In this article, we’re going to explore a host of services that have sprung up around the need to create quality inbound links to small business websites. We will discover that not all are created equal, and what you should look out for when you decide to use a link building service for your small business.
But first, let’s address a question that may not have an obvious answer. Why should you try to get external links anyway? Why not rely on the other pillars of successful SEO? Surely it’s hard work to conduct a link building campaign, so is the payoff worth the effort?
Is Link Building Important for Small Businesses?
The short answer is yes, link building is essential. Not only does earning links from reputable and high quality sources help your rankings in various search engines, it also has a number of other benefits.
For instance, the link brings traffic directly to your site, almost instantly. As soon as people notice the link, and feel that your content is worthwhile, they will click it to check out what your business is about. This generates traffic you would not have otherwise had. This new traffic can bring in potential customers and maybe even future business partners.
Another reason link building is important is because it spreads brand awareness. The more people are exposed to your brand, the better. Don’t ever fall for the lie there is such a thing as brand overexposure. Everyone on Earth knows who and what Coca Cola is, yet they keep on advertising. Does their business suffer as a result? Of course not. Don’t fear overexposure, fear not being known. The process of link building is a great way to get your brand known, and have it associated with bringing valuable content to people who are looking for answers.
What Are Link Building Services?
In a nutshell, link building services are businesses that create strategies for getting inbound links to your business website. As we discussed in the previous article, the techniques used for search engine optimization come in a couple different varieties. White hat and Black hat, if you recall.
How to Know Which Links are Good?
Now that you are proper scared of incoming links from spam websites, the question inevitably becomes: how do I know which links are quality and which are not? As it turns out, there is a numerical indicator for the quality of a website. It is called Website or Domain Authority. You can actually find out the quality score of a website by checking out open site explorer. Quality links will have an authority score of 40 or more (on a scale of 100). The higher the better.
Why Bother with Link Building Services?
Another question you may have is, well, it seems like there is a high potential for damage to my brand if I choose the wrong service provider, so why even bother? Why not do it yourself? The answer is that link building is hard work, in and of itself. It is just yet another task that goes into building a successful digital marketing campaign for small businesses, so you are better off outsourcing it so you can focus on providing maximum value for your customers. After all, servicing your customers is what will make your business thrive and grow ever more profitable, so that is your most urgent task.
Know that you won’t be completely hands off from the process of link building because you know your industry best. The link building service provider may be an expert in internet marketing, but they’re not an expert in your industry. They will have to engage you to make sure they are providing the right content to create positive brand awareness on high domain authority websites.
Another reason to outsource this task is that the algorithms that search engines use to rank websites change relatively frequently. Just like all software, search engines update their product on a regular basis, so the ranking algorithms may change. By working with a high quality link building service provider you won’t have to worry about keeping abreast of the latest changes in search engine algorithms, as the provider will have that covered for you.
Tips on Choosing a Link Building Service Provider
As always, you want to do your homework. Ask around to your business friends and acquaintances to see if they have used one, and if so what their experience was. When you set up an appointment to meet with the service provider, make sure to keep the following in mind:
- Trust your instincts. When you ask them direct questions, do they answer in a way that you perceive as honest? Is what they say consistent with your fundamental knowledge of white hat SEO practices?
- How easy are they going to be to work with? Keep in mind this is going to be a long term relationship, as SEO campaigns take up to a year to be fruitful. If you find them obnoxious, then the relationship won’t work out in the long term and you should seek out a different provider. Please trust your gut on this one.
- Check out the domain authority of the link building service provider. Their score should be above 30. If it’s any lower, then you know something may be fishy.
- It’s still true that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. If they are offering more than 10 quality links a month, something is definitely fishy. Best to move on.
- Check their references. It’s OK to go with someone who is unknown (we all have to start somewhere), but if they have been in business a while it is prudent to check with some other businesses they have services.
- Check out their pricing structure. Do they charge per link? Do they charge a fixed fee per month? Do they have any lengthy contracts? This last one is pretty important. If something isn’t working out, you want the right to take your business elsewhere without having to pay a hefty fee to break a long term contract.
- Are the links permanent? If and when you cancel their services, will all the links to your site disappear too? You don’t want to waste all of your time and money by doing business with a company that is going to yank the rug out from under you if you decide to move on.
- How easy is it to get a hold of them if you have questions? Don’t underestimate the value of responsiveness. While they shouldn’t be on call 24/7, you want to be able to reach them when you have a question. While you are engaging in the contracting process that is a good time to gauge their responsiveness. How well do they follow up? Are they proactive?
- Do they seem to be up to snuff on cutting edge practices? Do they utilize all the latest social media platforms? If they aren’t utilizing social media, then chances are they are not too savvy and won’t be on top of the latest trends in the future. This means that you could be missing out on valuable opportunities.
In summary, the quantity and quality of links coming in to your website help move it up in the search engine rankings. The higher you rank, the more likely you are to be noticed and acquire new customers and grow your business. Not only that, but linking to your site from other websites will bring you valuable traffic you otherwise would not have had.
The process of building these links should be handled by link building service providers, since they are experts in that arena and you don’t have time to do everything anyway. Enter into agreements with these providers carefully, and make sure to do your due diligence first. Make sure they strictly adhere to white hat practices and are an ethical business. Trust your gut and don’t believe things that seem too good to be true.
We hope that has been helpful. I know the world of SEO and link building can seem mysterious, and indeed there are quite a few nuances to it. This blog is here to arm you with the information you need to seek out the best digital marketing service providers to make sure your business grows and enjoys sustainable success far into the future.