An often neglected search engine ranking factor, link-building can help your improve your website’s PageRank and lead to better search results in Google.
Getting links from other websites, whether from a blog post, news article or partners page, improves your websites PageRank. PageRank is determined by how many links website “A” receives from websites “B” and “C” and impacts your position in Google search results. Check out Rob Chant’s introduction to Google PageRank for more information on how link-building impacts search engine results.
Essentially, more incoming links tells search engines that people find your website relevant and that other people may, too. That said, it is important to focus on gaining inbound links from reputable websites such as industry associations, and placing less priority in obtaining links from, say, industry blog directories.
So, how do you get links to your site? Here are some areas we recommend our client’s focus on when link-building.
Joining professional organizations and accreditation associations is not only a great way to give your business a competitive edge, but also a great opportunity to network with other reputable businesses and link-build. Organizations such as the Better Business Bureau, your local Chamber of Commerce, industry-specific organizations and professional organizations such as IIAT, are great opportunities for link building. If you are a member of an organization make sure your business is listed on the organization’s website (often found in some form as “Find a … in your area”). In addition, make sure your website includes a link to the organizations and associations you are a part of.
To help our clients improve their results on Google, we encourage our small business owners to partner with and reach out to other local businesses. Adding a Partners page to your website, which features links to partnering businesses, is a great way to encourage other businesses to include your link on their website.
Locate potential business alliances in your community and ask them to add a link to your business. If you are an independent insurance agent, it’s natural to partner up with a realtor or other closely related business. If you have a solid relationship with other business owners, ask for referrals in related industries while you’re at it.
The Partners page is great, however, keep your link-building to a small relevant group of reputable businesses and avoid receiving a laundry list of linking partners. Google penalizes excessive linking referred to as link schemes.
If you’re not already blogging for your business, now might be a good time to start. Creating great content is the best way to receive links from other websites naturally and is one of the most favored link-building tactic.
To increase your inbound links try guest posting for an industry-related blog by pitching a blog topic to a fellow blogger. Make sure there’s a link to your website within the post. If they decide to feature your post it will include a link back to your website. Another way to link build on blogs is by commenting on other blog posts and including your website as a tagline. For example, if you are an insurance agent you may want to comment on a blog about hurricane preparedness, reminding folks that having proper home insurance is essential to hurricane preparedness and including a link to your website.
In addition to helping find new leads, visiting forums such as Linkedin and answering questions related to your field can provide additional links back to your website. While these links are not normally as effective as some other forms of link building, they do spread your message and create additional links to your site.
Purchasing links is discouraged. Not only because your website can receive penalties for engaging in link schemes, but also, you often do not know from whom you are receiving links before you buy.
Our clients should only receive relevant links from sites with good reputations. Keep in mind when you purchase links, it is hard to tell what website your links will appear on, and how relevant those websites will be. Having a link to your website on irrelevant or non-credible sites can actually result in your website being penalized for appearing on low-quality or spam websites. When working to establish inbound links for your website, it is important to keep high business standards and not associate with businesses or organizations that may represent your own business in a negative light.