Offsite SEO for Local Businesses
Offsite SEO is a term to coin the work you do to help your website gain authority, readership and users, anything you do to help the optimization of your website off of your own website 🙂 Offsite work usually will include; Guest Blogging, Social Sharing, Citation Building and other things that will help others find your site and hopefully link to it.
So you have completed all the tasks at Onsite SEO for Local Businesses and now you want to move along to the offsite portion. This portion is the portion that will take up most of your time but if done correctly and ethically your website usage will grow and in turn so will your rankings on the search engines.
You will see a lot of “SEO” people will say the offsite work is about 70-80% of your SEO program. I believe that is true if you are playing on a National Level or have a very competitive service. In the case of most local SEO programs I believe this only makes up about 30% or so of your total SEO. Think of your offsite SEO as your education. If you were applying for a job and you have 10 years of experience and no degree in the field but another applicant also has 10 years of experience and a degree in the field chances are they will get the job. Same applies to your SEO, especially offsite.
Example: If your website and your competitors website both have a solid foundation (Website Structure), Relevant Meta Tags and Content the next step is to look at the backlinks. If your website has 100 trusted and authority backlinks and your competitors site has 50 authority backlinks in theory you would be ranked above them on the search engines.
Note: There are a lot of other factors that come into your rankings such as the anchor text (text linked to your site), social signals, domain age and trust etc. This example is used to show how it can make a difference if everything else is similar with your competitors.
Generate links to your site is a tricky, yet at the same time a simple task. There are several types of links on the web and a lot of them are not going to help and some of them may even hurt your ranking. The first step is knowing who you are linking to and if it makes logical sense. So what makes logical sense and what doesn’t?
Example of a non logical link:
A plumbing company in Los Angeles having links from flower shops in Redondo Beach on the bottom of the flower shops home page makes no logical sense and the search engines may look at this as trying to manipulate the system.
Example of a good logical link:
A roofing company in Portland having links from a roofing supplier in New York that supplies products to the roofing company in Portland is a good link.
Make sure if you are going to contact people about adding your link to their website that the website is relevant in the service or industry you service. First of all those type of links will carry more weight, simply by being related to your service and industry, but you could also generate traffic from that website from people looking for your service from that supplier.
Are there exceptions to this rule? Sure there are always exceptions. If we have learned anything in life it would be the only thing constant is change. Lets take a look at the plumbing company in Los Angeles again and change how the link was displayed.
A plumbing company in LA has a link on “our best plumbing experience” page from the blog of a flower shop in Redondo Beach (suburb of LA). This would be a relevant link to your company, actually a bonus link because not only does the flower shop link to you in content about a plumbing experience but you may also generate business from this type of link.
Link building is a time consuming portion of your offsite SEO but it is a very important aspect of not only your rankings, but traffic. There are many short cuts you could take but running a business, you know that short cuts seldom payoff in the long term. The same applies with your offsite SEO.
Backlink Anchor Text
Anchor text is the text the website displays. e.g. Busy Bee Media. The url which Busy Bee Media is linked to is https://www.busybeemedia.com but as a website user you only see the text not the url.
Anchor text is an important aspect of your link building. You want to make sure when sites link to you they use a variety of anchor texts e.g. 1) SEO 2)Search Engine Optimization 3) Local SEO 4) Local Search Marketing etc. Notice all these anchor texts are different, but in reality they all tell the user and search engine the same thing, what the page is about. By using different anchor text listings it doesn’t make your backlink profile look spammy, as you got the links by paying a directory submission service to handle the link building.
Years ago, back when links were really all that mattered blasting your name across the web to all the directories was viewed as the thing that needed to be done. Heck, Google even use to say to make sure your link is on all directories. Times have changed. Now you have to be more picky and cautious than ever when it comes to sites you want linking to you. You should make sure your business is listed in directories like Yelp, Citysearch etc.
Reputation Management & Visibility
This tool can be helpful to those looking to make sure their business is listed across the web correctly. NAP (Name Address and Phone Number) needs to correlate across the web to help Google and other local places gather information about you. You can go to each directory manually and check/edit but there are several tools online that will help you do this. If you find multiple NAP on the directories you should take the time to delete the ones that are not relevant to your business anymore. This will help your customers leave you reviews and contact you. It will help your business by not having incorrect information online.
The reputation management tool also helps you check what your customers are saying about you across the web. This can be very time consuming if you had to go to each and every directory across the internet and check reviews on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. With this tool you will be able to see everything about your company and name across the internet in one dashboard.
Thank your customers for good reviews and if you have bad reviews, don’t take it personal or get offensive. If you have “real” bad reviews take it as a chance to better your customer service or fix a problem your customer may not have even told you about.
If you have a “fake” negative review respond to the poster. Ask for their real name, day they were in your office and who they had the issue with. This will help clarify if it is a real or fake review in many cases. If you don’t get a response other users will see that as well. Remember, everything you post online, especially on other sites are there forever so always remain calm and professional no matter what has been said. If you don’t get a response I would also send a request to the directory saying that you have had “fake” reviews posted and see if they can delete them. In most cases they won’t, but we have had a few delete obvious “fake reviews” from some of our clients pages.
What not to do with reputation management! Do not ever pay a service to leave false reviews online. I have been saying this to our clients for years. If you want to dispute negative reviews you can do so or respond to negative reviews you have received (gather more info and try to rectify the situation). Buying fake reviews is not the way to go about it and now adays sites like Google are just deleting the fake reviews which means you are wasting your money to have companies do this.
Promote your business on the social networks such as Facebook & Google+. This helps you engage your users, and offer special promotions or products without spending a ton of money.
Your first step if you haven’t already done so is create a Facebook Account and a Google Plus account. Once these accounts are created you can than create a business account. Make sure to link your business website on these networks. Invite your friends, family and associates to like you or follow you on these networks. Ask them to share your business page with their friends and see if their friends will share with their friends and so on. This can help build your network and reach on the social networks.
In this day and age SEO for Local Businesses is much more than just the search engines and the rankings within. Sure, being ranked on Google, Yahoo & Bing is going to bring you new customers and in turn more revenue, just don’t forget other avenues. Rankings on the Search Engines can and will continue to be volatile. You want to diversify your marketing and online is no different. Make sure you are listed on Google, Yahoo & Bing but also make sure you are listed in the several other places your customers will find you as well. If you are depending on Google, Yahoo & Bing for your business to be successful online, you are not only losing out on other local customers, you are also setting yourself up for having to rely on other companies to ensure your companies success.
If you make sure your foundation (Website Structure, Meta Tags & Content), backlinks, NAP and social networks are strong you should be able to enjoy the free search engine traffic that will come your way as well as new customers from local directories and social platforms.
If you have questions please feel free to contact me. I will be more than happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have ASAP.