More and more small businesses working in a “local” market are waking up to the realities and need for Search Engine Optimization. However, in talking with many of these owners, they are concerned with the importance and on-going nature of link building, and the lack of financial and human resources needed to carry out link building activities.
As link building can account for up to 75% of the success of a SEO program, it is imperative that these businesses find a way to collect links within their limited resource budgets.
Following are 4 creative strategies to help “local” businesses develop on-going link building programs with a minimum long term investment.
1. Blogging for those that don’t have time to blog
Okay – you’ve probably already heard the “content is king” refrain and maybe have already accepted blogging as the powerful link building tool that it is. You may even have come around to the idea that blogging can help a business in the (concrete, pool installation, landscaping, plumbing, accounting, . . .) industry that you are in. However, it still comes down to resources – producing great content and managing a blog takes up valuable time!
The solution is to become a part-time blogger. Instead of running your own blog, work with others in your community that share a common clientele, but are not direct competitors to your business. For example, a plumber could work with an electrician, appliance retailer, interior designer, landscaper, carpenter, flooring retailer, and heating/cooling company to produce a “shared” blog about “Do it Yourself Home Projects”. Together they could produce a blog that would probably appeal to a wider audience then a specialized industry blog could, and it would only require the plumber to produce one article every two months.
Another option would be to find related blogs both at the national and local level and submit content as a guest blogger. This is currently a very common link building strategy among bloggers, but there is no rule saying that you have to have your own blog to be a guest blogger.
2. Produce sharable content
Find a subject within your industry or community that would be of use to customers at multiple businesses. For example, our plumber may write (or hire someone to write) a “Guide to Re-designing your Bathroom” and offer it as a free download from his website. In addition, he can have an attractive button designed and offer it to local electricians, plumbing supply stores, flooring companies, paint stores, etc to put on their websites so that they can offer the guide to their customers.
Essentially, each button then becomes a link to his website – he has traded great content for a valuable link.
Rather than being an article or information, this could be an app or widget that they could use or offer on their website.
3. Send out a “local” press release
Whenever you have something of interest going on within your company – a big project, a new hire, the additions of a new product or service – send out a local press release.
Keep an email list for local online and paper newspapers, magazines, radio and T.V. stations, and any other businesses or groups it might interest. When something exciting is happening within your business, send an email out to this group to let them know. Include a link back to a website page that was created to provide details about the “exciting news”. This page could then be linked to in an article or blog from one of their sites.
4. Have a contest
Once a year, organize a contest. The goal of the contest will be to produce a list. Either a “top ten” type of list providing acknowledgment to the “top ten Seattle Plumbers”, or a “Best of List” announcing the best plumber, electrician, etc in the area.
Try to promote the contest through your blogging efforts, a local press release, social media platforms, etc. Depending on the size of your area, you can either list everyone in the category, or require contest entrants to be nominated by the general public. Results can be determined by a vote or through selection by a panel of “experts”.
Create a button for winners to advertise the results of the contest. Announce the results through your media and social media platforms and provide the winners with the button that links back to your website.
Time and effort spent on link building can provide a strong payoff in search engine results pages. Hopefully these 4 strategies will allow you to develop links over a period of time for a minimal upfront investment of time and labor.
Please let me know how these strategies work for you. Do you have any other link building strategies that you have had success with?