Back in 2012, Google updated their search algorithm to Penguin. This update carried a crucial change, having large quantities of links would no longer be enough to achieve strong search rankings. Even more concerning was the fact that your site could actually downgraded if you had to many links. This caused many marketers to be overly cautious about link building for SEO purposes. and that caution has kept many from creating what is still a key factor in organic search rankings, the link.
It is time to break free from the chains that have been holding you back from link building and start building local links today! We are going to look at three steps that you can take to help increase your SEO organically without being penalized.
Listings in industry-specific directories are great because of their high authority and how well they reinforce signals to Google regarding your business category, products and services. The more locally specific sites you can leverage, the clearer it will be to Google that your business is relevant to local searchers.
Hopefully you are already a member of some local business associations. If you are, check out each of those websites and see if there is a directory and if businesses have profiles that could be optimized to include a link.
If you are not a member of any local associations, a simple Google search based on your town, county, or region plus “business directory” should reward you with the results of several local associations that you can become a part of. Specifically, search for any local directories that focus on your business niche, as these links will build even stronger links.
Existing Brand Mentions
When you receive that sought after mention on the local news, you need to make sure that you tap into that content. Most often PR coverage doesn’t include a backlink to your business website. One of the easiest ways to get links is to simply ask authors who have written about your brand online to include one. The best way to identify these opportunities is to monitor the web for mentions of your brand, and there is a really easy way to do that!
Simply visit google.com/alerts and set up alerts for your business name, and anytime Google indexes something that matches your alerts you will be alerted via email. From there, your next step is to reach out to the Journalists who are writing about you. Be cautious and courteous when contacting journalists, keep in mind they do not have to link to you, and make sure you treat them with respect, after all you don’t want them to change their story to something less flattering!
Alumni Directory & Association Links
This tactic works especially well if the business owners, partners, or key executives attended a local or state university. Alumni directories can garner highly authoritative, locally relevant links back to your website.
Not only is the .edu link strong, but alumni associations will sometimes share news and current events from alumni. If the business has participated in a recent charity o achieved a milestone as a business, get in touch with alumni associations to see about getting the good news published.
This type of link building is definitely worth investigating for practitioner businesses, including doctors, lawyers, realtors, and dentists. In the event that a school will not allow links back to business sites, you can still ask for a link to one of your high-profile social media pages.
So there you have it, three easy steps that can set you down the path to building links and generating local SEO while keeping your link building compliant to Google’s search algorithms. If you need help building links you can always contact us for assistance!