Thanks to the Google EMD (exact match domain) update new websites looking to cut a few corners with their SEO program by capitalizing on the supposed SEO value of a keyword rich domain can no longer do so.
And because of the Google Penguin update, which targeted websites that overused exact match anchor text, website owners have to be more careful than ever to keep their link profile as clean and naturally looking as possible.
But when you're a local business owner, such as a Boston flower shop, chances are you are only targeting so many keywords and you want to focus your link building efforts locally.
How are you supposed to build your local presence effectively without overdoing the exact match anchor text usage and saturating your link profile with the same kind of links again and again? Here are a few tips:
1. Create a master anchor text document with as many variations as possible.
Think of all the ways someone might search for your business. Each and every single search query has the potential to be an entrance keyword for your site.
While you've got your list of core keywords you're trying to do well for (i.e. Boston flower shop) don't forget all the other long tail variations that could potentially send traffic your way including Boston florist, flower shops in Boston MA, Boston flowers delivery and so forth. The longer your list of potential anchor text is the easy it is to keep your usage varied and natural.
Also remember to link those various anchor text back to different pages on your site so you build the SEO value of internal pages as well.
When you've got 30, 40 or even 50 different anchor text options to choose from it's a lot easier to make sure you aren't relying too heavily on your short list of core keywords.
2. Build links from relevant sites, even if they are slightly outside of your niche.
There are probably only so many flower related websites based in Boston and sooner or later our flower shop owner is going to have them all.
So what can they do to expand their link profile without sacrificing its quality?
Once you've exhausted all your immediately obvious link building opportunities it's time to look for link building opportunities in related niches. For instance, a Boston flower shop could look to get a link on the Boston section of theknot.com, a hugely popular bridal website. After all, wha'ts a wedding without flowers? It's still a locally relevant link but comes from a different kind of site than what the flower shop may typically look for.
The flower shop can also enter a business partnership with a local Boston jeweller to create a Valentines Day deal (although it's a little late for this year) where husbands, boyfriends and significant others can get a beautiful bouquet and something that sparkles all in one go. The two businesses would link to and promote each other to help drive awareness of the deal. Perhaps they could even get listed on a major local site like Boston.com because of the special offer.
3. Reach out to local bloggers, news sites and community organizations.
Lets say our Boston flower shop owner wanted to get more local awareness around their business and drive foot traffic to the store (which a strong SEO program can help do!).
So they decide to host a flower arraigning class in the spring when everyone's gardens are in full bloom.
A little research online is bound to reveal Boston area bloggers that specialize in home decor, gardening, arts and crafts and other personalities that might be interested in learning DIY floral arrangements. The flower shop owner could invite these local bloggers to attend the class (for a discounted rate or maybe for free) and explain why the bloggers readers would be interested in reading about the class and what the blogger learned.
Should even one blogger attend and write a review of the class its a great way to get a few local links from related blogs (another good source of quality links) and introduce their business to a new crop of potential customers.
Its important to remember that almost everything you do to market your business offline can be turned into a valuable link building opportunity. As a local site owner, you have to constantly ask yourself "how can I get a link from this?"
Chances are you're sitting on a goldmine of link building opportunities you never even knew existed! All it takes is a little switching of your perspective. Just be sure to vary your anchor text!
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