Fast forward to 2021 and you might be wondering what the deal is with inbound linking. Well… confusingly, the more links you have inbound linking to your website the better, so arguably it’s still a numbers game. The onus is on the quality of those inbound links though and so you should pace yourself (don’t get too many inbound links at once), and only choose high quality domains that are Google-ordained for linking back to your website. Above all else, don’t make the mistake of creating a toxic backlink profile for yourself.
If you have a brand new website and no search profile at all on Google, then here’s a starter list to get you going.
A top 17, yeah, weird number. While everyone else is doing ‘six of the best’, ‘top 10’, ‘top 3’… we’ve gone with a top 17. Put your Prime number prejudices to one side and read on!
Start at the source! Google isn’t going to down-rank a Google-owned property on anyone’s backlink profile and it’s as about high an authority domain you can get. If you have a physical location, then sign up for a Google My Business account, or claim yours if Google has already added you on Google Maps.
Your Google My Business is one of the purest sources of a review for your business too with Google-ordained star ratings added as a feature of the profile. You get to create a review link that you can email to your customers asking for a review. And to show you how it works, here is our generated link, so click it and leave us a rating if you are so inclined! https://g.page/r/Ca7EqjMJzpB0EAg/review
As an extra bonus tip, if you are active on social media then it’s only a few minutes extra effort to post to the Google My Business ‘posts’ feature too. These posts come up against your profile in the Google search results, and it’s a great way to add extra inbound linking that the Google bots might be slow to pick up on.
Go here to get started: https://www.google.co.uk/business
Although the traffic on Bing is super low, they’re still a going concern and on anybody’s scale being owned by Microsoft and being the second biggest search engine in the Western world has got to count for something. You can also login with your Google account and synch your Google My Business listing details, which makes things smoother.
Here is what our listing looks like so that you can see what you get for your efforts: https://www.bing.com/maps?ss=ypid.YN1029x3070051741230969685&mkt=en-GB
Start the process of claiming your business listing here: https://www.bingplaces.com/
Scoot is a business directory in the style of Yell, Thomson Local et al and what those of a certain age group would remember as the old Yellow Pages format. The advantage of signing up for a Scoot listing and inbound link is that it is part of a network of directories that also includes Touch Local, The Sun, The Independent, The Mirror and web.com and so adding a listing on Scoot will add to these other directories at the same time. So this is 6 listings for the price of one!
Here is our listing on the Independent (that has a domain authority of 94), using all the free facilities of the listing without committing further to a paid for listing: https://directory.independent.co.uk/company/destination-digital-marketing/21660925
If your business is on Scoot already, you can claim the listing by going to the profile and clicking ‘Claim My Business’. If it’s not there already, then you can add it by visiting this page: https://www.scoot.co.uk/add-listing
The upsell on Thomson Local is strong! They will try to get you to opt in to all sorts of advertising on their platform, but resist any persuasion. The ads are usually to pay for your profile to come up higher on the website itself, and what you have to ask yourself is, ‘does anyone actually ever search a site like this specifically over and above ‘Googling it’?’. Short answer… no they don’t and why would you?
As a good brand name, it’s worth claiming a free listing though, and you can do that right here: https://www.thomsonlocal.com/product/freelisting
With FreeIndex, you can get an inbound link from a website with a domain authority of 57, which is pretty decent (have you checked out your own score?). You also get to fill out quite a lot of detail on your listing, which is good for off-site SEO and getting your keyword phrases in place on a website other than your own. We guess also that this richness of listing is aimed at people running businesses that don’t have a website like those in the building and construction industries and that do most of their business from the mobile phone in their back pocket.
You get a ‘friendly URL’ to point people directly at your listing if you so wish, and here is ours: https://destinationdigital.freeindex.co.uk/
Brace yourself for upsell calls from Yell once you have signed up for a free inbound link. They have always had a really aggressive (and overly expensive) premium service that a whole army of sales people will shoot a look your way. Be firm in your resolve to say ‘no thank you’ about 100 times and they will eventually go away, leaving you with a free inbound link. Here’s what our listing looks like: https://www.yell.com/biz/destination-digital-marketing-bakewell-10193822/
You can create a registration using your Google or Facebook account which makes things smoother, so go ahead and start the process right here: https://www.yell.com/free-listing/
Business Magnet is a B2B directory that’s been solidly doing its thing for many years now and is aimed at bringing member organisations together. You get some good opportunity to add words to your listing and images too, so makes for a good rich listing from which to backlink to your website.
Check it out here: https://www.businessmagnet.co.uk/manage-account/register
Don’t forget social media. If you have a physical location, you can register it in Facebook/Instagram and this is handy for tagging on a location basis to help you curate social posts that also geographically associate with your business address.
Apart from that cool feature, almost all the social channels allow you to inbound link to your website. An important, and not-to-be-forgotten way of increasing the chances of someone discovering your website.
It might be small, but it’s mighty powered. Spend a few minutes signing up for the UK Small Business Directory if you are a small business in the UK. You will need to back link to the UK Small Business Directory website in return to help support this website that offers its services free of charge to help out other small businesses. Here is our link to show you what you get: https://www.uksmallbusinessdirectory.co.uk/listing/256843/
If you are dedicated to working on your business for half an hour a couple of times a week, there are other directories you could sign up for slowly but surely – concentrate on higher domain authority and work your way down the list:
You have to think carefully before buying inbound directory links. Some niche business industries do have paid-for directories, and in some cases this is a legitimate cost to spend some of your budget on. Look at the reputation of the website and the cost of the link before committing to paying though. Here are a few general listings websites that charge for a listing:
If you are a local Business Chamber member, then make sure to take care of your profile and fill out all the blanks. If you are a member of a business networking group such as the FSB, a local contributory networking group or online community, then also make sure you are represented well on there too. You will usually have paid for such memberships, so take advantage of this as a perk of membership.
We just recently joined the Good Business Charter, and whilst we get to pin our flag to the ethical business practice post through this membership, from an SEO point of view, we also get a great backlink too.
Then take a look around for other business directories that serve your local area, or your industry in particular. For instance, we are involved in running Made In Derbyshire and Arts Derbyshire for businesses located in the county of Derbyshire. We are also members of Business Peak District, and we signed up to a great new PR website called Newspage which not only has got us media coverage, but we get a nice profile listing too.
Profiles are free to sign up for as long as your business fits the editorial criteria. If you are in construction, there are construction forums and directories, if you are in accounting, there are financial directories you will be able to join… etc. So look at the geographical part of your business and look there, but also at the vertical in which you do business for more opportunities.
The SEO technician and the PR exec very rarely spend time in the same room, but they should hang out more often. The PR has something the SEO really needs, and the SEO can help maximise the saturation of a press release, which makes the PR’s reporting look great.
Apart from the business directories listed above, the *best place* to get an inbound link is from the editorial copy of another business that has great domain authority. Guest blogging outreach work aims to create this content for inbound linking to websites, but the issue is that this is usually paid-media and not earned-media, which has you sailing close to the link farm wind if your guest blogging strategy is targeted too broadly.
In steps the PR exec. They are on this planet to help brands get earned media placements in publications, and they only target high authority media owners with their PR stories. If you are an SEO, cosy up to the PR team to ensure that when they do get a placement in the national press, that they have done everything they can to get you a backlink in the copy too. By default, most editors will leave a backlink out, but the beauty of a PR’s relationship with editors is that they usually know who to call to get a link established.
You can also influence some of the phrasing in press releases too, to help you serve your SEO purpose. Doing *this* will help the PR gain greater visibility for any off-line media that happens as a result. So, if they earn a radio slot, or the holy grail… a TV slot, whatever gets talked about in the piece needs to be found really easily on Google, which is where the SEO can help the PR out. If key phrasing is in the press release too, any media that runs the news on their digital platforms will also feature as part of the press pick up profile for the campaign.
So go on, grab a coffee with the PR and talk about how you can deepen your relationship.
If you’d like help with digital marketing, ads management, SEO, copywriting, websites, branding or social media management… or anything else related to the internet and digital, then get in touch with us. We’re a friendly bunch.