You’ve probably heard the term Search Engine Optimization repeatedly. SEO is the techniques search engines, such as Google, use to rank your website. The better your SEO, the higher your website will be listed in the search engine results page. SEO is vitally important to your website and business. You’ve probably done a million Internet searches yourself. How far down the results do you typically scroll before picking a website to visit? 81% of people use the Internet to begin researching a company. Of those 81%, 75% never scroll past the first results page! In other words, there’s a good chance people aren’t finding your website. But don’t despair. While it is impossible to guarantee website ranking, there are many things you can do to make it more likely a search engine will rank your website well.

Let’s talk about backlinks! Backlinks you say? Backlinks are links on another site that link back to your website. In the early days, search engines relied almost solely on backlinks to rank websites. Soon Link Farms (websites dedicated to listing backlinks with little or no content itself) began to take over the Internet as a way for people to manipulate their search engine ranking. With today’s advanced search engines, backlinks have become less relevant, however, they still contribute to the strength and the authority of your website and therefore are an important asset when it comes to SEO.

The more often your website is visited, the higher its ranking will be. But, how do you drive people to your website when 75% of them only look at the first page of results? Enter the backlink. Backlinks are a great alternative avenue for people to find your website. Let’s say someone is reading a blog on investment options for their money, one of which is real estate. The reader sees a link pointing back to your site, clicks on it and voila, your property management website has a new visitor! This is called referral traffic and can have a positive impact on your website’s online reputation, increasing your SEO score. But how do you create backlinks?

Building a good portfolio of backlinks can be time-consuming, however, there are several relatively easy ways to do it.

Online Directories and Listings – listing your website in reputable, relevant online directories and listings is a great way to build links. These links may not directly increase your SEO score; however, they have the potential to increase your score indirectly by providing an avenue for people to find your site without having to be on the first page of search results. The more visitors your website has, the higher your SEO score will go. We’re not talking about Link Farms. We’re talking about well-respected business directories and local business listings that include informative content in and of itself.

Blog Comments – commenting on someone’s blog, in which you add a link, is also a great way for people to find your website. However, if you comment with nothing but a link to your site, you’re likely to be marked as SPAM, which will have a negative effect on your SEO score and likely result in your comment being removed. A good blog comment or question should enhance the blog, be informative and work toward building a relationship with the blogger. You should only be commenting on relevant blogs that have something to do with your business whether directly or indirectly.

Blogging – you’ve probably heard how valuable a blog on your website is, but did you know that blogging outside of your website is a great way to increase your SEO score and is a perfect way to create a strong backlink to your site. Now we admit, it is a time-consuming task. Finding a quality site that accepts guest blogs takes a lot of research, but it may be worth it in the end. Need a place to start? Look at association or industry publication website. Many allow guest bloggers to submit editorial content.

Create Backlink Friendly Content – chances are, if you’re trying to build backlinks so are others. If people find the content on your website or blog informative, they’re likely to use it to build backlinks to their own website. You may be thinking “why would I want this?” The relevancy and authority of a website’s content go a long way in ranking with search engines. Relevant backlinks from your site are an excellent indication of just that.

You’ve probably been hit over the head with it, but in today’s digital age, a good online presence is essential to building your business and customer base successfully. It may be time-consuming and confusing but spending time upfront to ensure you’ve done everything in your power to increase your Internet presence and search engine ranking will pay off ten-fold in the end.