Small Business SEO Link Building Series Part 1 Published

Small Business SEO Link Building Basics Published

Small Business SEO Link Building Part 1We announced the link building series two days ago and here’s the first part covering anchor text, hyperlink HTML code, and NoFollow and DoFollow tags. There’s a video that shows how to find HMTL code in FireFox and Internet Explorer. The video also shows how to determine if a link is followed or nofollowed in both browsers.

Here’s what you’ll find in Link Building Part 1:

  • Link Structure
  • Link Anchor Text
  • No Follow Links
  • Do Follow Links
  • Natural Links
  • Natural Linking Patterns

We’ll be publishing a new small business SEO link building session every few days. To get the new content as it’s published, please subscribe to our RSS feed or sign up for email notifications in the box at the top of the right column.

Link Building Series

Link Building Basics – Part 1
The basics of link structure including HTML code, anchor text and dofollow and nofollow taqs. Link Building Principles – Part 2 Basic principles that must be followed when building links for small business SEO.

Small Business Link Building Principles – Part 2
Link building principles that must be followed when building links for small business SEO.


New Small Business SEO Series – Link Building

Cobbler Building LinksLink building for small business SEO is one of two biggest challenges of the process. The other is creating content on a regular schedule. I know that many of you already have content, so we’re going to start this series before the content creation series.

SEO Link Building 101

This is going to be an extensive series over the next few weeks. We are going to cover a lot of material, but I’m going to keep it simple. We’ll start with the description of a good link for SEO and the link source. Then we’ll progress systematically with different sources for links and how to generate links properly from each of those sources. A few link sources will take more than one session. Article syndication and authority site creation are two examples.

The techniques I’m going to cover are white hat SEO. At least, they’re my interpretation of white hat. Some may disagree, but I stay away from black hat techniques because the risk is too high in my markets. Following these techniques should not cause any problems with the search engines.

Link Sources

Here is the list of link sources that we’ll cover in the coming weeks. As I said, I’m going to try to keep it simple, but I will provide links to other sites that will go into more technical detail. I’m thinking that you’ll want practical before technical.

Update July 15, 2011


Part 1Small Business SEO Link Building Basics – covering link HTML structure, DoFollow Links, NoFollow Links, Natural Links and Link Profiles

Coming Soon:

  • Link Practices
  • Authority Sites
  • Blog Comments
  • Social Media (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter)
  • Article Syndication
  • Guest Blogging
  • Press Releases
  • Profile Links
  • Reciprocal Links
  • Directories
  • Industry Organizations
  • Forums
  • Blogging
  • Link Exchanges
  • Your Own Sites
  • Internal Links

Ground Rules for Link Building

Here are my rules for link building:

  1. Thou Shalt Not Spam – there is no single good definition of spam, but let’s use the working definition of doing it for the link only.
  2. Contribute To The Conversation – “Great post, keep up the good work” is not contributing to the conversation.
  3. Best Effort / Best Content – content for blog commenting, authority sites, articles, etc. should be at least as good as what is on your site.  It should be your best effort.
  4. Relevance – if you sell flowers, make comments on flower related sites to build relationships. Don’t send links from a power tool site to your flower site.
  5. Treat Links as Gold – It’s not about getting the maximum number of links. It’s about getting the highest authority most relevant links.

I Would Love Not to Do Link Building, But…

In an ideal world, Google, Yahoo! and Bing would find the best content for each keyword phrase and display those results. We don’t live in an ideal world. The search algorithms are weighted heavily to external links. High value external links are difficult to get unless your content is excellent and unique. We advocate producing the best quality most relevant content for your customers whenever you publish – including links.

So, keep one thing in mind when creating backlinks for small business SEO – go to other sites to add value to that site. The exchange for you adding value is the link. Consider the power of the link to be directly proportional to the value you add to the linking site. If you create strong relevant content, regardless of where you post it, good things will happen. People will begin to notice you and start linking to you naturally. Let’s not think of it as link building, let’s think of it as promotion for the wonderful content on your site.

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Small Business SEO – SEOMOZ Link Building

Backlinks ImageLink building is a challenge for most small business owners. It’s a lot of work and the temptation for often disastrous shortcuts is always there. But, link building is a critical component to small business SEO success.

Josh Gill over at SEOMOZ, published a good post this morning at the SEOMOZ blog – The Daily SEO Blog. His The Five Linking Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making, is a great start for anyone new to link building, and a really good reminder of some link building basics for the more experienced practitioners.

First, I agree with Josh’s Five Link Building Mistakes to Avoid:

#1- Judging a Site’s Authority by PageRank Alone:
#2 Building Links with Only One Keyword or Keyword Phrase:
#3 Aiming for a Billion Links!
#4 Only Link to Your Homepage:
#5 Analyze Competitors Backlinks Who Don’t Rank for your Target Keywords:

That being said, there are a few points that I believe add to the conversation (remember these are mistakes to avoid):

#6 Don’t Have a Plan for Linking:

Linking when you get the urge usually means that you’re not going to do much linking. Once you figure out what you need in the number and quality of links, put a plan in place to get those links. For small business and local SEO, I usually set the goals of building links over 3 months period. The first three months for a campaign will be the most intensive. After that, it’s a regular, but reduced schedule for a year. Finally, once all the targeted rankings are reached, a link maintenance plan is put into place.

#7 Link Once in awhile with a big push

Sending a bunch of links to a site and then dropping down to nothing is not a good idea. It’s not natural and there’s a good chance that the links are discounted by the search engines. If your going to send 1,300 links to a site over 13 weeks, make the rate about 100 per week, not all at once.

#8 Forget About Your Internal Links

I see it over and over again. Site owners, blogger’s, small business SEO practitioners, and others are on an internal link diet. There are no links in the content. Your pages count just like external pages. If your pages are in the search engine index, link to your money pages, your main content and other pages that need a boost. Put in one link to one of your own pages or posts for every 100-150 words.

Read Josh’s post here ==> The Five Linking Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making.

Small Business SEO – Long-Tail Keyword Opportunities

Long-tail keywords get over half the keyword searches in Google and the other search engines. Here’s a classic example where no one seems to be paying attention to that fact.

What if you arrived at your vacation home on a Sunday morning only to find it infested with fleas? Who would you call? Well, in our real estate business, we often get calls from people asking for recommendations. We tried a few numbers for pest control companies we normally work with, but no one was answering. I then sat down in front of my computer and did a Google search on “emergency pest control daytona beach” (searched without the quotes).

Local Small Business SEO – Asleep At The Wheel

The results for the emergency pest control search show that long-tail keyword terms such as “emergency pest control daytona beach” are being ignored by small business marketers and most SEO companies. Looking at the results, I see that no one, not even the pages that are ranking, are targeting this keyword. Take a look at the results:

Emergency Pest Control SEO SERP

The first five SERP (Search Engine Result Page) results are shown from Google. Notice that of the five pages, only one page has an external link to it, the third listing. None of the top five sites have the search term in the title or in the URL. These sites are ranking because no one has optimized for the term “emergency pest control daytona beach.”

A quick way to find out if anyone is targeting a phrase is to check the title using the ALLINTITLE: command in Google. When I type in allintitle:emergency pest control daytona beach, we see zero results. A further check using the ALLINURL:emergency pest control daytona beach, shows zero results.

Is Long-Tail Keyword SEO Worth It?

If you attempt to find monthly keyword counts for our example keyword, you won’t find any. According to Google counts, there is zero traffic. On the other hand, half of all search queries show no traffic. I am amazed at the traffic I see on my websites for search queries that show no Google counts. Of 2,742 keywords that brought traffic to one of our real estate sites in May, 2,701 came from keywords with a count of less than 10. Over 1/2 of the traffic on this site is from long-tail keywords.

Back to our example. If you offer a service such as an emergency service, why keep it a secret? This is why blogs are so important. To rank for this keyword, here’s what you should do:

  1. Create a page or blog post with “Emergency Pest Control Your City” (or whatever your service is)
  2. Write about 300-400 words in the post. Mention “emergency pest control your city” 2-3 times. Talk about how solving your customers problem is important and describe the process. Tell them to call you now! They wouldn’t be looking if they weren’t in need.
  3. Make the page URL – emergency-pest-control-your-city.
  4. Make sure the page or post title, description and keyword meta data is targeted to your service. If your WordPress Theme doesn’t show a place for this meta data, install the All-In-One-SEO plugin and activate it.
  5. Publish the page or post
  6. Link from 5-10 of your internal pages/posts to this page
  7. Send 5-10 external links to the new page/post

For phrases like emergency pest control, where no competitor has optimized for SEO, you or your Daytona Beach SEO specialist should be able to get a first page ranking fast and a top ranking in a few months. If you don’t see that, add more external links.

Do this with 100 pages and your phone will be ringing. This is what small business SEO is about. Your traffic will come from hundreds of keywords, not one or two.

If these steps seem confusing to you, keep coming back to learn more. If you need help, call Michael at 386-295-2049.

SEO Ranking Formula – 3x5xSEO

SEO Ranking Formula Index Card

SEO Ranking Formula on a 3×5 Index Card

Is a picture worth a thousand words? Maybe. Is a picture worth higher search engine ranking? Yes!

This is the first index card published, but there will be many more. At least one a week. I’ve been using index cards and sticky notes for years to make things clearer for myself and clients. If an idea can be boiled down into a 3×5 card, it is much easier to understand.

SERP Rankings

Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) are the pages that display in Yahoo!, Bing and Google when you type in a search page. The Google SERP for San Diego Emergency Pest Control is shown below.

Google SERPs Page

The paid ads or PPC (pay per click)  ads are displayed as the top three results in the center column and along the right side. These are ads you must bid for to have them displayed for your page. It can be very expensive. What we are after are the natural or organic listings. These are the listings you don’t pay for and are the result of solid SEO strategies.

Pages x Links = Search Engine Rankings

Let’ expand the formula a bit.

Good quality relevant pages x good quality relevant links = search engine rankings

Google grants “authority” to good content pages and good quality relevant links (or votes) is how these pages gain authority. When a site has many, sometimes thousands of authority pages, it becomes an authority site – think CNN or ESPN.  You want your pages to become authority pages. To do that you make sure your content is high quality and links into that page are from the highest authority pages possible.

Look at the left side of the formula above. Good quality relevant pages could be from your site or from another web property that you don’t own. From your own site, think about where you might sell blue widgets, red widgets and green widgets. You have multiple pages on your site about these widgets. Each of those pages should link to each other and to any new widgets page you create. That is the first source of links – your own internal links from your relevant pages.

After you make sure you are linking from your relevant internal pages, find the highest authority external pages to get links. It’s probably not going to be CNN, but it could be a link from another widget site, a widget industry directory and so on. These should be your first choice. You can also create Hub Pages, Squidoo Pages and other content sites. These sites are consider authority sites by search engines. We’ll talk more about content sites later. Create these sites and then link to the relevant pages on your site.

Writing articles targeted to the same content as your specific pages will be enough to rank on the first page, or even number one for low competition keyword phrases.

Ranking Formula Strategy

If you have a blog, you can create more pages on your site easily and quickly. That should be a big part of your strategy. Each of those blog posts is a page and a link from that page will help other pages. Don’t say the same thing over and over. Vary the content so that it is unique within your site. Building more pages is critical because it’s self-reinforcing. As your pages and site gain authority, it raises your site’s power to rank for existing and new search terms.

Build links to all your site pages. Articles, Authority Sites, Guest Blog Posts, Blog Commenting and many other techniques are available. Video sites such as YouTube and Viddler can also be useful in building links. Links will also come to you if you create great content that others remark on. We’ll cover more on link building later, but understand for now that links are critical to your site’s rankings.

I see linking, both internally and externally, as the biggest weakness of most small business sites that are not ranking well for their targeted keywords.


There you have it. Create lots of unique targeted relevant pages. Link to those pages from other pages on your site and build external links from other sites. Do this and you’ll see great results.

If Do It Yourself SEO is not in your plans, or you need some basic consulting or training, just give Michael a call at 386-295-2049 or go to the contact page to send a message by email.