You have worked hard to build your business and put it in a position to grow. You have likely put together marketing material and pursued channels you didn’t even know existed. You have probably even done some optimization on your own site, but now you are at a point where you seem to be hitting an invisible barrier to improving your online presence and you can’t figure out why. In many cases, the answer comes down to a simple, yet oft-overlooked solution: backlink building. In this post we’ll discuss why links matter, and a couple of types of links that you can begin acquiring for your business: guest posts and directories.
Why Links Matter
A common misconception is that if a website is well-optimized with good keyword targeting and relatively free of critical crawl errors, then it will perform well with the search engines. Unfortunately, this mindset is leaving out 40-50% of how Google works! An absolutely crucial component of Google’s algorithm revolves around links. Links not only serve as the “highway of the web” in helping people and search engines navigate, but they also play a major role in helping Google identify how authoritative a website is. Imagine Google as a big popularity contest, and every link pointing to your website is a “vote.” The more votes you receive (or, the more links you have coming from other sites to your site) the higher you will rank. Google basically assumes that if there are a variety of websites that are relevant to your industry who are talking about you, then there must be something you’re doing well, which leads them to boost you in the rankings.
A common link for business owners to acquire is something called a Guest Post. This is an opportunity to contribute expertise in a given field to another website in return for the opportunity to put your name out there and receive a link in return. These can be extremely helpful in boosting your rankings but requires some effort. After identifying sites within your industry that write topics about your profession, you’ll need to reach out and see if they’re open to the opportunity. From there, collaboration is required in order to settle on the topic, and then content will need to be created and sent to the partner. Once it’s live, you’ll have a brand new link to your site.
Another fundamental type of link for most businesses is a directory link. These are website containing lists of businesses within certain categories. For example, Yelp is a directory containing lists of a wide variety of business categories. With directories, a simple Google search can yield monumental results. If you owned a Bike Shop, you would do a Google search for Bike Shop Business Directories. The results would likely yield site after site listing these types of businesses. From there, visit the site and reach out to see how to get your business listed. Some will require a listing fee, others are free. All of them will be valuable, especially if you have a local business.
Links are absolutely vital to the success of an online campaign, as they represent a major component of how Google works. By targeting guest posts and directories, you can kick-start your link building process and progress on the path to online visibility.