Why SEO Services Should Be Local, Educated, and Involved

Search engine optimization is a broad field of study, one that many people approach incorrectly in local search. While global keywords (like “pizza restaurant”) will often trigger local listings based on the searcher’s location and search history, it’s best to geographically associate each target keyword to better target searches most likely to send you targeted potential customers.

In order to best provide SEO services, strategies should be local, educated, and involved. To give you an idea of why this is the case, let’s examine just one aspect of SEO services, effective and high-quality link building.

Good Links are Hard to Find

It’s natural to go after the low-hanging fruit links when performing SEO services, the ones that you can just buy and watch flow in. And don’t think for a second that Google isn’t on to the idea. When a page of your site gets a link from another high quality site, Google thinks of the link as a vote. The site, in essence, has voted for your site as being a relevant source of information for [insert anchor text]. For example, I might link out to site using anchor text like wireless internet review, which means that I’m actually saying the page I’m linking to is a good source for information on, you guessed it, wireless internet reviews.

But links get a little more complicated. Think of every link as having two parts of value that it can pass — juice and anchor text. To keep things simple, a link passing juice means that it’s not redirected, it’s not marked with a no-follow attribute within the code, and it passes general value to a site, independent of the anchor text. This is why, in some cases, getting a link with the anchor text “click here” or even “this site” can still be valuable, depending on the source.

On the other hand, links pass anchor text, sometimes even independently of juice. In this way, solid link building campaigns can include some no-follow links that, once again depending on the quality of the source, could still pass some keyword value. But all the technical stuff aside, good links are hard to find because they are:

  • imbed within relevant and well-written content
  • coming from a site with authority and value
  • actually seen (meaning the page on which the link appears does get traffic)
  • relevant on both ends

If both the linking site and the site receiving the link share the same niche, there’s a good chance that the link anchor text will seem relevant to both sites. In some industries, you’re going to have a very hard time convincing potential competitors to promote your sites. But in most others, you just have to get a little creative.

How to Build Backlinks to Your Site – Anchor Text

No-follow and comment links get a lot of bad press. In truth, no proper link building campaign is complete without a wide variety of low-quality links. If you are actually building links, you need to have some low-quality ones coming in for everything to look natural. This is the same concept as with your anchor text, where having 1,000 links coming in with the same anchor text looks fishy, while a nice mixture of anchor text looks fine. Once again using “wireless internet review” as an example, think of some varieties that still carry the same general relevance:

  • reviews of wireless internet
  • wireless internet comparison
  • wireless internet review 2011
  • review wireless internet services
  • wireless internet reviews

All five of our above ideas will still suggest relevancy for the original anchor text, while making your link building campaign look natural. Don’t be afraid to mix up anchor text in your link campaign. Doing so can’t hurt your SEO as much as it can help it.

How to Build Backlinks to Your Site – Sources

Now that you understand anchor text, let’s talk about where you’re actually getting those links, starting with what Google wants you to do. Link bait is a broad term used to describe content (whether it’s an article, video, widget, picture, infographic, whatever) that people link to naturally, because they find it:

  • unique
  • valuable
  • funny
  • frightening
  • scholarly

There are some sites that simply thrive on link bait. For example, most news sites like CNN and MSNBC will receive hundreds of links per day because they publish relevant news articles that people care about. Besides being shared endlessly on Facebook and Twitter, they appear on secondary news sources that want to republish the story. The main idea behind link bait is to create value, controversy, or interest. SEOMoz.org provides a great article on how to create link bait.

One of the most popular ways to build links is through guest posting. This is because, if done right, it’s a win/win situation for both the link builder and the blog owner. The link builder gets the link they so desperately seek, and the blog owner gets some free, and hopefully valuable, content. The best way to guest post is within your own niche, asking your contacts if they would be willing to feature a post you’ve written on their blog. You can do guest post exchanges, but having too many reciprocal links can dilute the value of your links. Simply offer something of value, and you should eventually be able to build some high quality links.

Next, we have the low-hanging fruit like directories, article submission sites, blog comments, and some social media. These are generally low quality links, although submitting to the Yahoo! Directory isn’t a bad idea. Treat directories as a way to build some backlink variety, but nothing more. Submission sites like Ezine can be a place to dump low-quality content decaying on your hard drive to target some SEO keywords, but shouldn’t form your overall strategy.

If you choose to comment on others’ blogs and include a link back to your site, don’t spam. Spam doesn’t do anyone any good. Just like with forums, add value to the conversation or don’t bother. Blog owners are fairly relaxed about including links in comments if you contribute something valuable. Some bloggers even use WordPress plugins like CommentLuv to make sure you get some value from commenting.

If you build a high quality site with relevant and valuable content, the links will eventually come. While low-quality links have always been a strategy for the short-term, good links come only with time and dedication. Even guest posting takes an enormous amount of time and provides significant value, so it’s worth using as a primary link building strategy. But in the end, creating valuable content on your own site is the best way to build links, even if it’s a tough pill to swallow.

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