Here in Cleveland there are plenty of companies who are still feeling the effects of the last five years. That’s not to say that these companies aren’t being successful, it’s more the point that some of us are still slightly shell shocked form what the worlds has thrown at us over the last few years! Things may be looking up, and small businesses in Cleveland might be doing well, but it doesn’t automatically make those small companies become big companies. When we’re talking about having online success, it can be difficult when you are one of the little guys.
It’s so easy for a large company to go out and effectively buy links. I’m not talking about dodgy link farms, or straight link buying sites, where black hat techniques rule and a con artist is never far away. I am talking about the persuasive power that large businesses have. It’s so easy for a marketing team working for a big company to approach other sites and ask for some juice in return for some exposure. People automatically want to be associated with these large firms, so they don’t even have to try.
How can the small business match up to this? By focusing on relationship building rather than the link building. The links are the ends, you need to concentrate on the means. This approach takes time, but it is worth it in the long run. If you are interested in building relationships, then you have to go out and find them. This might well mean trawling through social media,. Finding posts that you like that are relevant to your company, and liking them, or commenting on them – whatever is appropriate depending on the site you are using. I’m talking Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as any other social media sites you want to target. Everything starts with a connection, so get out there and start making connections.
Of course, this approach won’t just work with anyone. If you try to get influential people in the SEO world to help you along, you might be trying for some time. Far better to seek out people who can benefit as much as you can, and try to work with them. Before trying to create that all important relationship, ask yourself what the other person is going to get out of it. If the answer is not much, the likelihood is that you are going to get a negative result.
How do you help someone else along? By promoting their content, adding value to it, while they do the same for you. Why not set up a blog featuring people outside of your industry?
Give the people who you feature a link back to their site, and tell them you have done it! Ask them to share the blog with their followers, which they undoubtedly will do, and hey presto, you’ve started something!
Of course, this is just one example of what you can do to create relationships. Here in Cleveland there’s a lot of mutual love between small businesses, so it should be something that is not too tough to cultivate. You might want to approach a company that does link building in Cleveland to work on your behalf though, because this sort of work can be highly labor intensive in the first instance, and if you’re not quite sure what you’re doing, it could be wasted man hours. Think it through, but most importantly, really take on board the idea of building relationships – it really does work.