Link building is still one of the most important aspects of performing search engine optimization on a website. According to a study on search engine ranking factors performed by Moz in 2015, links are the most important attribute for Google’s ranking algorithm, having the strongest association with higher search rankings from all known elements in Google’s ranking algorithm. Even though it’s so important, building quality links is among the the most common problems small business struggle with. Unfamiliar with today’s best SEO practices, most small firms end up falling for black hat tactics in order to get their links – clearly a mistake. Indeed, search engines will remain cracking down on paid anchor placements, link exchanges and other shadier approaches to link building. SEO cheat sheet from top Hampshire consultant For this reason, it is important that you avoid “old school” methods, and focus on authoritative, relevant links which drive real traffic. Check out these six ways which will help you build for your small business website in 2016: 1. Make Sure To Partner With Your Niche’s Influencers Your niche’s influencers have a connection with readers which often surpasses the industry atmosphere, forming meaningful relationships with them. It’s a good idea to establish partnership with influencers that serve your target audience with relevant content. For instance, you might regularly contribute to their blogs, and occasionally have them link out to a page of yours. Consumers are likely to trust such links over sponsored posts for the following reasons. – They trust that the influencer such as seo consultants in Hampshire wouldn’t allow a contributor who does not provider value – A regular contribution from an employee or owner of a small business seems more ‘honest’ For instance, consider Paul Downs, who contributed at You’re The Boss, a discontinued blog from the New York Times. He started his custom furniture business in 1986, growing it over the years and sharing his expertise with other small business owners in his column. Paul Downs has a link to his website in The New York Times. He achieved this exposure and link by regularly contributing to the blog, which offers small business owners advice. 2. Make Local Partnerships When you’re addressing individuals in a certain geographic location, forming local partnerships can be a great opportunity to get backlinks from their pages. In this case, you might even already have a few partnerships, so all you’ll have to do is get in touch with them and ask them to place links. Instead of big corporations, it’s best to aim for local businesses and franchises. Replicate the previous strategy, if you’d like, by contributing to local blogs, too. Not only you can contribute to local business blogs, you might come across a few local news blogs or community blogs with welcome guest contributors. Another good idea is to sponsor local events which cater to small businesses. This will get you links from the event’s sponsorship page. See the example below: 3. Utilize The Skyscraper Technique Create by Brian Dean, from Backlinko, this technique helps simplify the process of link-building, as it does not require you to reinvent the wheel. Instead of coming up with content ideas everyweek, you can take what works for others (including your competitors), and improve it. The skyscraper technique has three steps in total: Figure out the content which performs best in your niche. Determine which is the top performer based on the quality of links that point to a website’s content, and how often their posts are shared on social media. You may utilize a tool such as BuzzSumo in order to search for well-performing content, and a tool such as Open Site Explorer to analyze the backlinks’ quality. Then, create something that’s better. Perhaps the content that performs best is low on case studies or practical example. Perhaps it does not go into much detail. Deliver more value than then on the same theme by creating a more comprehensive or mire in-depth piece of content on the topic. Lastly, promote the content via outreach. Reach out to influencers and relevant websites via social media and e-mail (you can even look at influencers and sites which link to the content you have been improving upon) Give them a heads-up on your new piece, including the most recent examples and information. The skyscraper technique is often called “content market for link builders.” Reports often reveal how the technique helps drive traffic and build organic links to a Hampshire company website,.