Link building has changed a lot over the years. After a pretty brutal crackdown by Google related to linking practices it became clear that a new, more narrow practice was needed to continue taking advantage of this very relevant part of marketing strategy. Thankfully we still have avenues that don’t violate any terms of service, or even press the boundaries of what is and isn’t acceptable.
Acquiring local links is one fantastic way to do so. This is perfect for small businesses in particular that are wanting to increase their visibility on both a local and more expanded scale. But how do you do that? Here are nine ways.
Invite a Community Writer
In any city there will be local, independent publications that are aimed at the local community. They do editorials, comment on city news and do reviews. It is the last that you want to go for. Invite one of the review writers from these publications out for a sample of what you have to offer, on the house. If you are a restaurant for example offer them a comped meal for them and a guest. If you sell a product offer one to them for free.
If you own a retail store ask them to come by and check it out and offer them a free item of their choice to test the wares. Generally these publications are both online and in print, so you will be getting the word out along with a followable link from the digital source.
Sponsor a Local Podcast
Podcasts are becoming more popular than ever, and often locals will have their own. You can get in on the fun by sponsoring them. If you don’t have enough money for a sponsorship, try something a little more simple. Give them some free goods.
Send over some food from your kitchens. Give them some discounts or free items. Ask them to try your service. You will get a link on their website, a mention on any social media, and perhaps a vocal mention on their show. Here are lots of local podcasts to get an idea.
Get Listed in High-Quality Local Directories
And I don’t mean in thosounds of them. Local directories are still being used by people trying to discover more places to visit and more companies to check out. To evaluate if being listed is worth it, check the directories traffic. If your links are going to be clicked, these are good links. A couple of examples:
Here are more worthy directories listed here.
Write For Locals, But Aim For National Attention
Local pieces are picked up by national news agencies all the time. They are originally meant for these small communities, but others outside of it take interest because of the issues that arise as a result.
This is often referred to as "controversy baiting", as the easiest way is to use controversy to get a large local paper’s eye, where it then moves onto a national publication. This is done more readily with online posts, as there isn’t as much of a space consideration that makes human interest stories easy to cut.
Download a checklist here to get your local blog popular within your area and beyond.
Create Some Videos
There was a local pizza parlour that was trying to attract more attention, as they were in a strip mall with no visibility to the busy street in front of it and had a limited ad budget. Their solution was to create a video campaign for YouTube and their social media pages.
They told local high schoolers that they could get a free pizza for shooting and uploading a silly video with a link back to their website. It was a massive success, led to thousands of new social media likes and a ton of links that brought direct traffic.
Win a Local Contest
The Chamber of Commerce does annual contests in a number of categories open only to local businesses. Some local papers, television stations and blogs also have these competitions.
You can do a seach and find anything that is nearby that you can nominate your business for. Winning one of these contests is great for high quality links from authoritative sources.
Offer Your Business as a Meetup Space
Have you ever heard of Meetup.com? It is a very popular meetup website that allows people to create their own groups and host get-togethers in any possible category.
You can go through and find meetups already established and offer your business as a place where they can have these meetups. It is a great way to get people into your shop and also gives links through Meetup and social media.
Host Weekly Events
You don’t have to house other people’s events. You can create your own. A nearby cafe has several events every week that caters to its main audience (those involved in the geek subculture).
Holding your own events is great for posting on Meetup.com, CraigsList, social media sites and newspaper boards where others are looking for something to do.
Get Local Influencer Aware Of Your Brand
There are plenty of influencers who are around you. They have highly active social media pages, regularly comment on Yelp and other review sites and have blogs. You can get in touch with them and build a relationship, letting them promote the brand for you.
Do you have any other ideas on how you can build links as a local business? Let us know in the comments!
The feature called “Majestic Awards” will reward people who use the site most actively. There are lots of features inside Majestic and looks like this feature is going to help discover more of them.
You’ll be rewarded each time you discover and use a feature for the first time
Some of the features are repeatable (so you’ll be rewarded every time you use it)
Majestic Awards is further enhanced by introducing a leaderboard which creates a multi-user competitive element to the game as you compete not only with yourself, but with all other user s of Majestic . Only the top 10 leaders are ever shown, but you are able to see how you compare to the leaderboard at all time. Opting out is possible for nervous users, but research has shown that turning complex websites into games creates for stronger engagement over…
It’s an interesting step for a SAAS company! Gamification will surely make using Majestic much more fun (Backlink analysis tends to lack the fun component!). Plus, it’s a huge incentive to discover hidden (yet awesome!) features!
If you don’t already have a profile you can submit one for verification right now. You’ll receive an award for that!
Read the official announcement: Learn and collect with Majestic Awards
The world of SEO seems to be constantly in flux. With each Google algorithm change comes an existential crisis for the industry, although hopefully we are over the worst excess of that era and the present zeitgeist is one which is likely to be around for a while. Link building is the bread and butter of good SEO work, but is something that people often mess up. Below is a handy guide to how to make sure your link building is top quality.
Definition of link building
Building high-quality links is an arduous job that requires high quality content, website partners and well-optimized keywords. Hyperlinks direct traffic from other sites to your own and are used to navigate around the web. Google uses crawl data to assess which links register most for key terms and uses this to position its search result rankings. Therefore, good linksmanship is an essential part of the SEO trade.
The importance of link building
Search engines need links to determine rankings and to identify the new kids on the block that need to be ranked. Google published a short videowhich breaks things down pretty nicely. While search engines identify key terms on a site, they also look to external sites to see how many are linking back to the original site. Google provides weight to different sites and getting a link on a clean, well- respected site is going to do you a lot of good when it comes to ranking. That’s why time needs to be spent on ensuring that links are getting built in the right places.
When you link to relevant and high quality sites that has been crawled by spiders and has made a correlation to your website, there will be a great possibility that Google will consider your site a prime candidate to appear on Page 1 on Search Engine Ranking Pages (SERPs)
The anatomy of a hyperlink
A handy article I read recently provided a great breakdown of how the link building process works and how Google reads it in order to rank a site. This is basic stuff, but it’s good to know how the nuts and bolts of the process works.
- Anchor. This comes at the start of the hyperlink and lets Google know that link tag is about to follow that is going to need to be ranked.
- Link Referral location. This is the link address which you click on to take you to wherever you need to go on the information superhighway.
- Visible/anchor text of the link. This is the text that users see on a page that guides them to a link. Think the ‘contact us’ phraseology as an example of this.
- Link tag closing lets Google know that the anchor is at an end.
Weighting of thematic clusters of ranking factors in Google
A number of different factors affect Google rankings and there is a good breakdown of that here. The algorithms are ever more complex, but quality is the key to Google search success these days. What this means has been discussed in-depth elsewhere.
However, finding quality partners that fit with your brand and that Google considers as ‘clean’ certainly helps, as well as ensuring that what you produce is informative and can generate organic traffic that is linked to from a variety of places is certainly the main factor affecting rankings.
Benefits of link building to your business
To rank well, there is no substitute for high-quality links to high-quality content. However, there are more than just SEO benefits to consider when building links. There are a number of intangibles that can help any business. One of these is that of building up business contacts that can reciprocate. By borrowing, partnering and generally working together, there are benefits to both sides in the short and long term.
The key thing to remember though, as I have stated multiple times already, is quality. Once you find a potential partner they need to find what you do worthwhile in order to encourage their audience to give you a chance. Quality content is key to quality partnerships and the rankings follow.
Social Media is always there to help
While it is still debatable as to the true impact of social media with SEO rankings, there are still many who insists that Social Media does add to the organic success of a website even if it is not directly obvious.
But, it is widely accepted that there is a relationship between SEO and Social Media. Some experts think that by appearing and being mentioned on a post in a social media site like Facebook can be a ranking factor. Even without a hyperlink, just by having your brand appear in a site is a signal to Google. Here we see the effectiveness of Social Media in giving your product an increase in brand awareness and promote more social mentions and conversations about your brand. Think of it like a snowball effect as its signals grow.
Lastly, believe it or not, Social Media can increase your website’s traffic which is a big factor in rankings. The most popular items we see in Facebook are informative and interesting content, funny or tragic videos, intriguing blog posts and other compelling content. You could get higher rankings especially when users read your entire blog post or watch the whole video before moving on to another site. This is measured by search engines: bounce rate, new visits, return visits, pages per visit and time spent on a website. The more engaged a user is measured, the higher the ranking could be.