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Running a small business is a dicey game. It is by no means without its rewards; you get to be your own boss and manage your operation as you see fit, and every success is attributable to your hard work. But you also have to contend with limited funding most of the time, as well as the responsibility of wearing many hats. Even if you’re familiar with the industry that you choose to enter, you’ll still have to handle all manner of tasks that you might not be cut out for, such as accounting, sales, and marketing, just for example. And in this day and age, it simply won’t do to ignore the potential value of an online presence, even if you’re only a small, local business. Nearly everyone looks online these days rather than using the Yellow Pages, so if you don’t build a website and start to optimize, chances are good that consumers will never find you. As part of the package, you’ll want to find ways to get inbound links that direct interested parties toward your website. Here are just a few ways to secure the virtual arrows that will point people your way.

  1. Killer content. In a post-Penguin world, content is of the utmost importance anyway when it comes to optimization. Google’s current algorithm is designed to ensure that the websites getting top placement for searches are actually providing the engaging and informative content users expect, rather than the keyword-stuffed articles of old that were meant to bring in traffic while delivering little value for visitors. But there’s an even better reason for providing stellar content than sating Google’s search bots: you want to impress those who come to your site. When you provide the value that consumers are seeking via your websites, blog, social media, and so on, you increase the opportunities for sharing, and this will help to increase the inbound links you seek.
  2. Easy-to-share items. Massive blocks of text may be the most comprehensive means of delivering information, but they are in no way the most efficient, nor are they particularly attractive. The long and short of it is that you need to provide bite-sized snippets of information that are easy to share if you want to encourage visitors to spread your content to contacts online. By creating self-contained content through graphics, infographics, and videos, for example, you can offer customers the easy-to-share content they crave. And embedded links will lead straight back to you.
  3. Social media profiles. Social media plays a major role in sharing, so you really can’t afford to let it fall by the wayside. That said, you must treat your profiles like any other professional venue. Despite the fact that they are terribly casual, social media outlets provide you with an opportunity to reach out and connect with prospective customers. But they also give you a way to offer sharable content, and that’s where your inbound links will start to multiply.
  4. Participate in the online community. There’s a lot to be said for networking, especially in the online arena. So sign up for forums, comment on blogs, and see if you can get some patronage and collaboration going within your virtual community of peers. Participation can go a long way towards netting you additional links.
  5. PPC services. You might not be keen on the idea of paying for links, but when you run a small business you’re either expending time or money, and most of your time must be devoted to your operations. Luckily, there are some strategies for building a web of inbound links that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. And pay-per-click services may qualify. Getting listed with directories is another good option for the business on a budget.

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