Introductory Guide on Link Building For Small Businesses

Blog > Introductory Guide on Link Building For Small Businesses

Posted By Create

Tags: marketing, SEO, Google

Sowing the seeds of good SEO with Link Building

When you're working on the Search Engine Optimisation of your website, a phrase that will often crop up is 'Link Building'. It's been a core activity for most SEO professionals for many years as it's been a very successful way to improve ranking in the past. These days, it's a hotly debated industry topic - is it still good to do? What does Google like? Read on to find out more.

What Is Link Building?

To put it simply, link building is the process of getting other websites to put a link on their site back to yours. Usually this happens naturally through the creation of good content which other people want to share and link back to, but also through contacting site owners and paying for adverts/links.

Why Does This Help Your SEO?

Google (and other search engines), use links to your website to determine how popular and well respected your website is. They want to show the best possible results to the people who use their search engines, so websites that are trustworthy and relevant to a user's search will be displayed highest.

How relevant Google considers you to be to a user’s search will be mainly dependent on your content, but popularity is also measured through other things Google knows about you.

Who links back to your site and what the quality of those links are is counted and rated. Having a ‘popular’ website (a website that has good links back to it) is an important step in ranking well and thus encouraging more visitors to your website.

Tip: Don’t forget to build links back to pages within your site, as well as your home page.

How To Build Links

There are lots of different ways to establish connections to your site, some of the best ones are:

  • Make content worth sharing. Write a blog that includes information that people will want to read and share. To get started, how about a ‘Top 10 tips on {insert your topic here}’. This is a great way to answer a question someone may be searching for. Be careful to keep them relevant and interesting and not stuff them with keywords.

  • Get your website linked to by a blog or website that is similar to your own. Perhaps you could get them to feature your website with the promise of a freebie product to test? In this scenario, look for websites that already have a good rank in Google, as these will be of most benefit to you.

  • Share your content through your social profiles. Whilst it's debated if posting to social sites such as Twitter and Facebook improve your website rankings it has been shown to be a way to speed up Google indexing new content you produce. Plus, sharing your website will lead to others visiting it, sharing it and with a little bit of luck linking to it.

Things To Avoid

As mentioned above, there are many ways to build links to your site. Be careful, though, as some link-building methods can actually do your website more harm than good.

Dodgy 'paid-for' links

If anyone, be it a private individual or a professional-looking company, offers you a link on their site in exchange for payment, think carefully about it. Google is likely to demote (or at the very least ignore) 'paid-for' links.

Putting links on websites that look 'spammy'

Websites that Google classes as 'spam', which you can find out more about by visiting Google's Spam Reporting Recommendations page and clicking 'More information about spam'.

'Low value' linking (linking on forums, blog comments, guestbooks etc)

Whilst this may not have a negative effect on your rank, it’s not likely to have much of a positive impact either. Link building can increase traffic and reputation for your site, but it’s worth considering the effect it may have on how you appear in search results.

Doing lots of link building at once, especially in low value ways

If you go on a link building spree and get lots of links very quickly the search engines will suspect you are 'spamming', and this could potentially harm your search placement. Search Engines may think you are trying to manipulate your search rankings, so it's best to keep things looking natural. Spread out your link building out and make it part of your regular monthly marketing activities, try not to put all your efforts into just one day.

It's definitely quality, not quantity

Don't be tempted to boost your numbers by adding your links to lots of lower quality sources. It is far better to get a few links on high quality sites than lots of poorly ranked ones.

Final Thoughts On Link Building

It's not a quick process. Just like any kind of SEO, it's best to approach it as an ongoing and gradual job. It can take time to build up your links and then more time to start seeing results as Google picks up on the new connections. If you try to make it a routine part of your ongoing website maintenance you should start seeing great results.

If you have any questions about link building, or any advice for others on how you build links, please leave your comments below.

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