By MeghanCahill
22 Apr 2015

Mom n’ Pop to Multi-National: Who Needs Link Building?

Link Building

There are two common, and contradictory, cliches in the land of link building.

One is the mentality that this marketing method is only for new, small businesses attempting to hang their digital signpost. The other misleading mindset is that this type of service is only for the enormous corporate behemoths trying to maintain their status as ‘King of the Mountain’.

In actuality, link building can be wildly beneficial to businesses of any stature: small, medium, and large. If you have a website with any commercial or monetized aspects, you’re already aware that you need some form of digital marketing. Link building is one of the cornerstone strategies within any comprehensive promotional plan.

But it’s important to note that every company’s approach will be different. Customized, if you will.

The specific marketing avenues you utilize will depend on your business’ size and scope, not to mention your industry. There are many variables at play here. Let’s take a look at two rather extreme sides of the spectrum...

Leveling the Playing Field -- Link Building for Small Businesses

Effective marketing, and link building within it, can put newborns in the same playpen as the big boys.

At first glance, you might not assume that a local craft artisan and a Claire’s shop are direct competitors (if you’ve never been a preteen girl, Claire’s is an omnipresent mall staple that peddles trendy accessories to tweens...and their moms). But let’s take a look...

An enterprising young woman knits wool scarves in her spare time. She recently decided to make the push and start selling her wares. Her product goes above and beyond: she raises and shears her own sheep. She processes, dyes and spins her own wool. In reflection of this, her products are, quite honestly, rather spendy.

But she’s also launched link building and content marketing campaigns, in attempts to get her product in front of the world’s eyes.

Feeling sheepish about your lacking web presence? Maybe a few baa-a-ad puns will help.

Incidentally, your neighbor needs a new scarf. Customarily, she would usually just head to the mall and pick one up at the popular teenybopper accessories joint. Sure, the scarf is mass-produced and imported, but it looks hip, feels soft and it’s cheap.

Lately, however, your neighbor has noticed something interesting:

  • A few articles online featuring the artist, her sheep, and the cozy-looking scarves.
  • Tutorials by the artist, demonstrating how to spin your own wool.
  • An avalanche of mentions across her social media profiles: re-tweets, pins and ‘favorite-d’ pictures of scarf-bedecked women hiking, dancing, making quinoa, whatever.

In fact, many of your neighbor’s favorite websites seem to be touting the goods of this local knitter.

Someone created this content, someone built these links she keeps coming across. Eventually, your neighbor goes to the artist’s website and after perusing the many beautiful photos of her offerings, buys a long, tasseled burnt-orange scarf.

How did this small-time craft artisan make an impact? Not simply by offering a high-quality product, but by being highly visible somewhere she knew her customer base would be: Yep, the internet. Specifically, places on the internet trafficked by potential scarf-shoppers. Those links, and that content, are spreading the word on her behalf.

Dominating the Digital Sphere -- Link Building for Big Business

Staying on the same subject, the Claire’s brand is highly recognizable. I’d even venture that they’re a household name. And they generate billions in annual sales.

Chain stores and costume jewelry aren’t exactly my cup of tea, but heck, I’ve been a customer. I got my ears pierced at a Claire’s store in 1994. If I needed, say, an inexpensive pair of elbow-length satin gloves for my Rita Hayworth Halloween costume, I reckon a trip to suburban mall-sprawl would be in my immediate future.

But according to their own SEC earnings reports, Claire’s isn’t doing so hot. In fact, they’re whiffing it in their online sales. As we all know, a company can be a “big deal” in brick n’ mortar life and strike out in the e-commerce division. Shifting focus, after forty years in business, ain’t easy.

Fact: The transition from traditional to online marketing methods is a laborious burden for many companies. True as that may be, a comprehensive digital marketing plan is an essential step for anyone competing in an e-commerce marketplace. Claire’s said it best themselves:


Indeed it will. So, is a search marketing campaign alone going to save the Claire’s corporation from going the way of the dodo? Hey, I’m not that naive. The overall economic struggles of any company are usually much larger than the current state of their digital presence. But search marketing would absolutely provide much-needed help.

A link building campaign, used in tandem with other marketing tactics, would heighten their online visibility in search results and the circles they generally run in. This visibility, paired with crafting the right ‘feel’ for their particular audience, is absolutely paramount to future success.

", you're saying this used to animal?!"

Link building, search marketing, content creation, public relations, manual promotion: these strategies are proven to have a wide and powerful impact on your bottom line, not to mention the public perception and “image” of a brand. Claire’s is clearly in dire need of an economic boost, if not an entire conceptual makeover.

Their stores are already in every shopping mall in America. I took an informal poll around my office and even men in their 30’s+ are familiar with the Claire’s brand. So what’s it going to take to get this company in the black? More stores? Glossy advertisements in the Sunday paper?

Nah. The solution to their troubles is waiting in the wings. It’s the digital marketplace. And they’re well-aware they need to crack it. A link building campaign, as part of their overall marketing strategy, would help them get to that next level.

Wrapping It Up

Let’s recap, shall we? If you’re a small or startup business, link building and content marketing can get your message and brand in front of a relevant audience. Because you’re awesome and people need to know it, dangit.

If you’re already a top dog in your industry, these methods can keep your business at the forefront of a highly competitive marketplace. Because you’ve been awesome for a long time and people know it, dangit.

Link building campaigns are custom-crafted to fit companies of any diameter, and for a wide variety of different goals. These aren’t one-size-fits-all solutions. I’ve often referred to link building, otherwise known as manual promotion of content, to be the digital world’s version of “word of mouth”. A comprehensive marketing plan will effectively spread the word.

Because according to Google this afternoon, there are 35,800,000 places online that a gal can "buy a scarf".


Meghan Cahill is a link-builder and content writer at Page One Power in Boise, ID. She spends far too much time collecting classic movies on VHS and quizzing total strangers about Idaho history.