Even today, link building is still important for local businesses wanting to rank well in search engines such as Google, Google Maps and the Google Local Pack. But before you go out and hire a link building company know this: The most valuable local links directing people to your website will most likely come from you, not a link building service.
“The most valuable local links built will most likely come from you, not a link building service.”
~Adam Campos, OTT –[tweet this]
Whether you own a mom-and-pop or franchise, it is necessary to send search engines the proper local link signals. If you have optimized your website for search engines and user experience, provided frequent helpful content for prospects, nurtured your Yelp page, and have submitted your business information to the main online directories, then here is my suggestion on what to do next.
Get four or five key links directed from sites such as the local chamber of commerce, local organizations and other local businesses because, in my opinion, these are more important than hundreds and maybe thousands of links from unrelated websites, online directories and article websites.
Adam’s Local Link Recommendations
As an SEO expert and small business owner, here are my link building recommendations for any local brick-and-mortar.
- Get a link/s from your local chamber of commerce (you can also join the chamber of neighboring cities)
- Get a link/s from your local news source
- Get a link/s from a local organization such as AYSO, Little League, YWCA, etc.
- Repeat as many times as you want. The more the better.
These links have tremendous value because most link building companies, small time SEOs, and anyone trying to game the search engines avoid them due to cost and time. In my experience, a chamber link will cost about $300 annually, sponsoring a local youth team will cost $300-500 annually (be sure to choose the sponsorship level that includes a link), and so on. Let me break this down further:
- Chamber, nationwide sports organizations, and local publications with online presences usually have authority and trust with search engines, meaning these links should give your a website a boost.
- Cost alone will weed out small-time competitors and wannabees.
- Local links provide evidence to search engines of your business’ existence.
Make A Note: These links will need to be renewed annually or they will disappear. Be sure to provide the URL of the specific webpage you want to rank for in Google Maps. Pointing to the homepage does not always make sense, especially if you share a website — which is the case of franchises and businesses with multiple locations. Third, always find, and verify, the link you paid for works! You’d be surprised. …
Step by Step: Real Life Example of Getting Local Links
Getting to know others in your community is an additional perk of this link building strategy. Here’s a real life example from The Joint Glendale’s grand opening:
Back in 2013, I partnered with the local YWCA to help raise funds for the women’s shelter. Through that experience I received an important link from a trusted organization, exposed my business to potential customers in my trade area and created a positive impact in the city. It’s definitely more work, but worth it. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide of what I did:
- Walked over to the YWCA near the Glendale location and asked the first person I saw who I should speak to about fundraising for the YWCA.
- Decided to donate $10 of every new membership to the YWCA woman’s shelter on grand opening day.
- After we agreed upon the charity and date, I created grand opening flyers using YWCA and The Joint logos.
- I gave a stack of flyers to the YWCA to hand out and placed flyers on the announcement boards of local businesses such as Whole Foods.
- I asked the YWCA to email their list of contacts about the event.
- Handed out flyers on the street.
- Created a press release for the event (links).
- Had an announcement placed on the Glendale YWCA website and Facebook page (two valuable local links).
- Shot a quick video with the lead chiropractor, myself and a YWCA representative and placed the video on Facebook and YouTube (more links).
- Had the event.
- Donated $300 to the YWCA woman’s shelter.
Other Notes Regarding the Grand Opening.
- There was a two-man band playing smooth Latin jazz.
- There was a man spinning a free adjustment sign. The city stopped by and told us they don’t allow sign spinners, however, since it was only one day and for the grand opening, they allowed him to continue.
- There were three doctors working grand opening to handle the crowd; The Joint Glendale’s lead chiropractor, a corporate chiropractor, and a chiropractor from a neighboring franchise.
- I gave $5 gift cards from Whole Foods to everyone you signed up for a membership (Whole Foods is across the street from the Glendale location).
- We had the ribbon cutting, via the Glendale Chamber of Commerce, the same day.
- Free adjustments grand opening day.
- You did the work and you obtained local links. It will only benefit you when Google and other search engines find and crawl those links. It’s like that old question, If a tree falls in the forest and there is nobody around to hear it, does it make a sound? If you have a digital marketing company, let them know about those links. Simple tricks can be done to help search engines quickly find new links.
- It is my belief that for businesses active in the community, those efforts will spill over online. Why? Because community activity creates buzz, and buzz creates sharing, and sharing leads to links from other local sources.
- Use hashtags (#). If you are running or participating in events, be sure to create a hashtag so that attendees can easily take and tag photos for social sharing.
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Adam Campos joined Over The Top Marketing in its infancy in 2009 shipping boxes. During downtime Adam studied SEO, link building and content creation to improve search results for OTT's eCommerce websites. Today Adam is Vice President of OTT and is also a small business owner. Read Adam's full bio on his personal blog, http://brickandmarketing.com/about/