As a local business, it’s important to gain recognition in your community. How can you do this? Online exposure can mean the difference between being a mediocre store and becoming a local icon. The older optimization methods are no longer effective in Google’s algorithm. Google has become much stricter with their ranking process for local businesses. Stuffing your content with local terms just doesn’t work and placing your website on just any directory might get you penalized. Whoa! You mean to tell me that I can get punished for submitting my site online? Yes, it’s happening…
Small businesses should be treated differently than larger ones since they play in a completely different arena. In the local listings for professions, like doctors and lawyers, directories such as Yellowpages and Superpages usually appear on the first page of organic listings and in the paid results as well. You will also find niche directories such as “DoctorsinMiami.com”.
As a small business, you can place your website in local and niche directories without getting penalized. Not only that, these types of directories will also provide you with a valuable backlink.
However, it can be tricky to decide which ones to submit to because directories of this nature tend to be new at times, which means that you can’t base your decision on their Page Rank alone. Even if they are well established and have a good Page Rank, it still shouldn’t be the only indicator you rely on.
Instead, analyze the directory by using backlinking tools like Open Site Explorer, Majestic SEO, and Ahrefs. Check to make sure they have a clean backlink profile with no spammy or unnatural links. Set aside some time to read through some of the content on the site. Is it high quality and of value? Or is it just stuffed with spam? If the content is of quality and their backlink profile is clean, that directory may very well be a good candidate for pitching blog posts that can earn you a good backlink.
The important thing to remember is that the directories you choose are meant to be local or niche specific. Double check that the submissions they accept qualify, meaning they are relevant and provide value. If they let just anybody in any industry submit subpar content, do not submit your content. Even if they have a high Page Rank, Google will ultimately catch up and penalize them. If you have a URL in that directory, you may very well be penalized along with them.
Making Newsworthy Content
Another approach to your backlink strategy should be to pitch to local newspapers about news related stories happening in your company or industry. Make sure that the story is newsworthy and has real time importance to the media and others interested in your industry.
You can write a press release and pitch your story to various local newspapers that might “pick it up” and feature it on their website. However, the subject of a press release doesn’t have to be “stop the press”. It can be something simple yet important like a new web integration program on your website or an event that your company is hosting. Since newspaper sites are usually high in authority due to the large amount of content they carry, these backlinks will be very valuable and will ultimately help you increase your visibility, authority, and your Page and Alexa Ranks.
Guest blogging can be done on a local level as well; just find blogs that are based in the local area. There are tools that you can use to find these local area and niche specific blogs, such as Google Blog Search. You can also use a search formula such as the following to view all the blogs in your city that use WordPress:
“powered by wordpress” inurl:”your city”
Just browse through the list and decide which blogs have the most potential benefit to you and which ones are worth writing content for.
You can also pitch articles to local businesses that are complementary to your company. Write an informative and engaging article on a topic of interest for that business and their readers, which will help generate traffic. Building this kind of relationship with other local businesses can lead to higher-ranking opportunities through backlinks and social engagement.
If you sell unique and artistic products, submit them to design blogs that accept high quality pictures. Add a short description; the exposure you get from this will be phenomenal if your product gets featured on a renowned blog.
This might seem over-rated but anybody who’s anybody prefers to buy from a company that has rave reviews. Not only will you gain more public trust but you will also get a backlink if a satisfied customer comments on your product or service. Yes! Two points!
This method can bring much success to your business, especially when you go above and beyond your customers’ expectations. Give them incentives to write good reviews by providing social buttons on your site. To improve your customer loyalty, create short surveys with no more than four questions. Why no more than four questions you ask? Because people don’t want to dedicate all of their time to filling out a survey. They are more likely to respond as a courtesy to you when you have the courtesy to keep things fast and simple for them.
Public Relations Outreach
PRWeb, HARO, Pitch Engine, and Profnet are great tools for those seeking free publicity. These services offer a quick and easy way to let members of the media know when you’ve done something newsworthy. They also link sources (aka: you) with reporters that are on the hunt for a good story, or who simply need expert opinions and information on a story they are writing.
All you need to do is sign up for email alerts and respond to their query with whatever information they have asked for. If you match their criteria, you will be featured in a top tier publication with a link back to your site. This is usually done on a national level but can also be done on a local one. Search for media outlets that are related to your industry and are in your region. While this may be more time consuming and your possibilities may be limited, it is possible. So if you do find an opportunity to pitch and it gets accepted, pop a bottle of champagne to celebrate your success!
It’s necessary to understand what types of backlinking strategies are available to you as a small business. While some strategies may seem the same as those for large businesses, the important thing for you to do is tailor those strategies to suit the needs of your small business. This will prevent you from wasting time on strategies that only benefit large or nationally based companies. Not all methods can be applied to both types of businesses.
Big companies are looking for brand recognition and fan acquisition; small companies are trying to get the best ROI. The most important thing you can do is provide creative and valuable content; this will set you apart from the crowd and give your website the edge it needs to outrank your competitors.
The key to a successful pitch is to make sure that the majority anchor text is brand oriented and that it always relates to what the content is about.
If you can come up with a strategy that will help you execute these methods successfully, you will have a surefire way to outrank your competitors in search results. If this is something you feel you may need help with, please contact us for a no obligation consultation and learn exactly how we can help you!