You may have spent a lot of time looking far and wide for links to your Web site. But are you overlooking opportunities in your home town? Local business groups, such as a Chamber of Commerce or regional business council, can offer some great opportunities for links to your Web site. (They also present some opportunities to promote your brand locally and network with other local businesses, but that's a topic for another time.) Today, we'll explore the process of finding these link opportunities on local business groups' Web sites.
Local Business Organization
First, put together a list of all local business organization in your area -- even the very small ones. Then spend some time on each of their sites to find the low-hanging fruit, which is usually the member directory. Often, those aren't direct links.
That's when most people stop their search because the obvious link opportunities aren't present. In the process, they fail to notice other valuable links that could elevate your site into the top 10 from the 50s. It only takes a few high-quality links to make a difference.
Back to the site -- did you check their pages related to your industry? Do a simple Google search, using this code for your chamber's site: (site:chamber.com keyword). Replace "chamber.com" with the actual URL of their site, and "keyword" with broad-based terms related to your industry, such as medical, auto, attorney, etc. You may find pages that mention members in specific industries, or a place where companies in each vertical can display special offers.
Another approach is to look to see if they give direct links when they profile a company in their news section. Or find out if they need sponsors for upcoming events. Does the organization do any kind of community outreach that would draw media attention?
Of course, acquiring these types of links requires more work than simply filling out a form. They may require several e-mails, phone calls, or face-to-face meetings. Yet the effort is well worth it, in order to obtain top rankings.
Let's say you get them to profile your company in their news section. With a small suggestion, you can get a deep link within the content to one of your main product pages with the keywords as anchor text, as well as a link to your home page.
Upgrade those Links
While many would be happy with the above links, why not upgrade them? That's accomplished by getting other sites to link to your new profile page. Every time another site links to your company's profile, it increases the value of those links to your site.
A link obtained from a page with external links to that page is more powerful. Many in the industry search out those existing pages with a high number of external links.
Why not reverse engineer the process? Get the links first, then get sites to link to that page. This is especially useful because sites can be hesitant to link to an e-commerce site. It's more likely that they'll link to a trusted page on a site, such as a Chamber of Commerce.
Now promote the company profile by all means available to build those links. This includes on your own site, press releases, social media, blogs, and personal contacts. It's time to call in some favors. Don't forget your hometown free newspaper, bloggers, and media companies.
Instead of overlooking link marketing opportunities, start exploring sites deeper. Look for more than just the easy links, which often have less value, and go after those less accessible links. The results could just be top rankings in the near future for your company.
Join us for Search Engine Strategies San Jose, August 10-14, 2009, at the McEnery Convention Center.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!