There are many different SEO (search engine optimization) methods out there. All of them have their own pros and cons, and manual link building is no exception. In it’s simplest terms, this is nothing more than finding the sites you would like to link back to yours, then adding them to that site (if it’s set up to take such submissions) or contacting the site owner directly and asking them to add your link.
A lot of people are convinced that hiring a backlink service to do all of the tedious work is the best way of getting backlinks. Then there are those who believe doing their own manual link building is the better SEO strategy.
The truth is that manual link building does have some advantages. Because you are, by definition, doing the work yourself, it is basically free unless you happen to purchase software to help you find the best sites to link to, but this often isn’t necessary. The other advantage is that because you have complete control over which sites are linking back to you, it can be a very effective method. It’s also a good option for site owners that only want backlinks from sites in their geographic area.
It’s safe to say that it’s not a smart move for small businesses to invest months and years to slowly build up a web presence through social networking and article publishing; waiting for enough of this content to be linked enough to see a boost in the search engine rankings. This applies even more so to brick and mortar businesses that don’t have a strong need to do business online, but still need an online presence. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try getting links this way, but that they need to do more because time is always of the essence.
A good place for local businesses to start are local online business directories. Request that your website be added to the directory, but beware that many of these directories will require payment to be listed with them. However, if there are levels of listings, and your business doesn’t have a lot of local competition, then you should be safe going with the most basic listing. But also remember to go with the larger paid directories such as Business.com, Yahoo and BOTW. The reason it’s important to cover all your bases is that Google likes the larger sites and it will increase the results of you manual link building efforts.
What about automated link submission tools? Well, they certainly can be used effectively, but they aren’t perfect. They can fill in submission forms automatically, but not all sites use the same input fields. And when there are unique fields that the automated software doesn’t recognize, it either won’t submit properly, or you will still have to do some of it manually. The main benefit is that when it works right, it is much faster than manual link building.