Translating your business' value, voice and personality into cyberspace can present hurdles when it comes to promoting your business online, but people often forget the thing that helps drive business both online and in real life: community. Online marketing isn't merely a way to promote your goods and services. It's a place to engage in further conversation with people around you considering doing business with you. It's a way to get yourself heard, get involved with local initiatives, advertise what you may have to offer, and connect with that which matters most: people. By being more deeply involved in your community, you'll help your reputation, your online presence and your business. And the best ways to get started is by practicing local search engine optimization (SEO), and more specifically, local link building.
What Is Link Building?
Link building is a practice used in the SEO world that identifies ways to increase the number of inbound links to your website from other websites. The reason this is so important: when search engines recognize that numerous and reputable websites repeatedly link to a certain page, that search engine will 'see' that page as a credible, relevant and desired web page with useful information. This, in turn, makes that page, and your site, more reputable in the eyes of the search engines, making your page more likely to show up first in search engine results pages (SERPs).
For instance, let's say you run a hypothetical tapas restaurant in Chicago called On Tapas The World. You fill your website with valuable, credible and desirable information that customers and other people enjoy reading, and other authoritative sites link to your page as an information source. Because search engines see so many people utilizing you as an information source, your website will then be seen as more authoritative and valuable, thus improving your page's rankings in Google, Bing, Yahoo!, etc.
So, What Is "Local" Link Building?
Well, local link building is exactly what it sounds like: link building, but targeted to a strictly local level. There is one key difference between local and national link building, which will be discussed momentarily, but right now it's important to explain its significance and how it affects businesses.
Local link building is an essential practice, especially when it comes to brick-and-mortar stores.
The main reason why local link building is important is this: you can optimize your website to have the most pertinent information in the world, sure. But the fact remains that On Tapas The World in Chicago is going to see Chicagoland customers on a daily basis; who is more likely to search "tapas restaurant Chicago" or similar keywords? It's not people in Dallas or Denver or wherever else. It's hungry Chicagoans looking for a tasty local meal. And that's why discoverability on a local level is so important.
So, how do you start your local link building campaign?
Connecting with Community: The Beginning of Local Link Building
There are many ways to begin a local link building campaign. But before you begin, there's one key factor, mentioned previously, to keep in mind: in national link building, the quality of the sites that link back to you matters more than the quantity. 15 spammy, low-tier backlinks are not nearly as valuable as 15 highly authoritative backlinks from large news organizations or other reputable sources. However, when it comes to local link building, the authority of the sites that provide the backlinks does not matter. What matters is their proximity to your business.
The more links you have from organizations in your vicinity, the better.
Here are some great ways to get the ball rolling:
Practice Local SEO to Connect with Your Community
All in all, the goal of local SEO and local link building is to connect with community. It's more about developing real-world relationships in a tight-knit community and gearing your web content accordingly -- it's something that large, nationwide companies might not understand as well. By building trust among the community most likely to support your business and seeking out those local backlinks, your reputation in the real world AND online will start to improve, making you more discoverable in the future.
Are you currently investing time and resources into fostering connections within your community? We’d love to hear about it. You can also get in touch with our team if you have any questions about local SEO strategies.
Almost everything we do these days is captured and shared on social media. From sharing kitchen renovation ideas with like-minded DIY enthusiasts on Pinterest to sharing commendable employee accomplishments on LinkedIn — the world we live in values connection and vivid imagery.
Have you made it easy for visitors to share elements from your website to social media? Have you neglected to perform an audit of your website to ensure social sharing functionality? This post discusses the benefits of social meta tags, like increased link mentions, and how to make the most of them. But first, let’s dive into what social meta tags are exactly.
What Are Social Meta Tags?
Social meta tags allow website owners to have some control over what content shows up when a web page is shared on social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.). Social meta tags, also commonly referred to as open graph meta tags, rely on the Open Graph Protocol. Open Graph Protocol is a set of rules utilized to create rich objects on a web page for a social graph and builds upon existing technology to provide developers with more flexibility. In simpler terms, when social meta tags are implemented on a website, they act as a set of instructions detailing what exact image, video, title, url etc. should be shown when shared on social media.
Example of an image shared on Facebook:
What open graph protocol looks like in the code portion of a web page:
If Open Graph meta tags are correctly defined, crawlers will not have to rely on their own analysis to determine what content is to be shared. For example, when you do not define social meta tags many social media platforms will determine a default image for you — but is the image best suited to represent your website? Perhaps not.
Common Meta Tags Implemented
Resources for Previewing and Testing Social Meta Tags
Thankfully there are many resources out there that allow for previewing of social meta tags. Chrome offers a Open Graph Preview extension that shows how people will see your site or web pages on popular social networks. This preview extension gives you the ability to test and troubleshoot your open graph markup before pages are socially shared.
Other helpful testing tools:
Use Social Meta Tags, It's Important
Don’t leave it up to a bot to decipher what image or description accurately represents your content and your business. Instead, invest a small amount of time in implementing Open Graph Protocol. In addition to having more control over the image (and other details) when someone shares your website on social media platforms, optimized images lead to increased link mentions. Provide your potential customers with high quality images and content that effectively represents your business — and that will lead them to share your products or services with their robust social network.