Strangely enough, many small and medium-sized businesses conscientiously neglect link building. They consider it as something they do not have time for. In fact, often SEO is viewed by small and medium businesses as something they do not need and something they can all avoid getting into.
But the reality is that if your business is really interested in being visible in Google and other search engines, then link building is something you simply cannot avoid. If your business will only benefit from increased traffic and search visibility, then you should consider link building very seriously. Be sure, that achieving search visibility is something that both medium and small-sized businesses can accomplish.
Moreover, it’s an illusion that only professionals and experts can do link building and you have to invest a lot of time and money to do it. The reality is that anyone who is determined to do it – can do it. Another common misconception is that you can’t really have decent link building without the content, however, believe it or not, but it is absolutely possible and viable to build link without content.
In fact, in this article we are going to explore several simple strategies that will help your small business build some reliable links to your website without investing in the content.
Image Link Building
One of the best and quickest strategies for your small business is image link building.
It is really easy to build reliable links to your website with the help of awesome images that your website might already have. If that is the case, it is quite possible that many other websites are already using the images from your website. Your move in this case is to contact such websites and ask their owners for a citation link.
Before doing that you will need to prepare a list of images that best associate with your brand or company and that could be used online on other websites.
Such images may include:
- Your company logo
- Pictures of your staff
- Branded graphics
- Photos of your company’s products
- Images of company facilities/buildings
You should consider anything and everything that has a strong association with your company or something exclusive and available only on your website.
Once you have completed the above list it is time for you to start looking for those photos and images online. To locate your images on other websites you will need to carry out a reverse image search. You will find several different ways to perform reverse image searching. Some of the best are:
The above tools employ different techniques in searching for your images, but all of them are easy to use and efficient, so it’s up to you which one to choose.
In a word, this type of search, i.e. reverse image search, will let you know where your business images are being used on the web. And after you get to know what websites precisely use your images, you will have to contact their respective webmasters and ask them to provide a citation to your website via a back link. As simple as that. Here’s an example of what you can write to such webmasters:
My name is [NAME] and I am writing to you because I noticed that you use my image [IMAGE NAME] on your website, specifically on this page: [PAGE URL]. First of all I would like to thank you for using it on your website, and secondly I just wanted to ask you to attribute my image with a link to my website which is [SITE URL].
I really appreciate your time and effort. Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
The above is just an example of what you can write. And, of course, the content of such letter will depend on the specific situation you might find yourself in. But the main thing to remember is that you have to always sound polite and professional. In most of the cases webmasters happily provide attribution links upon request from image owners.
Local Link Building
Employing local link building techniques is another pretty easy and quick way to get links.
These techniques include the following:
- Engage with your communities
- Provide testimonials
- Use local sponsorships
- Use local partnerships
Using local partnerships as a source of links is a great way for building solid and easy links to your website. In many cases such partnerships may already be there for your business and what you have to do is simply take a look at partners’ websites and check if they have a “Partnerships” page where a link back to your website may be included by their owners.
Another great option to build relevant and easy links to your website is to provide testimonials to businesses you regularly interact with. To do that, simply provide a testimonial to a company and ask them to include a link to your website as a citation.
Another quick and easy strategy that can lead to relevant links is using local sponsorships. If you support some activities of local charities or contribute to some special events, ask them to include a link to your website on their “Sponsors” page.
And the last, but not least, is to explore link building opportunities through engaging with your local communities. So, whenever your business is mentioned in a local news outlet or by local bloggers, just ask them to convert that mention into a link on their website.
In the same way you can ask for a link to your website to be included in the local event website, blog, etc.
You can explore other ways of getting links to your website through your local community, such as:
- Loyal customers with blogs and websites
- Business associations, community groups, sports associations
- Group interviews, group surveys
So the bottom line is that the above opportunities exist in your local community and you can get links by being involved in the life of your local community.
Fresh mentions are always great for businesses in terms of increasing their search visibility.
The strategy behind building links via fresh mentions is pretty similar to image link building via reverse image searching. The only thing is that instead of looking for images related to your brand you will be searching the web for brand mentions and terms.
But before doing the search you have to make sure that you have a comprehensive list of words and terms that are closely associated with your brand or company, for instance:
- Company name
- Brand name
- Product names
- Name of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or other prominent figures of your company
Once you have prepared an exhaustive list of brand terms, you will need to use a tool that will help you find mentions across the web. If you want to do it for free, then the best option would be Google Alerts, but a more comprehensive mention searching and monitoring is available via such paid tools as Mention or Fresh Web Explorer .
Similar to image link building you will have to contact webmasters via email and request them to insert a link to your website as an attribution. You may as well use a letter in the beginning of this article as a template to ask webmasters to add a link to your website. Also, do not forget about being polite and courteous.
And there’s another option for you to build quality links with zero content creation – and it’s called link reclamation.
This option is called link reclamation because it actually implies reclamation of lost or missed links. The most popular method is to retrieve links lost to 404 pages. It is a really great strategy for those who recently migrated or updated their website.
You can use such free suite of tools as Google Webmaster Tools to check which pages of your website are returning 404s. To do that, go to the “Crawl Errors” section and look for pages with the response code 404.
Then you need to note down the URLs of all the pages that return 404s and start looking for websites that link to such pages. You need to use a backlink tool to find inbound links pointing to 404 pages.
Here are some interesting options to do that:
- Open Site Explorer
- Cognitive SEO
- Raven Tools
After you find your linking pages you can start reclaiming your link equity. There are two options to fix your broken links: contact the webmaster of the linking site and ask them to adjust the link to point at your new page, or create a 301 redirect from the 404 page to a new page on your website.
Anyway, before reclaiming your link equity, we advise you to check the link quality to make sure that they are worth reclaiming.
Another great tip for you is to examine the backlinks of your competitors who have recently wound up their business. In this case you can contact websites and inform them that they are linking to businesses that do not exist anymore and it would be better for them to link to you instead.
Relevant Niche Directories (RNDs)
RNDs can be a very efficient option for small and medium business owners to build useful links to their websites. In this case words ‘relevant’ and ‘niche’ should be at the core of your strategy.
First of all you need to determine whether this or that directory can actually be useful to your potential customers. So you better focus on those directories that are devoted to a specific niche or industry relevant to the subject matter of your website.
Link opportunities can be explored in the following local resources:
- Chamber of commerce
- Local business directory
- Local business journal
- Local review websites
In addition, the above local resources can actually be very useful in terms of generating more traffic to your website and ultimately increasing your search visibility.