Link building involves getting hyperlinks from other websites that point to your own. By doing so you create a type of digital spiderweb that search engines can use to crawl through the Internet.
Search engines assign a value to these links. That’s why you need links from high quality websites and domains. This creates relationships between your page and other relevant pages on the web in the process.
Make it your goal to get a good rank on the web for your small business’s goods and services. So your website shows up ahead of the competition when people search.
Small Business Trends interviewed Moz Principal Search Scientist Russ Jones to learn how small businesses should use this digital marketing tool. Jones also explained why small businesses should never buy inbound links.
He started by explaining how the immediacy of the online world comes into play.
“The average Google search session lasts less than one minute, meaning searchers aren’t spending a great deal of time searching for the best restaurant, IT service or car dealership — they are looking for the quickest results,” Jones explained.
“This means that while you may, in fact, own the best car dealership in a given area, if you aren’t ranking highly in search engine results, people likely aren’t finding you.”
Link building falls under the banner of what’s commonly called search engine optimization (SEO). The State of Local SEO says well over half (64%) of marketers reported Google was pretty much the de facto “homepage” for their small business clients. But almost 20% of in-house small business marketers admitted they weren’t using SEO to full advantage. Moz recently published The State of Local SEO to highlight some of these issues.
Websites need inbound links to get found online. But avoid those emails small businesses get promising inbound links from high domain authority websites? You should never buy inbound links from companies in this industry?
The Problem With Buying Inbound Links
Jones explains how the search engines have started to catch on to the link buying and selling game. Small businesses may hire some of these companies to provide inbound links.But the links often prove to be from low quality sites that provide little in the way of value to people searching on the Internet. So small business might buy a huge volume of inbound links without getting good results in the way of ranking.
Jones explains the spiraling negative consequences of getting caught using this system.
“Search engines have developed algorithms to identify sites that have a high number of inbound links from websites that are acting, essentially, as link warehouses and little else,” he says. “Search engines then devalue the website in question, assuming it is also a low-quality website that is likely to produce low-quality outcomes for users. This means that small business owners may be spending money to get worse search outcomes.”
What Small Business Needs To Do Instead
This doesn’t mean small business must stay away from all link building or SEO. But consider some alternatives to buying links. Also think about what’s commonly called White Hat SEO practices.
“Small businesses can employ a wide range of tactics to improve their search engine rankings: reviewing SEO best practices, launching a link building campaign, and reviewing the factors that influence a websites ability to rank for local searches,” Jones says. He adds the whole task might sound overwhelming. But you can get a variety of reports and guides through Moz to get started.
Beyond Domain Authority
Jones says small businesses need to look beyond just domain authority. They need to look at authority as a comparative metric.
Small businesses should look instead at other metrics like Page Authority, Rankings and Click Through Rate. And internet marketers who work for them must do so as well. But other important factors to consider include keyword metrics. Think about the difficulty and volume of the ones you pick.
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Originally published at Small Business Trends