Link Local: Local Link Building Ideas for Small Businesses

  • By Elizabeth Burton
  • 07 Mar, 2017
For small businesses, exposure is everything. But unlike big international brands, integrating yourself into the fabric of your hometown or surrounding area is absolutely integral to standing out amongst the crowd. In our digital age, however, it isn’t enough to have an eye-catching storefront, or to put an ad out in the local paper. Because of this, Creekmore Marketing has some valuable tips on how to build up links within your local area so that your business can be seen and get the attention it deserves.

Testimonials

Before you start constructing additions to your website or reaching out to local media, work with what you already have. No man is an island, and no business works entirely alone. Have you partnered with another business in the past, even for something small? Ask if you can give them a testimonial for their website. No one is likely to turn down a glowing review, especially not from a business partner, and so in exchange, you can ask them to link back to your site. Who knows, you may even get a testimonial for your own business this way.

Manufacturer Links

Similarly to thinking about business partners, are you a retailer who sells a product manufactured by another company? Fantastic! Many manufacturers have websites that list dealers of their products. Reach out to them and see if you can get added to such a list, attaining another link to your site in the process.

Internships

You’ve plumbed the resources you already have; now think about what you need. Interns are a great resource, as they often work for little or no pay, and you can also attain a link to a university by searching for someone to lend a valuable hand to your business. Reach out to universities in your area and see if they can link to your business in an internship database on their site. Many college majors are now requiring internships for students to meet graduation requirements, and so gaining assistance, and a valuable link, should come naturally to you.

Job Posting Websites

Not all interns stay forever. Are you looking for more qualified, long-term help? Job posting websites, forums, and message-boards have the dual advantage of possibly finding you the next great addition to your team, and providing you with a visible link in your area!

Local Sponsorships

We’ve talked about the ways that your community can help your business; now let’s talk about ways that your business can help your community, and gain some links to boot. Ever notice the ads on the outfield banners at your nephew’s little league baseball game? Sponsoring a local sports team is a great way to assist your community, and you can also gain a link from the team’s website. Sports teams aren’t the only community organizations that need sponsor money, though: school theater groups, charities, and church groups all need financial assistance, and could link to your business’s website from their sponsor or donor page.

Scholarship Opportunities

With the rising tuition costs of higher education only getting higher, scholarships are a hot commodity, and are heavily sought-after by both future college students and their parents. Help students and gain some good publicity for your business by offering a scholarship. This will require a little extra work on your part, as the scholarship will require a page on your website that lays out the requirements for applicants, but could get you links from a variety of places. By publicizing the scholarship in local newspapers and their websites, high schools, or anywhere else with a vested interest in education, you can gain links with a great level of visibility, and get some very positive publicity while you do it.

Host an Event

If scholarships are not your company’s style, why not throw a party instead? Local businesses usually have the funds and resources to host an event in their town, and are another great way to get links from newspapers and similar outlets while also generated word-of-mouth buzz from grateful participants.

´╗┐Reach Out to the Newspaper

´╗┐Have you done something noteworthy for your community (like offering a scholarship to high-schoolers or hosting an awesome event)? See if you can get featured in the local newspaper! While you can't exactly embed a hyperlink in a pulp-and-ink newspaper, almost all newspapers now have online counterparts. If you get a write-up in the paper, you'll also probably end up on their website, and if that is the case, you can see if they would link back to your company's website. While some think that newspapers are falling out of fashion, many people still keep up with them, and so getting a link through them is sure to reach a wide audience, as well as endow your business with the credibility that newspapers still possess for their readers.

If you own or operate a small business, embrace what makes that experience so unique and work with the place that you’re in. Your patrons can oftentimes be fantastic resources to get the word about your business out there, and help you show up in local searches on search engines. Get creative, and help use the relationships that you’ve been through your business to your advantage!
By creekmoremarketing 20 Oct, 2017

INTERNET MARKETING  

This is a form of marketing you can’t ignore. Be sure to have a strong SEO, social media and web presence. Online reviews will be a key factor in your success.

By Elizabeth Burton 11 Jul, 2017
Like many people of my generation, my very first e-mail address was through Yahoo! Also, like many people of my generation, I haven’t used Yahoo! in years. It mostly functions as a relic of the dot-com bubble now, much like MySpace. But, while you can still access MySpace in the same way you can still access Yahoo!, does that mean you should make an account? If you are wondering if your business should devote time and energy on Yahoo!, Creekmore Marketing has created a quick guide to inform you about what it still has to offer you.

History

Like Google, Yahoo! came out of Stanford University in the 1990’s. It was created by Jerry Yang and David Filo and named “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web.” It was revolutionary for the time in that it organized search results into a hierarchy as opposed to an index, a move that later search engines would owe to “Jerry and David’s Guide.” Several months after the Guide was created, it was renamed Yahoo! The name Yahoo had actually already been trademarked by several different endeavors up to that point, which necessitated the exclamation point at the end of Yahoo!’s name. Through the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, Yahoo! saw massive growth, as many such companies did, through the dot-com bubble, even earning the honor of being the most expensive stock ever sold in Japan in 2000. However, when the dot-com bubble burst, Yahoo!’s value crashed and never fully recovered. Various companies attempted to acquire it, but only in 2009 was it officially bought out by Microsoft. While Yahoo! is still running, it is slated to be fully replaced by Bing by 2019.

Percentage of Overall Search Volume

While Yahoo! may be essentially defunct at this point in time, it does still receive a surprising amount of search engine traffic. While it does still fall behind, it stays roughly equivalent with Bing, earning 11% of the total search queries for 2015 while Bing earned closer to 20%. While that gap may sound large, that amounts to Bing receiving 3,676 million queries in December of 2015, while Yahoo! received 2,201 million queries. While this is vastly less than what Google receives, it is still a sizable number of queries, and places it above other search engines that were created around the same time, such as Ask and AOL.

Reviews

Like other search engines, Yahoo! does not give its users an avenue to review businesses directly. While you can still claim your business’s listing on Yahoo!, the reviews that populate will be scraped from other review gathering services, such as Yelp.

Major Algorithm Changes

Because Yahoo! is so comparatively outdated, little is known about recent changes to their search algorithm. The most recent news that broke regarding it was that Yahoo! actually has an algorithm specifically dedicated to those using it to search on mobile. As for what this entails, the CEO of Yahoo! reportedly claimed that Yahoo!’s mobile search algorithm “provides a richer, more action-oriented set of experiences.” If you read our guide on Bing, this sounds similar to their goal of being a search engine centered around spurring consumer action. Ultimately, though, don’t expect many Yahoo! algorithm changes moving forward. After all, its expiration date is set for 2019 when it will be fully replaced by Bing.

Its Importance for Small Business SEO

I’ll start off by saying this: when was the last time you used Yahoo!? For many of us, it’s been years, and while Yahoo! does get a remarkable number of search queries every month, that has more to do with the sheer volume of people using the internet at any given time than it does with Yahoo!’s popularity. Yahoo! is soon to go the way of the dodo, and so dedicating a lot of time to it when it comes to growing your business will be time you can’t spend on other, more worthwhile search engines, like Google, Bing, or Apple. That doesn’t mean that you should 100% ignore it. Many services, like Yext, can claim your business on multiple, smaller platforms, such as Yahoo!, in one fell swoop, so if given the opportunity to do that in a way that won’t take up much of your time, it is a great option. For as long as it continues to exist, Yahoo! is still another patch in the quilt of SEO, but it’s a smaller, older one, and one that probably needs replacing.

Has this helped inform you more about how your business should use Yahoo!? If it has, or if you still have more questions, contact Creekmore Marketing to figure out more ways to grow your business online.
By Elizabeth Burton 11 Jul, 2017
Google is more than just a search engine at this point: it’s an institution. Google is practically shorthand for the internet at large, and this vastness can make it seem impenetrable. But like anything that exists on the internet, Google was created by people for the purpose of being used by people, and that includes you and your business. Because Google is so omnipresent, making sure that you understand how it works and how your business can utilize it most effectively is incredibly important. Luckily for you, you’ve got experts on your side, and Creekmore Marketing has developed a short guide to Google to help get you and your business acquainted with this digital giant.

History

Compared other search engines and giants of the information age, Google came onto the scene rather late, as a research project started by two Stanford University students in 1996. One student, Larry Page, was interested in how math served to link different pages on the internet, and so decided to create a database of how different pages linked to each other with the help of his friend Sergey Brin. The project, initially nicknamed “BackRub,” was created with academia in mind, to help academics find citations for research, but as we all know, it didn’t stay that way. Part of what allowed Google to become the institution it is today is the innovation that Page and Brin added to their project as part of their thesis: that the pages with the most links are the most relevant, and should therefore “rank” higher on search results. This thesis, which was written up as the “PageRank algorithm,” became the cornerstone of Google’s algorithm, and is still used today to formulate how search results populate. Google was officially incorporated as a company in 1998, and then patented in 1999. Its iconic name came from the number “googolplex,” which is 1 followed by 100 zeroes. You can see this influence still today when you search something on Google and scroll to the bottom of any given page of results: there the Google logo is stylized to have multiple O’s, much like its namesake.

Percentage of Overall Search Volume

Google is far and away the most used search engine in the Western world. In November 2016, Google received 15,303 million queries, whereas its next closest competitor—the Microsoft search engine Bing—only received 9,758 million queries. The total percentage of queries made in all search engines tends to average around fifty percent for Google, although can rise as high as sixty percent. With this in mind, it is a safe assumption to say that if someone is searching something online, they are using Google. After all, “Google it” is shorthand for searching something online in general, whether you are using Google or not.

Reviews

There are a number of ways to have your business receive reviews on Google. The most obvious, and most important, avenue is to get Google reviews directly. The service Google My Business is directly tied with Google Maps, so whenever searchers find your business on Google Maps they are given the option to leave reviews. They can also do so by finding your Google My Business listing through a standard Google search: this brings up a sidebar with your business’s Google listing and again gives the option to leave a review. Google also pulls reviews from other sites, such as Houzz, that are also displayed on your Google listing.

Major Algorithm Changes

We may only be a little over halfway through 2017 at this point, but that hasn’t kept Google from routinely updating its algorithms. Back in February, there was an update that greatly shook up keyword rankings across the board, some positively and some negatively. And then, in March, there was an even bigger update, nicknamed “Fred” by Google’s Gary Illyes. Google does not often confirm algorithm updates, but any time there is a large-scale shake-up of rankings across the board—whether they be positive, negative, or a mix of the two, as is often the case—you can assume there has been an update to Google’s algorithm.

Its Importance for Small Business SEO

It is difficult to overstate the importance of Google for SEO, whether your business be large or small. For small or local businesses, however, Google is perhaps even more necessary than for massive multinational corporations. Because of Google’s reach and resources, small businesses can be found by customers in ways that were unprecedented twenty years ago. Making sure that you are tailoring your SEO strategy to Google specifically isn’t just a recommendation: it’s a must.

If you have any further questions about Google and how your business can work with it successfully, contact Creekmore Marketing today!


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