There are thousands of resources on the Web to help you with search engine optimization, finding backlinks, creating a link strategy, and all facets of search engine marketing and yet I frequently get asked by business people I work with “how do I get highly ranked in Google?”
There are so many facets to search engine ranking, but one of the most consistently known and focused on strategies is to build high quality links to your Web sites. SEOMoz.org’s survey indicates that SEO professionals believe that 22% of the ranking algorithm is the link popularity of the specific page.
Building High Quality Links to Your Small Business
The key is to build high quality links. I define high quality as
a selective link from an organization with editorial control, a platform to speak from, and a trust level within an industry
A high quality link comes from an organization which chooses who to link to (Yahoo! directory is selective – it doesn’t list everyone who pays). The organization must have a platform – a reason why people trust them (think Chamber of Commerce for businesses or Harvard University for educational links). The site also must be trusted within an industry (a university for education, CNN for news, Cisco for networking).
Finding high quality links isn’t free – it takes money, time, effort, and quality to achieve. If you create a 10 page site today and request a link from a professor you don’t know at the local college, chances are you will be ignored. If you build a relationship with the professor and create a site of intellectual quality, you have a much greater chance – but all of this takes time and money.
Source for High Quality Links
- Local Chamber of Commerce site (typically you must be a member).
- Government sites.
- University and college Web sites.
- Online media sites such as CNN, FoxNews, The New York Times, Boston.com, About.com, CharlotteObserver.com.
- Professional organizations such as Project Management Institute, Council of Logistics Management, or International Society of Six Sigmas Professionals.
How to Get Links on High Quality Sites
Chamber of Commerce Site Link Strategies
- Become a member
- Offer a discount for members for your business services
- Sponsor a golf outing
- Become a board member or advisor
- Offer free hosting to the board Web site
Government Sites Linking Strategies
- Write a positive article or review about something the government agency is doing and contact their PR department about writing a press release touting your review.
- Find out if your local city or county government site has a small business links section on their site.
- Offer to re-design or host the local government Web site for free.
- Sponsor a local government event such as a holiday festival.
- Ask to be appointed to a local board and have your link placed in your profile.
University Web Site Linking Strategies
- Build a relationship with a professor – offer to guest lecture a class, help with a research project, mentor some students, or take interns for a summer.
- Teach an adjunct class at your local college.
- Make a donation to the scholarship fund.
- Find a page in a related topic and write something well researched, high quality, and substantive.
- Create a job posting for a university student.
- Offer free hosting or design services.
Online Media Sites
- Create high quality content.
- Make a splash with your PR campaign.
- Get into a lot of trouble.
- Join a professional organization.
- Sponsor a golf outing or charity fundraiser.
- Speak at an event.
Building links to your site is always a good strategy, but high quality links are worth much more to you than just any links.