You're pressed for time with limited resources. At the same time you need to get quality links to improve your rankings in order to grow your business.
Here are some tips on link building for small businesses. These tips will work for larger businesses as well.
Focus on different types of links each week. This will help keep you motivated and build up a diversity of links. One week could be niche directories; another could be public relations strategies; the following week could be reaching out to customers.
This will create a wide variety of links that will help insulate your rankings from big changes when the algorithms change. Otherwise in an upcoming search engine update you might see your rankings drop drastically if you're heavily dependent on one or two types of links.
Public Relations Outreach
Spend some time doing public relations (PR) outreach. People need to know you exist in order to even consider linking to your site. Here's an example.
Once, while I was doing some PR outreach for a small software company, I contacted dozens of small computer enthusiast sites. Turned out the owner of one of these sites was a writer for a major computer magazine. The end result: quality links and a mention in a popular computer magazine.
When doing this remember the brick-and-mortar world. Even your local chamber of commerce networking event can provide opportunities for links. Keep an open mind -- you never know what other contacts the person you're talking to has.
Have others help with the research phase. With the high rate of unemployment this doesn't need to be expensive. Plus you can hire a relative or friend in need of extra money.
For example, have them put together a list of popular bloggers for your industry. Or have them find potential sites to get articles published.
Another method is to hire a smart college student majoring in marketing or public relations to help out on a part-time basis.
Ask your customers for help. Let them know you're trying to grow your business and need their help. This could be in your monthly newsletter, or even when people call in.
Be upfront. Tell them you appreciate their business and need their help to grow.
Ask if they wouldn't mind recommending your company online. While many will Like you on Facebook or tweet about you on Twitter, you will also find some of those customers could be an influential blogger or journalist. Or one might have a large Twitter following.
Another strategy is to identity customers who are passionate about your product or company. Then empower them as brand advocates. Just because you're a small business doesn't mean you can't act like a major brand.
These tips can help you grow your backlinks and customer base at the same time. Just remember to stay focused and keep an open mind. Remember good link building is just good marketing.
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!