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To make the most of your online content, you need your posts and articles to appear as high up as possible on search engine result pages. After all, hardly anyone clicks through to the second page of Google results. Getting your content on that first page requires a comprehensive search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.
SEO has several components, including the proper use of keywords and adding meta tags to webpages. Another key element, and one made easier with professional assistance, is securing backlinks to your content. When other sites and pages include links to your site, it tells Google that your content is legitimate and has value for readers. This, in turn, will improve your ranking for important keywords.
For small businesses that rely on a loyal customer base, it’s especially important to rank well for searches conducted in the vicinity of the business. Local SEO and Local PR refers to the strategies necessary to improve your ranking for these regional searches. If, for example, you operate a fish market in a small New England town, you want your business’s content to rank highly when people search “seafood” in the area. You can meet this goal in part by securing links from other webpages in the region.
Most savvy business owners know the importance of getting involved in their communities, shaking hands at town meetings, and participating in events. This same type of community involvement can help you in the digital sphere. By securing these links, you can boost your Google ranking while forging valuable relationships. All you have to do is know where to look.
There are all sorts of news sites, organizations, and local bloggers that could send visitors back to your content. Once you know your options, you can set about securing the links you need.
Sponsoring events, organizations, and charities is a great way to connect your business with other entities and improve your Google ranking. Sports organizations, food banks, and youth programs are often looking to partner with businesses in the region. When you offer your support, these groups will include links to your business on their websites. Their sites might not have the domain authority of national organizations, but they will still send some link equity your way.
Scholarships provide more great sponsorship opportunities. Not only will your business earn props for furthering education in the community, but scholarship organizers will also send visitors back to your site.
Beyond sponsoring charities and initiatives, you should be able to make connections with nearby organizations. By offering your services for a discount price or building mutually beneficial partnerships, you can form relationships with influential institutions. In today’s day and age, these relationships should take place as much online as they do in the outside world. Any real partnership should come with plenty of backlinks.
In addition to boosting your Google ranking, these organizations will send traffic directly to your site. The people visiting the organizations’ sites are likely to be residents of the area, meaning they have a good chance of becoming loyal customers.
Small newspapers are often major players in the regional information market. The online components of these publications are great sources of valuable links. News sites typically attract a significant amount of web traffic and may be able to boost domain authority. Securing links from these domains will improve your Google ranking while driving people to your site.
Making these connections isn’t always easy. News sources are more concerned with editorial and journalistic standards than aiding businesses with their SEO endeavors. That’s why you need to deal artfully with small papers. Simply asking for links will get you nowhere. Instead, ask to write columns or editorials about topics you’re familiar with. As a community business leader in a specialized field, you should have plenty to offer readers. Once you’ve established a relationship and provided the paper with content they can use, you’ll be able to secure links from their site to yours.
Local Guest Posts
Just like you can secure links by contributing articles to news sites, you can also gain them by writing guest posts for blogs. As far as SEO goes, you should focus on blogs that are specific to your industry and area. If you own a sporting goods store, for example, look for blogs that focus on sports teams in the region.
When approaching bloggers, make sure you offer them something valuable for their project. Nobody is going to let you simply advertise your business on their site. You need to contribute enjoyable content that will add value to the blog. Most blog operators will be happy to send visitors to your business’s site in exchange for insightful, well-written posts.
The internet is full of business directories that help consumers find the products and services they need. These sites are great sources for the types of connections that both attract web traffic and boost Google rankings. Some directories are for all businesses in a certain region, while others are specific to a particular industry. Make sure you’re part of every directory that corresponds to your business. Every site you overlook represents a missed opportunity, an opportunity your competitors might be taking advantage of.
You can find these directories by doing simple searches online. Try using your town, region, and industry as terms to narrow the scope of your investigation. Most directories will be happy to add your business if you send them an email. After all, their entire purpose is to match consumers with the businesses they need.
There are several things you can do to get local backlinks:
- Create local partnerships with complimentary businesses
- Host local events
- Sponsor local sports teams
- Add your business to local directories
- Join local organizations that require membership
- Offer scholarships to local universities
- Guest post on local websites
- Ask to write columns or editorials on local news sites about topics you’re familiar with
- Create amazing content and reach out to local websites to let them know about your stellar content
For small businesses, the best link profiles are those that include plenty of links from the area. Web traffic from organizations across the country won’t help you nearly as much as those from right in your own back yard.
This aspect of SEO strategy can be a bit overwhelming for people who have never done it. Little by little, however, you’re sure to get the hang of it.
Finding links requires patience, determination, and a lot of hard work. Searching on the internet can help you identify organizations in need of sponsorship, news sites, and industry-related blogs. From there, you’ll have to pitch the people in charge of these outlets. Make sure you offer them something tangible in exchange for the links. You can also head out into the community to forge the relationships that will eventually work to your advantage.
Professional services can also help you gain the links you need. SEO experts know how to construct optimal link profiles for small businesses. They have the knowledge and expertise to find sites with powerful domains. These sites will then bring greater link equity to your site. Not only is hiring experts a great way to maximize your content’s visibility, but it will also free you to work on more familiar parts of your business.
Citations and backlinks are both very important to SEO, but they are not the same thing. Citations are mentions of your business on other sites. Full citations will include your business’s name, address, and phone number. Partial citations, meanwhile, will include just some of this information. While full citations are better for SEO purposes, almost any mention of your business from an authoritative domain will ultimately help your ranking.
Citations, while not backlinks themselves, are often accompanied by hyperlinks. This is what makes business directories so valuable. Citations give search engine algorithms the information they need to index your business, while the links will send consumers your way.
Examples of backlinks are to be found all over the web. Take, for example, a fishing magazine that describes the best lakes and ponds in a particular region and reviews fishing equipment. The publication’s website is likely to list nearby bait and tackle shops where anglers can pick up the supplies they need. Any links from this page to the site of a nearby shop will constitute a useful connection.
Small charities present another perfect example. Most charities have a website, and most of these sites list the organization’s sponsors. A hyperlink from the charity’s page to a sponsor will serve as a valuable connection for the sponsoring company.
All businesses could benefit from a quick review of their link building strategy. You need to make sure your company has the clout it needs in the eyes of leading search engines. By securing links from regional partners with authoritative domains, you’ll get your site on the top page of Google results pages. That’s the type of visibility that produces paying customers.
SEO requires a comprehensive approach. Simply researching keywords and creating content is never enough. By combining keywords, valuable information, and a link building strategy, you can make the most of your online marketing.