A link’s ROI is one of my primary considerations whenever I design a marketing strategy for local businesses.
Since Google provides SEOs just enough rope to hang us with, I think the return should be the volume of traffic that the backlink generates. That is to say, instead of worrying about where you stand in the rankings, you should focus on how much traffic you receive from each recommendation.
When it comes to link development, it’s important to go beyond simply scattering links with the same anchor text all over the web. Because of the high return on investment, the best link building practises begin with a company’s current network for traffic referrals.
When working with local and regional companies that are hoping to increase their online visibility, I usually begin by discussing the following link building angles with them. Although they may be mundane, time-tested link-building strategies like these are more likely to result in the kind of organic growth that sustains successful businesses than any “magic” SEO strategy.
One’s own social circle is a good place to look for quick connections
Finding links requires first looking at what’s directly in front of you. If you run a product-based company, for instance, you can always start by asking the manufacturers you work with to provide a link to your site. Find area charter organisations that serve your target market or specialty if you’re offering a service. If you need to join in order to be included, evaluate whether or not doing so will actually result in a positive gain (beyond the cost of membership) by expanding your network. Even if a connection to your chamber of commerce doesn’t bring in a lot of visitors, it could help you connect with other professionals who could be useful in the future. The payoff comes from extending one’s neighbourhood business’s reach.
Connect with independent rating platforms
Review websites are useful because they increase your chances of being featured on directories like Yelp and Urban Spoon. Communities form around these networks, and their users often become authorities in their field. The neighbourhood will deliver customers and feedback on how awesome the company is. Most companies have a dedicated core of customers even before they launch. To gain traction in that group, you need to first find a method to get those fans interested in leaving reviews on these websites.
Write engaging press releases that will pique the attention of media outlets on a local, regional, and national scale
A good illustration is provided below. A eatery was the target of a recent burglary. In and of itself, this was nothing novel. However, the company saw an opportunity in the situation and created a backstory while also providing a reward for the criminals’ capture. Throughout the city, they set up signs that resembled the classic western prize signs. The payoff? You can get a complimentary grill and 100 steaks. The press statement was picked up by local news outlets and eventually CNN. The takeaway: Finding a unique perspective is a great way to attract notice and links at no cost. The idea is that the twist (the incentive) made the story interesting and shareable in its own right.
Recognize window of opportunity in vertical industries
While you shouldn’t expect direct competitors to link to you, some niche marketplaces might be more open to it. When working with a local company, one of my first steps is to investigate potential link-building opportunities within these sectors. If you’re a local artist, for instance, you might be able to network with curators in your region to get links and recommendations. If you’re a landscaper looking to expand fast, you might want to consider teaming up with a company that specialises in weed control.
Volunteer your time and expect help in return
Every month, business owners report being approached by organisations seeking donations for food campaigns and other good causes. These organisations usually maintain an online profile. The majority are reliable according to most search algorithms. Asking if there is a website showcasing the event is never a bad idea, especially the next time someone asks for a gift card for their silent auction on a public broadcasting channel. If that’s the case, nearby companies can always inquire about listing options. Some people may be surprised to learn that local businesses never consider the potential benefits of internet exposure that a charitable donation or food drive could provide. In addition, the company will likely have to speak with someone besides the salesperson requesting for the donation, which will increase the size of the company’s network.