Search Engine Optimization April 5th, 2019
We can all remember a time we’ve been told a story by someone that was so outlandish that it couldn’t possibly be true.
Most of us would follow up with a passive aggressive “can you prove it?”
That’s essentially how “RankBrain,” Google’s search algorithm, determines what is the most factual content to rank in search results. What is determined to be the most factual is based on several factors, but most notably: trust, authority, and quality.
These three factors are based on your reputation, and if you have a bad reputation, let’s say as a conman or failing to complete work on time, then it’s going to undoubtedly hurt your keyword rankings in Search.
Every small business owner with a website wants to rank #1 for things like “best plumber in Toronto” or “dentist near me”, but the top position must be earned in two ways: in providing high-quality informative content on your website and other authoritative websites that vouch for your own authority and trustworthiness.
You have complete control to optimize the keywords used on your website, as well as the quality, type and length of content on your site. However, receiving a backlink from an external authoritative site is much harder — but you can influence them through outreach and promotion.
What is written about your site, whether it’s positive or negative, can significantly impact your keyword rankings. That’s why it’s important to create concrete campaigns based around a strategy with a goal in mind.
For example, let’s say you’re a lawn care company in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Your business is seasonal so you want to generate as many sales as possible while in high season. This means hundreds if not thousands of leads you need to generate online in order to hit your revenue goal for the quarter. Therefore, you need to rank in Google for high search volume keywords.
You have a great web page, linking from the menu bar on your home page, with all your lawn care services listed on it. You’ve also included a paragraph at the top of the page that briefly describes the services listed below, as well as your location, target customers, and why your lawn care business is the best in Hamilton. Plus, you included a video that shows the visitor how you keep their lawn green and even created an interesting infographic that lists why your service is the most thorough.
You want this page to rank #1 in Google for “lawn care services” in Hamilton. So here’s how you would build backlinks to rank your small lawn care business:
Create as many listings on business directory sites in Hamilton, Ontario. Fill in all the fields with your business, address, phone number and be sure to include a link to your home page. There will be even more “link juice” if the local directory site is a .ca because it’s all about relevancy. Not only will a backlink from the directory pass on authority for organic keyword rankings, but will also rank you higher in Google My Business search results on mobile devices.
Writing blogs not only shows Google that you’re active site admin who cares about improving the quality of their business’s website, but they can also be used for SEO. You could rank for a topic like “tips for maintaining a green lawn” and because you rank, someone writing a blog post may find yours during their research and link back to it as a citation. Optimize your blog posts by creating 1-2 internal links to relevant service pages on your lawn care site.
SEO Tip: use Buzzsumo to find blog topics that users find interesting then write a better version of the ones that already exist!
Social media is a tool you can use to amplify the number of visitors to your new blog post — plus, facebook.com and twitter.com still count as backlinks!
SEO Tip: Be sure to include links to your social media profiles in the top right of your site in the header and in the footer.
You’re a small business owner so you likely don’t have a PR rep and a publicist to reach out to magazines and newspapers for a feature on the cover. That’s why you need to take a bootstrap approach to promotion by joining in on conversations online then telling them about your business. Post on lawn care forums, preferably Canadian ones, and see if any on the thread is commenting from Hamilton or if there’s a thread already created that’s about lawn care in Hamilton, Ontario. If what you post is valuable/interesting, then there will be more replies in the thread by other users, which eventually will push your comment to the top of the thread where users will instantly see it. Just make sure to add a link to your lawn care site with a hyperlink (anchor text) over a keyword like “best lawn care service in Hamilton” pointing to your main services page.
In marketing, there’s nothing more important than cultivating a relationship. So choose who you want to reach out to for help with promoting your lawn care services. Perhaps there’s a lawn care tips podcast for Canadian homeowners that has weekly episodes and a popular website? You can simply send them an email to your main lawn care service page and have them do a review of your business? It doesn’t hurt to ask, however, you likely wouldn’t get a response unless you’re business already has a strong online presence.
If you’re just starting to build your online presence, then it’s best to follow these three tactics:
Email site admins of industry, small business, and local sites to ask if you can write a guest post on their blog. You should offer to let them write a one on your company blog in return so you have a higher response rate.
Search for one of your target keywords in Google, then check the results on the first page. If you find a keyword like “eco-friendly lawn service” is hyperlinked in the copy, but the link is broken, reach out to the site admin and suggest they link to your page instead. The site admin will actually appreciate it!
You can run Facebook ads and Google Ads to increase your sales, especially if you’re a seasonal business, however, the costs can add up quick. You also run the risk of having a high cost-per-acquisition, That’s why ranking your service pages organically in Google Search will give you the best return on investment. In order to achieve this ROI, you need to do the little things right — your website clearly explains what your business does and what’s special about it, you are active on social media and your blog which shows Google that you’re building your brand, and consistently pushing to build relationships with online influencers in your industry to elevate your brand’s authority even more. Follow these small business backlinking steps to be on your way to having a great ROI with a minimal marketing budget!
To learn about the history of SEO, check out this movie by Ignite Visibility CEO John Lincoln: