Driving organic traffic to your website can be challenging for anyone, but this is especially true if you’re a small business.
Many small business owners have to go up against well funded competitors who have been building their authority and brand presence for years.
One of the hardest parts of digital marketing is building links. It’s extremely time-consuming, and it may take many hours to get a single link.
Sure, you could pay a freelancer in a developing country $5 bucks to go put your website on link farms or shady websites, but that’s more likely to hurt you than help you.
The trick is to have a system in place, so your efforts pay off. To help you, we put together a list of time tested strategies. We’ll explain why they work, and how to execute them.
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Guest posting is the practice of writing content for other websites in your industry or niche. It shows your expertise in your subject, and in return, you get a relevant backlink.
This is one of the most popular inbound link building strategies and for a good reason – because it works. If your website is relatively new, guest posting is how you get your first links. Guest posting is a simple way to get your first links if you’re just starting out.
Starting and maintaining a blog is hard work. Writing content, promoting it, and building an audience can be a huge drain and requires a serious commitment.
When you post on other reputable sites that already have traffic and authority, you can bring their audience to your own site. All you need to do is write a quality post, submit it to the website that accepts article submissions and let their website do the work of promoting your content for you.
Here’s what you do:
Research relevant blogs in your industry or niche. Make a list, preferably on a spreadsheet. Look for a website with the same type of audience. If you run an SEO blog, look for popular websites specializing in digital marketing and SEO
For each blog or website, find a point of contact. Find out their name, contact info, email address, and social media profiles. Make a note of whether they’ve been featured on the news or what they’ve been posting on social media.
Brainstorm guest post topics. – Think of ideas for blog content that are interesting and relevant to the audience of their website.
Then, send them your pitch. Some people choose to use automation software like MixMax to automate their outreach, but for best results, personal emails are best. Try different subject lines and approaches until you find one that works for you. Review and see which emails get the best results.
After your topic gets approved, write your post. Create content that answers questions and solves a common problem. Write in a conversational tone.
If they like your submission and publish your post, ask if you can write for them again in the future. A regular guest posting opportunity will help build your backlink profile
Partner With Local Businesses and Business Associations
When you’re a small business, you’re not just a business – you’re part of your local community.
The same people who use your goods and services are the ones you meet when you get your morning coffee or later that day when you have a drink at the bar down the street. They’re your friends and neighbors and the people you see on special occasions and community events.
Try to find businesses in the same industry and find ways to work with them. If you own a hardware store, find a moving company. If you sell kitchen supplies, find restaurants.
Get in touch with them, and see if there are ways you can work together. Plan a social media giveaway where both of your products are bundled together. Offer referral discounts for customers who recommend you to each other.
- Identify the businesses near you that are most relevant to what you do.
- Find their contact information and get in touch with them.
- Discuss ways you can work together, including social media giveaways, influencer collaborations, PR or other kinds of partnerships
Offer to exchange links if they have resource pages or if they link to other similar businesses.
It doesn’t have to be individual partnerships either. Think bigger. Cities and small towns often have business associations intended to support their local business communities. They even have ones targeted to specific demographics such as the LGBTQ+ or Hispanic communities.
Reach out to them and inquire about membership. Specifically, ask if membership comes with inclusion in their online directory and a link to your website.
The latter part is what’s going to earn you the backlinks you need to be visible on Google.
You can also find local directories and review websites that are relevant to your niche. Getting featured in these is another good way to earn links.
Start an Expert Blog
Content marketing – making content on your website that your audience wants to link to – is the tried-and-true way to get backlinks to your website.
The content marketing space can be very competitive – but the good news is that you don’t need to compete with every business in your niche. You only need to compete with businesses in your region that have the same local audience that you do.
When you start your blog, create content that focuses on local issues. Focus on things they see and care about that are specific to the community.
Make it a goal to post as often as time allows you. Aim to publish at least once a week.
Of course, if you don’t have time, you can always hire a content writing service. The price of hiring writers will vary depending on their level of experience.
After you publish your content, there is still work to be done. People need to see it. Promoting content is critical part of your marketing strategy if you want your content to be found.
There are many ways to promote your content. You can share it on all your social media profiles. Publish your content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook Groups, Pinterest, and Instagram. You can create polished graphics and videos using software such as PosterMyWall. You can even use social media tools to share third-party content and bring users back to your own posts.
Find the comments section of popular blogs in your niche, and post there once a week. Answer questions on Quora that relate to your subject and include a link to your blog post at the bottom so they can learn more.
Find Local Influencers – and Partner With Them
Even with your own promotion, your content won’t generate links on its own. People have to link to it.
Use an influencer outreach tool to find the right people to talk to. You can also often find these people by browsing hashtags relevant to your business on Instagram and Twitter. Find influencers, whose core audience comprises your target followers. They should also have a decent-sized audience that consists of at least 1,000 followers.
Offer them a free product and/or cross-promotion in return for linking to your website – this directs the people who are already following them over to your own business. Your partnership with the influencer helps to build trust with the people you’re trying to reach out to.
You can often find valuable partnerships this way. Valuable, and very lucrative – by collaborating with these influencers you’re essentially making their audience your own. That is a whole target market who could use your products or services.
Get Covered by the Local Paper
Another great way to have your local business to get noticed is by appearing in your local newspaper.
Are you running a giveaway? Launching a new product? Sponsoring an event? Ring up the editor of your local paper and tell them about it.
Find a newsworthy story about how you’re contributing to your community, come up with an angle, and pitch the paper. Not only could you appear in print, but papers often post stories of interest on their website as well. You can use a website such as Help a Reporter Out (HARO), which enables journalists to connect with experts in issues relevant to their reporting.
You can write a press release to see if any of the local papers will find it interesting enough to publish. Remember: every news story needs to answer 5 basic questions: Who, What, When, Where, Why.
This is a great tactic for local businesses because Google loves news sites – it sees them as more trustworthy. Links from news publications are excellent for your website’s SEO health.
When you’re a small business, you have limited time and resources to spend on promotion. You need to run your business, after all.
That’s why you must be smart about your business’s promotion and tailor your strategy.
Building backlinks is a critical part of digital marketing that you can’t ignore if you want to drive organic traffic to your website.
There are several strategies at your disposal for getting back links to your small business’ website, including guest posting, partnering with local businesses and influencers, starting your own blog, or getting covered by your local paper.
By testing various methods and measuring the results, you’ll be able to find the strategies that work specifically for you and give you the best results.
Have you tried these strategies before? Which of them have worked for you? Tell us about them in the comments below!