Link Building Techniques: The All-In Guide For Your Business’ Journey To Page One
So you’re looking to take your business to the next level by ranking high on the search results pages to be seen by your target customers. However, you’re still a newbie, and you don’t know a lot about SEO or link building. It can take a lot of time, effort, and money before you can achieve the top spot on local search results, but it is not impossible. Get out of the “next page” and start working your way to the first page to earn that profit you’ve been waiting for. Read on and start using these link building techniques and let’s get your business to the next level.
WHAT IS LINK BUILDING?
Let’s say that you’re a restaurant owner. When people enter the search term “Restaurants near me” you would want to appear on the first page of the search results, right? Websites listed on the first page have the highest chance of getting targeted customers compared to those sitting on the second page and beyond. Link building is the process of having other websites link back to your site so you can be on the first page of search results. Link building strategies, if utilized correctly, is one of the factors that Google looks at when ranking web pages.
How Is Link Building Done?
Link building is done by having other websites connect to yours through inbound links. An example is when a food blogger mentions your restaurant’s name or includes your website’s link in his or her blog post, thus creating a useful link for your site. Inbound links are also called backlinks, and they act like votes that would determine how popular your site is. There are strategies that you can use if you want to get your link building started ASAP. Here are local link building techniques that will make your journey to the top easier.
Citation building is one of the most famous methods in link building. If you’re a business or website owner, you should be aware that citations are one of the biggest factors search engines look at when ranking a website. The first thing to know about citations is that they can be mere mentions of your business—they do not have to be actual links. This method is also a way for you to rank locally in search engine results. Being seen by local clients is crucial for your business because they are the ones who’ll want to avail your services more often. However, before you can get the benefit of having local customers, you must have good citations from relevant websites.
Just like backlinks, citations can be considered as votes from other websites that could boost your rank on search engine results. It may sound easy at first, but don’t get fooled because this method of increasing your chances to get on the first page may require more effort thank you think. However, good things don’t come easy. And building good citations for your business will be worth it when you finally see all the results of your hard work.
There are two kinds of citations that you must know: the structured and unstructured citation. The structured citation contains a NAP format of mentions from directories or review websites. These kinds of citations are usually business listings that allow clients to know the basic information of a company that he or she is looking for. Keep in mind that your NAP information should be accurate to enjoy the benefits of this method.
Unstructured citations do not use the NAP format and are commonly seen on blogs and newspaper articles. This type is suitable for your site if you want to improve your business’ branding locally. Another benefit of getting unstructured citations is that more people are going to be curious or intrigued about your business. The fact that a blogger or a newspaper article recommended your brand means that influential personalities liked your services or products and that would make their followers want to try your business too.
Where Can You Find Citations?
There are various citation sources that you can use. In fact, there are hundreds of sources to choose from. Business directories like Yelp, Yellowpages, Google My Business, Yahoo Local, Judy’s Book, and Bing Places are just some of the online directories that are getting popular today. Citations can also be acquired through social mentions, your distributor or business partner’s website, your supplier’s website, as well as through public records.
How To Build Citations?
Citations may or may not contain links to your website, but they can still give you good results for your organic rankings. Search engines like Google use these mentions to evaluate whether your site is legitimate or not. By having proper citations, your site will also acquire more visitors, therefore increasing the number of your potential clients.
But how do you do it? A citation contains the NAP information of your business. NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number. This format is used by a lot of sites, and you’ll also notice that directories utilize it as well. It is a simple yet very organized way of providing business information to customers.
Because you need to have a lot of citations from different websites, the job can be very boring and repetitive. There is also a possibility that you’ll make mistakes when you have to provide your business’ information on nights when you’re just too tired to work. For people who want to make things easier for themselves and avoid mistakes, making a spreadsheet of the business information will help a lot.
The things that you must include for your business’ information spreadsheet are the following.
- Company or business name
- The owner’s name
- Email address used for the business
- The business address
- Floor number or suite number
- Zip code
- Phone number
- Landing page of the business’ location
- The business’ logo URL
- Facebook URL of your business
- Twitter Handle used by the company
- Link to the business’ Google Places Page
After having all the information that you need about your business, it is now time to look for good citation finders that could help you with your citations. These finders make looking for mentions or listings a breeze for business owners. Examples of popular and trusted citation finders are Yext, Whitespark, Bright Local, and Moz. They will make sure that your site gets listed on a number of directories which could take a lot of your time if you opt to do it by yourself.
Citation finders make it easier for you to get a list of directories that you could use for citation building. All you have to do is fill out one form, and you’re one click away from having a list of directories or sites that could give you an excellent citation. The results or list that will be provided to you by the finder will depend on the city, keyphrase, country, and state that you’ll enter on their form. These citation tools assure you that your ranking on local search results will greatly benefit from your citations.
How Much Will It Cost Me?
Unfortunately, citation finders are not free. You have to pay for their services and invest in them to get the best results. The prices range from $55 to $499 per year. There are also some service providers that would offer you a $400-$1100 one-time fee. If you want to get more directories and sites for your citation building, you may have to pay for extra costs.
REACHING OUT TO LOCAL BLOGGERS
In order to complete your link building strategy, you must find a way on how bloggers would love your brand. Bloggers or influencers are some of the best people who can help you achieve your goals for your site or your business. As a side note, if you’re looking to become a social media influencer, here’s a good article to read. These individuals are highly-trusted by a lot of people, especially their followers. People trust TV personalities when they advertise a certain product or service. Influencers and bloggers have the same effect to your target audience. Bloggers are not just writers anymore. They are people who can have a huge impact on your site’s ranking and your potential profit.
Why Should You Look For An Influencer?
Do you remember how celebrities are hired by companies to endorse their brand on TV? Do you believe in the promises of advertisements delivered to you by the media? You probably noticed yourself changing the TV channel whenever you see a commercial. Most people also react this way when it comes to seeing advertisements. However, it is not the same for bloggers. These influencers have the power to capture the attention and interest of the same group of people you want to know more about your brand.
Bloggers are like friends to everyone, especially to their followers. They give honest opinions and reviews that people trust. These individuals are the new celebrities that could skyrocket your sales and your site’s traffic. One of the best things about bloggers is that they have people following their posts all the time and these followers also have a network of friends that they could also influence easily. If you get a blogger to support your brand, you’ll have more chances of being able to reach out to more people that could be interested about your products and services.
How Do You Reach Out To Them?
It’s easy to think of a famous blogger that you can target for your link building campaign. However, reaching out to these bloggers should be well-thought of. Chances are there are already a lot of business owners like you who are also reaching out to these bloggers. This is why you should think of a way to stand out and strike a deal with them.
#1: Know And Follow Their Social Media Pages
Once you already have a specific influencer on your mind, take the time to look for his or her social media pages. Through these pages, you’ll get an idea of how they post. You’ll see if the content they usually tweet or post about on their pages will be useful for your business. If you like their posts, you can share it on your page as well to make them notice you. Bloggers love it when people share their posts because it also means more visitors for them. In addition, your followers or clients would love to see real and relevant content other than your own as this adds a more personal touch to your brand.
#2: Send Personalized Messages
So you already decided to partner with a blogger who’s been famous lately in your city or industry. The next step for you is to contact him or her so you can connect personally. Since you’re already a follower of this particular influencer on social media, sending a friendly private message can give him or her a heads up of your partnership proposal.
Make sure that your private message won’t sound like a sales pitch that could be annoying for the person you are trying to talk to. Take note that you have to establish your connection with your chosen blogger. Don’t try to sell out your brand immediately. Instead, tell him or her how you love his or her posts. You could also add why you loved a particular post to let them know that you follow their page and are genuinely interested in them. Keep it short, casual and personal.
Influencers usually provide their contact details for prospective partnerships. For you to do this, carefully scan through the blogger’s page especially his or her personal profile. It would be better if you can send an email instead of a direct message on social media for a more detailed invitation for your chosen blogger.
Even though your email contains more information about your proposed partnership, it is still important to keep everything light and informal. Avoid sounding spammy by not using subject lines that are too generic. Don’t forget to include your website’s link in your email. If you can, include a link to your product or service that you think the blogger would like. Do not ask or offer something right away but make them feel that you’re very interested in collaborating and you’ll be waiting for a response.
#3: The offer
After you sent the invitation to your chosen blogger, it’s time to wait for their response. Once the blogger accepts your offer, the next thing to do is to compose a message with the clear conditions of your offer. What kind of posts do you want to get from the blogger? What rewards are you willing to prepare for their efforts? These two questions should be answered clearly in your email to lay out a good proposal. Keep in mind to be generous with your offer but don’t spend too much that you’d go beyond your budget.
How To Choose A Blogger?
It is not only important for your business to find a blogger that has a lot of followers on social media. There are other factors that you have to consider before you finally offer a partnership. Take note of the following tips to get the best person for your brand.
- Make sure that the blogger and your brand is a fit. If you have a nail salon and you want a blogger to recommend you, it is a must to choose someone who loves getting pampered and not someone who writes about the computer industry.
- It is also necessary to know what kind of audience the blogger has. Are they mostly teenagers or not? Do they have the same demographic profile as your target customers?
By choosing the right influencer, you’ll see the effectiveness of your collaboration immediately. The right person for your campaign should have a loyal network of followers that are more than willing to try out your brand or research about it because the blogger posted or tweeted about your offering. Look for someone who is a perfect fit and has a decent amount of followers to get the best results for your campaign.
OPTIMIZING ANCHOR TEXT
One aspect of link building technique that you should definitely pay more attention to is anchor text optimization. Don’t panic. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. Anchor texts are simply texts that link to another website. You might see this a lot when browsing around on the internet, but you are just not aware of what they are called.
Anchor texts are styled and colored to stand out from the rest of the sentence or the article that they belong to. These texts are clickable and would lead you to another page. They are colored blue most of the time, but it would still depend on the design of the site’s page. Anchor texts are made by using HTML codes that appear to texts related to the topic. Here are the types of anchor text that you must know.
- Branded Anchors
- Generic Anchors
- Brand + Keyword Anchors
- Naked Link Anchors
- Image Anchors
- Partial Match Anchor Text
- LSI Anchors
- Long Tail Anchors
- Exact Match
The most important anchor that you must use for your links is keyword-related anchors. They may contain the exact keyword you want to target or partial matches of the keyword. This kind of anchor text can quickly boost your ranking. However, don’t get too excited when using exact match anchor text because it could get you penalized as well. If you want to be safe from penalties, use branded anchors and naked link anchors on your site to make your link profile more natural and diverse. As much as possible, use fewer exact match anchors. It is also essential for you to keep your anchor texts relevant to your chosen topic or content to get an optimized and good ranking site.
How Should You Distribute Your Anchors?
For a more effective anchor text distribution, you can look for the distribution that your top competitors might be using. Here’s a heads up of what you’ll probably encounter when looking for the right anchor text distribution. Note that you may opt not to abide by these figures exactly. It always pays to do some tests of your own to see what kind of anchor text distribution produces the best results.
- Naked link anchors 15%
- Branded anchor texts 40%
- Unique/other anchors 25%
- Brand + keyword anchors 5%
- Generic Anchors 1-5%
- Partial Match 5%
- Exact match less than 1%
- Long tail anchors 2-4%
THE GOOGLE MAP PACK
Do you remember that one time you looked for the best restaurant in your city? You probably notice how Google responds to your search by giving you a map along with three businesses that it thinks are relevant to your search terms. That list is where you want your business to be included, and it is called the Google Map Pack.
The Google Map Pack doesn’t only contain the name of the business and the address, but it also shows the contact information for potential clients to readily see. It is paramount to belong to this list because prospective customers could easily find your name and the information that they need to avail your products or services. For example, if someone is rushing to get a pizza delivery, he or she would most likely call someone immediately instead of browsing through the business website just to look for a phone number.
It is important to take note that although a business may be shown in the Google Map Pack, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it belongs in the top three search results found under the map pack. So you have two ways of getting that traffic and customers that you want. It’s either get on the Map pack or use SEO to reach the top search results.
How Can I Show Up In The Google Map Pack?
Showing up in the Google Map Pack can be tricky. Google likes to surprise everyone with changes, and no one knows how they determine the ranking of websites. However, a good SEO optimized website is sure to have a chance in getting included in the Map Pack. If you want to increase your site’s chances of clinching a spot on that coveted list of businesses, here are a few things that you ought to do for your site.
- Make a Google My Business Page that contains all the necessary information about your business. You have to verify everything that you provided on your page and then link it to your business website. Make sure that all of the information is accurate.
- Provide useful and relevant content on your site. Google’s aim is to provide everyone with results that are relevant to the search terms they are entering. That is why making content that matches the search terms of your target clients is a must.
- Another useful technique that could help you reach the Map Pack is by having your business listed in review sites that are trusted by people as well as Google. By having good reviews and being listed on sites like Yelp, Thumbtack, and CitySearch, your site will not only have a good ranking but a good reputation as well.
CRAFTING SHARE-WORTHY CONTENT
Having great content on your site will give you a host of benefits. High quality content is one of the most important things that you must have on your website if you want to get bloggers, influencers, or other sites to link to you. Don’t just create a bunch of posts for the sake of having content on your site. Instead, create share-worthy posts that everyone will look forward to reading and sharing.
What Kinds Of Blog Posts Can You Create?
- Sponsorships that you can offer
- Community news
- Event guides
- Top 10 lists
- Reviews of local businesses
- Local Events
How Can You Create Effective Blog Posts?
Blog posting is just like telling a story to your target audience. However, just like stories that we hear in real life, a story could either be interesting or not. Of course, telling the latter kind of story won’t bring more traffic to your site or generate backlinks that you need. No one likes a boring story teller.
Lucky for you, content marketing strategies are here to save your story and make your audience more interested in what you want to share. Content marketing is an approach that you can use to provide relevant content that could capture your audience’s attention and eventually turn them into customers. Unlike other advertising techniques, content marketing makes customers feel more important and cared for which allows you to have a good relationship with them. By giving your customers enough attention, you’re showing them that you’re not only after the sales but you’re also a friend that they could trust.
Should I Invest In Content Marketing Strategies?
The answer is a big YES. Content marketing affects a lot of your other marketing efforts in a positive manner. When you have a good content marketing strategy, rewards will come to you in terms of better brand reputation, increased site traffic, higher brand visibility, more conversions, and greater customer retention. In addition, your social media and email marketing campaigns would also benefit from the good content that your target audience will see. A good content marketing strategy may not come cheap but it proves definitely worth it.
SUMMING IT UP
Link building is a scary word for first timers who are still finding their rhythm in the online world. However, a good businessman won’t let anything intimidate him or her. That is why learning link building techniques is not impossible if you have a strong will to use it to gain a competitive advantage. It may be difficult at first. You might get rejected by bloggers on your first try; you might not see the results of citations or content marketing strategies immediately, but one thing’s for sure: If you stop trying, you’ll stay on that “next page” and you won’t see or experience what’s waiting for you on the other side. So take a step now and use these local link building techniques. Stay patient and remember that good things won’t come easy.
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