Introduction to Link Building
What is meant by link building? Well, in a nutshell it is the process of gaining valuable backlinks from other websites. A backlink is where another website links through to yours from their own.
Good backlinks (as in those from reliable, reputable and respected sources) can have a big impact on how well your website ranks in Google Search. In the same token bad backlinks (those from spammy sites or minor directories) can have a negative impact on your websites performance in Google Search.
So, link building is the process of gaining valuable backlinks to not only drive more traffic to your website directly from others, but to also gain favour in Google Search itself.
History of Link Building
Before Google’s search algorithm became insanely intelligent and thorough, website owners could employ ‘black-hat’ (dirty) tactics to try to obtain as many links as possible. For example, people would BUY links from companies set up to specifically obtain backlinks from poor quality domains/sites.
Nowadays, Google is the leading search engine in the world, and the reason is because it presents the user with the most relevant, high quality websites available for that specific search results. If Google finds that a website has employed unethical practises to gain backlinks, it will penalise the website with a manual penalty, which could result in the site being removed from search results completely.
How Does a Small Business Tackle Link Building?
Despite working for some big names, Go Web primarily builds websites for small to medium sized businesses based in the Yorkshire area (and we are proud to do so). Our companies include tradespeople (builders, plumbers), small online stores, solicitors, accountants and just about everything else you can think of. Some of these companies really struggle to find ways to gain valuable links from reputable sources.
The reason they find it difficult because the days of high-volume, spammy links are gone. These days, links must be gained ‘naturally’ from other sites who like what you do, or who want to share your site and content with it’s own audience.
Therefore, to gain quality links, a business has to sometimes think outside the box. The company may not have the time or money to use an SEO copywriter, or even someone internally who can add quality content to their website on a regular basis.
However, all is not lost. We do link building work for a lot of our clients and have great success doing so. Below are a few ideas which might help you and your business do the same.
Add Good Content
At the bottom of this article you will see that I have linked to two other websites (Google and Moz). The reason I have done so is because they provide better content on this subject than anyone else, in my opinion. I have therefore naturally linked out to their site in order to give you (my reader) further information to read. They can put it much better than I can.
What you need to do is get people to do the same when it comes to your website. So have a think, what can you write about that will make readers really interested?
Contact Governing Bodies/Regulators/Trade Associations
Think of anyone you might be affiliated with. For example, a couple of plumbing companies I work for are Gas Safe Registered. That means they get a listing on the Gas Safe website, linking back to their own. Here are a few ideas:
- Independent bodies who regulate what you do
- Companies you advertise with (get your website linked within the ad)
- Bodies you subscribe to – you’re paying them, can they link to you?
Contact Your Clients
If you work Business-to-Business, could you get in touch with clients and ask them to link to you via their website? You may have to give them something. For example, could you write an article or blog post for them, in which your company is mentioned? This way, you’re adding value to their website as well as your own.
Contact Your Suppliers
This could be anyone you pay money to. For example, I do some work for a building company. We regularly update their portfolio, in which we mention where they get the materials from for specific types of work. In this scenario, the supplier values your business, so why not contact them and ask them to add you to their site in the ‘Our Clients’ section (or something similar)?
Link Out Yourself
If you have a good quality and link out to another site, they should be appreciative. If you do this enough, you should find that some of them link back to you in return, provided they have reason to.
Gain links naturally
Listen to Google
Gain links spread over a period of time
Try to only gain links from reputable sources
Disavow poor quality links (check Google Search Console)
Aim for links with good anchors
Get links from reputable directories
Think outside the box
Exchange links excessively
Use bots for links
Aim for links with poor anchor text
Try for links with poor/unknown directories