Local SEO for small businesses does not have to be all about the technical side of search engine optimization (SEO). Your small business can benefit from actively participating in your community. If you live in the community, it may be a natural part of your personal and business activities.
Creative Local SEO with Strong Community Outreach
Your business will benefit not only from the goodwill and publicity, but also from local citations and links to your website. If “citations” is a new concept, check out this SEOmoz video. Whether you currently involve your business with community or not, consider these ideas.
Host Events to Boost Local SEO
Recurring scheduled events provide for ongoing outreach as well as evergreen link and citation opportunities. Post details for your event on your website to ensure the link love. Ideas depend on your expertise and interests, but here are a few to get you thinking:
- Use a hobby to reach out to local business owners. Like running, biking, or bird-watching? Host an event to share expert information about the hobbies. Local police sometimes offer free biker safety presentations. A local orthopedic doctor might be willing to talk about running safely.
- Use often postponed business activities as a theme for quarterly local business events. Preparing for tax season, decorating offices for customer and employee enjoyment, cross-promotion for holidays…be sure to ask fellow business owners about their ideas.
- No time for all that planning and hosting events? Offer to present at others’ events including regular community meetings like Rotary or Lions Club. Post your materials on your website and welcome downloading and linking to the details.
- Create a college scholarship for local high schools or summer camp scholarship for other ages. Put information like the scholarship description, criteria and guidelines, award amount, how to apply, and deadline on your website. Then look for related organizations (schools or camps) that you can tell about the scholarship opportunity (example search: inurl:.edu “scholarships” “YOUR LOCATION”). Send both an email and a posted letter that includes the scholarship information and the link back to your site for more detail. They will be eager to post your scholarship with a link back to your website. Links from .edu sites are valuable from a ranking perspective.
The above ideas result in high quality and locally relevant links. These ideas require more upfront planning than just “getting a link”. But usually these type activities produce more links from a larger variety of sources so the investment per link is actually less. Plus, the real reason you are doing these things is to be part of your community…just make sure you get the linking benefit, too.Remember to spread that link juice around by linking from your event page to your home page and to key profile sites like your Google+ Local Business Page.
EXTRA: These events are excellent reasons to publish press releases to build links and “name, address, and phone number” (NAP) citations.
Sponsor a student organization, preferably one that is somehow related to your industry. Clubs are always fundraising and will appreciate the donation and you can get satisfaction from helping them out and those valuable links and citations, frequently from high quality .edu sites with your location in the URL Just look in the clubs and social events section of your local paper or community newsletter to find ideas and contacts. Want to expand your search for organizations, visit local school and university websites to look for student organizations or try these example queries:
|inurl:.edu “student organizations” “YOUR LOCATION”
|inurl:.edu “student organizations” “Katy, TX”
|inurl: “YOUR LOCATION” students club
|inurl: “Houston” students club
|inurl:.edu “sponsor” “YOUR LOCATION”
|nurl:.edu “sponsor” “Katy” -Perry
Most organizations will have websites, sometimes a subdomain of the school. Identify one or two that link to sponsors from their website and make a donation. This is a great way to get links to your home page.
Brotherly Love and Link Love Boost Local SEO
The ideas for link and citation building in this post are more about community involvement with the side benefit of locally relevant links to your site. If you happen to be someone who just does not enjoy other people, I highly recommend you stick with the technical way of doing things. It is important to your small business that you show brotherly love. To do this ensure:
- You are genuine in everything you do.
- You add value to your community.
- You follow through on every commitment. (If you start something and find that you cannot continue it, be upfront. Pick a date to discontinue it and go the extra mile to see that it is thoroughly completed through that date. Communicate about the change.)
And that you maximize the value of community involvement by getting link love:
- When possible, get your location and keyword phrase in anchor text for the link.
- Use a variety of target links: home page, interior pages, and profiles including your Google+ Local Business page.
Have you used an ingenious idea to participate in your community and get link love? Did you miss opportunities to leverage link love in your community efforts? We want to hear from you! Comment below!