10 Ways to Jumpstart Your Link Earning Efforts

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Congratulations, you’ve successfully created a website for your small business and have optimized it for search engines using our local SEO guide. But now what? How are you going to increase the visibility of your website both in the search engines and within your local community?

The next step is for you to have a healthy flow of inbound links driving to your website. But getting links to your website from external sites is not an easy task.

Why You Need Links

Having high-quality links pointing to your website is essential to your site ranking in search results. Linking is considered one of the most important factors in determining the ranking of a website in search engine results. In the eyes of search engines, a link from one website to another is viewed as a vote of confidence in the one being linked to. A link from a trustworthy source is an indicator to search engines that the target website is also credible itself. So, the higher the quality of the referring domain, the better.

Links are also an effective way to boost your brand’s visibility and reputation around your local community. If other local businesses or organizations in your area are linking to your website, it’s added visibility for your brand. If the link sends traffic to your website and you get a new customer out of it, it’s an even bigger win.

You may not know where to start since the process of earning new links to your website can seem quite daunting. Search engines like Google have become quite strict with identifying links that are paid for and will penalize sites that are using tactics that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. So, you must be very careful and tactical with the kinds of websites you plan to work with in building your backlinks.

Earning links has become quite the challenge, especially for small businesses that don’t have the time or resources to create the type of robust web-based content that will naturally drive links to it. Some work needs to be put in to jumpstart your link earning efforts, and we’re here to help you each step of the way!

Link Earning Ideas

Here are 10 ways you can earn new links to your small business website:

1. Sponsor an event in your neighborhood

Being a sponsor for a local event is the perfect way to get your company name out there – and increase your chances of earning some backlinks. Think about an event that has a connection to your business. For instance, if you own a small gym or yoga studio, you may want to sponsor an event held by a health and wellness organization. If the event you are sponsoring has a website, you can ask them to include your company name or logo with a link to your site. Also, if the event is large enough and is covered in online news, be sure to ask the media site to link to you.

2. Partner with local organizations

Promote your business with local organizations in your area. For instance, if you’re a local restaurant located next to a theatre/entertainment venue, ask the owners to include a link to your website as an option for dining before or after going to a concert or show. Look at which colleges or universities are located near your business and consider speaking to someone about getting a link to your business in their local directory.

3. Host a weekly activity or promotion

Running a weekly or monthly event or promotion could get you picked up in your local paper’s weekend things to do guide. Let’s say you own a small fashion boutique, try hosting a fashion show or wine and cheese night that gets the local media talking about your shop. Ongoing events are a good way to separate yourself from the competition – and a surefire way to earn that backlink!

4. Know your audience

Understanding who your target audience is and what kinds of websites they visit could help you uncover many opportunities for new links. A small bakery specializing in gluten-free desserts may want to partner with an organization like the National Celiac Association, which provides a directory of gluten-free restaurants by location.

5. Develop relationships with reporters and local news sites

Links from media websites are high quality because they are trusted sources of information. Are you launching your company? Are you opening a new store? Maybe your business just won a prize. These are potentially interesting topics for the local press and chances are high your news will get covered. But sometimes journalists could use some help, so don’t be afraid to get in touch with them yourself. The easiest way would be to purchase a journalist database. But a more cost-effective option could be to look through the website for the name of a journalist you’d want to target and send them a brief email with the highlight of your news. Don’t forget to leave your phone number and email. The journalist might want to interview you, so be prepared. Just don’t forget to ask for that link!

6. Build vendor relationships

Take advantage of partnerships with other vendors in your area as appropriate. You see this a lot with wedding vendors such as a photographer who might be associated with a videographer or a florist, or even a specific venue with which they are comfortable. There is no reason not to ask the vendors you work with to include a link to your website on theirs as a trusted partner.

7. Get creative

Coming up with a creative marketing campaign or slogan for your business will not only help you differentiate your business from the competition, but it can also give you a story to pitch to the media. Reporters and bloggers who cover marketing topics are looking for companies that take creative risks. If they like your creativity, they’ll write about you and add a link.

8. Utilize the area you live in

Is your business in a larger town square or local plaza? Does this larger space have a website where you could feature your link? A great example is Harvard Square in Massachusetts. Their site links to all the business websites that are part of the square. Let’s not forget about travel guides and magazines. These types of publications are looking for businesses like yours that stand out and could feature on their website. If your business has something to incentivize tourists, even better. Consider your options when it comes to your physical location, as there may be more opportunities to build up your link profile than you think.

9. Boost your social media presence

Social media is a perfect way to spread the news about your business and get noticed by local media. Use sites like Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest to identify trending hashtags that might be relevant to your business and start using them in your social posts. Social media is where you can promote what you are doing, such as a promotion for Small Business Week or Small Business Saturday, which could get noticed and then covered by local media.

10. Discover local business directories

Submit your business name and website URL to online local business directories or your local chamber of commerce. There are plenty of sites that curate information about local businesses but you want to find the ones that are relevant to your specific industry. Those are much more valuable as they will drive the right customers to your site.

About the Author

Michelle Levine is a senior digital marketing specialist on the organic search team at Vistaprint. Michelle is passionate about digital marketing and stays up to date on industry news and trends. You can follow her on Twitter @michellemlevine.

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