Link building remains the cornerstone of most search engine optimization efforts. According to Moz’s “2015 Search Engine Ranking Factors Study,” links have the strongest association with higher search rankings of all the (known) attributes used by Google in its core ranking algorithm.
But one of the most common issues for small businesses is the struggle to build quality links. Lacking unfamiliarity with current SEO best practices, many small firms still fall for the infamous black hat tactics to get links.
That is a mistake.
You see, search engines will continue to crack down on link exchanges, paid anchor placements and other shady approaches to building links.
Therefore, it is best to avoid these “old school” methods and focus on relevant, authoritative links that drive real traffic. Here are six ways to build such links for your small business website in 2016:
1. Partner with niche-specific influencers
Niche-specific influencers have connections with readers that bypass the “industry atmosphere” and form meaningful relationships. You can establish content partnerships with influencers who serve relevant content to your target audience.
For instance, you can be a regular contributor to their blogs and occasionally link out to your own landing pages. Consumers are more likely to trust these links over one or two sponsored posts for two reasons:
- They trust the influencer to only allow contributors who provide value; and
- a regular contribution from a small business owner/employee is seen as an honest contribution.
Consider the case of Paul Downs, a contributor at The New York Times’s You’re the Boss blog (now discontinued). He started a custom furniture business in 1986 and grew it over the years, sharing his expertise with other small business owners through his column.
He has a link back to his website from The New York Times. He achieved this link and exposure through his regular contribution to the blog, which offers advice to small business owners.
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