Previously, we talked about how our Business Listing Management program can have a big impact on the success of your local SEO efforts. It’s a seriously great program, and it’s always the first place to turn to when a client is struggling with SEO or when someone just wants more traffic. Today, we’ll be discussing an SEO tactic that takes a bit more work than just filling out a form.
If our listing management program is the first thing I mention to clients, link building is always the second. That’s because quality inbound links have the greatest impact on the overall effectiveness of your website’s SEO.
Link building is a huge topic, which is why there are entire blogs dedicated to the different aspects of it. Several months ago, I wrote a more in-depth discussion of how link building works and a few ideas on where you can get started, but for the sake of keeping things simple and actionable, I’ll focus only on two techniques today.
Most blogs on the Internet are starving for content. So in most cases, they will gladly exchange a link to your website for a well-crafted article. The trick here is finding a blog that covers topics in which you have expertise, and accepts articles from guest authors.
Out of all possible methods for actively building links to your site, this is probably the most effective in terms of link quality, and the least likely to get you in trouble with Google down the road. It’s also one the most time-consuming methods of link building.
Creating excellent, sharable content takes time and resources, but the benefits of guest blogging go beyond additional links to your site. Finding the right blog can end up exposing your brand to thousands of people you wouldn’t typically reach. It also allows you to start establishing yourself as an expert in your industry, which can go a long way toward drawing in new clients.
An easy way to build a few links to your site every couple of months is by distributing press releases (PRs) through networks like PRWeb, PRlog and PRNewswire. The greatest benefit here is that you have full control over the content being shared, allowing you to craft it in a way that will help your SEO.
Anchor text, the segment of text used to create a link, plays a major role in search engine results. Google looks at the words being used in anchors pointing to your site and assumes that those words must be what your site is about. So when you link back to your site in your press release, make sure you include an important keyword in your anchor text.
Pro-tip: Search engines look only at the first appearance of a link to a specific page, so if you link to your homepage three times in your PR, Google will count only the anchor text from the first link.
The downside to PRs is that search engines are well aware of how easy it is to use them as a link building tactic. For this reason, links from PRs carry less weight than, say, a guest blog post. You also don’t want to go overboard with press releases. It can look really spammy to search engines if you suddenly get 50 new links from PRWeb — one PR per quarter or once a month is fine.
Pro-tip: Google wants to see a widely varied collection of anchor texts pointing to your site, so don’t use the same keywords over and over again. Your anchor texts should include variations on your company name, keywords, images, your URL, or ambiguous phrases like “click here.”
You might also try to make connections with reporters at local or community newspapers and send them your PRs as well. Just like bloggers, reporters are hungry for any bit of content they can get their hands on, and even a really small community paper likely has a website that can link to you.
There is a wealth of information about link building out there, and I highly encourage you dig into them. As I said before, quality inbound links are crucial to making your overall SEO campaigns a success.
Actionable items for this week:
- Sign up for MyBlogGuest
- Write, write, write – good links don’t come for free, you’ll need to create some good content to earn them
- Always be thinking about links – every company goes through milestones that present great link building opportunities. Turn these milestones into press releases and get some links!
Next week, we’ll jump into a topic that clients often bring up: online advertising. The online ad world is scary and it’s an easy place to lose a lot of money. We’ll talk about the merits of the different major advertising networks and how they might fit into the various steps of your sales funnel.
If you missed Part 1, don’t for get to go back and check it out:
SEO & Social Media Manager