When it comes to promoting a business website, good content is critical—after all, it not only improves SEO, it also shows visitors you’re an expert in your field. However, as it’s often said, “It’s not what you know but who you know,” which is why an equally important asset is the connections you make with other sites. This practice of creating digital connections is known as link building.
Here are a few white hat link building strategies to consider:
- Request links from current connections. Remember, it’s not what you know but who you know, which is why a great way to acquire links is to request them from your customers and associates. You can even create your own “partnership badges” (graphic icons that link back to your site) for them to display on their sites. Of course, you should return the favor by linking to their sites as well.
- “Link up.” Another smart strategy is to place relevant links in your content to websites more prominent than yours. This doesn’t guarantee the gesture will be returned, but it can’t hurt if it’s done in a natural, respectful and non-spammy way. Who knows—if you’re lucky, you might receive a charitable link in return.
- Create link-worthy content. Start a business blog and post new articles regularly. While good, informative writing is priority number one, consider adding viral value by infusing your content with humor or referencing trending topics. You can also publish press releases about new products and host giveaways to drum up interest and social media shares.
- Launch a manual outreach campaign. Sometimes the best way to get links is simply to ask for them. Send sites’ webmasters personalized emails that present your content and offer persuasive reasons why linking to it would be in their best interest. This strategy is a little more time-intensive than others, but it’s also a more straightforward way of acquiring links. Even if only a few sites out of 100 reciprocate your request, it still may be worth your while.
Here are some more link building tips to keep in mind:
- The more trusted and popular the source of the link, the better. In many cases, a single link from a prominent site will bring greater value than a large accumulation of lesser links.
- Avoid “guest blogs” offered by unknown sources—this is a common tactic spammy sites use to gain links, and Google has been cracking down on it for a while.
- While external links are what you’re looking for, don’t overlook the value of good internal links. If someone links to one of your content pages, it’ll benefit you a lot more if that page contains links to the rest of your site.
Want professional assistance designing a search-optimized website? We can help!
Read the previous article in our SEO for SMBs series.
To read more of James Florence's work, check out his blog posts for diamondcertified.org.
Photo: Open Data Institute Knowledge, 2013