The Noisy Little Monkey Blog

Creative back link development for SMEs

Posted in SEO by Nicola Payne on 29-Mar-2011 20:44:58

At the Advanced Link Building conference last week one of the things that struck me was exactly how expensive link development can be. Admittedly, the speakers were SEO specialists working in extremely competitive sectors like gambling and entertainment, but their link building case studies showed that organisations can spend hundreds of thousands on SEO experts, research, paying for content, playing for links etc. So how can a small business ever hope to compete?

creative backlink development for SMEsLinks are important because Google looks at them when ranking your website. One of the aspects that Google tries to test is the authority and credibility of your site and it measures this partly by the number of sites that link to you. This has created a massive industry for generating links in an attempt to manipulate the Google ranking and it is big, big money.

So how can small organisations with modest budgets compete? If it's any consolation, Google is on your side, assuming that is you have an accessible website that delivers a great user experience, is packed with useful information and provides real value to your customers. There's loads of advice on how to get one of those in Jon's Easy ways to build SEO into your website post.

As Google's algorithms get ever more sophisticated the number of links to your site will become less important than the quality and relevance.

Which we believe is a big plus. It means that link building has the same underlying principle as on-page SEO, which is; be genuine. Links that genuinely reflect your business and circle of influence are the way forward, so all you need is some creativity and ingenuity to fight back the big boys.

Top five tips:

  1. Have a plan. Have an idea of which websites would deliver trust and authority to your site by linking to it. What links would you like? If you have five target sites where you'd like links, then working out how to get them becomes a lot simpler.
  2. Use your internal resource. Once you have a plan, make sure that everyone at work knows about it and challenge them to spot linking opportunities. Are they on industry groups or in professional associations? Do they contribute to forums or discussion groups in their job or at home? Do they do press or radio interviews? How about donations to schools or funding research in Universities? You might be surprised at your company's latent link talent.
  3. Be part of your community. Whether you define 'community' in terms of industry, profession, locality or your social contacts, you are part of a like-minded network of people or companies. They would recommend you in real life, so why not on the web? If they have websites ask them to link to yours, ideally as part of a blog post, or on recommendations pages. If they use your services ask them to review you. Social media mentions are incredibly useful – the community you are part of can like you on Facebook, re-tweet you, vote for you etc.
  4. Spend money wisely. You are probably bombarded with on-line directories selling 'links' but be really careful before you part with your cash as not all links are equal. Not all sites will give you a clean, follow link to your website and 'driving traffic' to your website is not the same as a link. Get some advice before spending lots of money on directories as they are not necessarily a good return on investment. However, if you can find an industry relevant directory, where you know and rate other listed companies, then bite their arm off for a link. Link directories probably deserve a post of their own... until one of the team here gets around to writing one, here's a warning from Google about spammy links.
  5. Check out your competitors. It can be worth getting a decent SEO company (like Noisy Little Monkey) to look at the link profile of your on-line competitors. We have tools that can see what Google is spidering and the knowledge to interpret the strategies that your competitors are using. The important thing here is not to slavishly copy your competitors, because their links might be rubbish, but to use the best of their techniques and ideas to inspire you about suitable links in your industry.

And the big health warning: don't look like spam, act like a spammer or encourage spam. Link development is not about manipulating Google – well not in the long term anyway - it's about making your website genuinely splendid with links from companies or organisations with whom you are proud to be associated.

At the Advanced Link Building conference last week one of the things that struck me was exactly how expensive link development can be. Admittedly, the speakers were SEO specialists working in extremely competitive sectors like gambling and entertainment, but their link building case studies showed that organisations can spend hundreds of thousands on SEO experts, research, paying for content, playing for links etc. So how can a small business ever hope to compete?

Links are important because Google looks at them when ranking your website. One of the aspects that Google tries to test is the authority and credibility of your site and it measures this partly by the number of sites that link to you. This has created a massive industry for generating links in an attempt to manipulate the Google ranking and it is big,big money.

So how can SMEs with modest budgets ever hope to compete? If its any consolation, Google is on your side, assuming that is you have an accessible website that delivers a great user experience, is packed with useful information and provides real value to your customers. There's loads of advice on how to get one of those in this blog.

Another plus is that link building has the same underlying principle as on-page SEO, be genuine. As Google's algorithms get ever more sophisticated the number of links to your site will become less important than the quality and relevance. Links that genuinely reflect your business and circle of contact are the way forward, so all you need is some creativity and ingenuity to fight back the big boys.

Tags: SEO

Nicola Payne

Nicola Payne

Managing Director at Noisy Little Monkey, Nicola posts about Google Analytics and managing marketing teams.