The Search Engine Land article, “The Best Link Building for Local SEO – None!” by Chris Silver Smith, sparked an immediate debate in one of my LinkedIn groups. The article makes a compelling argument in favor of local small business SEO strategy that focuses on creating content and not on building links. It still surprises me (although it shouldn’t) that more than a few people that disagree with this approach, as evidenced by a one of the comments in the discussion thread, “Every year some guys comes out with the silly notion that small businesses need to focus on Content Marketing. I think it’s stupid, as if some small business who selling flooring is going to have such great content that everyone around will want to link to his site.” Comments like that make me cringe. One of the biggest misconceptions about content is that it has to have mass appeal and be “interesting” to everyone on the planet, the reality is that it just needs to be interesting to the people who have a need for that particular product or service. If someone is looking for new flooring, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say they would love to find a site that contains great information about types of flooring, pictures of completed projects, testimonials, and how to choose which flooring is the best solution.
Link Building Alone is Not Enough
Over the past few years a lot of information has been written and published about the importance Google places on having lots of inbound links to your website to help increase search engine ranking. Unfortunately there wasn’t nearly enough information written about the fact that all links are not created equal and the only ones that count are quality links. There is also article after article centered around “Content is King,” but I don’t think we’ve done a very good job of explaining why creating content is so important and how to write content that will drive the right kind of traffic to a website. In my opinion, there are also too many SEO agencies that continue to hyper-focus on link building and advise small businesses that they don’t need to create content they just need to build links or do PPC. The reality is that a link building strategy that excludes a content component will ultimately fail. I like to think of it as a formula:
Good Content + Good Relationships = A reason to link to your website
Writing and publishing content that provides value to your visitors and is relevant to your business gives people a reason to want to link to it. If you share your content through social networks, engage with people (both online and in real life), you’ll form relationships with people and those people will share your content in the form of social shares and links from their websites. Trying to get thousands of links to a website or blog full of fresh and informative content is far easier than trying to get links to a one page site.
Creating Content is a Secret Weapon for Local SEO
Blogging is a great way for businesses to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack. Most small businesses have done the basics when it comes to local SEO, they’ve claimed all of their local citations, set up Google+ Page, and have a social media presence. Since everyone is doing the same thing, it’s nearly impossible to get any additional exposure below Google Local search results. However, if one of them adds pages to their website or starts blogging on a regular basis, it’s not out of the question that they could rise above the competition and gain more visibility on Google. Additionally, it creates a way to share content through social networks that can drive traffic to the website. [fancy_list style=”arrow_list”]
- Businesses with 31-40 landing pages get 7x more leads than those with only 1-5 landing pages.
- Businesses with >40 landing pages get 12x more leads.
- 57% of companies have acquired a customer through their blog.
- Leads acquired through SEO have a 15% conversion rate.
[/fancy_list] People do business with people not websites, creating and sharing content brings a website to life and “puts a face with the name.” Creating content that both people and search engines love doesn’t have to be hard, in fact it can be easy (and even fun). I don’t think I’d say Link building is dead but I think it requires a different mind-set, one that focuses on creating valuable content first and on building relationships not links. Contact me and schedule a free content and website evaluation.
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