Welcome to our last post in this series on SEO basics for Small Businesses! In this post we’ll talk about the importance of gaining high-value backlinks from other websites in order to improve your web presence.
At its core, the internet is just a lot of pages all connected to each other through links. Nowadays almost every page gets linked to from Google so they are all connected through that, but Google also realises that pages like to connect to each other, and this becomes one of the biggest factors in you rising through Googles search engine rankings.
Why are backlinks so important?
Everyone talks about backlinks, but it’s hard to realise their importance if you don’t know what they symbolise.
If you’ve written a great piece of content, if you’ve broke some very important news, have a funny cat video or anything similar, then people will talk about it and link to the page it appears on. If Google sees lots of sites pointing to another one, then it will realise that there’s a lot of fuss being made about that site, so there must be something important, valuable or authoritative on that page. Google will analyze the keywords used in the pages linking to that other site, figure out what the site is about and then raise that site in its rankings to get it in front of more people.
Lets take a real world example following on from our Garden Landscapers in Surrey. We keep a blog on our website and one day decide to write a 4000 word article about the materials used in hard landscaping. Word spreads about our blog post and other sites start to link to it. Material suppliers link to it for more information on the materials they use, other landscapers link to it as an example of valuable knowledge, DIY forums link to it to give people more information on what materials they should buy for their projects.
Google then sees all these different websites suddenly pointing to our blog post, talking about materials in hard landscaping. Google realises it’s valuable content for people looking into hard landscaping, and wants to put our site in front of more people, so raises our site’s rankings for people searching “hard landscaping”. Suddenly we start to get lots more traffic and potential leads. This also has a knock-on effect of other keywords on our site rising up the rankings as Google can see it as an authoritative source.
Google also places higher importance to link from sites that lots of others link to. An example would be if we got a link from the BBC News site, Google knows the BBC is a very important corporation, so a link from there would serve as a very important reference for how authoritative our site is. One BBC link would be worth hundreds or thousands of links from smaller sites.
How do I gain more backlinks then?
Short of going viral for something funny, outrageous or connecting to a world event, gaining backlinks takes a fair amount of work, time and patience. You will have to spend a lot of time figuring out what content and writing style works and what doesn’t, and when you feel you have a great article or post that others can refer to for more information when they need it, THEN you should start outreach.
Get in touch with other companies, blogs and important players in your industry and let them know about your content, ask them if they can link to it in exchange for a service or work from you, figure out what value you can provide them, and exchange that for a link from them.
This step can take weeks to months depending on how popular your niche is, but it’s definitely worth it in the end when you’re sitting on top of google for Landscapers in Surrey or whatever your industry is in. You’ll be dominating your local market online, which means you’ll be dominating the industry in that area and having to expand because you’re so busy with leads and work.
Your next steps
So now you know what you have to do to start getting some leads and customers from the internet, it’s time to actually start doing some work to get them! The first thing you should do is get a website built if you don’t have one, using the right keywords that we talked about in our first post, and make sure when the site is being built, the designers follow all the good rules of on-page optimisation. While the site is being built, you should also make sure to build local listings and optimise them fully to appear in local searches, then once your site is built and you’re updating your blog, when you feel you have a great piece of content, follow the steps in this post!
We hope this post series has been helpful for you, and if you have any questions for us, be sure to get in touch with us!
Other posts in this series: