In a perfect world, you create such compelling content that relevant, rank-boosting links pour into your site auto-magically. You’re the authority and everyone loves you and shows their support with an unsolicited back-link.  You’re number one on Google for everything relevant to your business.  Life is good in this “if you build it they will come” dream of every site owner.

The reality of small business link building is a little more sobering.  Some links do happen naturally, but a lot of work has to go into getting those natural links.  And the more competitive the market the harder you are going to have to work at link building.

What is Link Building?

When our clients ask us to define link building, we take great care to explain that it is not the quantity of inbound links to your site that helps you rank well but rather the quality of those links. There are a ton of unethical link building companies out there which employ some pretty shady practices which end up hurting your website instead of helping it.

Link building is pretty much what it sounds like: the actions you take to garner relevant links from other websites.  Link building is the hard part of an SEO strategy.  We should all be able to build a search engine friendly website and get on-page SEO right, but link building requires dedication and creativity.  What worked great 6 months ago, as a link building tactic, may not be as effective today.

If you’re a small business with a website that is supposed to be contributing to your business, then link building should be a part of everything you do – whether you’re writing a web page or handing out a business card at a local chamber of commerce meeting.

Importance of Link Building

Inbound links or back-links to your site from authority sites are arguably one of the most important SEO variables that the search engines consider when ranking websites.

So, back-links = votes = better rankings = more traffic = more success.

The right back-link from the right authority site could be all that stands between your site and that oh-so-fickle #1 ranking on the Google SERP.

Method to Start Link Building

If you are new to link building, then start with what is easy.  Ask other related business that you already have existing relationships with for a link.  Ask friends.  Ask family.  Ask vendors.  You have got to get comfortable asking people for votes.  You are in a popularity contest, and after all what you’ve built is worth linking to, right?  One of the best links building tactics is to create content that you can be proud to promote and won’t hesitate to ask people to link to.

Method to Get Links

Link building starts with you creating something worth linking to. You have got to create lots of compelling and useful content: blog posts, videos, web pages, info graphics, etc.  Then you have to promote your content.

Start by sharing your content with the relationships you have already built your market and get busy forming new relationships.  Be involved.  Be an authority.  Create tools, lists, and content that other websites, bloggers, etc. will find relevant for their audiences.  Be deserving of links.

It’s going to take a lot of hard work and some creative link building tactics to get ahead of the competition.  Like we said earlier, link building is the hard part of small business SEO, and is the determining factor for who wins the rankings game in competitive markets.

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