When starting a new business, the amount of digital marketing jargon can be overwhelming and somewhat drowning. From the visceral techniques of brand marketing to the ever-growing list of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools and musts, even the smallest business can find themselves overloaded with new pathways and play designs that ultimately lead to nowhere. One of these oft-discussed business ideas is link building.
Whether you are a small brick-and-mortar or an entirely online shop, you need to have an online presence to garner the attention of potential customers. After all, even physical consumers look online before walking into a store. Therefore, you need to adhere to at least some of the basics of digital marketing and SEO.
While extensive concepts like SERPs and coding may be easily overlooked by green business owners, link building can be worth the effort, and requires little-to-no experience in SEO.
Should you worry about link building? Should you put any valuable time into it? Let’s discuss!
What Is Link Building
Before we begin to dive into the should, we should take the time to discuss what exactly we are speaking of. After all, if you are entirely new to running your business online, link building may sound like a high-brow concept that only those with fancy degrees can understand.
At its core, link building is a fairly simple concept.
In the simplest of layman’s terms: Link building is when another website refers directly to your website. For example, if your business site has a product that relates to a blog site’s article, they may ‘link’ directly to that product’s URL. Now, when a person reads the blog post, they can click directly on the link, taking them to your site.
Google and other search engines look at your website’s backlinks to see how they should rank you. If you are featured on various high-profile websites, Google will consider you a high-profile site as well.
For less layman’s terms, there are three major types of links. We will try to break them down as simply as possible (avoiding various code and teach-literary terms. You’re a business owner, not an SEO expert).
Nofollow links are when a website refers to yours but doesn’t want to pass PageRank scores to you. Basically, they feel the need to refer to your site (i.e. sharing a statistic or quote you’ve provided), but they do not want to tie themselves to you in an advertising way.
They aren’t endorsing your site and actively sharing it as an advertisement. They don’t want to share their domain authority with you.
These backlinks are still valuable in link building, though. With the lack of authority sharing, Google and other search engines don’t allow the link to build your authority, but your site is still getting out there to more viewers.
The opposite of nofollow, dofollow links let search engines know that the referring site does trust you and wants to endorse you, sharing their authority with your site.
For example, if a blog refers to your product page and finds your products to be extremely useful or cool, they will post a do-follow link. This works as an endorsement. The referring site didn’t need to link your page (as a reference or source) but thought you were worth sharing. A small and friendly advertisement, if you will.
Obviously, these are significantly more useful than nofollow links. If a big site gives you a follow link, Google sees it as a huge boost in your domain authority (we’ll get to that).
Every time you post your website on other sites, you are creating a personal link. Duh.
Directories like YellowPages, Google Maps, and Yelp will require a website link when you set up your profile. Like anytime your website is listed, this will be considered link building.
At the end of the day, your business should be featured in every major directory so potential clients can find you. Meaning, these are easy backlinks that should come naturally with the basic first steps of business building.
We spoke about it in our article —
Starting a Business? Here Are 5 Must-Haves for Success.
If potential customers cannot find your business when they search for local companies in your field, you might as well not exist. Therefore, it is crucial (and we mean crucial) to have your business listed on all location-based apps. Google Maps, Apple Maps, whatever. You need to be on there.
Furthermore, having a website can only boost attention, even if your business is an in-person store. You don’t have to sell items online to need a website. Having a website works as both establishing a brand and advertising. It’s critical to long-term success, even if it isn’t important to the business plan itself.
If you are running your business completely online, then this is all extremely obvious.
But Why Is Link Building Important?
Ultimately, every first step in the world goes through the internet. If a citizen wants to find a place to buy, say, a used guitar, they are going to search for used instrument stores on a search engine. Unless a potential customer has heard about a place through word of mouth or seen it while passing by, they are most likely to search for it online before making a move.
I Google Maps where I am going before I even step out of the front door.
As stated, regardless of if you are a brick-and-mortar location, you still need to bolster your internet presence. Customers will search for local stores before going to them. It’s not all online businesses fighting for the top of Google’s rankings.
With all this in mind, being at the top of Google’s results will call for a significant boost to your customer base and popularity, even if just throughout your local community. Getting to the top of the search results involves working in the realm of SEO, and according to Search Engine Land, links are one of the top two criteria considered in Google’s page ranking algorithm.
SEO is important. Link building is important to SEO. Therefore, link building is important to improving your business.
I Don’t Want to Hassle With SEO
As we stated in our latest article about social media usage for businesses, nearly 40% of small businesses are not present on social media. They all still exist.
Of course, social media and SEO are fairly different (though overlapping) realms. The point still remains the same: small businesses can survive by being online. Small businesses survived without link building for centuries before the implementation of search engines into daily decisions.
Will it help increase your business? Absolutely. Is it a necessity to survive as a physical store? No.
The matter at hand is time and resources. The reason we press link building so much is that it can be as simple as you make it. You can put as little or as much time into the task as you want, and still eventually see results. Therefore, it is an SEO technique that is accessible to anyone, even those that want to focus entirely on their in-person business tactics.
If you keep your website up-to-date, natural links will come. If you have a usable website and great business practices, people (especially locals) will eventually start sharing the site around. A customer will review you on Yelp or another forum. A customer might share your business site with someone on Facebook. This is all link building, and all it takes is having an available URL and running your business daily.
Furthermore, the act of posting your own links can be as easy as browsing. Say you aren’t looking for links but are Googling around on your private time. You notice a comment section where your business might apply. If you personally share your website, you just created a small-but-useful backlink. It’s that simple. Someone might see that and share it elsewhere, too.
Link Building Can Come Naturally
When a small business doesn’t want to (or can’t afford to) use resources on SEO, we often nudge them towards a passive mindset in linking. Every business should have a website. Sharing that website just becomes a natural progression.
Having a website and sharing it when applicable is an easy effort, and it can help bolster your business in the long run. Having a website happy customers can share is crucial, too. While it won’t work to bring you a fantastic SEO platform, it won’t hurt, either.
After all, it doesn’t take a Hollywood hacker to share a website. Have that option available for both you and your customers.
And if you decide you want to put time and effort into it, it is one of the top ways to improve your company’s search engine standings. Increasing your SEO will only increase business. No harm in that!
We Can Do it For You!
Time for some shameless self-promotion, baby!
Don’t have a website for your small business? Don’t want to go anywhere near coding, SEO, or link building?
We will do it for you!
At Bus Web Design, we handle both effective website creation and ongoing SEO and digital marketing tactics. Let us help get you to the top of search engines with a stellar and useful website!
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