Intentional Link Building
What is intentional link building? It’s all about getting other websites to link to your website, called backlinks. This is a really important technique to boost your rankings in search results, because it’s the primary way Google establishes your website’s credibility, authority or prominence. Linkbacks may help Google establish who you are, your business and community connections, and serve as endorsements.
How many links to your website are needed to boost your SEO rankings? As you may imagine some very popular authors or sites have thousands of links. But all that’s needed are 10-20 high quality online connections to establish your website as authoritative. This in turn will significantly boost your rankings and may move you from page one thousand to page 1.
Here’s an article by noted SEO expert Neil Patel on how to get and use links to your website to boost your website’s rankings. You see I’ve provided a link to this article. Why? Because I find his content to be particularly insightful and useful. However, even similarly great content on your website will never be seen without a sufficient number of backlinks. Therefore, a backlink foundation must be part of your overall SEO strategy.
Local directories are of particular importance to local businesses because they contain location details. But while business directories are not of much value as a SEO ranking factor, if they get a million plus visitors a year, that can potentially drive traffic to your website. Having visitors to your website is good for your SEO if you’re writing top notch content. I think you can see that if people find your porthole to contain uniquely valuable information they might share it on social media or link to you from their website.
Amelia Wilson has written an article about directories that have value in 2019 in which you may want to be listed. Some of these are free to join like Yelp and some you’ll pay for BBB. She lists Google My Business, which is a directory for local business, but it’s more than that. This free listing is essential for local businesses and it’s worth your time to post there regularly.
I’m surprised by how much traffic some of these directories are getting, of which I wasn’t even aware. I can tell your that Yelp and Yellowpages are worthwhile places to be listed, so the search engine can verify your identity details: name, address, phone number (NAP) and your website domain name, i.e. URL. You should be only listed in directories that may potentially send you customers and hopefully to your website as well.
They Love Great Content
Great content is useful content that answers the question that brought the web surfer to your site. If it is really top-notch content people will want to remember it so they can refer to it later. Or if it’s exceptional they’ll link to it or share it on social media. So strive for that kind of content every so often.
National or regional certification boards or industry organizations may contain your profile online. If so, by linking to that page you’ll assist the search engine verify your identity and purpose. This will help them to know when it’s relevant to display your information in search engine result pages.
Your local chamber of commerce and business or neighborhood associations that you’re already involved with are great places to get backlinks. The rule is that your online links should mirror your offline associations. These are seen by Google as good information about you and your business. Most of these organizations keep a member list, and this list should be online. Or ask the person in charge of membership to add a member web-page for contact information, with a link.
Particularly esteemed by the search engine are links from government, school and non-profit organizations because they’re seen as impartial. What relationships do you have with any philanthropic that might earn you a link? Do you give to or volunteer with any; or do you host an activity at your business location? Hosting an activity may well require a link to your contact page for directions to your location. Also regular involvement with a non-profit could also earn you a mention.
If you are one of a few businesses that handle a particular product ask the distributor to list you and your location on their vendors page. If they won’t do that then they certainly would partner with you on a press release, such as through EIN Presswire (which is a subscription). This press release would state that their product can now be obtained from you, as a local vendor. And as EIN Presswire’s website states, the story might even be picked up by Google News. Lot’s of potential there.
Do you refer business to a company from whom you buy goods? Speak to your contact there and ask if you can supply a testimonial for their website. And if they appreciate it perhaps they will show it by linking to the author, be sure to ask for it.
Are there one or more businesses who currently send you referrals? Then it would be natural for them to give you a link and for you to acknowledge them on your site as well. You are seeking to have your offline relationships acknowledged, these days, online as well.
Available Online Tools
There is an online tool that you can use to see what websites are currently linking to your website, it is ahrefs.com. This same tool can be used to examine your competitors website, that rank ahead of you, to see where they have gotten their backlinks. Do you know someone who works there? If you have a connection you might be able to get a link too. Let’s find someone who works there. There is a free 7 day trial, enough to get what you need.
There is Facebook search tool by Intelligence Search that is also free. If you know of someone who works at a related-industry company you can use this tool to see who they know. Perhaps you’ll find that you have a mutual Facebook friend who could make an introduction or help you get the job done.
Featured in Local Publications
We all have local newspapers and various publications, and some of them are rather nice, like our Main Line Today. This is a good place to be featured as a local business of interest. If you know someone who works there perhaps you could getting them to write an article featuring you in their publication. And of course they’ll also have an online version, which would certainly include your contact information, including your website address, which hopefully is clickable.
Don’t know someone who works there? There is another online tool that can help. It is a free Facebook search tool. You can easily see who the authors and editors are at the publication by picking up a copy, and this search tool will tell you who they are connected with that you may know. Perhaps one of their Facebook friends you’ll also know, who could put in a good word for you and point them in your direction. Very handy little tool!
You’ll need to mine your community and business relationships that already exist to get some quality links to your website. You should never get links that don’t represent a relationship or endorsement, unless it’s a legitimate business directory.
Legitimate business directories are recognized by Google as a way to validate where and who you are. Stick with the reputable directories and don’t overuse them. But do use them because they can send traffic to your website.
There is a tool, ahrefs.com, that will tell you what sites are linking to you already. You can use this tool on your competitors websites as well and find out from where they’re getting their links. Maybe you could get in with some of these resources as well.
Writing unusual, unique, and informative content, or even old information that you have repackaged from your perspective, also makes quality content. People will share it or link to it if they really like it, that is providing they get a chance to read it. Link building is about making sure that they do!
I’ve been learning about SEO for nearly 20 years and recently my thinking has been influenced by David Mihm on this subject. He now runs an email marketing firm called Tidings. I have here largely repackaged, condensed and simplified David Milm for strictly end-user audiences on link building. This valuable information he imparted through a series of articles on local SEO in an interview with Yoast.com.