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How to "do SEO" for your small business #5: Getting links

Esther Nelson
Link Building

Most website owners know that backlinks are a critical part of any business’s SEO strategy. The real question is how to get links that actually help your ranking, and don’t get you in trouble with the search engines.

Link building is a lot different to on-page optimisation techniques

With on-page SEO, everything you do is under your control. Building quality backlinks, however, requires a bit of reliance on others in order to achieve success. Google has cracked down hard on low-quality, artificially-developed backlinks; in today’s search environment, these shoddy links can work against you and ultimately get you penalised. It’s important to work with a knowledgeable and ethical SEO firm to guide you through the process of building quality backlinks. Let’s look at some link building tactics that can help increase your business’s visibility and give it a major boost in the search engine rankings.

1. Build an informative, entertaining blog for your company

This strategy is so valuable that even engineers at Google recommend it. A good blog can earn you backlinks and listings from other blogs, enable you to engage in conversations on the web, and establish your business’s authority at the same time. In fact if you want to engage in any kind of optimisation and search ranking at all, whether it be on-page, links or general inbound marketing, a blog is a great foundation to build on. 

2. Create content that people want to share

If your content is useful, informative, or funny, people will naturally want to share it. Infographics seem to be especially successful at inspiring sharing. These natural, high-quality links are priceless in establishing trust and improving your ranking. It does of course also give you something of quality to share. You'll become known for your content and people will subscribe to your RSS feed and look out for your content because they know its worth sharing. 

3. Get listed in reputable directories

Although some people in the industry will say that article directories are dead, the truth is that they still can play a valuable role in your link-building campaign. Steer clear of directories that automatically accept any submissions; only submit to reputable directories that manually check entries before accepting them. Directories that have been around for a while are also a good bet, since only the most reputable of them have stood the test of time. If there are directories especially for your industry these are also a good target for an entry.

4. Create a press release

A well-written press release or news announcement is a creative way to earn some quality backlinks. When you distribute your release, any third-party websites and blogs that post it will be adding to your network of links. The key to success with press releases is that you have to have something newsworthy to share with the public.

As you can see, the most effective link building techniques focus on gaining links naturally over time. Be wary of any link building opportunities that seem too good to be true. It's best to avoid link-exchange programmes, purchased links, and any schemes that promise to get you a large number of links in a short time: an artificially-developed link profile is bound to get you penalised by Google, and will sink your ranking into oblivion. A good SEO company knows how to get links the right way, and will use their expertise to help you build a quality network of backlinks and increase your visibility in search results.