Starting your own business can be one of the most rewarding things you do in life.
Gone will be the days of commuting to the office in the morning rush hour, and working for a boss that does not appreciate the time you put into the job.
Instead, you’ll be able to choose your own hours, find your own clients and make more money.
Well, in an ideal world, at least.
The unfortunate truth, however, is that more than half of all UK startup businesses fail within five years of launch, so putting your all into the project and doing everything you can to make it a success is essential.
One of the most important things you must do, of course, is marketing.
Unless you take the time to spread the word about your products and services and grow your digital presence, you’ll struggle to find new customers and turn a profit.
And below, we’ve rounded up the reasons why link building should be your top small business marketing priority.
Link building introduction
First, a brief introduction to link building for those who are unfamiliar with the subject.
Every site that links back to your own website gives search engines like Google a ‘nod’ that your website is authoritative and should be ranked higher than a competitor with fewer links.
Think of it like an election: the site with the most votes gets into power (or the first result on Google), and so on.
While there are lots of ways to encourage people to link back to your website, taking it into your own hands is the best way to ensure your website is building high-quality rewarding links that will improve your website’s SEO and help you get ahead of your competitors.
Encourages a strategic mindset
When building links back to your website, it’s important that you think about the link destination and the linking text you’d like to use.
Most marketing and SEO experts research keywords that they’d like to rank for, and then use those keywords when linking back to their website.
In time, this allows them to rank higher for those keywords and get ahead of their competition.
Whether you do your own link building or you recruit the help of a link building specialist, it’s important that you nail down the keywords you’d like to use as part of your campaign.
By taking on the responsibility of finding keywords, incorporating those keywords into your site’s content and using them when writing link building content, you’ll develop a strategic approach to marketing.
As such, you might choose to change the name of your products to boost their visibility on search engines, or even add entire new product or service lines based on research; a particularly lucrative and easy-to-rank-for keyword could make you thousands of pounds!
Builds brand awareness
When you’re in the early days of your business, you want to make sure that as many people can hear about your products and services as possible.
The chances are that you’ll engage in more traditional marketing techniques, such as leaflet dropping, social media and advertising, but your link building campaign can also help to expose your brand to a whole new audience.
Through guest blogging, one of the most effective link building techniques, you can write content for a website that relates to your target market, and their readers will naturally want to visit your website and find out more about your products if they find your content engaging and relevant.
Positions you as an authority
Another great benefit to link building is authority. When you’re a brand new name in your niche, people will no doubt question whether you’re a reliable and trustworthy business.
By writing content on big-name websites, especially those that relate to your niche, you’ll be able to convince potential customers that you know what you’re talking about, and that journalists and bloggers respect your opinion enough to give you a spot on their website.
Sure, you’re not going to be able to submit a guest post on sites like Huffington Post and Daily Mail overnight, but over time, as you grow your link building, you’ll be invited to write for more high-profile websites which will reward you with more exposure, authority and links.
Drives traffic to your website
The primary purpose of link building is to show search engines that you’re a reputable and trustworthy source of information, and that because of that, you deserve to be ranked high on search engine results pages (SERPs).
If you’ve chosen the right keywords and you’re building quality links, you’ll quickly be able to rank for competitive terms and start seeing some results.
And of course, once you begin to rank on the first page of Google, potential customers will click through to your website, giving you free, organic traffic.
How you choose to utilise that traffic is up to you, but most business owners set up mailing lists and push visitors through sales funnels.
Something worth noting is the amount of traffic you’ll receive.
According to data at Forbes, sites on the first page of a results page on Google get between 71% and 92% of all clicks; simply put, if you’re not on the first page for your chosen keywords, there’s little point in being there at all.
Teaches you about conversions
It’s all well and good driving traffic to your new website, but if you’re not doing anything to persuade visitors to stick around and buy from you, then there’s no point in a link building strategy at all.
Many marketing experts build landing pages as part of their link building work, which is designed to be super specific and provide the visitor with a reason to buy from you.
There are lots of ways that you can boost conversions once you’re getting organic traffic from your website.
As well as landing pages, you could launch a newsletter to capture emails, write regular blog posts and ask visitors to leave comments and share your posts on social media or even run limited-time offers that persuade new visitors to buy from your website immediately.
Allows for long-term growth
SEO isn’t an overnight fix, and while you might be able to get a couple of your keywords onto the first page of Google if you put in the work, the results often take months or even years to pay off.
Some competitive search terms will require more work – and more links – than others, but the return on investment makes them a worthwhile investment.
If you run a bakery in London, for example, then you might be better off building links for a keyword like ‘London bakery’, even if it’s very competitive, than you would be building links for a niche keyword like ‘pies in Lambeth’.
Every time you build a link to your website, you’ll also be increasing the overall authority of your domain (known as domain authority).
The more links you build and the more pages you build links to, then the more authoritative your website will become, making future keywords easier to rank for as a result.
Google favours websites with higher domain authority as its perceived they give more value to their readers. With hard work, you’ll increase your authority month on month.
Improves your writing skills
While there are lots of ways to build links back to your website, the most effective is by guest blogging and writing content.
Whatever industry you’re in, being a good writer is always going to help you, from writing blogs to responding to emails to creating compelling product descriptions.
As part of a link building strategy, you’ll no doubt create lots of high-quality content for your site and for other websites.
Over time, as you become more confident in your writing ability, you’ll be able to write more content more frequently and experiment with higher quality long-form content.
If writing isn’t your thing, though, you don’t need to worry.
At Muffin Marketing, we offer great value content marketing for small businesses designed to help you convert more customers and build high-quality links back to your website.
Gives you great content
Briefly crossing over into content marketing: the more high-quality content you create for your own website and for others, the more search engines will be able to crawl your website and rank more of your pages.
For example, while a bakery might write a recipe on millionaire shortbread to appease their clientele, they might find that the blog post is linked back to from high-profile cookery and lifestyle websites, boosting their authority and driving more traffic to their website.
Social media can also benefit from more content.
The more blog posts you write, the more you’ll have to share on social media; and we all know that publishing lots of great content on social media increases engagement and drives clicks to your website, so a huge bank of original content will make your life much easier and stop you from sending your followers to your competitors’ blogs.
Future-proofs your business
Link building is a marathon, not a sprint.
Treating it as such is the best way to guarantee your success and make a lasting impact on your business.
As more and more of us spend money online and move away from traditional high-street shopping, your digital presence will become more and more valuable – and search engine optimisation can play a huge role in your success.
The truth is that link building can be incredibly time-consuming and expensive, and generate very little return in the short-term.
But thinking about the long-term benefits will allow you to grow your business and enjoy long-lasting results; even if it takes you a year to reach number one on Google for ‘London bakery’, the massive amounts of free, organic traffic will make it worthwhile and set you up for years to come.
Once you’re at the top spot, you won’t be guaranteed to stay there forever, but it’ll be much easier to defend your rank than to climb from the 100th result!
If you’re considering a link building campaign for your startup or established business, we’d love to hear from you.
We offer a range of affordable link building packages designed to help you climb the ranks on Google and push competitors from the top spot. Click here to get in touch.