Search engine optimisation (SEO) isn’t just about what you include on your website. It’s also about what other people include on theirs, especially when it comes to links. An important factor in improving your Google rankings is the number of times other websites link to yours. A link from someone else’s website shows Google that your website is deemed useful and trustworthy, and will mean your website comes up in the search results before a similar site with fewer links.
Links from external websites are known as backlinks and it can be difficult to know where to start if you want other sites to link to yours. The easiest way, and a method that’s often overlooked, is to start with the people you know in real life. These could be your customers, your suppliers, partners or other local businesses with whom you network. Ask them if they’ll include a link to your website on theirs – and offer a reciprocal link in return. You’ll find most are happy to say yes.
Remember however that quality is as important as quantity when it comes to backlinks. If all the backlinks to your website are from totally irrelevant websites, Google will penalise you in the rankings. So make sure the websites you ask for links from are relevant, whether that’s businesses in the same geographical area, companies offering similar or complementary services, or blogs about issues connected with the services or products you sell.
Another great way to get more people to link to your website is through social media. For example, you can use Twitter to share new content, offer opinion on the latest issues in your sector or comment on relevant stories. Make sure you include a link to the relevant content on your website and hopefully others will share your tweets, driving more traffic to your website and helping to improve your Google ranking.