SEO Marketing – Get Connected to Make Your Website an Internet Cog
SEO Marketing 101Last week’s post was about building and protecting your reputation in an effort to rank in Google. The point of that post was that your reputation is the first step you should take because it is the quickest and least technical, not to mention extremely important, part of the job in your quest to dominate Google in your overall SEO marketing strategy. Why is it quick? Because it only takes a minute to respond to an online customer complaint. It only takes a minute to ask a customer to leave a review. It doesn’t require any training to know how to do these small tasks. However, is it enough? In might be but likely not.
If the first step in your SEO Marketing strategy to rank on the first page of Google came first because it was the quickest and easiest if follows that the second step is the second quickest and easiest. What would that be? In my opinion, it is getting connected. This is a lot of leg work but you do not need to be an expert in SEO Marketing to achieve success in this area. What area am I talking about? I’m talking about having your Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) listed in as many reputable websites linked to your website as possible.
Your Website’s Reputation is Largely Determined by Which Websites Link to it
Notice I used the word “reputable”. Remember my last post? Building and guarding your business reputation and thus your website’s reputation is the first step in your SEO Marketing goal to rank in Google. Websites that link to your website can affect your reputation in a positive way just as they can in a negative way. As the saying goes: “Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are”. The worse thing you can do is subscribe to a link farm. These are usually promoted via SPAM email from unscrupulous sources. It is imp0rtant that you don’t fall for any scams. There are ways to avoid them.
Beware of emails from strangers who promise top page listing in Google or who promise hundreds of backlinks for a fee. These people have no interest in helping you. They just want your money. Yes, they will list your website on 100 other websites but its a scam. These sites are often really only one website with 100 domains connected to it or they could be 10 websites with 1000 domains connected to them. This gives the illusion of 100 backlinks and will count against you. It is all smoke and mirrors and Google has no respect for them so stay away!
It’s not enough to know that there are scams out there. You must know how to identify a website as a good one to have a backlink from. Well, the first step is to understand what I mean by “backlink”. I realize I sprung that term on you without a definition. As you may have gathered, a backlink is a link from a website to your website. Is that the same as a NAP? No! A “NAP” is when your name, address, and Phone number appears on a website with a link back to your website. In other words, a backlink is only part of a NAP. Yes, there is value in having a large number of backlinks but there is a lot more value with a NAP.
SEO Marketing Strategy and NAP’s
Why are NAP’s more valuable than regular backlinks? Because they assert who you are, where you are located, and how you can be contacted. This is important to establish trust. The more transparent you are, the more people will trust you and the more Google will trust you. You will be rewarded with a higher Google ranking. You need to be connected and you need to demonstrate to the world that you have nothing to hide. For more information on this, refer to my last post on how trust factors into your SEO marketing strategy to rank on the first page of Google
Now that you understand why you need as many NAP’s as possible, its time for you to identify the good ones and the bad ones. You will be happy to learn that the bad ones are super easy to identify: All solicitations from unknown backlink “experts” are bad. I can say this with confidence having worked in this SEO Marketing for nearly 20 years now which is pretty much 100% of its existence. The bottom line is that SEO marketing is not a high volume technology. SEO marketing is all about quality over quantity. When you receive SPAM, that is high volume, low quality so, as I stated earlier, stay away!
I’m not saying that quantity is irrelevant. I’m saying that quantity without quality will kill your SEO marketing goal of ranking on the first page of Google. I would rather have one quality backlink than to have 1 million low-quality backlinks any day of the week. You can only achieve this through blood, sweat, and tears. In other words, you need to do it yourself or hire someone how cares to do it for you. Good old human intuition will likely be your best friend in identifying the best websites for your NAP’s and backlinks.
Find Relevant Websites for Your BacklinksHowever, since I already told you to ignore all solicitations I guess that means I have burdened you with the responsibility of finding these trustable websites yourself. Yes, unfortunately, that is a big part of the “leg work” I mentioned at the beginning of this blog. I wish I could just give you a list of sites but I can’t because it really depends on where you are and who is your target market. For example, If you are in Austin Texas, targeting the local market, you will need to find locally branded websites. However, you could be in Austin Texas, targeting the London England market and this would be completely different.
You need to understand your market before building a NAP list for your website. If you have been in business longer than one year, you probably understand your market and therefore you are in a good position to build the list. If you don’t understand your market, and you are hoping to find a miracle answer in this blog, I’m afraid you will be disappointed. However, all is not lost, just call me or email me for a free consultation at smartwebpros.com. I will be more than happy to guide you in the right direction.
For the rest of you business owners who are confident you know your markets but just need to improve your online marketing, you have to look at affiliate websites within your industry and you must also consider public listings outside your industry. For example, if you are a home builder, there are tons of home builder associations. Some you probably already have a membership. Make sure you have a NAP on those sites. If you have been procrastinating on joining other associations or hesitant to spend the extra cash on other memberships, maybe give it a second thought.
Increase your Website AuthorityYou should also look at well-known websites that may not be directly relevant to your business. For example, you can usually get a free NAP in a local online Yellow Pages* directory or your local Better Business Bureau, Brownbook, Yelp and many more. I will post a list of good NAP sites for 90% of North American businesses in a future blog so stay tuned. These sites are not generally used to find businesses but they are very well known and highly regarded by Google. Even if you don’t see the value in these memberships consider the SEO value in having a NAP from them.
Once you find a website that you believe is either relevant to your industry or has high name recognition, it is time for you to vet that website. If you carelessly add your NAP to a website without vetting it, you might actually drag your website down in Google ranking. For example, if your website is more highly regarded by Google than the website where you want to put your NAP, then you will actually lower your Google ranking.
What I am talking about here is referred to in the SEO industry as “Authority”. When a website is completely unknown, it has no “Authority”. When a website is extremely well known, like Google.com Facebook.com, etc, it has an extremely high Authority. Most websites have a low authority but only the bottom of the barrel websites have absolutely no Authority. The point I want to make is that you must avoid placing your NAP’s in low authority websites and be careful not to place your NAP on websites with a lower authority than your website.
The good news is that there are several tools you can use to accomplish this. This first tool I would like to talk about is arguably the biggest and most well known: Alexa Domain Authority Checker. Personally, I love this tool but you might be surprised to find out why I love it so much. The Alexa Domain Authority Checker is my favorite site because it doesn’t always work. Wait, what? One of the greatest features of this site is that it only works for websites that have high authority. You see, if Alexa can’t find data on the website that you are looking into, then it has low authority. Chances are good that if it shows up on Alexa, its good and you should consider this a good opportunity to have a backlink.
There are many other tools, but really Alexa is all you will ever need. That said if you happen to be in charge of digital marketing for Microsoft, or Walmart or some other high profile company, you might want to dig it deeper. Somehow, I think if you are reading this particular blog, you are just trying to get your small website noticed so I will leave the other tools for another post down the road.
Building quality NAP’s and backlinks are what you have to do to get Connected. Connected websites help everyone. Think of the internet as a bunch of roads and highways. Now imagine yourself building a road of your own but you never connect it to another road. How useful is that? Well, that is exactly what you did on the internet when you built yourself a website and didn’t connect it to other websites on the Internet. Don’t be surprised that no one is showing up on your road when there is no way to get there.
Most of this subject matter is covered extensively in my latest video: How to be on the First Page of Google – 10 Easy Things You Can do: