SEO Tips for Small Business: How to Get Good Links - Page 2

By James A. Martin
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How to Get Good Links

Not surprisingly, getting good-quality links to your site is more difficult than optimizing your content with keywords. Often, you can’t control if, how, or when another site links to yours. And it takes time. You can’t expect to get dozens of quality links overnight. You can buy links, but Google and other search engines frown upon such “black-hat” tactics. And in extreme cases, the practice can actually cause search engines to penalize your site.

Nonetheless, there are “white-hat” strategies to follow to get links to your pages. Here are some techniques to try.

Create link bait. Write informative, useful, provocative, newsworthy or otherwise “viral” Web content and get the word out about it (more on that topic in a minute). Once other people discover and appreciate your content, they’re likely to post links to it on their own sites.

But don’t make your content overly sales-y. “Eighty percent of searches are done by people looking for information, rather than looking to buy,” says McGee. “A really useful page offering recommendations about how to use an acne treatment will more likely get linked to than a page that simply sells the treatment,” he explains.

Include links to relevant pages on your social media updates. Once you’ve created that fabulous content, spread the word on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, FriendFeed or other social network and include a link to the content. Sites such as Ping.fm allow you to post to multiple social networks simultaneously and will automatically shorten URLs for you.

Write and distribute press releases. If you’ve got news to share about your company, write a puff-free press release and include a keyword-rich anchor text link to a relevant page on your site. You can submit your release to PR sites, such as PRLog and PRWeb, for free or a fee (depending upon the site).

The release will be posted to the PR site, so you’ll now have a link from that site to yours. News organizations, bloggers and others may post your news on their sites with the link or, even better, interview you for an online article.

Suggest the anchor text. If a blogger or someone in the media writes about your company, give them the URL of an appropriate landing page on your site as a link. Suggest the anchor text for the link too; use a keyword you want to rank highly for in search engine queries. They might ignore your request, but it never hurts to ask.

Link to others as you’d have them link to you. If you link to sites in a positive way, those sites are likely to return the favor. Contact people you know with Web sites and discuss how you might legitimately link to one another. In other words, be generous with links yourself and use old-fashioned networking skills to build links to your site.

Do competitive link-building. Do your competitors have more links than you? If so, it’s time to try some competitive link building, Fishkin suggests.

Here’s how: Perform a search in Google, Yahoo or other search engine using a keyword or phrase for which you’d like to rank highly. Examine the first page of search results. From among those results, copy a URL of a competitor’s Web page.

Next, go to Yahoo Site Explorer. Paste that URL into the blank search field at the top of the browser page and click the Explore URL button. Under Results, click the ‘Inlinks’ tab to get a list of external Web pages that link to the URL you pasted.

In effect, you’ll then have a road map of external pages that link to your competitor’s Web page. Armed with that information, you can contact the Webmasters of those pages. Tell them about your site, explaining why it may be of importance to their readers. Ask the Webmaster to add a link to your site, too. This can be time-consuming, so pick and choose the sites to pursue carefully. 

Submit your site to one or more directories. For free or a fee, you can get your site listed, with a link, in one or more online directories, such as DMOZ, Yahoo Directory, Business.com and Yellowpages.com. CitySearch and Yelp can also provide SEO-boosting links to your site. Consider submitting your site to your local Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce directories, too. Look for directories particular to your business or industry as well. 

Organize and sponsor events. You’ll increase the chances that bloggers, Facebookers, tweeters and others reporting on those events will link to your site.

Leaving blog comments might — or might not — help. Many Web sites and blogs have dedicated areas where visitors can leave comments with embedded links. Some believe this is an effective way to get external links to their sites and, hence, boost their search result rankings.

The truth is, many spammers use this technique. The result: Most search engines place less trust in these links than in links contained within genuine editorial endorsements.

However, regularly leaving comments can be a great way to get on a blogger’s radar, says McGee. The blogger may end up writing about you — and include a link to a relevant page on your site.

It’s All About Attracting Customers

Ultimately, your goal should be to acquire lots of keyword-rich links to relevant pages on your site from sites that are trusted, popular and authoritative. It’s not easy, and it won’t happen quickly. But when combined with your keyword SEO efforts, you can boost your site’s ranking in search results. And that’s an important step toward attracting potential new customers online.

James A. Martin is an SEO content writer for businesses and the co-author of Getting Organized in the Google Era (Broadway Books).

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

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This article was originally published on December 07, 2009
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