Why Getting Backlinks Is A Lot Like Networking Read more in Duct Tape Marketing by John Jants
Getting backlinks is an important part of building your SEO strategy. When you have a sufficient number of backlinks from reputable sites, it signals to Google that your site is reputable as well. By establishing yourself as a trustworthy presence on the web, you may find that your pages rank ahead of your competitors in Google’s rankings, which are relative unknowns in the Googleverse.
But the prospect of rounding up backlinks can be intimidating. Anyway, how do you get people to link to your content? Well, in many ways, it’s a lot like networking. Here, I will show you how you can apply your existing networking skills to your backlink building efforts.
Start with Your Best Customers
When you send a new LinkedIn request, is it easier to text your former colleague, or cold-message a total stranger? The person who already knows and likes you in real life is much more likely to respond favorably to your networking request.
The same is true in the world of backlink building. If you have a local business, turn to some of your most valuable customers. Are they members of local communities where you can ask them to spread the word about your business?
Perhaps you have a dry cleaning business, and some of your regular customers are all members of the same church. Consider asking if they will add you to a church directory, which includes local businesses that can help prepare members for special events at the church, such as holidays or celebrations (where they dress in their best or best). Could be wearing a suit and need a dry cleaner later (fact).
offer something in return
After talking to your customers, look at a list of businesses in your community with whom you have already established strategic partnerships. If you are a local contractor, do you have an architect you usually work with? Maybe you run a coffee shop that sells pastries from a local bakery. Anyone who is an existing partner or supplier is a potential backlink-sharer!
Whatever the case, ask this business if they want to link your site to their site. And then offer to do the same for them. It’s a win-win, and another smart way to gain mutual benefit from your current relationship.
sponsor local events
Local events are a great way to show your name to the community. It shows that you have invested in the city or town where you have decided to open shop, and adding your name to a good cause has never hurt any small business!
When you sponsor a local event or donate to the cause, this is a great opportunity to ask the event host to link back to your website. If you are one of the event hosts, ask if they will include you logo on their homepage and link to your site from there. If you’ve donated an item to their silent auction or provided a food booth free of charge, it’s worth asking for a shout out on the event webpage.
Take advantage of existing networks
Beyond your personal relationships with people in the community, it is likely that you are already part of some local network. Maybe you’re an alumnus of a nearby college or private high school. When you started your business you probably joined the local Chamber of Commerce.
Most of these existing networks are already reaching their areas. Your alma mater will likely have a newsletter containing class notes highlighting the achievements of their graduates. Your local chamber of commerce probably has a directory of businesses that are members or part of the local community. Make sure your business is listed in the resources these existing networks maintain!
Get Mentions in the Media
Local press releases are another great way to build backlinks. Start by making connections with the people in your local publications. When you have a newsworthy event—for example, you want to announce the grand opening of a new venue or you’ve organized your first Halloween celebration for local kids—contact the person who appears in the local newspaper. Handles news or events.
Instead of sending a “to whom it may belong” email, take the time to research and find out their name. If you didn’t know them before, that personalized touch can be very helpful in getting the attention of your message. Attach your press release, and instead of focusing on what getting published can do for you, provide a brief description of why the story will be of interest to the community. Finally, be sure to include links to your website within the press release, so that you can get backlinks when they post it on their online publication.
Building backlinks is an essential part of a strong SEO strategy. And while it may sound intimidating at first, if you think of it as an extension of your existing networking efforts, it suddenly becomes less intimidating! Tapping into the relationships you already have within your community can help you quickly build the backlinks you need to gain credibility with Google and other search engines.
If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to SEO.