Chauncey: Welcome to the Being Found Show. We are the local business guide to being found by more buying customers online. I came across an article from Search Engine Land called Six Local Tips for Small Business SEO Success, and we are going to be covering one of the six business tips in this segment. The local business tip we are going to talk about is; Ensure An Appropriate Link Strategy

“Links from your website to other related websites and vice versa play a role in your business’ SEO visibility because they help to establish the authenticity and credibility of your business. But trying to game the system by leveraging unrelated links will damage visibility over time.” Search Engine Land

Ensure An Appropriate Link Strategy

Chauncey: When creating title tags or putting yourself into categories, focus on relevancy. Backlinking is something that’s been sort of confusing to people. They don’t understand the purpose of them but are sure that they need them, so we are going to make sense of that. The first thing Search Engine Land suggests as an actionable task is to consistently share links to your website via your Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels, and encourage others to pass along the information as well.

Jake: If you’re a small business owner, and you install satellite dishes for locals, you might want to put something up on your facebook page saying you are running a special and to click a link to find out more. You would link back to your website, and it would be a very effective way to gain traffic and business.

Chauncey: Ideally, businesses should commit to a 12-month schedule where for the each of the next 12 months, they have a special going so that consumers have something new and valuable to share and talk about. Here is where linking helps us. Now that you have a few links heading to your site and away from it and people are going to click that link. They will convert to your site and hang out for a bit and Google will think that is great. People will share information about your site and your business and link to you as well. Consumers will follow that link and convert.

If Google thinks you are doing great, you will show up higher in search and are more likely to be served up to new consumers. But if you don’t put yourself out there, that is just not going to happen. Google and other search engines are shifting towards this idea of a mission accomplishment as SEO ranking. So if Google sees someone accomplishing the mission of the business by following a link, it will positively impact your ranking.

When you’re driving traffic to your website, you have two goals. Goal number one is for them to convert and trade their money for your services through links to your site. Your number two mission is to help them get on their way through the Internet by linking to other sites. Some people are going to come to your page, and they’re not going to convert. So with those people, you provide value, and that would be a secondary mission. Google is in the business of providing quality results, which means that when somebody comes to Google, the results that they give them should make them want to continue using Google. So mission accomplished is what they’re trying to do.

The next part of the actionable task list says to include links to your website in email newsletters and other updates to customers. Businesses are quick to brush off email newsletters because they think no one cares about email anyways. They are more important than you think. People pick up your email newsletters, and sometimes they get aggregated out to other web pages. As well, a lot of people still like to communicate via email. It is one more channel for your business to be found through and is worth being a part of.

The next actionable task is to host or sponsor local events, or provide discounts for neighborhood students, and then encourage neighborhood businesses, the local chamber of commerce, charity organizations and other partners to link to your website when talking about those activities. This is kind of what I was talking about with the 12-month promotion schedule; if all you do is install dishes unless somebody needs a satellite dish, they don’t care about you.

You are a local business, and you want the locals to shop locally and strengthen the community. If you expect that out of the community, you need to be all about local as well. You need to put back into the community and that doesn’t need to be money, and frankly, it doesn’t even need to be a huge amount of time. It can solely be talking about it, spreading the word, and supporting people and other businesses with words.

There’s a lot of ways that you can do this with very little time and very little money. The bottom line for local businesses is to stay afloat, and there may be varying times throughout the year when you need to scrape by to get through a season. It is during that time that you take that into consideration that this is what you do for a living and if you can do something for less money and more effectively than anyone else in your town, why wouldn’t you?

Jake: If our business wanted to help a charity, which we do and effectively, it wouldn’t have to take everything we have. We donate our services because they are valuable and all that takes from us is our time and has a great deal of value. Donating our time to the community doesn’t affect the bottom life of local businesses. We’re giving them value, and we’re not necessarily taking money out of the bank account to do it. The prime example is this radio show where we give away information on what we do to better the local businesses and ultimately the community.

Chauncey: The next important actionable task is to create a local directory of community resources including your favorite nearby restaurants, stores, and cultural attractions, to provide an opportunity for you to link out to others (and for them to return the favor). Even consider starting a blog where you can talk about your business’ neighborhood and link to businesses and places of interest. So as far as the resource page, on a higher level SEO, we refer to this as link bait.

I’m sure a lot of you fall victim to clickbait, and I have to admit that I do too. I’m like sitting there working and then all of a sudden I’m trying to figure out why Hollywood won’t hire Keanu Reeves anymore and wondering how or why I got here. Link bait is creating a page of value that other people would want to link to because it’s worth something. By creating these things on your site, what it comes down to is value and relevancy. When you’re linking to these other businesses, it’s like your creating an impromptu leads group. You’re connecting to other businesses that you care about in your local community.

The final actionable task is to be sure that your link strategy is authentic in that you know who you are linking to and that they have relevance to your business. Also, do not create link schemes like spamming your business’ domain name on websites, forums or blog comments. Be wary of third-party content providers who claim that they can improve your SEO by writing content for your blog with SEO boosting links. These activities have the potential to damage your credibility with search engines and negatively impact your visibility in search results, as Google recently warned.

The bottom line is your website content and strategy should be genuine, and you should avoid shady stuff. Stay active in the community and mention your business, other businesses, and events on your website, social media, and on your newsletter. Google will recognize that you are of value to local consumers and it will benefit your business in the long run.

Thank you for listening to this segment of the Being Found Show, to hear the full show listen here: Being Found Show Episode #58 or subscribe to our Podcast.