Small businesses need to optimize their budget for marketing activities. Gaining visibility and building a loyal customer base is critical, especially when they start.
Paid ads are good to get initial transactions, but budget constraints require a more sustainable approach. Getting quick SEO wins can be quite helpful to build some tractions.
However, SEO consists of different activities that work together to get results. One activity that guarantees results but can be a little costly is link building.
Let’s try to decode how to get quick SEO wins with link building without blowing your pockets.
Why Link Building is Important for Small Businesses
To understand why link building is important, we must understand the overall importance of SEO for a small business. According to a report by Ahrefs, 45.1% of all Google searches result in an organic click as compared to 1.8% of paid clicks.
It indicates that people trust organic results more than paid ones. Hence, SEO increases visibility, gets better traffic, and enhances credibility.
SEO also has better conversion rates. About 1 out of 4 local searches end up in a purchase within 24 hours. Not only that, SEO leads have better close rates. SEO leads have almost a 15% chance of converting into a customer/client.
But to make your SEO efforts work, you must focus on link building. Even though Google’s search quality team said that links are less important today, the data tells you otherwise.
In an Ahrefs study, they found that the more backlinks a page gets, the more traffic it will generate, especially in competitive markets. In fact, the first results on Google search engine results pages (SERPs) usually get 3.8X more backlinks than other results on the first page.
Here you can see the SEO performance of two Ahrefs pages and the number of links on these pages:
(The page with low backlinks has low traffic, while the page with more linking websites has high traffic.)
Backlinks from reputed sites signal to search engines that those sites found your content and business valuable enough to link to. This establishes trust for your brand in the eyes of potential customers in crowded markets with bigger brands.
Strategies for Quick Wins in Link Building (H2)
Now, we understand the importance of SEO for a small business and how important link building is for SEO.
Let's go through some strategies to get quick links without too much investment.
Leveraging Existing Networks
The most cost-efficient and sometimes free way to build backlinks is to reach out to your personal and professional connections. If they own or have access to a website with a similar target audience, you can ask them to share or link to your high-quality content.
You can offer to do the same in exchange. However, the main point here is relevancy and mutual benefit.
You may have graduated from a college or university in the past. Many universities allow students/alumni to list their businesses on alumni websites.
Here, you can see Imperial College listing its alumni businesses:
You can create a spreadsheet with details of your known people, such as name, relationship, and site URL. A spreadsheet is also good for keeping track of the outreach.
As you are reaching out to the people you already know, send personalized pitches. Also, ensure that certain benefits are integrated for the other person in the mail body, too.
If someone you know has a decent social media following, you can also ask for social shares. One piece of advice we hear in marketing is to build genuine connections. Since you already have a genuine connection with these people, maintain that connection. Try to give more and ask for less.
Power of Testimonials and Reviews
Another free method to get backlinks as a small business is to give testimonials and reviews or offer case studies to products and brands you genuinely love as a customer.
This approach only works if you have actually used the product. Otherwise, you won’t be able to give a genuine detailed review or testimonial.
Here, you can see SEO pioneer Matthew Woodward created a video testimonial for MyThemeShop. It’s now live on their homepage, and they were happy to provide a backlink to Matthew’s website.
Reach out to the brands that you have used and actually liked. Create content that offers value to brand users and aligns with them. You can refer to the other example Woodward shared, where he got a backlink from Surfer SEO.
You can always follow up and guide them (if necessary) with link integration in natural settings, such as the testimonial section of their website.
Utilizing Link-Building Tools
So far, we have seen two methods to get links for free or almost free. However, a free approach (as good as it sounds) is not usually scalable, especially in a competitive market.
And where did that bring you?
Back to technology! (Sure! you got the reference here.)
You can utilize reliable and cost-effective link-building tools like Serpzilla. These tools allow you to build various types of backlinks at very budget-friendly rates.
Manual outreach is hectic, requires a lot of effort, and is almost always expensive (costs $100-$500/link) on high-authority websites. Link-building tools reduce this cost to almost negligible.
For instance, a backlink from Serpzilla sometimes costs as low as $1. Given the impact of backlinks on SEO and market competition, this price is a steal.
And these links work, too.
Here, you can see a site’s daily clicks went from 33 to 112 in a span of 28 days after purchasing links from Serpzilla.
The right link-building tools assist small businesses in finding link-building opportunities and automating outreach as well as link placement.
These tools work, and the incredible results can be seen in another case study by Serpzilla.
Here, the site owner created backlinks from around 560 domains using Serpzilla. As a result, the site’s organic traffic increased from 115/month to 30,460/month. Also, their organic keywords in search increased from 593 to 10,199.
Using a link-building tool is quite simple. To use Serpzilla, you can easily sign up by visiting their website. Once you create a profile, you can start purchasing links easily.
You can choose from millions of web pages they have on their platforms. From there, you can set a budget and buy links based on the relevancy and authority of the domain.
Utilizing Social Media for Link Acquisition
You can leverage social media in two ways for link acquisition.
One method is to get a backlink from a social media platform, which is not that effective for rankings. Social media links do not carry the link juice required for SEO rankings.
The second method is to build relationships using social media platforms and connect with people who are in the same niche or industry. Slowly, you can convert these relationships into backlinks.
This strategy is not as scalable as using a link-building tool. However, it can bring you some cheap or free high-quality backlinks from high-authority websites in your niche.
The first step is to find people in relevant niches/industries who have an active website. You can also reach out to influencers in your niche. Use a spreadsheet to collect data on such people.
You can start by doing little things, like liking their posts, making comments that showcase your expertise in the subject, or resharing their post to your profile.
Once they interact with you in comments, you can send a personalized invite and initiate a conversation. Always be helpful, insightful, and consistent.
Whenever they post a query, and you have the solution on your website, you can give a little overview and share the blog link with them. Do tell them that a more comprehensive explanation can be found on the shared link so they don’t think of it as spam. If they link the content, you can ask them to promote it on their website and link back to you.
Just remember, before you ask, try to give as much as possible.
Building Strategic Partnerships for Link Building
For small businesses, networking and partnerships can make a big competitive difference. You can reach out to non-competitive brands in your space for webinars, seminars, guest posts, virtual interviews, and co-promotion opportunities that smartly place a contextual backlink into high-quality content.
In this screenshot, you can see Bibi Raven from BibiBuzz appeared on a podcast by Search Engine Journal. They created a page for the podcast and provided links to Bibi's social and website.
You can also offer expert advice or quotes (if you’re a subject matter expert) to websites as a contribution. As long as you offer unique content with practical advice relevant to the blog topic, you can expect to get a free backlink.
Here, you can see I landed a backlink from GrowthAcad by offering tips on how to start digital marketing.
How You Can Replicate This?
To build strategic partnerships, you must try to find people, podcasts, events, sponsorships, and blogs that are relevant to your industry. Evaluate if a link from them is worth the effort for you.
Next, you must send personalized pitches offering to appear as a guest, providing an expert quote, or sponsoring an event. Once they accept, you have to ensure that you offer them the best content to get a contextual backlink in return.
Converting Unlinked Mentions into Backlinks
Many times, people talk about your brand but forget to link to your website. In this image, you can see that Backlinko did not link Ahrefs when mentioning them, while they mentioned Semrush at the bottom.
In this scenario, Ahrefs can reach out and ask for a backlink.
Similarly, if you find brands and bloggers talking about you or your business without linking to you, you can reach out to them and ask for a backlink.
It is free and one of the easiest link-building methods, as those websites have already mentioned your or your business’s name. It means they liked your content and are more than often happy to give a link back.
You can find unlinked mentions by using tools like Ahrefs and Semrush. You can also use Google Alerts to get notified every time someone mentions your brand on Google.
Once you find an unlined mention, take a good look at the website once to ensure a link from them would be beneficial and relevant.
Once you are sure, email the owner of the site and politely ask for a link.
Pro Tip: Be grateful and appreciate the mention before asking for a link.
Role of Social Signals in Link Building
There is no direct relation between social shares and organic traffic or organic rankings. However, content that has a good social media performance can indirectly have a positive impact on your SEO efforts.
Viral content on social media reaches hundreds of thousands of people. It also gets thousands of shares, which could turn into a good case study. Many news sites and bloggers can cover such viral content and offer you backlinks.
There is no sure-shot formula to create viral content, but you can collaborate with social media influencers. Conduct virtual interviews and discuss industry topics to get a chance to go viral by creating unique and valuable content.
Interviews are often covered by new sites, and you may land a backlink to your website as well.
Does Link Building Still Work for SEO?
Yes, link building is still relevant and works for SEO. In fact, 68% of content marketing campaigns have link building as their priority.
Also, we have seen in the previous examples from Ahrefs that more links equate to more traffic in many scenarios. This shows that link-building is still an effective strategy.
For small businesses that start with very little investment, budget restraints are normal. However, by utilizing the link-building strategies shared in this blog, you can expect to get some initial traction.
Use the power of your network with a little help from link-building tools to build links at scale. Leverage social media and build partnerships to get quick wins while doing link-building for small businesses.