If you’re not targeting a local strategy, citations still have some value though nowhere near as much to lifting rankings as if you were targeted localised keywords.
To generate top rankings for national keywords, there are other activities that become paramount. Just to note, these activities are also of importance for a local campaign but often come second to building local directory submissions.
Good SEO is all about getting other people to appreciate what you’re doing and link to your website. It may be that you offer a superior service which then compels people to link to your site as a recommendation for their audience, or perhaps you have amazing information on your website that is a source of reference leading others to link to it. Having links from other websites is the currency in which rankings are assessed.
A common adage you will often hear if you have been in SEO for long enough is that “each link is not created equal”. Some links will have immense value in lifting your rankings, while other links will have absolutely zero value. A link from an authority site like the CNN website will do wonders for your rankings compared to website that has just started, which no one has heard of and that is completely unrelated to what you do.
The more links you have to your targeted webpages that are good quality links, the more you will find your rankings improving.
How to get good links
There are a few strategies you can employ to get good links to the targeted webpages of your website, which will in turn result in improved rankings. Some of the most common that a small business owner could do are as follows:
Are there sites you know of personally that can link to you?
A good place for a person to start when it comes to developing links is to simply ask others who own websites if they can link to them. Its important not to be pushy when doing this and to respect the other person and their website. Some may be unwilling and say no, and that is completely understandable. Don’t take it personally and understand that some people are protective of their website and what they put on it. Friends, suppliers or clients that have websites of their own may be willing to link to your site, especially if you have a great product or service and even more so if you’re a great human being and have developed a great relationship with them. These links add to your campaign and giving you better rankings, this is especially the case if the sites of your friends, suppliers, clients or anyone else you may know who is willing to link to your website is in your industry and they are websites that are reputable and generally well linked-to themselves.
Creating great stuff to link to
The second popular method of getting links is to have amazing stuff on your website. This could be an online salary calculator (http://www.payscale.com/salary-calculator) on your site, or a function that gives a person a guide to the etiquette in each country (http://www.swissotel.com/promo/etiquette-map/) like swissotel have done, or it may just be downright awesome and useful content that really helps a specific group of people. To do this well takes time, thought and possibly some help. Great content and useful assets on one’s site gives people reasons to link to you. When people naturally link to you because you’re awesome, this boosts your credibility in the eyes of search engines and results in better rankings. Something to bear in mind also is that having links that directly go to your targeted pages is going to be much better for lifting the keywords on those targeted pages. However, links that go to other pages of your site, though are not targeted, will also have some value in lifting your rankings.
A common tactic for business owners is to employ a blog. Well-written, useful blog posts can be an effective way to gain a following if your blog posts are targeted, extremely useful and well publicised. Followers may link to a blog post of yours to get others to read it if its really interesting, beneficial or worthwhile. They may do this through their own site (perhaps a blog post of their own), or more commonly, they may link to it through social media (an emerging area important to SEO that we will devote the next post of this series to).
Create great content for someone else and attach a link to it
Another way of getting a link is to write great content for someone else’s website. In acknowledgement of what you have done for them, that site owner will let you include a link to your site, usually at the bottom of an article as an attribution. This successfully then allows you to score a link to your website.
Be on the lookout particularly for websites that are credible, well known perhaps and that are related to your industry. These types of sites will pass on a lot of value for your rankings. While you may not find a site that has all these optimal factors, at minimum ensure that the site you are writing content for to get a link to your own site is credible.
This method of attaining links requires good relationship development skills and strong content writing. It does take time and is often an arduous process. Expect things to not always work out as you may like and for requests to post content on another’s site and get attribution to be knocked back now and again. Though if it does go through, and the stars align, it could result in great rankings for your website and an equally great relationship with another business.
To view this series on How Search Engine Optimise your website from the very start, click here to go to the start of the series – How Search Engine Optimise your website: Part 1 – An Introduction to SEO.
To check out the previous post in this series check out – How Search Engine Optimise your website: Part 6 – Identifying your offsite strategy.
To check out the next post in this series check out – How Search Engine Optimise your website: Part 8 – Getting your social game on.
Our to use Sprout Online to SEO your website and get effective web rankings that provide a return on investment, just check out our SEO page.