeting.
If you don’t know who you should be targeting during your link building efforts, use platforms such as Open Site Explorers to examine the backlinks some of the blogs in your industry have generated and their quality score.
Let’s make one thing clear from the beginning: buying links isn’t one of those tactics that you should avoid at all costs. In fact, this technique can be especially helpful if you are just getting started and want to get the ball rolling. And, as long as the links you acquire come from high-quality pages and are relevant to your niche, then you can improve your ranking without much effort.
The problems arise when Google perceives these links as being manipulative. So, unless the links you are paying for come from highly authoritative sources, then it’s best to avoid this practice and take the long route.
There’s nothing wrong with trading links with reputable sites in your niche. The problem is that most small businesses see this practice as a way to bypass the lengthy link building process and tend to trade with almost every site regardless of their relevance.
Keep in mind that if Google doesn’t see any real value from this exchange, it will qualify this practice as spam and hit your website with a penalty. It’s perfectly OK to collaborate with other websites and exchange links, but ensure that you are adding value to your audience in the process.
Don’t Use the Same Business Descriptions On all Pages
Accurate NAP information (name, address, phone number) is vital for helping web crawlers identify your business and rank it high for relevant keywords. But, slightly altering your company’s description could help you expand your relevance and put your name in front of a wider audience than the one you are targeting.
Don’t just give the same generic business description every single time; instead, try to adapt it to the platform on which you publish the content.
The rules of link building are constantly changing. But, while the techniques and practices remain the same, one thing remains clear: quality and relevance are the most important factors. Focus on creating engaging, valuable content and always build links from authoritative and relevant pages in your niche. Follow these simple rules, and your small business should be well on its way to success.
This is a guest contribution by Charles Dearing