No matter how big or small your business may be, link building is an essential component of long term success. Small business owners that can’t afford to outsource their SEO need to make sure they’re taking responsibility for their own link building activities and keep moving forward. SEO is long term and it takes a while to gain real traction, so slow and steady white hat link building is much better than starting and stopping time and time again.
Here are 6 small business link building tips:
1. Build one quality link each day.
As a small business owner, I understand how much work needs to get done every day just to make sure the doors stay open. Staring down a 12 month link building strategy can be downright terrifying! How is a busy small business owners possibly supposed to make time for all of that in a day when they barely have time to eat lunch?! It’s easy to get overwhelmed by a small business link building strategy but don’t let fear freeze your SEO. Instead of worrying about how many links you have to build between now and then, focus on building one quality link each day. It’s a much smaller and attainable goal, but it keeps your link building moving in the right direction and overtime all those one-a-day links are going to add up into a worth-while link profile. If you want to take it a step further, try to ensure you don’t build two of the same links back-to-back. This will help keep your link building natural and build a wider variety of link sources.
2. Get involved in your community and leverage business relationships.
Let’s say you own a B&B. What other businesses in your area can you connect with? For instance, you might have a list of restaurants on your website that are within walking distance of your B&B so guests know what kind of food is available. Each of those restaurants probably has a website that you can link to, but that means they can link back! Maybe you can build a partnership with those restaurants where your B&B guests receive 10% off their meal, or a complimentary glass of wine—some little incentive/perk they get for being your guest. This will help drive foot traffic to your restaurant partner, you get to provide a great value-add for your guests AND get a link on the restaurant’s site as their business partner.
Keep in mind that while a legitimate business relationship is great, link exchanges are not. Don’t try to get a link on an unrelated business’s site just to get a link. There needs to be a solid reason for your two sites to link back and forth. Small business link building needs to stay within the search engine guidelines!
3. Connect with local news organizations and reporters.
Small, local news organizations are always looking for stories. Get to know a few local reporters that cover your niche at your local online newspaper (be it something like Patch.com or the town’s official website) and whenever you’ve got a story to pitch you’ll know who to take it to. Links from news sites are incredibly valuable and make your link profile that much stronger. Maybe you’re sponsoring a local event, opening a new location, won some kind of small business award and more—online PR and news coverage are a great small business link building tool. Plus, coverage in a local news outlets helps introduce your business to the rest of your community, which is great if you rely heavily on foot-traffic to keep small business open.
4. Claim all your local online business profiles.
Bing, Google and Yahoo all have a local business section where you can create an online profile for your company. Since mobile search is increasing every day, these local profiles are getting more and more important for your small business SEO and link building. Take the time to claim each local profile, including other sites like Yelp and YP.com. There are dozens of local listing sites out there and you want to be in control of your brand on as many of them as you can find. If you don’t claim your listing (even if you never do anything with it again) then you risk having someone else claim it and run away with your brand.
5. Build social profiles and stay active.
You don’t need to be a social media giant to make social media marketing useful. Social profiles can rank in the search engines just like any other piece of content, so they are a great way to round out your online brand presence and give your company one more piece of online real estate to work with. Plus, every time a piece of content is shared on a social networking site is creates a social signal which, much like a link, has an impact on where your site falls in the SERPs. Even a few updates a week is better than no social presence at all. Share stories about your business and customers, promote new products/inventory, post videos and photos, answer customer questions and more!
6. Write one piece of content each week.
Just like small business link building, content marketing is so important for long term success. I know that writing isn’t everyone’s strength and it’s easy to push another blog post off to the backburner and then completely forget about it, but commit to one piece of content each week! Maybe it’s a blog post, maybe it’s a press release, and maybe you rework a page on your site that needs it— but keep fresh content coming. Content gives the search engines a reason to revisit your website, helps you connect with customers and attracts links from other sites. People like to share content they find useful, informative, and helpful and every time they do so your site gets a link and a little thumbs up from the Internet.
About the Author – Nick Stamoulis
Nick Stamoulis is the President of Brick Marketing, which offers full service SEO solutions to B2B and B2C clients around the country. With nearly 13 years of industry experience, Nick Stamoulis shares his knowledge by publishing the Brick Marketing SEO Newsletter, read by over 150,000 opt-in subscribers.