When a website places links to other websites in its content, those links are called backlinks. Algorithms used by Google and other search engines determine whether website content containing backlinks is authoritative and relevant to search queries. And most importantly, the number of backlinks search engines find is one of many factors they use to score a website’s authority and value.
Here’s an example
Bob’s Mowing Service publishes a blog recommending certain types of fertilizer to use on grass in the spring. One of Bob’s good friends is Sam, the owner of a mulch, sod, and fertilizer business. Bob hyperlinks to Sam’s company URL in the blog, offering readers a trusted place to buy fertilizer. It’s an online way of vouching for another business. Bob just used backlinks in his blog for Sam’s benefit.
Are all backlinks equal?
Nope. Google’s algorithms try to determine how helpful a backlink is to users. It scores backlinks from well-regarded websites much higher than those from lesser-known sites. Links from trustworthy .edu, .gov, and .org websites are particularly sought after among SEO professionals.
Google can also detect whether a website’s content is poorly written, “spun content,” or unnaturally stuffed with keywords. Implementing blackhat SEO techniques involving backlinks could cause Google to significantly demote your website or remove it from search results altogether.
Got all that? Great! Let’s delve into nine ways your small business can earn backlinks online!
Regularly publishing unique, well-written content on your website cannot be stressed enough if you want others to backlink to your site. Who wants to put a backlink in their content that sends people to a lousy page? Produce content that helps users and entices other sites to link to you.
Email website owners or send them a message on their social media account, asking if they will backlink to your site. Just make sure the website you want to backlink your company’s URL deals with products or services similar to or exactly like your products or services.
When you write a guest post for a website, you can offer your unique insight to a new audience. And there’s no rule that says you can’t insert a link to your website. Guest posting works especially well if you post articles on authoritative websites associated with your products or services.
When you offer a helping hand to your community, it gives websites a legitimate reason to link to you. At 1SEO, we helped an eCommerce auto parts company offer scholarships to young adults looking to pursue secondary education. The campaign helped the site earn valuable .edu and .gov backlinks, and combined with other SEO improvements, the site saw improved rankings and a 39% increase in new users.
A resource that is sorely underused for generating backlinks is HARO, short for “Help a Reporter Out.” Journalists are always searching for meaty, accurate resources to support their articles, and HARO is where many of them find such resources. Sign up to receive several “source request” emails each day. If a reporter uses your information, you’ll be rewarded with a backlink to your website in the reporter’s article.
People like infographics because they can get a lot of valuable information quickly by perusing a visually appealing and easy-to-understand graphic. If you feel adventurous, you can try creating your infographic on Piktochart or other free online infographic creators. Or write content and put together information, and let 1SEO’s professional creative team create an infographic for you.
Don’t overlook great user experience on your website. Nobody wants to send their audience to a site that loads slowly, looks ugly, or isn’t mobile-friendly. These factors affect your overall site SEO as well.
Informative, DIY, and “how to” eBooks are in-demand by millions of readers. Write an eBook about your company and get in-depth about how your products and services can improve a reader’s life. Share your eBook on Medium, write guest posts for like-minded websites that include a link to your eBook, and contact website owners about backlinking to your eBook.
No business is too small to create a resource page that provides useful and interesting information related to your products, services, or location. For example, if you run a pet store offering pet grooming services, share information on the best grooming techniques for certain breeds of dogs and cats. Some small businesses have luck generating backlinks by publishing a resource page about local tourist attractions, city amenities, and anything else unique about their city.
Some business owners have taken advantage of online directories that often contain thousands of links used by people searching for information about all sorts of topics. However, because there are hundreds of these online directories and because many of them are designed only to provide links to search engines themselves, it’s best to avoid them and stick to proven methods of generating backlinks.
Don’t participate in automated link exchange programs. For the most part, they are ineffective and disadvantageous because they will link you with low-quality, illegitimate websites that provide no value to users.
Google may penalize you if they detect that links were gained through an exchange program. Play it safe and stay away from reciprocal link exchanges, direct backlinks exchanges, and webrings.
Backlinks Are Worth the Effort
Generating backlinks for your small business website can be a bit time-consuming and tedious, but don’t give up. Staying dedicated to getting high-quality, authoritative backlinks can put you on Google’s “good side,” raise your search rankings, increase your web traffic, and grow your revenue.