Wondering what ‘link building’ is and how to do it? If you’ve been looking into affordable SEO for your small business, you may have read about the importance of building backlinks to your website.
Backlinks, also known as inbound links, are links from other websites that point to your website. These links are important for SEO because they signal to search engines that other websites consider your content valuable and relevant. The more high-quality backlinks your website has, the higher it is likely to rank in search results.
Putting in the work to obtain backlinks is known as ‘link building’, and this is a service that many SEO agencies offer. However, it’s also something that, with a little time and effort, you can do for yourself.
Link Building – Beware The Bad Backlinks
It’s important to note that not all backlinks are created equal – the quality of the backlink is more important than the quantity, and having ‘bad’ or spammy backlinks can actually result in your website being penalised by search engines.
‘Good’ backlinks are those coming from a website that has good domain authority. That is, a website known for expertise in a field that is relevant to your industry, and considered a trustworthy site. A good backlink might come from your industry’s peak body website, or a high profile service provider in your industry.
‘Bad’ backlinks come from sites that are irrelevant to your industry, are flagged as spammy, or engage in manipulative link building practices, such as link buying. An example would be a link from ‘link farm’ websites that exist solely to list backlinks to other sites.
How To Do Link Building The Right Way
There are many ways to acquire ‘good’ backlinks that won’t get you into trouble! Best of all, many of these are free. Here are 7 safe and free ways your small business can start link building today.
1. Write A Guest Blog Post
Reach out to other websites in your niche and offer to write a guest post that will be of benefit to their readership (who should also be your target audience). In your author bio at the bottom of the post, include a link back to your own website.
2. Be A Podcast Guest
Offer to be a guest on a podcast that appeals to your target market. Make sure the podcast includes a link to your website. It’s a great idea to offer a useful free download during the podcast, to encourage listeners to follow your website link.
3. Create Sharable Content
Create high-quality content such as blog posts, infographics, videos and free downloads, and promote them through social media or proactively share with other website owners. If they find your content valuable and link back to it, it will increase the number of backlinks to your site.
Rather than reaching out cold when asking someone to link to your content, it can be a good idea to first network in person or engage on social media, so they know who you are. Also make sure there is a genuine cross-over of mutual interest – don’t promote content that has no relevance to their audience.
4. List In Directories
Submit your website to relevant directories and industry-specific databases. This can help increase your website’s visibility and generate backlinks from trusted sources.
If you’re a local service business, make sure you’re listed on any local directories, including local council or traders’ association directories. If you’re a member of any networking groups or business associations, ensure you’re listed with them too.
5. Participate In Online Communities
Participate in online communities, forums, and industry-related social media groups. Share valuable insights, answer questions, and include a link to your website in your profile or signature. This can help build backlinks while also establishing you as an expert in your field.
Note that links from social media groups are not recognised as a ‘backlink’ and won’t directly impact your SEO in the same way a link from a website will. However, linking from social media posts can still help by increasing the number of people visiting your website (which in turn helps increase your google ranking).
6. Write Testimonials And Reviews
Review or provide a testimonial for products or services that are relevant to your clients, and contact the supplier of products you recommend, so they can link to your review.
For example, if you’re a website designer and write a blog post comparing hosting companies, your highest ranking host provider might like to link to the post from their website, as it’s great social proof for them.
7. List As A Supplier
If you sell or utilise another business’ product or service, check if they list suppliers on their website, and make sure you’re added on there. An example might be if you’re an accountant that offers bookkeeping services using a particular software package, or a physio that sells a certain brand of pillow.
Maintaining Your Backlinks
Link building should be an ongoing activity. Try allocating a little time each month to seeking new backlinks. Every time you create or refresh your content, consider who you could approach to link to it.
You can monitor your website’s backlinks via a free link checking tool, such as ahrefs.com/backlink-checker.
A Final Note
Good quality link building is important to your search engine ranking, and there are many ways you can do it yourself for free.
Link building can also be time consuming, and you may choose to outsource. If you do so, make sure the provider clearly explains how they will be seeking backlinks, and provides you with a list of links obtained. Check those links and make sure they’re not coming from a spammy or irrelevant website. This way you can avoid bad backlinks, which may cost you more in the end if your website gets penalised.
Happy (safe) backlink building!
Need help creating valuable content such as blogs, reports and lead magnets that others will want to link to? If you’re a service business in Australia, Keep Up Copywriting can help, with SEO-friendly content creation.
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