I need to clarify the SEO backlinks strategy we discussed in last nights Ocala Small Business Networking Group meeting; it’s good if it’s done properly, and VERY bad if done incorrectly. Google is pretty clear on what they want and don’t want:
“Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.
The best way to get other sites to create high-quality, relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can naturally gain popularity in the Internet community. Creating good content pays off: Links are usually editorial votes given by choice, and the more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it.”
The goal for each of you should be to take control of your websites, offer a “Latest News” or “Blog” section. If you have a WordPress-based website, this is very easy to do and the best way to do it, as when you post a news item, it actually goes out and pings Google and Bing/Yahoo and let’s them know there is a new post. Then you do write-ups or news postings and link to a local business in #Ocala that you are writing about, or that fits into the content. example would be a news post on my site about my personal experience of staying at the #SevenSistersInn and in my write-up, I would link to their site when I reference them. Then I would share my new posts out to my social media accounts to draw people to my site, in turn, giving the reader an option to read more about the other target business.
Another great tool to use is Twitter and putting a twitter feed on the footer of your website. You can tweet about what you are eating for lunch to promote, say #PiOnBroadway or #MojoGrill or #HookedOnHarrys… in your tweet you leverage hashtags (#WHATEVER) like so “Eating an awesome lunch at #PiOnBroadway in #DowntownOcala! Visit their website at …” and add a photo …
You can also use hashtags in Google+ and Facebook now, which does nothing more than categorize posts.
The answer is not to simply interlink everyone cause you may end up getting everyone de-listed in Google, the idea is to have good solid websites, with good content that leverage white-hat seo tactics per Google’s recommendations, and to do write ups on stuff that you feel is important in our community and link to them. The other part is to let the person or business know what you did so they are aware. If they do write up on your business that’s even better, but you can’t just expect a backlink because you gave one.
Good content, active website, active social media, don’t just stick to Facebook, get your Google+ account and most importantly, claim your Google+ business page and update the listing, get a twitter account. Obviously, Google+ is going to benefit you more in Google than Facebook or Twitter. Generally, 75% of all my client’s sites search queries are from Google, 15% are from direct input of the domain name, the rest are from Bing and other avenues… usually.
Support your favorite local news/blog/review site like OcalaOnline.com, or one of the many others, or all of them or just the ones that post good content. DO NOT support ones that look like garbage or are blatantly doing bad SEO. Google treats sites like a neighborhood, if you are linking out and getting links from a good neighborhood, your site will be rewarded, if you are doing the same in a bad neighborhood, (buying and selling links, marketing scheme sites, black-hat seo sites) your site will get penalized.
As you can see, it’s not a simple process, and you have to be dedicated to your website first, then your social media, then give props to the businesses that truly take care of our community first, as well as their customers.
According to Google: “If you’re thinking about hiring an SEO, the earlier the better. A great time to hire is when you’re considering a site redesign, or planning to launch a new site. That way, you and your SEO can ensure that your site is designed to be search engine-friendly from the bottom up.”
Also, very cautious as to who you give control over your domain registrar account and your website. I have heard some horror stories this week about 3 local companies… Being ethical and following Google’s best practices is the only way to go.
Hope this helps!