How To Own Local Search Results for Your Business
8 Months ago, I launched a website for my iPhone repair service and tech company.
I had no idea what I was in for, in terms of SEO. I new I had to outrank my competitors. I knew I had to gain a lot of traction quick in the engines to even stand a chance and I had no idea how I was going to do it.
But, 6 months exactly, after the day I began building links, engaging with people, and creating popularity around my site, I was ranking for all my major terms.
Today, just two months later, we’re still in the lead, and dominating forcefully. Here’s how I did it.
Wave Down The Cab
First, like you would when you get the attention of a cab driver in New York, I had to wave down the search engines. I did that specifically by finding 20+ local blogs, and commenting a couple times on each blog.
In theory, that could have helped the engines realize how local of a company I was, and in reality got the site indexed and in the search results two days later. Then started the real link building.
Ramp It Up!
In my mind, the best thing to do was to get as many links as possible, as soon as I could. So of course, as a local company, you’re going to want to set up profiles with Yelp, Merchant Circle, and any other business/local directory I could find.
Just typing the word “business directories” gives you a lot of options to get some listing links. Take advantage of all of them. It’ll be time consuming, but SEO is time consuming.
Directory Specific Directories
I then proceeded to manually (there’s a paid option) build links through one of the most reputable, search engine friendly link directory directories on the web, Addurl.nu”
There are 900 + directories on that site, all of which carry weight. It helps tremendously to get your link on a lot of different domains. Muscle it out yourself, or pay the fee and submit your links. Now you’re gaining some momentum.
You should start to see your rankings jump a little bit, but keep patient, new domains take a while to earn trust.
Then, I moved onto..
Video blogging turns eyeballs. It gets people to see your face, and know about your business. Through Twitter (and other social channels), with a simple share, you can let a lot of people know about what you’re up to.
We went crazy. Each video we did, about broken iPhones, cities we offered service to (like Chicago) and anything else technology related, had a link pointing back to the site. It not only built links directly, but it got us in local people’s minds, and as a result, they built links.
It’s not just about the direct link you’re building, it’s about creatively thinking and executing based on the fact that you can catalyze action in other people to link to you.
Local bloggers, that are respected and have earned authority, are extremely powerful to the engines, and extremely beneficial to your local SEO efforts.
Guest Post Your Face Off
I guest posted my face off, just like I’m doing now. But I didn’t just pitch bloggers and await their responses. They would have given me a cold hard no. Instead, I responded to their tweets, I listened to what they had to say, I actually tried to get to know who they were.
Once a bit of substance was built, a pitch for a guest post goes a lot more smooth. I went crazy with it. Luckily, I have some bad ass friends like Sonia, from Logallot.com who loved the idea of having some guest posts, and of course Dino, who needs no introduction.
Does guest posting take a lot of work, a lot of creativity, and actually knowing what you’re talking about? Absolutely. I posted on social media (because I was doing it, for business), I posted about business, and the excitements and pitfalls (because I was going through them), and anything else I could think of that made sense.
It took a lot out of me, required hours and hours of my time but again, SEO is time consuming. Real results come when you roll your sleeves up, and get to work. But, now a days, of course, we have to be thinking about social. So the next step was..
Social Media Immersion
Luckily, I was cranking out a massive amount of video content that was both exciting, and trust building.
I streamed tweets from everyone in the local market, using the search: near:”cityname, state” within:15mi.
That lists all conversations within 15 miles of the city and state you specify. Your next step? Respond to EVERYONE. If they’re talking about football, you talk about football.
If they’re talking about how much they love Madonna, I don’t know, give your opinion. The point is, to build trust with them, to build authority locally, and to have people retweet and link to your content, you’re going to have to immersively get in the mix.
But, that DOES mean that you’re going to have to be putting out some pretty exciting stuff. It definitely means that your content must be interesting and engaging and the single best piece of advice I can give you to make that happen is BE CRAZY.
You have to be yourself on social. If you’re video blogging, you have to let personality shine through. No one likes interacting with the marketing message. No one likes talking to a boring brand with no excitement to transfer. They want positive emotion, and it’s up to you to give it to them.
A standard of engaging, streaming and replying is 2 hours a day, at least 4 times a week. This is a sweet spot for really making an impact. Anything less is more likely to get you only some surface impact, and nothing more penetrating. Your mission is penetration. Disclaimer: This is not a post about porn.
Things To Take Advantage Of
On the web, there are many things you can take advantage of to build solid links and diversify the number of domains linking to you. One of them is blog contributing.
Separate from guest posting, blog contributing is simply offering 4-8 lines of advice or insight, based on something you’ve experienced, for another blog.
Take Carol Roth’s blog for example. Carol is a business strategist, so needless to say, she’s talking about business strategy and entrepreneurship.
She’s so individual, and potently accurate in advice giving and business strategy, that she’s attracted a huge audience, created a New York Times Best Seller and has a lot of traction with her blog.
The opportunity to contribute to the blog is in plain sight on her website. I’m not sure how they decide who gets included and who doesn’t, but isn’t it worth a shot?
Of course it is, and in most blog contribution systems, you get to place a link back to your website. There you go. Good links. That’ll ramp up your rankings.
Lastly, And In The Meantime
The last ultra hitter that we did, was actually paid. We purchased some advertising on a highly reputable, local news site that not only landed us a link from an image, on the sidebar of the site, but got us multiple links in the body of some blog posts.
At that time, we were already first for a lot of our terms, and that took us over the edge into first for the rest of our local terms. The extra juice mattered.
So, again, you’re local, so think local. Get local links, get them from authority blogs/websites, and don’t be afraid to pay a bit for some. That’s literally the only dollars I spent on SEO, this entire time.
In the meantime, keep doing the things that consistently build you links. Comment on local blogs. Comment on global blogs. Set up profiles in forums about things that interest you. Interface with people and craft anchor texted signature links (if they allow you to).
Keep cranking out content. Keep guest posting. Keep spotting opportunities, by setting a couple hours a week aside to find them, to build links in local and global directories and remember, SEO is ongoing.
I will continue to build links. I will continue to create excitement for people and I’m continuing to engage, as much as I can, with the people in my target market.
This specific approach, engaging in these specific strategies, got my local company ranked for our local keywords, in exactly 6 months, and it can work for anyone.