What To Avoid When Link Building

This is a subject that is very near and dear to my heart.  As someone who has been the victim of some awful linking (in an effort by competitors to disturb my rankings) I am very cautious to monitor links.  But, when done right linkbuilding is a high priority in the SEO world and can be very rewarding. However, doing so incorrectly can be quite costly, both in time and money expended. Many mistakes are made by those wishing to link to other sites and the following are a few of the most common which should be avoided:

Avoid Sites That Are Irrelevant to Your Niche

This is one of the most common mistakes made by link builders. I suppose the thinking goes “more is better” and so links are placed helter skelter on as many sites as possible, even though they aren’t relevant to the home site. People who are looking for auto products, for instance, just aren’t going to be interested in a link to a fashion site. You can get lists of relevant sites to your particular niche by using the Backlink Builder.

Avoid Invaluable Links

Even though the site you’re linking to may be popular, if the links you are receiving don’t have good anchor text then they are not valuable. Keywords play an important role in all SEO marketing and back linking is no exception. Links should contain keywords which relate to your site and not worthless hype phrases. Refer to the Backlink Anchor Text Analyzer when you need to check out link quality.

Avoid Bad Links by Checking Them

A common practice by devious webmasters is to sell you backlinks to their sites and then don’t place them, place them but then remove them suddenly, or provide links which are listed as “nofollow”. You should check your links when received and then again periodically to make sure this hasn’t happened to you. I strongly advise against selling links-however many will do so anyway without the proper education or care.

Avoid Overly Crowded Sites

Popular, high traffic sites are highly desirable when linkbuilding. However, if your link is one out of a couple hundred links on the site, chances are extremely low that it will draw a worthwhile percentage of that site’s traffic. The exception to this rule is when you have an active link, but the majority of other links come up “nofollow”.

Avoid Sites with a Bad Reputation

Even more damaging than linking to an extremely popular site with a ton of links is hooking up with one which has a bad reputation. Doing so says to the search engines (mainly Google) that you support their bad behavior which can result in penalties being applied to your site as well. Staying away from such sites is the best advice for saving you a lot of grief.

Avoid Linking to Pages That Can’t Be Crawled

If you place good links (active and keyword anchored) on web pages which search engine spiders can’t crawl then they’re basically worthless. Sometimes, the other link sharing party will place your link on pages which don’t get indexed by the major search engines. Therefore, you need to make sure that the page you’re linked to is accessible to SE crawlers. A tool for assisting with this problem is the Search Engine Spider Simulator.

Linkbuilding can be a powerful tool for driving traffic to your site and increasing sales. However, these common mistakes need to be avoided and solid practices and tactics utilized in order to get the best bang for the buck.

Google Maps Citation Service- Google Places Local Directory Submission

Every day we get leads who want us to take over their SEO for their business.  However, we also get contacted by business owners who are doing ok and would love to be doing better, but who can’t afford a monthly budget for local seo.  We understand and have come up with a service that gets our clients amazing results and is something that doesn’t have a very high cost.

A large part of Google’s Algorithm to determine who shows up next to the map in those precious top 7 results has to do with citations.  Essentially, the more people they see ‘talking’ about your business the more trust they give your business–and the higher they rank you.  Of course, this is an overly simplified version.  But you get the idea.

For our clients we do 10, 20, 30+ hours of work month one to maximize their results, get them citations.   We do everything possible…and then do a bit more so that their competitors can’t catch up.  And they don’t.  But there is a cost associated with that.  For most clients the cost is very reasonable, usually they make it back with their first new client or customer.

However, one part of that initial work we do is to make sure our client’s data is shown in every relevant business directory and aggregator (think Yelp, Yahoo, InfoUSA, etc).  Almost without fail they see a bump in business because of this.  Now, for our full clients we have a few valuable tricks that we do to really push things however the submissions themselves help quite a bit.

We submit to over 50 sites for clients however there are 20 that we consider to be the most valuable.   For a limited time we will submit your site to those top 20 sites.  If you were to do this yourself it would probably take you 10 hours.  Plus, you would have no way of knowing which 20 are the best use of your time.  We have a system in place where we can do it in much less time so you see results quickly-usually within 10 days.

The price for this is only $297-One Time-and depending on demand that price is likely to rise.  To get started just click the Buy Now button below.  We will contact you within 1 business day to get your details and to get started.  And, if your results are like our client’s results you should see progress within weeks.

This is a great ‘thank you’ we just received:

Another Testimonial From A Happy Client:
“Jonathan has helped me acheive and maintain the #1 position on Google Maps for the keywords in my industry when no other SEO provider could. Many of them were able to get me there, but staying there was the problem. I would be at # 1 for 1 week, maybe 2, then I would drop back down again. Jonathan’s exceptional performance and expertise in his field has landed me in the # 1 position 10 weeks ago, and still standing strong. He has very rapid response times each time I communicate with him, and his customer service is second to none. I HIGHLY recommend Jonathan for those who are serious about their search engine rankings. After trying other SEO providers for the last 18 months, I have found that Jonathan is by far the best and well worth his reasonable investment.”

-John C. in Lexington

So, if you want results like these please order below. Or contact us to discuss a more comprehensive monthly marketing plan.

Number of Citations

P.S. If you have any questions or want to make sure this is right for your business, just drop me a line using the Contact Page at the top.


Google Places – How to Find Citation Sources

We’ve been discussing the importance of citations when it comes to local business listings, especially Google Maps and Google Local Business Center.  Today we will discuss how to find more sources on which to get your business cited.  Remember that consistency is king in local SEO and your citations need to be the same across the board for them do have the most success.

Free Self-Listings

The first step is to get your business listed on as many sites as possible that allow you to add your own citation.  These include Yahoo, Yellowpages.com, 411.com, infospace, anywho and dozens of other major, popular sites.   There’s no excuse for not taking advantage of these free listings.  The major sites are also rumored to carry more importance when it comes to Google page rankings so get started going down that list.  In a future article I will add a list of other possible citation sources.

Keyword Searches

The next step is to get on Google and the other search engines and start searching using all the relevant terms a potential customer might use to search for your type of business.  Don’t pay so much attention to the local listings that will appear at the top of the page in the Google Places 7 Box, but rather focus on the more generalized listings further down.  These are often niche results that contain directories to a specific type of business.  For example, if you are an automotive shop in Scottsdale, AZ.  A search for “automotive in Scottsdale” might return a link to the Scottsdale Classic Car Association.  This would be a site worthy of investigation since many such sites allow free business listings for a particular niche.  Often just one or two simple searches can turn up several such sites and message boards on which you can secure a citation.  And don’t be shy when contacting them-pick up the phone, use their contact form.  You can’t get what you don’t ask for.

Competitor Analysis

If you notice that a competitor is consistently ranking above you in the local listings, you should suspect that their citation base is bigger than yours.  There are several tools you can use to analyze and backtrack their citations and then attempt to get yourself listed also.

The old fashioned or manual way to track these citations is to simply check their listing on the Google Maps page.  Simply enter a search term that you would enter for your business and observe the hits that pop up.  To the right of the listing you will see “more info”.  Click on this to be taken to the details page of the listing.  Here you will see things such as details, reviews, nearby places, etc.  At the bottom of the page you will see “more about this place” and below that will be a number of links.  Each of those links represents a site where Google found a citation to the business.  Check the citations and then attempt to get your business listed there as well.

The new fashioned way to do the same analysis is to incorporate competitive analysis software.  It basically does the same thing you are doing manually but automates the process and designs a tidy list of websites where your competitors have citations along with some other pertinent data.  If your competitors have a large number of citations this software can make the process of competitive analysis a lot simpler.  We have ‘rolled our own software’ but I will review and detail some software that is publicly available to help you with this process.

As I have said before the key to getting above your competitors and making more next month than you have ever made before is to know what to do and then to do it.  While I can’t [won’t] reveal everything we do to get our clients top ranking in Google and top ranking in Google Places 7 Box getting citations is an important part. Our Google Places Citation Service is a surefire way to catapult your results.

Improve Google Ranking-Follow Up

Source: http://www.seoresearcher.com/images/articles/click-distribution-serp.jpg

A few days ago I talked about not settling for anything less than #1. Here is a visual that should drive the point home.

If you are #1 you are getting over 50% of the traffic for that term.  If  you are #10 you are getting 2.55%.  Also realize if you have the choice of 9 or 10 you want 10.  The CTR is higher at the very bottom of the page.

Otherwise, improve google ranking and move towards the top- if you can.

Improve Google Ranking-Don't Settle For Anything Less Than #1

I was just checking some rankings and was pleased when a site I have been working on reached page 1 for its main keyword.  This keyword has just under 1 million competitors and receives about 30,000 searches per week.  Last time I checked this site was ranked 16th.  Today it is ranked 4th.  This is a national campaign-not a google local campaign-and I realized that most people would stop here and consider this a success.

However, ranked 4th a site will typically have a CTR (Click Through Rate) of roughly 6%.  So in a given day if 100 people search for the term only 6 or so will click on this site.  If it was third the CTR would more than double to 15%.  The CTR for 2nd is just under 25%.  And the first site receives just over 50% of all the traffic.  Now, you can improve your CTR with some compelling copy in your title tag. Something that makes the visitor wants to click to read more.

This post is just a reminder that unless you are number 1 your work really isn’t done.  I have seen clients income double (more than 2x earnings) by moving from 3rd place to 1st place.  There can only be 1 champion and it should be you or your client.

Call Tracking Can Kill Your Local SEO Results

Local SEO Telephone Sheep

Sheep Made From German Phones - Courtesy Loop_Oh

Call tracking is an idea thought up by marketing companies to use as a tool to track which strategies are producing the most return on each advertising dollar.

The idea of call tracking is pretty simple.  A business sets up an account with a calling service that provides them with several different phone numbers that all ring at the business.  A different one of these phone numbers is then used for the business listing for each advertising source.  Once in place, the call system software can then monitor which numbers are calling the business with the most frequency and the owner will know immediately which advertising is paying off and which isn’t producing results.  This sounds like a good idea, but in the age of Google Local Business Listings and local seo it can have an adverse effect on page rankings.  Here’s why.

In traditional Search Engine Optimization for websites, the primary factor for determining page rank is the number of back links, or other sites that have links to the ranked site.  However for businesses, even extremely popular and reliable businesses may not have a web page to link back to.  This can skew the results and make a relatively unpopular business with a well optimized web page rank above a huge business without a site.  To correct for this, Google and other local search providers reduced the importance given to back links and instead rely on what are called citations.  Citations are simply a reference to the business somewhere in the vast world of cyber space.  A citation is something that lists the business’s name & phone number, name & address, or both.  In local SEO parlance this is called the name, address, phone number or NAP factor.  Are you beginning to see why having multiple numbers can be bad?

Local searches use what are called trust factors.  These are merely consistent indicators that a particular listing is legitimate and refers to what the engine thinks it does.  This makes having all of you business information standardized across the board.  Multiple numbers can confuse the engine and citations will be disregarded as unreliable.  In the world of local searches, a business’s NAP is how they are identified.  It’s the DNA of online business listings.

If a marketing company is telling you that call tracking is a good idea, then you might want to reconsider your company.  At least give them a pop quiz and make them tell you exactly how such a technique will not affect your local listings.  Be prepared for a song and dance.

Local Search Marketing Series- Getting Reviews

Complaint Box- If Only Yelp Was So Easy To Ignore

We have previously talked about the penalty for those faking google local reviews, today we are going to discuss how to get them legitimately.  So get ready for the next post in our local search marketing series.

First Rule: Ask For Them

You never get anything without asking for it and good reviews are no exception.  The more contact you have with your customers the easier it is implore them to do you a favor and leave their honest opinions on the review site of their choice.  Simple and it works.  Obviously the more extreme your service-good and bad- the more likely they are to praise or chastise you publicly.

Second Rule: Make It Easy For Them

Include appropriate links on receipts, flyers, business cards, any where and every where you can.  If you use emails to keep in contact with customers that is an excellent way to direct them to reviews.  You can do that by simply pointing out a favorable review and asking them if they have something to share to do please do so.

Third Rule: Cater To Those Who Write Reviews

Spend some time with Google and look for those bloggers, journalists, etc who may have an interest in what you offer and write them an email or pick up the phone and invite them to try your service.  Once again, you are only after honest reviews, and those most familiar with the technology are those most likely to utilize it.

Fourth Rule: Be Careful

Check the terms of use for the review sites so you know where the line is [so you don’t cross it].  None of these methods should upset any of the review sites but their TOS’s are always changing so you need to be careful and review them.  For example some sites don’t like it if you offer your customers an incentive to give you a review.  Keep it in mind.

Fifth Rule: Respond To Feedback

All businesses dread negative reviews however the business can disarm most negativity with a cordial and respectful reply.  If something went wrong, own up to it.  Don’t argue or dismiss it.  Plus, there is an upside to an occasional negative review.  For those who are browsing reviews a little negativity shows that the reviews aren’t fake and if the problem was addressed, then all is well.  A business can’t be perfect all the time, just respond and move on.

I have some tactics I use for my clients and I need to keep them secret to preserve them but these 5 Rules work as guidelines that are always to be followed.

Local Search Marketing Series- Fake Reviews

Fake Reviews

People Are Proud To Catch A Fake

There are a lot of bad ‘self-proclaimed’ Local Search Marketing Experts running around as Google Maps are one of the top ways that a local business can get traffic.  However, since reviews [can] help a site’s rankings many unskilled providers use fake reviews as one of their major methods to enhance rankings.

This can cause serious damage to your business.

Case In Point:

Carbonite Games Amazon Reviews – NYT Does An Article

Most companies dream about the New York Times doing an article about them.  Do you think Carbonite was happy with this publicity?  Doubtful.

However, sometimes it can cost more than just a loss of reputation.

Lifestyle Lift – These guys not only got a NYT article, however they also got the NY Attorney General charge them with $300,000 in fines for faking reviews of a procedure called LifeStyle Lift.  Ouch.

There are many more examples.  However, these few should be enough to convince you to pursue only legitimate reviews.  We will cover how to get legitimate reviews in a following article in our Local Search Marketing Series.