If your website doesn’t have incoming and outgoing links, you may not be ranking as high in search engines as you could.
That’s because search engines, notably Google, like to see proof of the value of your site by how many other sites are linking to you. They also give some credit when you provide resources to your visitors by linking to other sites. Ideally, you will have many more incoming links than outgoing ones, and your links will come from high-quality, reputable websites.
So how do you get more quality incoming links? Here are some ideas.
A trade organization or association that you belong to. Many have websites with directories of members. If yours does not, check with their webmaster or member relations department to see if they run press releases or articles from members. You may be able to submit a release or write an article that will include a link to your site.
Your local newspaper. Some news websites run short items or briefs in their business sections. Not all submissions make the cut, but if your business is doing something interesting or unique you may be able to get a line or two of coverage. Some papers’ online editors will link your company name to your website; you can always request it.
Chambers of commerce and other local business networking groups. Most, if not all, chambers have online directories. Sometimes a link costs a little more depending on how your chamber’s site is set up, but it is probably worth it. Chamber sites tend to have been around for awhile and be a resource for other local business people.
Blogs. A blog that is closely related to your product or service may run a review or a release that contains your link. The traffic that results is likely to be more targeted, meaning relevant potential customers. Search engines see established blogs, which reliably discuss a specific topic, as a trusted source – so links may be weighted more highly. A link from your uncle Joe’s blog about his kids, though, probably won’t help. Look for established blogs with consistent posts that are closely related to your business.
Other local businesses. If you regularly do business with another local firm and/or you recommend them to others off-line, consider putting a link to them on your site – perhaps on a “Resources” or “Companies We Trust” page. Ask that company to do the same for you. You want to avoid a lot of these “reciprocal” links, where you are trading, and make sure these aren’t the only links you have, because search engines can penalize you for trading too many links like this.
Online directories. Look for reputable online directories that permit free submissions. You can also pay for submissions to these directories, but it’s best to start with the free options. Look at a list like the one at Strongest Links for ideas.
In general, you should do what you can to ensure that sites linking to you are reputable. While you can’t control who links to you, it is a good idea to investigate any sites from which you request a link. Refrain from purchasing links – other strategies, such as generating original, useful content will usually pay off.