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Top 4 Reasons Businesses Don't Get Backlinks

by Chris Sheehy  |  
March 30, 2012

In this article, you'll learn...

  • Four reasons businesses aren't getting enough website backlinks
  • The importance of backlinks to your website's visibility and SERP rankings

Website links that point to your business website are one of the most important search engine optimization (SEO) factors that influence the online visibility and search engine ranking of your business.

Those backlinks signal to search engines how influential and relevant your business is online; they trigger local citations of your business and aid in deepening your local market penetration. Therefore, those backlinks help increase the online visibility of your business and influence the discovery of your business—over your competition—by online searchers.

So, if backlinks are that awesome for SEO and search engine results page (SERP) rankings, why do so many businesses struggle to get links that lead to their websites? Here are my Top 4 reasons.

1. It's hard work (with no effective shortcuts)

Sustainable results are best obtained via sweat equity. In this case, that translates to finger-numbing keyboarding. Automation doesn't cut it here because, typically, it's too general, so hitting the keys is your best bet.

Even publishing great content isn't enough in and of itself to get other websites to link to you. You need to get out there and promote that content (but that's a topic for another article).

Businesses have to commit to the notion that just as they have to be on the hunt for their next customer, so too do they need to be vigilant with their online linking. Linking is an all-the-time thing—not a one-time thing. Marketers don't know any secret tricks about "backlinking" other than those that "do" it... do well.

2. Commitment and consistency are fleeting

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Chris Sheehy is the founder of SEO and online marketing company Sidewalk Branding Company. He can be reached via

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  • by Caroline Fri Mar 30, 2012 via web

    Finally, a side-by-side comparison of scammers vs specialists. How many calls/emails do you get a week?

  • by Bizcus Fri Mar 30, 2012 via web

    Great article!

  • by Nicola Fri Mar 30, 2012 via web

    "Setting a monthly strategy of creating a set number of backlinks seems to work best for many businesses."

    But how do you create backlinks?

  • by Michelle Fri Mar 30, 2012 via web


    I get several on a regular basis. The sad part is they promise to do what we've already done ourselves, which is get a top ranking in relevant search results. When you google Fort Worth Printing, we are near the top of the organic results. This took months and months of work our end to achieve.

    I appreciate the tips here because our next step is to develop and publish content consistently that benefits our customers and draws people to our website.

    Any tips on how to sell the boss on the importance of this?

  • by Joe Fri Mar 30, 2012 via web

    As an industrial manufacturer with multi-industry distribution chains, one of the biggest reasons we don't get backlinks is because dealers are afraid that links to our site will result in their customers finding other dealers with higher benefits, such as better customer service, faster delivery, easy ordering, lower prices, i.e., a better customer experience.

  • by Caroline Fri Mar 30, 2012 via web

    I second Nicola's comment. One way I see might be to list on industry directories. Another could be to just out-and-out to ask to have your link on someone else's site or blog. A link exchange would put your site on theirs and vice-versa.

  • by Chris Sheehy Fri Mar 30, 2012 via web

    Thank you for the kind words - feel free to visit my profile and email me with your questions.

  • by Vahe, MarketingProfs Fri Mar 30, 2012 via web

    Hi, Chris. Feel free to respond in the comments area, too, to questions (e.g., "how do you create[get] backlinks?" )

  • by Vince Fri Mar 30, 2012 via web

    Joe - don't fall into the trap of thinking that your only backlinks should come from your dealers. In some ways those links aren't even the best ones or only ones for you. A lot of people seem to think that they need links from other businesses doing the same thing and while that's not necessarily a bad thing, those can be the hardest ones to get - and to get them set up correctly.

    There are plenty of other sources that can provide valuable links. What products or services are bought before yours? After yours? Position your business in those spots (at least as part of your content creation strategy) and develop a program to provide valuable/useful info to those areas (without being self-serving) and they will value your site - possibly more than your competition.

    If all you got were backlinks from your dealers, it could look like a closed loop/network. Not good. It might also be a lot of links from the same, related sources. Not ideal. Maybe you need a specific strategy to "sell" them on it. What's their incentive where they get more out of it than you do, or what they get is more than what they lose?

    Overall you need to have a link profile that includes links from a variety of sources - and not just from your immediate industry, but also related industries. You can also benefit from a variety of random links, but you don't want to over-emphasize that.

    There are also different qualities of links and different levels of relevancy on the pages linking to you that also make them more or less valuable. You don't want your dealers who are hooked up into other linking activities and doing something wrong linking to your site. How much control do you have over that if you just tell dealers, "Link to our site".

    Are you getting or asking for Home page links or deeper, content links? Have you looked to see where your well-ranking competition is getting their links from?

    Sites link to content. What's your content creation strategy - what do you write articles and blog comments on and why? Why would anyone link to that content?

    It seems like you're just focusing on the tactic of getting links and not seeing the bigger picture of why, what, how, etc., that guides getting the links you need and puts a certain amount of it on autopilot.

    I agree that there are a lot of scammers out there, but a big part of the problem is that businesses set themselves up to be taken advantage of because they want fast results from everything they throw money at. Not everyone, but many. Too many.

    Many have not planned their marketing and managed it well and get desperate. Then they go to someone and say they want links because they think that will solve their ranking problems. Whose fault is that?

    A lot of good links are created by executing a good, well-rounded online marketing plan. I'm willing to bet that most people chasing links or any other "one" thing this week, have no marketing plan and timeline with measurable targets, testing, etc.. But that's how you can OWN a market instead of always trying to catch up to competitors.

    Online marketing and SEO/link dev is not almost instant PPC advertising. It takes time. It needs planning - sometimes needing adjustments along the way. When you put your business in an environment that doesn't belong to you, that you don't fully control, things change. Expect that, anticipate it and be in business for the long haul, not the short term and market accordingly.

    Already today I've seen 2 sites with under 20 pages and they 'supposedly' have more than 10k .edu and .gov links. REALLY!?! Geeez...why would anyone link to a site that does nothing more than the bare minimum to get by? If it were you and you linked to a site like that, what would your visitors following that link think of you and your business? It's another reason why the majority of traffic hitting just about any web site doesn't nothing but go away - usually never to return.

    Sorry for the rant. Just trying to get people to see there's a bigger picture with more details than most realize (and I just scratched the surface). That's why it's not easy and that's why doing it the right way means so much.

  • by Vahe, MarketingProfs Fri Mar 30, 2012 via web

    Vince, thanks for the helpful input!

  • by Michelle Fri Mar 30, 2012 via web

    Wow. I appreciate the rant, Vince. I learned a lot!

  • by Joe Fri Mar 30, 2012 via web

    Hey Vince, rant on! That really puts the picture in focus for me! Thanks!

  • by Michael, TaDa! Interactive Sat Mar 31, 2012 via web

    Nice article!

    There are some legitimate (non-shady) things you can do that certainly will get your business listed high on SERP (search engine results pages). Often these will even get you in the top 3 results. Here are some examples:

    Claim and optimize your listing on Google Places, Bing Business Center and Yahoo Local
    Claim and optimize your listing on Yelp (some others, such as CitySearch, UrbanSpoon, etc can be helpful as well)
    Setup and optimize your Facebook Page, Twitter account, LinkedIn company page, YouTube and (for what should be obvious reasons) your Google+ company page
    Set up a blog (WordPress, is very SEO friendly) for your business, and regularly, frequently post quality content. Every time you post on your blog, share the post from your blog across your social media accounts.

  • by Chris Sheehy Sun Apr 1, 2012 via web

    Vince is right on track! (Thanks a bunch for taking the time to respond Vince)

    Strategy plays a key role in any marketing plan – there isn’t a single answer to what works best; it comes down to research, execution, quantification, and repeating the process. Links should absolutely come from varied sources – most preferably you want to source your links where your customers either go for information (verticals) or in places they would perceive your link to have authority or high value – such as when replying to an article or blog – like this one perhaps.

    In Joe’s case – I would suggest you considered the authority that an optimized professional profile such as ThomasNet, Quora, and LinkedIn could bring to your brand. So too, consider how blogging and responding to intra-industry and consumer-facing blogs could establish yourself as an expert in your field. Make sure to fill out a complete user profile on the channels you are responding via – these profiles hold link value too. This is a strategy that works with businesses across many industries.

    Back to Joe – this strategy could build a market demand from more dealers wanting to sell your goods – thus elevating your brand and increasing the likelihood your dealer would want to showcase your products more so.

    Similarly, Michael had some great points with building links to your business through local citations (local marketing channels). The sites he listed have high recognition and carry great authority with search engines – you don’t want to miss the obvious here. Just be certain to complete your profiles 100%.

    Many of the same standards for SEO that goes into a website are applied to online profiles mentioned here – so read up, or hire a local inbound marketing SEO pro (not the ones calling themselves guru’s or jedi’s) to do the job for you.

    Lastly, (and back to Vince’s response again) link building takes time – it could take several months to see strong results (and that is after keyword research, competitive research, and on-page SEO actions). Patience and perseverance pay dividends to those with a plan and fortitude to see it out.

    Thanks again for your input Vince & Michael!

  • by rambabu seo Mon Apr 2, 2012 via web

    nice job chris, yes i am also agreed with said "Committing the appropriate amount of time and money to link-building is a continual process that will provide long-term competitiveness and visibility via greater online search-engine discovery"
    And link building is also not the process to be implement randomly , you need to figure out many aspects of links from where you are going to take links are; authority, trust, page rank, mozrank, relavancy . .all these can give you clear picture does the page would be beneficial to your website or not in order to earn white hat SEO value

  • by Kenton Thu Apr 12, 2012 via web

    Such an important topic! Scammers are moving into the mainstream- I specifically contracted with a local, well-respected company to try and avoid that, and only the fact that I knew a bit about SEO alerted me to the fact that my Respectable Company was using spam SEO techniques. The problem- they really do bring results, in the short term. But besides the ethical question - which for us was enough to drop them - in the long term google will catch up with their tactics and pull the plug. I have to agree with Chris.

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