Small Business SEO: 5 Easy Link Building Tactics You Can Start Today

Oftentimes, small to medium sized businesses, abbreviated SMBs, do not consider how important link building is to their business. Furthermore, these companies often see SEO as a waste of time and money.

Actually, link building is one of the best ways to increase your visibility and your profits. Link building helps increase your online visibility and traffic to your website. Link building does not need to be difficult for small business owners.

Any business can build links

However, it does require hard work and determination. Many business owners believe that they need to invest a lot of time and money creating content. However, you can build links without creating content.

Although content marketing and link building work well together, they are not dependent on one another. Each of these two strategies serves different purposes and should be handled differently by the business owner.

Having content on your website will make building links easier. If you have the budget to invest in content or the time to produce the content yourself, you should do this. If you are like a lot of businesses, you do not have the money or the time to create or purchase content. This does not mean that you can’t build links.

The following tactics can be used to help build links without creating content. These tactics include:

  • Image link building
  • Local link building
  • Link reclamations
  • Fresh mentions
  • Relevant Niche Directories (RNDs)

Each of these can help build links without requiring content. If you own a small business and do not have the money or time to create content, the aforementioned techniques can help you build high-quality links for your website.

How to Build Links Using Images

The first and easiest strategy you should employ when building links is image link building. If you have images on your website, there is a good possibility that these images are used on other websites. To build links using images, find other sites using the same images and ask for a citation link.

To make image link building easier, compile a list of images that are associated with your brand and may be used elsewhere online. These images may include:

  • Branded Graphics
  • Company Locations
  • Employee Headshots
  • Logos
  • Photos of Your Products
  • Photos of Your Building

When you are looking for images that you can use in link building, look for images that are closely tied to your business. Once you have gathered a list of images, it is time to begin scouring the web looking for them.

You can use a reverse image search to find images. There are a few options that can do a reverse image search, including Google image search, Image Raider and TinEye. Each of these work differently but they will be able to find the images that are on your list. Choose the one that you like the best and use it to search for your images.

A reverse image search will help you locate everywhere you images are being used online. Once you have discovered the locations of these images, contact the webmaster using your images and inquire if they will link back to your site using a citation. Here is a form letter you can use when contacting a webmaster:

To whom it may concern,

I am reaching out to you because I saw that you are using my image [image name] on your site. This image is located on this page: [page URL]. First, I want to thank you for using my image. Secondly, I am writing to ask if you would attribute my image by providing a link back to my site [site URL]. Thank you and please contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,
[Your first and last name]

You may need to custom tailor your message depending on the situation; however, this template should help guide you. Always be polite and courteous when requesting a link back. Typically, webmasters will happily provide a citation or attribution link.

How to Use Local Link Building

Another quick and easy way to build links is through local link building. There are several techniques that can be used to build local links. Forming local partnerships, providing local sponsorships, engaging with your community and giving testimonials are all great ways to build local links.

Local partnerships may already exist between you and others in your community. Many times all you need to do is ask for a link. Look at companies in your area that you have partnered with and see if they have a page that they list links to their partners.

Even if your company does not have any partnerships, you can build links by giving testimonials that you do business with. These links are great because they link you through public endorsement. When doing a testimonial, speak with the company and ask if they will include a link to your website as a citation.

Local sponsorships are another great way to increase local link building. Charities often have a website with a page that lists their sponsors. By sponsoring a local charity, you can ask if they can include your link on their sponsor’s page. This is a great way to help your community and help build name recognition of your company through link building.

Engaging with your community is another way to help build links. If you are involved in an event and there is local news coverage of the event, you have an opportunity to get a link on the news outlet’s website. If the news mentions your business when they are reporting on an event, ask if they can turn the mention into a link.

Additionally, if you can find another event website, it is recommended that you link there too.

Within other local communities, there will be link opportunities which will include:

  • Your loyal customers that have websites
  • Community groups and business associations
  • Group surveys/interviews

You will find that these opportunities will exist inside of your local community, and by simply getting involved, you can build links once you have reached out to where the opportunities exist.

Fresh Mentions

It is also possible to find what are called fresh mentions which are perfect for medium and small businesses.

Fresh mentions are perfect for building links, something similar to image link building which is helpful with reverse image searching. The main difference is that you are not looking for related images, but instead looking for similar brand mentions and terms.

It is very important to cast a wide net when you do any of this searching. You need to consider all of the terms associated with your company by compiling a list as follows:

  • Brand
  • Company name
  • Product
  • CEO

After you have a brand-new list of terms that you have organized, you need to use a tool that will allow you to find mentions across the web. A free option is called Google Alerts, but if you want to do better monitoring and more comprehensive mention searching, you need to use Fresh Web Explorer or Mention.

You do need to reach out, usually by email, to other webmasters that have actually mentioned your brand and see if they will include a link directly on their website as what is called an attribution. You can utilize this strategy, similar to how email is used, and I provide an example of image link building to help you understand. Again, remember to be professional and polite when contacting these businesses.

Link Reclamation

Another strategy that does not require any content creation is called the link reclamation strategy.

This is referred to as a link reclamation because it actually involves reclaiming a missed link equity, or a lost link equity. A very common method that is used in the process of link reclamation is by retrieving 404/dead pages. This is a wonderful strategy to use, especially if your website has migrations, or if you have recently done an update.

If you do not know which particular pages are returning 404s, Google Webmaster tools can be used to easily identify them, you simply go to the “Crawl Errors” section and start looking for pages that actually have a response code 404.

After obtaining all of these URLs, on each of the pages on your site that have 404s, you can then find websites that will link to those pages. You can find inbound links that are actually pointing to the 404 pages using backlink that can do this job.

Here are a few great options which include:

  • Majestic
  • Open Site Explorer
  • Ahrefs
  • Cognitive SEO
  • Raven Tools

After you have found the linking pages, reclaim your link equity. In order to fix the broken links, you have a couple of options: contact each of the webmasters that are linking to your website and have them adjust the link in order to point to a brand-new page, or you could simply create what is called a 301 redirect, from that 404 page, pointing to a new page on your website.

It really depends on the situation that you are facing such as one option could be much more appropriate than the other, but you have to remember to check the link quality just to make sure it’s worth reclaiming the link.

If you find yourself struggling in order to find these links that are going to dead pages, it will be easy to broaden your search to find more opportunities for examining back links, specifically from competitors that may have gone out of business. Using 301 redirects, this would be your best option. You could contact these companies, tell them that they are linking to a website that is no longer there, and that it would be better to link to you.

Relevant Niche Directories (RNDs)

One final possibility is to use what are called the relevant niche directories which can be a very viable way to build SMB links.

You can use RNDs to build useful links on, but these websites must be relevant or niche specific. If you start building links that are on irrelevant directories, or if the quality of the website is low, it is still a viable option to consider.

For me, the best criteria to consider when evaluating a directory is to simply consider if it’s going to be a viable option or not.

For example, if there is a directory that has a very broad spectrum of categories and content, and there are links that are pointing to several different verticals, you really don’t want to get a link from this directory. However, if you are looking at a directory that focuses on a very specific niche, one that is relevant to your website, this is definitely a good option to consider.

Additionally, a hyper focused local directory is another possibility to consider. Any local directory that pertains to relevant businesses in your community should definitely feature your website.

Examples of link opportunities from local resources will include:

  • Local business directory
  • Chamber of commerce
  • Local business journal
  • Local review sites

One of the benefits of getting links from local directories is that they don’t have to be niche specific, and are actually very useful at driving traffic to not only your website, but also to your physical store.

In closing…

As you can imagine, link building may not be for every business, but if you are trying to get more visibility within the search engines, link building is a must.

If you decide to build links; there really are no tricks, as it is simply hard work mixed with a lot of dedication. Some people believe you must put a lot of effort into content creation in order to get links, but you really don’t have to do that at all.

It is definitely true that you can supercharge your link building with engaging content, but it’s not always necessary. You don’t even have to have the ability to add fresh content all the time, as you can still build links using these quick win strategies that have just been outlined in this article.

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