In the world of search engine optimization, the studies on link building, content creation, and search engine competition are plentiful. Any given "SEO expert" will have a distinct background that supports his or her confidence in the field of search engine marketing. More businesses are turning to the internet for customer leads, which makes search engine rank a hot commodity and the importance of links an interesting discussion.
Small businesses benefit from a strategic search engine optimization plan. Even with an organic plan, SEO is an ongoing process - one which benefits from an exceptional networking effort. Think of building links like handing out your business card - the more people that have your business card, the more likely they will recall your name or business in regards to what you offered or discussed. A link works similarly in that it provides any user one-click access to your small business website.
Jennifer Van Iderstyne over at SearchEngineWatch.com wrote an article about link building "relevance". Here are 5 ways to help your SEO effort with some "relevant" ways to branch out:
Retain a genuine online reputation (as an individual). Of course, the first place to look to help spread your website's links would be the internet. Besides the direct SEO efforts, your online activity can affect how other businesses (and individuals) view your company. Getting involved in LinkedIn groups or Facebook business events can be great for building an online "association of connections". Link exchanges can pop up from any of these relationships, as the small business community is a strong-knit group and supports their own kind. Make sure to portray yourself online as you would in real life - this translates into honesty and confidence.
Participate in and take advantage of conferences. Small businesses now develop web presences, but that doesn't mean they are solely online. Meeting up with industry professionals and upcoming start-ups can really boost your company's image while growing your professional network. Again, exchanging business cards can lead to a link exchange somewhere down the road.
Ask your clients/customers to show their support. Your consumers are the reason you exist and grow - if you are not showing your gratitude, they won't show their support. Users are generally happy and willing to share with their network or circle a hardworking, honest company that provides quality work and excellent results. In some cases, referrals from current clients may be all you need to retain a steady growth.
Meet your neighboring companies and other local businesses. Get off the computer and look around you! You'll be surprised to find a massive amount of small business startups that may or may not help you get through your daily routine. Geographic community support is another important and overlooked philosophy as most businesses rely heavily on internet interactions. Never forget the power of a handshake and a conversation.
Network with (gasp!) competitors. You may be business enemies but no one else in the world will have more in common with you than the company going through a similar business experience. Aside from talking statistics and secrets, conversations with direct or indirect competitors can spark heated debates and even innovation. While you may not get the link support from competitors, you will have a better understanding of the industry and a fresh view on how to approach your user base.
Until next time -