Website Backlinks | How to Build a Virtual Referral Network
Running a successful business hinges on having relationships with not only your customers, but also a network of referrals. Believe it or not Google also cares about your referral network. The more “expert” or high-valued websites that link back, called “backlinks,” to your website, the better you will rank too. Read more to find out how you cultivate your website backlinks.
How Backlinks Benefit Your Business
According to Google, links between authoritative and relevant sites will improve the Google search rank of your website. Recently, Google rolled out new changes to the link authority, Penguin. These changes reward high-quality links and punish low-quality backlinks. It is important to have backlinks from quality sites in your field, and the backlinks should be in context. If, for example, you have a post about Botox, and link it to a boxing website the link is irrelevant. Your goal should be getting links from high-ranked and related websites.
Start with Your Referral Network
The best way to request back links is by offering people the opportunity to be featured on your website and vice versa. You can reach out to your connections and propose to write something for their website and they do the same. Many times this “guest blog” helps add content to both website. In addition, that fits under Google’s requirements for a high-quality and relevant link back.
Link up Existing Articles
Before you got a great SEO team to help you, articles on the internet may have not linked back to your website. When you Google your name or your practice, make a list of the websites. Find contact information on the website to submit a request to add your main website for people to click for more information. Sometimes other agencies can accommodate your request, but it could take several inquiries to add the link. When you have a good webdesigner on your team, they can help facilitate the process too.
Make New Connections
It is always good to reach out to new people and build your referral network. A great way to break the ice could be scheduling a lunch. Another good idea is to put together a bag with information, a snack of some kind, and introduce yourself to the office manager. Follow up your visit with a request to link share on your websites or write a guest blog featuring their services. You should always think about your in person referrals linking up to your online referrals.
Another way to make new connections is to be sure than when you evaluate digital advertising opportunities that it includes a long-lasting backlink (1 year plus).
Word of Caution: Do Not Bulk-Buy Backlinks
Several early SEO teams successfully gamed the system by bulk-buying backlinks and hooking them up to your website. Then Google handed out punishments to those websites by way of blacklists. That punishment, in some cases, lasted several years. Fortunately, Google recently changed the blacklist policies to limit the restrictions on a page by page basis.
Don’t Forget Your Internal Links!
Another important ranking factor for Google is a healthy ratio of internal to external links on your website. In fact, you should have more internal links per page than external. Anytime you mention a subject covered elsewhere, be sure to remember that backlink. For example, if you want a free website audit to help your business, click to learn more.