In terms of search engine optimization (SEO), there’s nothing like link building.
Why? Considered essentially like popularity votes, links help show search engines how authoritative and useful specific websites are.
Generally speaking, the more and better-quality links that have been built to a given site, the more valuable the links are deemed to be — and the higher they will rank for relevant terms.
Because, day to day, search engines are constantly crawling the web to see what sites link where it’s worthwhile for businesses to seek ways to encourage more links.
Over time, this can dramatically change search results and, by extension, website traffic.
With this in mind, plenty of brands today utilize professional link building services with advertising campaigns aimed at improving their search results.
Yet what about the small businesses that are new to the idea?
If you aren’t already familiar with link building, where do you start? What are some good practices to implement?
To help answer these questions, here’s a look at building links as a beginner.
Whether your industry is food, e-commerce, service or hospitality, you can encourage more online links through the following practices:
1. Create Quality Content on Your Site
Step one in building more and better links to your site is creating the kind of pages and resources that will make other reputable sites want to link to you.
So, ask yourself if your content is indeed useful, inspiring and interesting. Is it original? Does it offer real value to its readers? Is there a reason why someone would want to link to it? If so, it’s naturally going to encourage links over time.
2. Start a Blog and Post Regularly
There’s nothing magical, at least in terms of SEO, about adding a blog to your site. Though it’s still worth doing because it makes several SEO-boosting practices easier.
With a blog, you have a place to regularly post quality, linkable content, for example.
A blog helps fill your site with information relevant to its industry and keywords.
At the same time, it also pulls visitors deeper into your website pages, keeps your website fresh, and gives you more opportunities to connect with readers — all good for SEO.
3. Guest Post Quality Content on Other People Sites
All over the web, you’ll find sites relevant to your business that accepts guest posts, even in business niches.
Reach out to the ones that fit your industry, and see if you can contribute.
To increase backlinks, your plumbing company could write a guest post for a plumbing magazine, for example, or your spice company could contribute an infographic to a prominent food blog.
In exchange for providing quality content to another site, you will typically get the chance to link to your business in your author bio. This gives you a fresh backlink.
4. Tap Into Your Network
In some industries, such as e-commerce, your customers will be more than happy to link to you. Say you’re an organic flour supplier in New England.
The bakeries, restaurants and other businesses that buy from you may want to advertise a badge that links to your site, as it tells their customers about the quality ingredients they’re offering.
Likewise, in other industries, staff or members will be glad to link to your site.
If you’re a personal training studio in Florida, for example, your trainers may have their own sites where they’d happily add badges that link to your facility.
If this seems like an idea that would work for your business, create a beautifully branded graphic icon that others can use to link back to you online.
5. Reach Out to Other Website Owners
If you’re willing to put in some time and dedication, manual outreach can be a powerful way to build more links to your site. How does this work?
When you publish content that could add value to someone else’s existing content, you reach out with a personal email.
Rather than directly asking the publisher to link to you, you start a conversation.
As you build relationship and connection, it makes it easier to mention ways you could help the publisher through a post you’ve written or resource you’ve published.
6. Create Data-Driven Content
One surefire resource for encouraging links is data.
From survey results to market research, the intelligence your business gathers can often fuel highly informative, link-worthy content.
The key is to visualize the data in an engaging way. Consider creating infographics, slideshows or videos that make the research usable.
Then, once it’s published, you can follow the same practice for reaching out to website owners that could benefit from your content.
Even without a large-scale plan for building links, any business can take small steps toward better SEO with the above link building strategies.
With every value-adding post and guest article, you are expanding your reach and improving your reputation online. The key is to keep at it and stay consistent — so results will accumulate over time.