Do-It-Yourself Link Building
Getting links from other sites to your website is critical for good placement in search results.
SEO agencies such as ours can help with link acquisition in a variety of ways, but there are link building efforts that depend on your own business relationships and marketing initiatives.
We strongly recommend that you designate someone in your company to be responsible for links, and that you allocate a few hours each month to conduct link building activities.
You can use a simple spreadsheet to keep track of your efforts and results.
Where to Get Links – Use Your Contacts!
The key to getting links is to ask. Don’t be embarrassed or shy – it’s important to your business. And if you make it a regular practice, it gets easier.
Here are some of the most common sources of links:
Professional Associations & Trade Groups – if your company or your employees belong to industry groups or professional associations, request links to your website.
Chamber of Commerce – if you join a local Chamber of Commerce, you can usually get a listing in a business directory, with a link to your website.
Industry Directories, Local Business Directories – search for online directories relating to your industry, or your city, and look for an “add listing” button or link.
Conferences – if you or your employees speak at a meeting or conference, ask if you can get a link to your site in the online conference agenda or credits.
Educational Institutions – links from “.edu” websites carry a great deal of weight. Most schools allow faculty members and lecturers to create pages on their website. If your employees or business associates have pages on a .edu website, ask for a link!
Partners, Suppliers – if you have established business relationships, ask your partners for a link to your website. Consider offering to “exchange” links (but see cautions in the Thing to Avoid section).
Satisfied Clients – if you have clients or customers who are highly satisfied with your work, ask if they would be willing to provide a link to your website.
Rating and Review Websites – be sure your business is listed on rating and review websites (general websites like Yelp.com, as well as industry-specific sites like LawyerRatingz.com), and be sure to include a link to your website.
News Stories – whenever you are interviewed or contacted regarding press coverage, but sure to request a link!
Videos – producing video content and posting it on YouTube can be a powerful marketing tool. If you use YouTube, be sure each page has a link back to a relevant page on your website.
You may be uncomfortable asking strangers, or even friends, for links. You need to get past your discomfort, because asking for links is the key to building your site’s rank. Remember, if you’ve built a good page, people will want to link to it!
Keep your requests polite, short, and to-the-point. Here are a couple of examples:
“I see that your car repair blog has links to a lot of resources for auto maintenance. I’ve written a page on the ins-and-outs of transmission repair, and I think your readers would find it a helpful resource. Would you consider linking to it? The URL is http://xyz.com/transmissions. I’d also welcome any feedback you might have so I can improve the page.”
“Hi Joe. My company has been buying widgets from you for 10 years. We’re really happy with our business relationship, and the great service you’ve given us. We’re working on building up our web traffic to increase our business. Would you consider adding a link from your website to ours? Feel free to list us as a satisfied customer, and I’d be glad to give you a nice testimonial quote if you’d like. Please give me a call if you have any questions.”
As you can see, the requests can vary depending on who you are asking for a link. Keep it short and simple, and be clear and direct about what you are requesting.
I recommend a follow-up if you don’t get a response in a week to ten days, and another follow-up after that. People are busy! Just because they don’t respond to your initial request doesn’t mean that the answer is “no.”
Where to Get Links – Posting Articles
Article Posting Sites
Can you write an interesting and informative article relating to your business?
There are many sites where you can sign up to post an article, and include links to your site, either in the body of the article, or in the author “signature.” Here are a few sites that we use:
You’ll need to write a unique article for each site; otherwise search engines will apply a “duplicate content penalty.” The articles can be variations on the same information or idea, but each should be written from scratch – don’t copy and paste. Depending on the site rules, your article can include one or more links to your site.
You can also look for websites or blog that post articles relating to your business. Contact these sites to see if they accept guest posts. A guest post is an article that you write – after talking to the site owner and agreeing on a topic. The guest post will include a link back to your site, typically in an author credit line.
To find site that may accept guest posts, try the following searches in Google:
- business +”guest post”
- business +”write for us”
- business +”submit an article”
Of course, you’ll replace the word business with your own type of business, such as auto repair, dermatology, art classes… whatever you offer or want to write about!
Here’s an example of what to search for:
- dog training +”write for us”
Good Links and Better Links
Links are good, but some are better than others. You want to boost your website presence for specific keywords, and if you can incorporate those keywords in the link text, it will boost your site’s performance for those keywords. So when requesting links, ask for wording that includes your keywords!
To find a pet-friendly luxury apartment, click here.
To find a pet-friendly luxury apartment, visit Monarch Apartments.
Find a pet-friendly luxury apartment.
Tracking Your Efforts
Getting links to your website takes time and persistence. The best thing you have going for you is that most of your competitors will give up… so stick with it!
Set up a simple spreadsheet. List the URL of each site you approach, and the contact information:
|Contact Email -or-
Contact Page URL
|Page Where Link Appears (URL)
Things to Avoid
Paid Links – don’t pay for links! Paid directories charge far more than the links are worth. In addition, Google does not consider paid links to be “legitimate” and may discount paid links, or even penalize your site.
Link Exchanges – yes, it’s OK to “swap links” with a few business partners. If you have a good relationship, it’s perfectly natural to recommend one another! But if you exchange links with other sites on a large scale, just to get links, Google will discount the exchanges and possibly penalize you.
Online Press Releases – services that charge several hundred dollars to distribute your press release to hundreds or thousands of outlets have little or no value. Google does not count the backlinks from these automated press releases.
If you do have newsworthy information, work with a legitimate publicist who can get your release to real news organizations (and be sure to include your links!)
Metro.Agency provides a full range of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and link-building services. Contact Us for details!