Between writing Link Building for Local Businesses and siting down to write this article, SEOmoz released their report on Search Engine Ranking Factors for 2011. The report is a critical analysis on what the SEO industry believes are determining factors used to improve search ranking. It combines aggregated opinions from world renowned marketers supported by correlated analysis of specific keyword searches. The report is filled with tons of data and I need a little more time to digest the full breadth and depth of the material. I will attempt to incorporate several factors from that report into this article.
Hosting Your Own Video
I think we can all agree that YouTube is a remarkable resource. With over 13 Billion videos viewed monthly you might think the best thing to do is throw all your content up on YouTube. However, when it comes to link building the value of hosting content on your own site far outweighs the power of YouTube. In fact a report from TechCrunch shows that despite YouTube’s enormous reach and power it still only receives 26% of all online viewing minutes. Going beyond the top twenty-five sites, which includes Hulu and Netflix are all the small sites that have niche audiences. The combined total of those sites gets 52% of all viewing minutes. Additionally, when those small sites make it easy to link back to that material there is a significant gain in search engine ranking thus improving qualified traffic.
Entertaining Your Visitors and Saving Them Time
When a site reaches a level of traffic where you can start to segment and understand your audience you are able to ask the ever important question why are they here. Once you are able to determine why, then the next questions should be:
- Am I providing them the content they were looking for?
- How can I help them?
Question one is fairly easy to answer. All you need to do is look at your analytics to see if they are staying on your website long enough to read your content and if they are then going to multiple pages. If you find your bounce rate is high it means visitors are looking at one page and immediately leaving. If your visitors are staying for a couple of seconds you know your content isn’t providing them the answers they wanted. Of course if your website isn’t converting visitors, that is yet another problem you need to address.
If your content is interesting and visitors are sticking around then the next step is to entertain them. The easiest thing is to create a badge. These were really big back in the MySpace day. Everyone wanted to make their pages colorful and goofy. Today, visitors aren’t as eager to grab a badge but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Making a simple small banner with your companies name and saying something like: “I Support XYZ Company” or “I <3 XYZ Company” (NOTE: I recently learned that this <3 is the heart symbol to the younger generation) can go a long way to building a dedicated audience. Providing HTML code for a visitor to insert into their page is a great way to gain a backlink.
A step up from a badge is a quiz. These can be a lot of fun for your visitors. My all-time favorite example of a fun quiz is How Many Justin Biebers Could You Take in a Fight? The problem with a quiz like this is it has nothing to do with anything. Unless you have a site that focuses on fighting techniques of Justin Bieber then this quiz really isn’t going to help your site. However, if you can come up with a relevant catchy neat entertaining quiz then this technique will works wonders.
Aside from the nicely designed badge and the entertaining quiz the best way you can help your visitor is to build them a useful tool. These can be as simple as a calculator or as complicated as a 3D room model used for interior design or house painting. Sometimes the tool can be fun and educational. Take for instance The Doggelganger. It’s a website that asks you to upload a picture of your face and then it shows you what you would look like if you were a dog. Isn’t it funny when people say they look like their dog? Well Doggelganger shows you the kind of dog you would look like. Now in reality it’s a tool owned and run by the Pedigree Company but its ultimate goal is to get you to adopt a shelter dog.
About Who? About You!
Having a great About page is instrumental for backlinks referencing a company or you personally. Many websites overlook this page and fill it with generic boring marketing material. An about page that contains a real photo of either the CEO or everyone in the company and authentically tells the story in a passionate way is far more compelling than generic marketing speak.
Reaching out to journalists who have previously written about you or your industry is a great way to get backlinks as well as great exposure. If you are geo-local company, which means your client base exists within a certain mile radius around your office, it’s very easy to pitch ideas for articles to journalist. In fact geo-local news is becoming a highly competitive market. Sites like Patch.com owned by AOL and Everyblock.com owned by MSNBC are now competing against local newspapers and grass roots community based sites. Their battle for readers is your golden ticket as many of their writers are desperate for any type of story that will gain them an audience. One of the best ways to research and find local journalists who might be interested in your story is through the News Archives at Google.
Research your Competitor’s Backlinks
And of course this article wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the wealth of information you can obtain from your competitor and their backlinks. Using a tool like SEOmoz’s Open Site Explorer will unlock your competitions backlinks. I hope this and the Link Building for Local Businesses articles have both helped. Happy Backlinking!!
- Link Building for Local Businesses (halyardconsulting.com)
- New Edition of the Ranking Factors for 2011 is Now Live! (seomoz.org)