Social media is a great tool for marketing, but it can also be a great tool for link building. The whole purpose of link building is to increase the number and quality of links to either your website or your social media accounts so that your audience can take whatever action you desire. For the most part, each link that points back to your website will help you come up higher on search rankings which will increase the chances that your audience will convert into customers. Needless to say, links are important, but all links are not built the same. In order to clear up some misconceptions, we decided to give you these 7 facts about links in marketing to help you structure a smarter, more effective link building campaign for your website. However, if you’d prefer to have someone else do this for you, Socialdraft’s managed services could be just the thing.
7 Facts About Links In Marketing
When we talk about links, we talk about Google. Why? We’re not purposely ignoring other search engines, but Google dominates when it comes to search. Why? Let us take a look at the top 5 search engines according to usage:
- Google: 70% of the searches happen on Google & 85% of mobile searches happen on Google
- Bing: 25% of searches happen on Google (it powers Yahoo)
- Baidu: 75% of China’s searches are conducted on Yahoo
- Yahoo!: 3% of searches happen on Yahoo
- Yandex: 65% of Russia’s searches happen on Yandex
How Do Google Search Rankings Work?
Google search results rankings are influenced by links. However, links are not the only factor Google looks at when deciding what to show you for your search. The Google search algorithm is complicated and secretive since many people would love to dominate in search and manipulate rankings. Google has become very sophisticated with link analysis and punishes offenders by removing or suppressing web listings.
As a result, Google places a high value on legitimate links and assigns the most value to links that originate from real, bona fide endorsements that are the product of quality web content. Links from .edu and .gov websites pack a higher punch when it comes to link value. Paid links are of lower value, and link farms (websites that are known for overlinking) are valued less.
Although the significance of link building has begun to decrease, a basic understanding of how Google works and how links can drive traffic from search engines to websites can benefit online marketers.
Link Building Tips
No matter what type of business you have, you cannot ignore the benefits of link building. Think of link building as a way to build roads to your brick and mortar. The more roads and the better structured they are, the more easily people will be able to reach you. Think of link building as an online PR campaign. Each link is an opportunity to get exposure…and if the link is coming from a related website, to get exposure from an audience that has higher chances of converting into customers.
Link building can result in an increase in referral traffic to your website from relevant websites. For example, say you are an electronics store and your CEO answers a reporter’s questions on the latest on drones. The website for that newspaper quotes your CEO and links to your website. This is a simple door that allows people who are vetted – people interested in drones – an item you sell – to click through to your website so they can either complete a purchase OR so you can capture their information and remarket them at a later time.
Links on other websites also let your audience know that you are a valued source of content, someone to be trusted. Think of these links the same way you’d think of a review in a local magazine. These links act as an advertisement from your local paper.
The better quality website that links to your website, the more value it will have in Google’s algorithm. For example, a link from a local blogger is not as powerful as a link from a university or a national newspaper.
Think of Links as Votes
Looking at links as votes. Each time a website links to yours – be it a local blogger, a newspaper or an industry publication, they are casting a vote that tells Google to send traffic your way. Each of these votes helps you rank higher in the search.
Follow vs. NoFollow Links
Some links are more powerful than others and there are two ways websites can link back to you:
Follow: This is the type of link you want. A follow link tells Google and other search engines that they fully vouch for the quality of your website when linking to you and pass on all that delicious link juice. A follow link looks like this
No Follow: This type of link tells Google that while they are linking to you, but not to pass on any delicious link juice…that you’re not all that important. It literally tells search engines NOT to follow the link.
<a rel=”nofollow” href=”http://www.YourWebsite.com”>Text</a>
The reason Google created this type of link was to devalue certain types of links such as paid links and comment spam. Is a “no-follow” link of no value…if it drives traffic to your website, it still has some value…just not as much as a follow link.
Anchor text is super important when it comes to ranking signals. This is the actual text that the link lives on. So…if a review website links to a French restaurant and the anchor says ” Pierre’s French Restaurant” it sends signals to Google that it is a French restaurant. If the anchor text is the restaurant’s name, search engines will then give weight to that search term. If the anchor text says “click here”…the signals aren’t the best…Which do you prefer? I know that I’d prefer “Best French Restaurant” since that term would give me the most opportunity to rank for that as a search term. Sure, your restaurant’s name would be good, but you want discovery by new patrons. That should be the goal in this case.
Brand mentions and associated keywords with brand names are influential signals for rankings these days. This has reduced the emphasis on using exactly matching keywords in links.
Quality over Quantity of Links
It makes sense that after reading this you’d want to get as many links as possible…but this is not always the best strategy. Back in the day, webmasters would buy links all over the place. This led to literal link farms which were sites that sold links. Google and the rest of the search engines got smart and went beyond ignoring link farms to penalizing the sites they link out to.
What is important is the quality of links. For example, let us say you are an accupuncturist. Google wants you to earn organic links from other quality websites in your space.
A few good examples of great “neighborhoods” to link to that acupuncturist’s website would be:
- Organizations like the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
- An acupuncture school in your state
- A local magazine that featured your latest meetup event
Quality definitely trumps quality when it comes to link building. Low-quality links will end up hurting you in the end.
Google doesn’t just ignore sites that break the rules…Google penalizes them. For example, they put out an update called Penguin which penalized spammy link building. These websites took a hit in rankings and some completely dropped out of search rankings. This is an algorithmic penalty. There are also manual penalties. If you want to know if your site has a penalty, log onto Google Webmaster tools.
Social Media Links
Do a quick search on Google for a brand. You will notice that their site probably comes up first (if not – they need to hire an SEO stat), then probably a few directory sites, and also social media sites.
You should begin to think of Social Media as a great way to build links and increase exposure…but most importantly as mini search engine themselves. If you are not talking as your business on Social Media, you are not giving the people who use those networks the opportunity to be discovered. You’re also allowing the competition and angry customers to control the conversation around your brand…that’s one of the many reasons that when it comes to SEO and link building, Social Media should not be an afterthought.
How to Manage & Grow Your Social Media Accounts
Once you’re all set on SEO and link building, you’ll need a strong social media and reputation monitoring strategy. Socialdraft is your all-in-one tool for Social Media management. Socialdraft allows you to:
- Schedule posts to multiple social media accounts including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram
- Schedule content in bulk via CSV
- Duplicate posts
- Create recurring posts
- Have multiple people create and post content (with permissions set by you)
- Pull Reports
- and much more
If you don’t come up in the top three spots when someone does a Google search, you’re losing out on tons of business. Why? The top three positions on Google search get the most clicks. If you haven’t started taking SEO seriously, then you need to set aside some time to read this piece. Then, set at least an hour a day each week to put our SEO tips for small business in action.
Let’s start off with a little background to get you caught up on what SEO is, how it works and how you can implement these SEO tips without wasting too much of your time.
What is SEO?
SEO is an acronym for ‘Search Engine Optimization‘. It is probably the most important thing to anyone running any business that can be found online. Regardless of whether you are a blog, online shop, or service, if you have a less than stellar SEO ranking, you will have a hard time discovered by current and potential customers.
The higher your website comes up on search rankings, the greater your chances consumers will do business with your company. It’s vital to have a local SEO strategy so consumers can find your business when they perform a local search.
Improving your local results ranking will generate more sales and revenue for your business. SEO is not easy, but with these SEO tips, you can give your website a boost to help your business grow.
12 Local SEO Tips
1. Create/Claim your business listings on the main search engines
The first step is making sure that you have a local business page for all three major search engines. Where to start? Click the links below to create, claim or update your listings:
Fill out your business information such as location, phone number, hours, etc. and then you’ll be all set with an account. Take a few minutes to make sure each of these profiles is filled out completely and that all the information is consistent across profiles. Fill in everything you can, and come back once a month to make sure everything is current.
2. Check/Claim on all local listing websites.
Directory websites like Yelp, FriendsEAT, Foursquare, Local.com, Facebook, Mapquest, and YellowPages.com all increase your reach and visibility. Most of these will create a listing of all local businesses whether you want them to or not. Check these sites. Make sure that your listing is properly filled out. If you can claim your listing, claim it and edit it to make sure it is accurate. If you can’t claim it – then write those sites with the correct information (they want to have accurate information on site). If they allow you to link to your website, make sure your website is updated.
3. Optimize and properly categorize your pages
Optimize your local pages by uploading quality photos, keeping your hours of operation updated, and listing the services or products you offer.
Once that is done, categorize your business correctly. Several local search engines allow you to place your business into 2-5 categories to help them understand what your business does.
4. Use accurate business citations
Make sure all of your information is filled out on all these sites, and you have consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone) data for your company or business across all listings. Then, follow these steps:
*Use a tool like Yext or Localeze to see where your company’s local listings are found online.
*Search for your business and phone number to help you see if there are any duplicate listings.
*Search for various names of your business. If you already have a listing created, that information is gathered from around the web so it could be incorrect.
You will have to verify that you are the owner of your business either by email, phone, or possibly traditional mail. Services such as Yext and Localeze can also speed up this process because they can also help you create these citations or make them more uniform so that all of your local information on the web is accurate.
5. Keep your eye on online reviews
When people search for your business on Google will probably first see a set of ads, then Google listings, then review websites, then…maybe… they will see your website. When your potential customers perform a Google search, they will be influenced by your star rating. Reviews are quick and easy ways for consumers to decide which link they want to click. These are a few things you can do to take control of your online reputation:
- Put an emphasis on requesting reviews from happy customers.
- Monitor review websites so that you can address any negatives in a speedy manner.
- Add a button on your webpage prompting customers to leave a review
- Add an easy to see “contact us” button on your site. This way, people who are unhappy have an easy way to contact you instead of going to Yelp and leaving a negative review.
6. Add quality photos
This point goes back to optimizing your listing. When people are searching for local businesses, they want to see photos. Most local directories including Google allow you to upload at least 10 pictures. Your goal should try to be to have that many photos uploaded. It’s also important to take photos of your actual building, both inside and out, and even take pictures of your products. Your logo does work, but it’s always best to have an actual picture of the company building as your main photo. All you have to do to upload photos is visit your local listing and click a little link that says “add photos.” It’s as easy as that.
7. Optimize Your Website
Local search is a combination of optimizing your actual website as well as local listing sites and review sites. Make sure you have your contact information and preferably a phone number somewhere on your website. It’s also important to try and include city or regional keywords wherever possible and write content that is specific to your local area. Reach out to local organizations to establish connections. Begin to collaborate with them and when they write about the events you are collaborating in, make sure you ask them to include a link to your site.
8. Have your complete contact information in a page on your website
Include your name, address, phone number, e-mail address, business hours, website URL, and even a map of your location(s) if possible. If you have multiple locations, give each location its own page.
9. Use keywords that combine your service with your location
Using local signals is especially important in your title tags and meta descriptions because these snippets are often the first things people will see when searching for you- make sure they know how easily accessible you are. For example, if you’re a plumber in Nutley, NJ – make sure you clearly state that.
10. Add fresh, local content to your blog
You have a company blog, right? Great! Use this space to write about local events that you’ve participated in alongside the helpful posts you’re already giving your readers. You could even reach out to other local businesses that are in a similar industry for extra link building through guest posts. For example, if you run a pizzeria, you could reach out to a local farmer for a guest post about why locally sourced ingredients taste superior on pizza.The whole idea is to increase the chances that you’ll come up for local events.
11. Don’t forget link building
Inbound links will always remain a huge ranking signal, so don’t forget to continue to build high-quality links. A great way to gain some useful links is to create useful content that your readers will want to share and spread throughout the internet. If you have something newsworthy don’t be afraid to reach out to the local media and share information that you feel they might be interested in. This is a great way to get some powerful natural links the correct way. As mentioned above, collaborate with local organizations. If they are writing about their events and you are involved, make sure they include your links in their articles.
12. Use social media
An easy way to increase the chance of getting links is to use social media. It’s is great for link building and improving your keyword strategy. Google indexes pages from most social media sites, so you can increase your content’s visibility in SERPs by adding keywords within the title of your social media posts. Your social media posts also give you a chance to create content that will be seen first by your audience, therefore giving you more control over the conversation. In order to do this effectively, you will need a strong social media management tool like Socialdraft. With Socialdraft you can:
- Schedule posts to multiple Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Instagram accounts, Pinterest boards, and LinkedIn pages
- Schedule one-time, recurring and duplicate posts
- Engage your community on the all-in-one feed
- Pull reports
- and give different people special permissions to collaborate on social for your business
- We will even train your team and give you personalized ideas on how to make your social media efforts a success
SIGN UP FOR YOUR RISK-FREE SOCIALDRAFT TRIAL TODAY
13. Sign up for Google My Business
No one loves Google more than Google. Sign up & claim your Google My Business and complete as many fields as you can in the “About” section using keywords that describe your business. Google also allows you to add several customized links to your profile, you can use this as an opportunity to link back to your website, blog, and additional social channels. By spending 10-minutes a day sharing your content to your Google business page, you’ll be more likely to appear within Google’s SERP.
If you don’t have time to handle this, or feel a little overwhelmed, contact us by clicking on support. Socialdraft offers SEO as part of its managed services and we’d be glad to help your business serp.
As most readers know, with Google’s Autocomplete feature, suggestions are offered even before you’ve finished typing a search request. Google has been offering “Google Suggest” or “Autocomplete” since 2008. But if you’ve ever typed a company name into Google and have instantly seen negative words like “scam” come up with Google’s Autocomplete, then you know first hand how Autocomplete can have a negative impact on a business. This is especially troublesome if the negative associations have no foundation and it’s your company.
This has inspired many to want to learn more about how Google comes up with suggestions, and why they remove some suggestions and not others. Because any negative values associated with your business will not just suddenly disappear over time, you must actively work to keep them from appearing.
According to Brian Patterson, Google’s Autocomplete algorithm is comprised of 3 main influential factors:
1) Search volume and searcher location – the amount of searches performed for a keyword along with the location of the searchers
2) Mentions of the keyword on the Web, crawlable by Google’s spider
3) Social Media mentions of the keyword on sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+
If you can obtain these 3 items in large quantities for your desired keywords, you may be able to influence Google Autocomplete. Some online reputation management companies claim the best strategy is to prepare a database of what Google Autocomplete suggests the most number of times for companies, identify and make a list of values that Google favors when making Autocomplete suggestions, and then promote the specific word in articles, blogs, posts, reviews, and webpage content to influence Google Autocomplete suggestions.
Google claims frequency is a factor, but some less popular searches might be shown above more popular ones if Google considers them more relevant. “Personalized searches will always come before others. Google Autocomplete also has what the company calls a ‘freshness layer.’ If there are terms that suddenly spike in popularity in the short term, these can appear as suggestions, even if they haven’t gained long-term popularity.”
Why Suggestions Get Removed
When Google’s predictions were coupled with Google Instant, a renewed interest was ignited in what was suggested and what wasn’t. Google says items were being removed for the specific reasons listed below:
Hate or violence related suggestions
Personally identifiable information in suggestions
Porn & adult-content related suggestions
Legally mandated removals
Google advises that automated filters may be used to block any suggestion against their policies and guidelines. For those interested in learning more about white drives Google Autocomplete, this Google Instant/Autocomplete article provides background on the subject.
Mint Copy, an Internet marketing firm, suggests following these 5 steps to take control of Google’s Auto-Complete. Following these steps will help to eliminate negative keywords and replace them with positive words in Google’s auto-complete suggestion tool.
1) Use your social media accounts, actively. You should have accounts on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest as a minimum. Your bio should include positive terms you would prefer to the negative term(s) affecting auto-complete. Keep your input to these networks positive and make sure your status updates, Tweets, comments on LinkedIn Groups and Pins include keywords and phrases you would prefer to be found for.
2) You may have seen on ads that companies often include phrases such as “search on [preferred term]” in order to drive traffic for a specific key message. You can do this too – add the chosen positive words to your tagline on your blog, your business card, your email signature file, and of course, optimize at least one page on your website for this term. Your ‘About Me’ or About Us’ page should include it in close proximity in the copy to your brand name, or your own name if that is where the problem lies. Once your optimization has taken effect and you can be found on the search engines for the required result, then include the link to that results page everywhere you can naturally place it.
3) When traveling, take the opportunity to log on through a hotspot or from a cybercafe using their computers, and search for your preferred term plus your name. This will be logged as a separate search than your normal IP address and will help to bring the desired positive term up in search volume.
4) Ask your friends and family to do the same from their own computers. Every little bit helps!
5) Head out onto the Web and find as many sites as you can that allow you to add a bio along with your name so that you can include your positive terms. This can include forums, social networks, bookmarking sites, Q&A sites, etc – some examples: Empire Avenue, HubPages, Zurker, Bubblews, Squidoo, Quora, Teckler, content curation sites such as Scoop.it, and so on.
How to Manage & Grow Your Social Media Accounts
Socialdraft is your all-in-one tool for Social Media management. Socialdraft allows you to:
- Schedule posts to multiple Social media accounts
- Have multiple people create and post content
- Pull Reports
- and much more
If you’re curious about how Socialdraft works, take us for a risk-free trial. Have questions?