When it comes to SEO, building quality backlinks is one of the most important factors when it comes to improving your site rankings with major search engines like Google. The higher your ranking in search engine result pages, the more visible you are to potential clients. So, it is no surprise that many small business owners want to know how to build quality backlinks to improve their online visibility.
However, building backlinks is one of the most challenging aspects of improving your site’s SEO. A lot of small business owners are intimidated by the task and simply don’t know how to start building backlinks to their site.
However, building backlinks doesn’t have to be rocket science. Before you start, you need to understand what backlinks are and how they can help improve your online visibility. Then you can start using tried and tested techniques to get more backlinks and improve your search result rankings. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about backlinks and how to get more of them to give your site a boost.
What are backlinks?
In the simplest terms, backlinks are hyperlinks that connect one website to another. For example, a blogger may include a link to another blogger’s work to provide more information and add weight to what they’re saying. That other blogger may then link back to their site in return. This helps to drive traffic to both blogger’s sites, so both parties benefit from the arrangement.
There are two types of backlinks that you need to be aware of:
Some backlinks include a nofollow tag. Search engines don’t pay attention to this type of link, so they’re not particularly helpful when it comes to boosting your site’s SEO.
Dofollow links are the most important type when it comes to building SEO because they are used by search engine algorithms to help rank your website. However, it is important to remember that the only do-follow backlinks that will benefit your website are those from reputable sites. If you have backlinks from dodgy websites, this could cause you to be penalized or even banned by search engines, so quality is key when it comes backlinks. You should focus on getting backlinks from major websites that are an authority in your industry.
How do backlinks improve SEO?
At the end of the day, search engines want to prioritize content that gives value to their readers. For this reason, they’ll rank websites according to which their algorithms believe will provide the best quality information.
Having backlinks to your website shows search engines that your information is authoritative, up-to-date and high quality. This is because website owners and bloggers link to information that they think is useful and high quality, so it indicates that the content you provide is valuable. If you’ve managed to build quality backlinks to your website, this will help your website rank higher when potential customers search for your keywords, and this will help drive meaningful traffic towards your website. This type of traffic can translate to sales, so it’s worth taking time to learn how to use backlinks to the best effect in order to build your business, increase your online visibility and improve your website’s SEO.
What are some quick and easy ways to build backlinks?
If you’re a beginner, the good news is that there are some simple ways you can start to build backlinks to your website without being an expert in SEO. These tips are quick and easy to implement, and you may find that they yield pretty quick results as well. So, what are some beginner-friendly ways to start building backlinks?
1. Make the most of online directories
One of the simplest and quickest ways to start getting backlinks to your site is by getting your site listed on reputable web directories on the Internet. Pretty much anyone can do this, even if they don’t have any special technical knowledge. A good way to think about this is to imagine a web directory as the Internet equivalent of a phonebook that helps potential customers find businesses.
Many good online directories are completely free to use. However, some may charge a small fee, although this should be reasonably affordable for most small businesses. Generally, all you will need to do is complete a quick form including key information about your business.
While you’re searching for suitable directories, you may find companies offering to register you in thousands of online directories for a small fee. Don’t be tempted to use these, as they won’t build quality backlinks. You could actually end up damaging your online visibility and being penalized by search engines.
However, submitting your business information to directories relevant to your business area is actually a highly effective beginner strategy for building backlinks. Just make sure that any directory you use has a good reputation, as the backlink will be valued more highly by search engine algorithms.
2. Use local listings
Using local listings can help make you more visible to potential customers in your local area. This is another very simple way of building good backlinks to your site with little time and effort. Even better, these directories are usually free to use.
So, it is a good idea to start searching for directories local to you and asking them to list your business.
Bear in mind that local directories will want to vet you carefully to make sure you are a genuine business. Customers will also be able to review you on most of these platforms.
Local directories are particularly useful for building your site’s SEO because these types of backlinks are well-liked by search engine algorithms. Therefore, this is a particularly effective way for beginners to start boosting their website rankings using backlinks.
3. Link to your company website in your online profiles
When you think about it, you’ve probably got a lot of online profiles. Whether these are on social media sites such as Facebook or other websites, you should always remember to include a backlink to your company website. Not only does this provide you with a backlink to help boost your site’s SEO, but it can also help direct customers towards your business site. If you’re regularly posting helpful and informative content on social media for example, customers may be interested enough to check out your profile and click through to explore your website more detail.
Website links can look clunky in your profile. To help solve this problem, you could use a URL shortening tool like the one from Google Analytics to make a slick-looking link that looks better on your online profiles. Another major advantage of using these tools is that they provide you with a method of analyzing the success of your link.
4. Shopping centre websites
This tip is only effective if you have a physical store or premises located in a shopping centre or mall. If you do, this is an unbelievably simple way to get a high-quality backlink that will improve your search engine rankings.
Almost all big malls have a central website where customers can see which stores and services are available to use. It is a good idea to talk to the staff that manages your complex to see whether they are happy to list your business on their site. Make sure that the listing includes a backlink to your company website to drive in traffic from potential customers. Assuming the mall is reputable, this type of backlink can also be very valuable in terms of SEO.
5. Offer answers on Q&A websites
There are all sorts of websites where users can submit questions to be answered by local experts. These include sites such as Yahoo answers. Sites like this receive an incredible amount of traffic, so they’re a great way to get backlinks and potentially attract new customers. Even better, it is a simple strategy that pretty much anyone can utilize.
The other major advantage of answering questions on Q&A websites is that it helps to build your reputation as an expert in your field. This can only be a good thing in helping to create a professional and authoritative online brand.
So, it is worth your while looking for questions that relate your business area and submitting informed replies. Always make sure to include a backlink to your website. Ideally, this would be to a piece of content that gives the user more information about the question they asked.
Take time to make sure that the quality of your answers is high. If your answer is extremely helpful, readers are more likely to use the link and browse your website more closely.
It is also a good idea to find out what people are asking to help you choose new subjects for content on your website. This helps you to create content that is relevant to what people really want to know about your business area. Once you’ve created authoritative content on the subject, you can then link to it in your online answers. This will lead to more backlinks and more people visiting your site.
6. Chambers of Commerce
Another extremely simple but highly effective way to get great backlinks is to become a member of the Chamber of Commerce. These are highly reputable organizations, so search engines rank websites with backlinks from Chambers of Commerce very highly.
That being said, you may need to wait a while until your listing goes live.
7. Comment on blogs
This method is one you’ve probably heard of before. Commenting on blogs related to your business area should be reasonably easy to do and also helps to boost the rankings of the blog you comment on, making it a win-win situation.
It’s also a great way to create links between your business and other expert bloggers in your field. The higher the quality of the comments you leave, the greater the chance of the blogger taking a look at your website and potentially backlinking to your content.
This method will take a bit of time to yield results. It is best to take the time to make useful comments and allow backlinks to grow organically than spending hours every day commenting everywhere you possibly can.
Some businesses resort to a black hat SEO technique known as automated mass commenting. Not only can this hurt your SEO rankings, but most bloggers are wise to this and have filters in place. So, it is unlikely to be effective in any event. It also doesn’t create a professional and knowledgeable impression of your business, which is another good reason to avoid this tactic.
8. Promote your website
This tip is particularly useful for people who are starting any business from scratch. Simply creating and publishing your website doesn’t mean that people will discover your business through organic searches. If people don’t know you’re there, they won’t find you, especially at the beginning.
It is important to make sure that as many potential clients as possible view your content, and for that to happen you’ll need to market it.
You’ve already read about some of the ways that you can market your website online using external websites. You can also use social media to your advantage when you’re promoting a new website. Ways to do this include:
- publishing short sections of your site content on social media
- paying for advertisements
- boosting your social media posts
- asking influential members of your sector to promote your content
- joining social media groups and communities in your business area
For this to be effective, you’ll need to make sure that you only promote your website in areas related to the business you run. If you do a good job, more people will visit your website and be aware of what you have to offer. This could lead to great backlinks, although you’ll need to be patient as results could take a while.
9. Comment in online forums
If you look carefully, you’re bound to find plenty of forums related to your area of business. These are a great source of potential customers and website owners who might provide backlinks to your site in the future, as you can be sure that all the members are interested in the topics that your business website covers.
The more helpful and knowledgeable you appear on these forums; the more likely people are to trust your website content and potentially buy your product or service. However, don’t be tempted to try to sell your products from these forums -that is not what they’re for. That being said, make sure you include a link to relevant content on your site in your comment so that people can find you easily.
Not only can this significantly increase the number of websites hits you get, but it could also attract new customers. Being active on relevant forums helps to boost your brand’s image as a reputable and expert source of information.
A good reputation in the industry means that people will be more likely to backlink to your content on their own blog and social media posts.
10. Sponsor relevant events
Sponsoring events to cost money, but it’s a pretty reliable way of getting the backlinks you want from websites with a good reputation. These are the types of backlinks that are likely to significantly boost your Google rankings.
Sponsorship of events tends to be well covered by the press. This type of coverage creates a great impression of your business, and you can expect websites to provide backlinks for you. A positive side-effect of sponsorship is that it will create a buzz around your business and boost awareness of your brand.
That being said, this is one of the most expensive ways to build backlinks that we will cover in this article. Unfortunately, for many small businesses, sponsoring events will simply be out of their price range. However, if you have the funds available, it can be a great way to get high-quality backlinks quickly.
11. Don’t forget to include links in your videos
Many small businesses create video content nowadays on social media sites such as YouTube or Instagram. Video is hugely popular and is a great way to engage customers with your brand. If you’re not already using video to market your business, this is something you should be seriously considering.
Assuming you’re already using video marketing, you should always include a link to relevant content on your website. Also, don’t forget to remind viewers to click on the link if they’re interested in finding out more about your business. This is a pretty effective means of getting more visitors to your site. The more people who are aware of your website and what it has to offer, the more likely you are to get backlinks from other reputable websites that can help build your SEO.
12. Try content syndication
Many bloggers and small business owners have never heard of content syndication. However, it is a great way to build your online presence and potentially get those all-important backlinks you’re looking for.
This method means that you allow other sites to publish some or all of your articles online. The benefit for you is that they will provide a quality backlink in return. This works out pretty well for both parties, as you will get the exposure and backlinks you want, and they will get great content without having to write it themselves.
Make sure that any website publishing your content is closely related to your business area. Otherwise, you’re unlikely to get meaningful traffic as a result.
13. Use social media
A simple way to market your blog posts or other content so that you get backlinks is to promote it on social media. Chances are, your business already has a social media presence on platforms such as Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
When you create great content, make sure you tell people about it by posting on social media. You could target specific individuals such as bloggers or influencers that you think might want to share your content and provide you a backlink, for example by sending direct tweets. If you create great industry-specific visuals such as infographics, visual-based social media platforms such as Instagram are a very good way to market these. We’ll talk more about infographics and how they can help you build backlinks later in the article.
More advanced methods for getting backlinks
Most of the methods for getting backlinks that we discussed so far are easy and cheap for even beginner website owners to use. However, there are plenty of other methods you can employ to build more backlinks and generate greater online visibility.
One of the most important things you can do before applying any of these strategies is to make sure that your website has a blog. A blog gives you a good reason to produce and publish high-quality content regularly. Without this type of content, you are not providing other website owners with anything to backlink to, which will be a real issue for you. So, if you don’t already have a business blog, now is the time to start one.
Here are some slightly more advanced techniques to start building backlinks to your business website.
1. Write great content
If you want people to provide backlinks to your website, you have to give them something great to backlink too. This means that you need to produce the type of content that is easy and attractive for others to refer to in their own blog posts.
This type of online content is sometimes referred to as link bait. The most important thing to bear in mind is the what you write needs to be original and extremely useful to readers. In particular, you should focus on the following:
- detailed explanations
- attractive visuals
- case studies
- survey data
When bloggers write content, they need quality articles to refer to in order to back up the points that they’re making, just like you do when you write your own blog posts. If you create knowledgeable and authoritative content, you’re providing other bloggers with something to link to. The better your content, the more likely other websites are to link to you.
The good news is that this type of content also performs well when it comes to search engine algorithms. So, even if you don’t get any backlinks, this type of content will help boost your website’s SEO and help improve your search result rankings.
Don’t forget to promote all this fantastic content in the ways we described above to make sure that people actually see what you’re publishing.
2. Guest blogging
Writing guest blog posts is another great way to get quality backlinks. In fact, if you’ve done your research into the subject, you’ve probably heard of this strategy before.
In order to do this, you’ll need to find websites in your business area that accept guest posts. Always make sure that a website accepts submissions before you start writing, otherwise, you could end up wasting a lot of time and effort. Make sure that you’re only submitting guest blog posts to relevant websites, otherwise, you won’t get the sort of meaningful traffic that you want to your website. When your guest blog post is published, ask them to include a backlink to your website.
3. Find broken links
Have you ever got an error message when browsing the web to say that a particular piece of content can’t be found after clicking on a link? These are broken links. While it may not be immediately obvious how finding broken links can help you get backlinks, it is actually an amazing strategy for boosting your website’s SEO. Here’s how it works:
When you discover a broken link on a high-quality website, you can write an article that replaces the lost content. Then, contact the owner of the website and say you’re happy for them to use your content instead. The website owner may well be glad to do so as it solves a problem for them, as long as what you’re offering is good quality. In return, they should give a backlink to your website. Not only does this give you a backlink, but it also helps to build your online presence in your industry.
4. Ask bloggers to review you
This is a reasonably simple way of getting backlinks, provided you have a product to market. Send samples of your wares to social media influencers or bloggers in return for an honest review.
If you don’t have a product, you could also offer an experience such as a free meal, car service or whatever it is that your business provides.
It is important to only send freebies to people who you know are pretty likely to give you a review. A quick and easy way to tell if this is likely is to check to see whether they regularly do product or service reviews on their website or social media. It is important to choose people who have a lot of followers as this will help attract potential new clients to your website. You should also make sure that you request a backlink in return for your free product or service.
The downside of this strategy is that you’ll have to spend money in order to provide the freebie. That said, the increase in sales and search engine rankings coming from the backlinks and online exposure mean that this strategy is often more than worth it.
Bear in mind that you must make sure that the review mentions that it is sponsored content. Otherwise, you could fall foul of search engine rules.
5. Press coverage
Depending on your area, it is highly likely that your local newspaper or news website is struggling to find enough interesting topics to cover. Give them something to write about, and you could find yourself with a great source of high-quality backlinks.
In order to do this, you’ll have to do something worth writing about and make them aware of it. However, your business is probably already doing newsworthy things without you even realizing. Whenever your business does something interesting, make sure that you make your local news outlets aware. For example, you might:
- open a new store
- launch a pioneering product
- sponsor a local event
- raise funds for charity
Search engine algorithms trust backlinks from news outlets because the information they provide is generally accurate, valuable and up to date. Therefore, backlinks from the local news outlets are a great way to improve your website’s SEO.
6. Try skyscraper link building
Anybody who spends any significant amount of time browsing the Internet will have noticed that there’s a lot of shoddy content out there. However, it’s sometimes the case that some of this content does well in terms of SEO and backlinks. This is because, although the quality is inferior, they have filled a gap in the market when it comes to covering a certain topic. Until a better piece of content that covers the same subject comes along, they’ll continue to get backlinks because there’s nothing else available.
If you find an article like this, now is your chance to take part in a little skyscraper link building. The first thing you need to do is to create a vastly superior piece of content on the same topic. Assuming this is your area of expertise, this shouldn’t be hard to do. Make sure that your content covers the topic in more detail than the content you are hoping to improve on.
The next step is to get in touch with the owners of the websites who’ve linked to the content and suggest they have a look at yours. With any luck, they’ll agree that your content is far better and choose to backlink to your article instead.
This way of building backlinks is really effective because you can be sure that people are looking for the type of article that you’ve written. If you can get the backlinks from the old article, you could even beat its success in the search engine rankings. While this method is reasonably complicated and time-consuming, it’s highly effective and won’t cost you a dime.
7. Interview a market leader
Interview content is very popular and is a good way to build highly linkable content. You’ll need to find an expert in your field willing to take part in an interview. Many people are willing to do this as it boosts their reputation and exposure.
It is important to pick a relevant subject that is trending in your business niche at the moment. If you do, you can expect to get some backlinks to your article. This is because expert information on a relevant topic is easy and attractive for other websites to link to. It will also help to build your online presence and help more people find out about what your business and website has to offer.
8. Write a roundup
Roundups work in a similar way to the expert interview method that we mentioned above. However, instead of using the opinion of just one expert on a hot topic, you will contact various experts in your field including bloggers and social media influencers and ask for their input.
All you have to do now is turn this information into a cohesive article that includes a full range of expert opinions. Once you’re done, tell the people you consulted about the article. Chances are, they’ll want to link to it on social media or on their blog.
Make sure that you include a backlink for the people who contributed so that it is a two-way street. Most people will be happy to be painted as an authority on the subject, so you can be reasonably confident of getting a good number of responses and backlinks.
The disadvantage of this strategy is that it is a rather long-winded way of getting backlinks. However, the backlinks you get will be high-quality and you should get plenty of them, so if you have the time it is highly recommended.
9. Use infographics in your content
The use of infographics helps to create highly linkable content. Infographics are a great tool because they make information easy to understand for a layperson. If you create a great infographic, it is likely that other bloggers and website owners will want to link to it.
There are plenty of tools that can help you create infographics yourself. However, if you’re not confident, you could consider hiring a freelancer or professional company to create an infographic for you. Once you create your graphics, there are several things you can do to help achieve those all-important backlinks. These include:
- adding an embed code to the infographic on your website so that it is easy for others to use
- using SEO techniques on your infographic so that it ranks highly in a Google image search for the keywords associated with it
- getting in touch with website owners who write on the topic and offering them the use of your infographic in return for backlinks
10. Ask people who mention you for a backlink
If you provide a great product and service and have an authoritative blog on your business area, chances are people are mentioning you in their blogs and social media accounts. When you discover that someone has mentioned you, you can ping them an email to thank them and asked them to provide you with a backlink.
There is also a tool called Google Alerts which can help you with this. You can set it up to let you know whenever the name of your business, products or services are named on the Internet. This is a relatively easy way to get backlinks without spending too much time or money.
11. Work together with e-commerce websites
If you can find an e-commerce website that sells products that fit together well with what you have to offer, you could reach out and suggest working in partnership to help promote each other. Of course, it is important to choose websites that don’t sell exactly the same types of products and services as you, otherwise, you will essentially be promoting your competition.
Everyone wins from this type of arrangement because you will be allowing the e-commerce website access to your own client base while gaining access to theirs. Ultimately, it is a great way to get backlinks, especially if the website you pair up with has a good reputation.
We recommend using this method cautiously. Teaming up with a couple of websites will work in your favour, whereas doing this too much can result in search engine penalization.
12. Make helpful tools
This tip works in a similar way to creating useful infographics. However, instead of creating images, you’ll be making a tool that helps solve a problem for your customers or other experts in your industry.
Online tools that add value help you towards getting backlinks because they are highly linkable. The type of tool you create depends on your business area. For example, a business working in the health and lifestyle industry might create a meal planning tool or workout planner.
Once you’ve created your tool, you can promote it in a similar way to how you would promote an infographic. Don’t forget to get in touch with reputable bloggers and offer them the use of your online tool, in return for a backlink of course.
Creating an online tool takes a significant amount of expertise and know-how. Unless you have a background in web design, you will almost certainly want to outsource this to a professional freelancer. Although you’ll have to spend money to have your tool developed, it is a good way of getting high-quality backlinks to your website.
13. Check out HARO
HARO stands for Help a Reporter Out and is a great and free way to get backlinks for your website. This web service helps journalists find industry sources for articles that they’re planning on writing. If you’re included in an article, they will include a backlink to your website in their content.
This is a great time-saving strategy for small business owners because they won’t have to actively look for press opportunities. Instead, upcoming articles in your industry area will be offered to you by email, and you can choose whether or not to take them up.
However, bear in mind that you’ll be in direct competition with other small business owners get a mention in the journalist’s article. For this reason, it is important to devote time and effort to creating the best possible response to increase your chance of being chosen. There is no guarantee that your response will be featured if the journalist decides to go with another source.
The advantage of using this method is that it is free and can provide you with high-quality backlinks to very reputable online media sites. However, it can be time-consuming.
14. Make power pages
Have you ever seen very long and detailed articles on websites that give a thorough analysis of a particular subject area? These are known as power pages. Power pages provide an authoritative overview of a topic within your industry area and can help a non-expert gain a good understanding.
Your aim when creating power pages should be to make an article that provides the most thorough guide possible on that particular topic.
Very long articles of many thousands of words can be intimidating to readers. For this reason, it is important to structure your writing carefully to make sure that it is easy for readers to navigate and find the information that they are looking for. This also makes the information easier to digest, especially if somebody is going to be reading over several sittings.
Organizational features such as subheadings, chapters, numbered lists and bullet points help to make a long piece of writing easy to navigate and understand. You could also include a table of contents with links to the relevant sections so that people can easily navigate to the section that interests them.
If you want people to engage with and read very long articles, it is important to include eye-catching visuals, infographics and possibly embedded online tools to make your article more interesting. A power page is also a good opportunity to create internal links in your website by linking to other posts that you’ve written that give more information on a particular area of the subject.
If you write a highly authoritative power page, this is exactly the type of content that invites people to backlink to it. It will take time, but you’ll be left with a permanent resource that attracts the backlinks you are looking for.
Outreach is exactly what it says on the tin. It means reaching out to other authoritative websites and bloggers in your business niche and asking them to check out your content. If they like it, chances are you’ll get some good backlinks out of this process.
It is not enough to email website owners and bloggers and simply ask for backlinks. You’ll need to make sure that the content on your website or blog is valuable to their readers and is highly linkable. This means you’ll need to use some of the tactics that we discussed earlier, such as creating infographics, power pages and online tools.
You could decide to send a blanket email to all the websites that you think might be interested in reading and linking to your content, or spend time building relationships with the most relevant blogs and influencers to your business area. The latter will probably prove to be more effective and less time-consuming overall.
In order to make the most of this particular technique, you need to keep an eye on industry-specific news as and when it happens. When you notice a topic that is trending in your particular business area, it’s time to get in on the act.
When you notice your industry being featured in the news, you should aim to publish content on your website that gives your expert opinion on the subject area. If you create an authoritative and interesting piece of work, journalists covering the story may be keen to include your take on the story in their articles and provide valuable backlinks to your website. This type of backlink is very useful as search engines such as Google rate news websites as being highly authoritative.
Of course, you have to devote some time to keep on top of the latest news related to your business niche. When you see an opportunity, it is important to pounce quickly before interest is lost and it becomes old news.
The bottom line
Getting valuable backlinks is a really important strategy when it comes to boosting the overall SEO of your small business website. It helps to create your brand image as an industry expert, drives potential customers to your website, boosts your online exposure and helps you rank more highly in search engine result pages. This combination can help to increase your revenue in the long term.
Link building isn’t easy, but many small businesses will find that they can implement some of the simpler strategies in this list themselves. People with more in-depth technical knowledge will be able to use some of the more advanced techniques to boost their website’s SEO and build backlinks.
However, you may decide that you simply don’t have the time or expertise to devote to building backlinks. In this situation, you could hire in a small business SEO company to take on some of the work for you. Although this will require a regular financial outlay on your part, small business SEO service providers have the experience and knowledge to generate backlinks as quickly and effectively as possible. This may prove to be the most financially viable way of generating backlinks and is certainly much cheaper than hiring an SEO expert to work in-house. Many companies offer highly competitive and affordable packages, so great small business SEO is realistic for many business owners from a budgeting point of view. This means that you have more time to spend on other aspects of your business that are key to creating a great customer experience.
If you decide to outsource backlink building and other aspects of your website’s SEO, Small Business SEO can help you. Don’t hesitate to get in touch today to find out how we can help you create meaningful backlinks to improve your search engine results rankings and get to that all-important online exposure that you need to build your business further.