Rising in the search rankings through back links

In his blog post on search engine optimisation, Glenn included an important point about link-building:

“Another big clue the search engines use as to how relevant your web page is are the other web pages that link to you. If 5,000 golfing sites link to your golf page, the search engine will see this as more relevant that another golf page with equally good content, but no ‘back links’.”

What does this mean for a small business like yours?

I asked Elizabeth Fleetwood, who runs Hobart Historic Tours, about the importance of link-building to a business like hers:

“Link-building is huge for a small business. It appears that websites are noticed according to the links one has. The search engines are becoming so sophisticated that it is now no longer simply a matter of how many links, but whether they are relevant – i.e. from related organisations.”

Elizabeth builds her network of links by looking for other sites that are relevant to her business, and then setting up reciprocal links. She suggests starting with businesses you deal with regularly, or who have a high status within your industry.

“If this means talking to many different people and sharing industry experience/info, that is all very good for everyone.”

I would take this a step further by recommending two other important strategies:
1. Good, relevant, authoritative and regularly updated content on your site will help equally relevant and authoritative sources to find you and link to you as a natural part of their own content.
2. Linking to pages and blog posts that are useful to your audience, and commenting on posts in other blogs, will naturally bring you to the attention of those sources – again encouraging them to link to you.

Thanks for your input Elizabeth – you won yourself a back link!