Link Building Strategies For Small Business Owners
Link building is one of the most difficult aspects of SEO to master-especially for anyone without any experience. There are dozens of penalties baked into Google’s algorithm in order to filter out any rank manipulation. If you own a small business website, the following link building strategies will safely improve the ranking ability of your website.
Reclaim lost links
The internet is always changing. Websites get updated, redesigned, they move and delete content. During all this action it’s not uncommon for links to be deleted.
Link reclamation is a safe and effective method of link building that requires you to identify which links you’ve lost and ask the website owner or editor to replace them.
NOTE: This method may not work well if you don’t already have a lot of backlinks.
Using the analytic tool of your choice (SEMRush and Moz offer adequate free versions), enter the URL of your website in the dashboard. Here’s a screenshot of Link Explorer by Moz.
Most tools will display a variety of metrics being measured on your website.
One of them will be a section with the links lost vs. links gained.
Click on it and toggle the filter to show you lost links only. You may want to change the date range to make things more manageable.
Export the results to a spreadsheet.
Any websites with a DA under 20 are not worth the effort to contact.
Visit the URL that has been reported as a lost link to confirm that the link is indeed lost.
For unexplainable reasons these tools will often get it wrong, and the link is actually right there where you remembered it and hasn’t been lost at all.
However, if the link is missing, try to determine why the link was lost in order to send the owner an accurate and effective email.
Possible reasons a link is deleted or missing
There are three reasons a link could possibly go missing. The first is that the editor found a new resource to link to that was better than yours. In this case, you’ll need to update your content to a version much better than your competition before asking for the link back.
Analyze the page that stole the link from you to make sure you’re not missing any topics they cover.
There are dozens of writing apps that can help you perfect the way your content reads to contribute to a better quality piece of content.
It’s always a good idea to add more multimedia. Publishers include visual content in over 74% of the content published. Increase the value of your content by improving the user experience.
The second possibility is that the page was updated or redesigned and the editor just forgot to put your link back. The solution here is just a gentle reminder kindly asking that your link be reinstated.
The third possibility is that the page was deleted or moved. In either event, you’ll need to find another suitable page to ask for a link.
This method of link building requires minimum technical skills. The conversion rate is higher than other link building strategies because if the website has already linked to you in the past, there’s a good chance they will link to you again.
Unlinked brand mentions
This method of link building works well if your brand is somewhat well known already. The concept is simple: find content on the internet where people have mentioned your name, reach out to them and ask them to turn that mention into a link.
For example, let’s say your company is Goldman Sachs.
Search for websites that mention “Goldman Sachs” without linking the name to the website. You can do this on Google by using a search operator. Try using a search string similar to this:
intext:goldman sachs -goldmansachs.com -twitter.com -facebook.com -pinterest.com -youtube.com
This command instructs Google to look for the word “Goldman Sachs” in the text of any website with the exception of the websites that follow the command with a minus in front of them. In this example, it excludes the actual website itself along with social media websites.
NOTE: Mentions on social media are valuable for finding an audience, doing research on topics, driving traffic but not for followed backlinks.
Google shows about 91 million results.
If I click on the first result, which is Marketwatch, I find the company mentioned without a link to my website.
The next step of course would be to send an email asking the editor to include a link to help people find your website easier.
You can see how this can get a little tedious with a simple Google search. If your brand is actually mentioned on thousands of websites you’ll need to streamline your efforts.
You can monitor your brand mentions using specialized software you’ll find on websites like Brand Mentions or Mention. You also have this option using analytic tools like SEMRush that offer this feature in the paid version of their software.
Either way, you go about it, the final action to take is to craft a simple, polite email asking for the owner to make your website easier to find by linking your company name.
It must be mentioned because it really is a good method for building your brand and acquiring some high-authority links. The process is also fairly straightforward where you simply pitch a popular website an article idea and publish your content on their website.
This first stage is putting together a list of websites that publish guest posts, but that is also an ideal prospect to build a link from. Keep in mind what makes a quality link when you’re prospecting and start your search with a Google search operative.
[keyword] + inurl:”write for us”
The results Google displays will be keyword related websites that have the word write for us in the URL.
In order to filter out the low DA websites, download and install the Mozbar in your browser. Once it’s working you can see the domain authority, page authority, the number of backlinks and the spam score of your prospective domains.
- As a general rule, you may want to stick to websites over 30 DA.
- Check the URL to see the organic traffic that’s being generated regularly form your prospective website.
- Scan the blog to see whether the blog posts are similar to your content.
- Read a few to get a feel for the style and quality being published.
Aim for a list of at least 20 websites to pitch your article to get enough responses.
When you pitch an article, the best way to pitch is from a custom template. It saves you time from repeating the same information that you need to include in every pitch:
- Title of your article
- A short outline of the main talking points
- Links to previously published articles
- A few other title options for separate articles
Customize your pitch by emailing editors separately. You want to be able to use their first name in your email so you don’t come off as a spammer.
Come up with a unique title for your article. You can do this by writing 20 different versions allowing you to blend together with your top picks.
Make sure you read their blog to see what they’ve published in the last month or two. Adjust your pitch accordingly to show you’re aware of what they’ve published and what would fit well into their schedule.
It may mean pitching a new article title altogether, but it improves your chances of your pitch being accepted.
Make sure you’ve read the guest posting guidelines before you write your article. There may be word count minimums, restrictions on link building or something that may disqualify them from your list.
You don’t want to waste your time or theirs so it’s best practice to make sure you’re hitting all the requirements they need to publish. You also want to make sure they’re meeting your requirements too.
Why does every website need backlinks?
In order to be competitive in the search results, your website needs to acquire backlinks. They are a search engine’s way of accounting for popularity. If enough websites link to your page, the theory implies it must be popular because the content is good enough to be shared. If you have more votes than any other web page competing for the same keyword, you gain a competitive edge.
Backlinks aren’t the end all be all for ranking highly. The other factors that contribute to a top-ranking include the quality of content, the ability to answer search intent and the user engagement your web page demonstrates. But as far as assigning a level of importance to your search visibility, backlinks are in the top categories of importance.
Ahrefs study proved that there was a positive correlation between the number of referring domains and the volume of traffic a website generated.
Keep in mind that every backlink to your site is offering another entry point to your content. If you have a million backlinks, that’s a million ways for visitors to find your website. If you want to drive more traffic to your site, build more links.
What makes a high-quality backlink?
A good backlink is made of multiple important aspects but the three that stand out the most are:
3) Traffic flow
Above all, a link pointing to your site should be contextually related. Every link should be from websites that share a similar theme and are linking to your content to enhance the user experience.
Any links that come from unrelated websites have less impact on your search visibility. If they are completely irrelevant search engines will ignore them completely.
To put this into perspective, think of a backlink as a referral. If you’re a plastic surgeon and your referral comes from a butcher, you might need to consider a stronger reference. You both cut meat, but for someone looking for a good surgeon, the butcher’s referral won’t mean nearly as much as a referral from another surgeon.
Links from websites within the same niche or a close vertical are the most ideal to acquire. Not only do search engines count them as better links, but also the traffic you receive should be interested in your content.
The strength of a link is greatly impacted by the authority of the website-and even more directly, the authority of the page it’s coming from. Different companies measure authority using different metrics but for simplicity’s sake, we’ll use Moz in this example since their metrics are actually called domain authority (DA) and page authority (PA).
Domain authority refers to the aggregate link equity of a domain. It measures all of the incoming links and assigns a value for the domain. These metrics are especially useful for gauging the general level authority.
The page authority refers to the backlinks that are pointing directly to the page. A new page will inherit a minimum amount of domain authority when it is published. You can then point links to it to increase the authority score of the page.
Does authority matter?
Generally speaking the higher the authority the more impact it has on your website’s authority score. If you get a link from an 80 DA website it’s a significant link to acquire and could be worth as many as 6-10 links from a DA 30 site.
The traffic a website receives is also important because you want visitors to find your website through the link. A website with a huge amount of organic traffic is an excellent sign because it means you’ll receive referral traffic to your website.
You can check the organic traffic a website generates by going to SEMRush and entering the URL of the website in the dashboard.
Click in the organic traffic value and you’ll be taken to a screen that shows you the keywords the website ranks for. If the website is driving traffic from the same keywords you want to rank for, then the referral traffic will be the perfect fit for your content.
Keep link building simple
It’s extremely time-consuming to execute an entire link building strategy. Getting the right strategy for your business is half the battle. The rest is mostly PR and good networking.
Keep your link building strategy simple and aim to link from websites that will clearly benefit your site. Building links takes time. Be patient and make the right choices for the best results in maximizing the search visibility of your website.