Link Relevancy and Geo-Targeting with Links

I’m often asked what kinds of pages a business should link to.  The SEO community is buzzing about how RELEVANCY means so much more to results than QUANTITY, or even PageRank.  And it’s true – relevance plays a key role in why a link helps to improve ranking.  If you’re a doctor promoting your services, it’s important that your links appear on health and medical related sites.  If you’re an attorney, you should link to sites about law and crime

But how specifically related do the sites need to be?

Here are some examples.  If you’re a FAMILY LAW attorney, it’s ideal to link to sites about Divorce and child custody.  Will linking to a site about Hershey, Pennsylvania’s drinking and driving laws work?  Well, yes, actually – because it’s in the LAW VERTICAL.  If you’re a plastic surgeon, will a link on a weight loss or fitness site work?  Or how about a site about home health care?  Yes again.  Sure, it’s ideal to link to sites about face-lifts and tummy tucks, but any HEALTH or MEDICAL site is good.  If you sell rims and tires, any site about cars will impact your rankings.  If you are a roofer, sites related to home improvement, construction, home and garden, even a site about plumbing is still in the same VERTICAL.

Here’s another hint.  When you can’t find anything in your vertical because your product is very specific, link to a newspaper site.  Newspapers are about EVERYTHING and everyone reads the news, so they are relevant to nearly every subject!

Basically, as long as you’re not linking to a site that’s very “un-relevant” (say a link to an iPhone page on a sports blog, for example) you’re probably in good shape.

What if you’re trying to increase your rankings for a specific geography? Again, there’s the ideal link, and then there’s the link that will work.  Ideally, you could find a site about your topic that’s also geo-specific.  Maybe the Seattle Post Intelligencer is doing an article on home security and you sell security systems in the Seattle area.  Perfect, right?  But what are the chances the local paper is going to do that article, or that you’ll be able to secure that link.  Instead, you need to look for sites related to your VERTICAL (in this case, house and home) and when you get the link, include “Seattle” in your anchor text.  It’s that simple.  The search engines don’t quite get that the site you linked to is in California or Canada or Australia.  If the anchor text says “Security Systems Seattle”, that link is going to help you rank for that keyword.

I know this trick from personal experience. I’ve helped several medium business owners build links on sites that are nowhere near where they do business, but ARE related to their subject matter.  The geo-targeting was all done through their anchor text, and it always works.

Thanks for reading.

David McBee, Kansas City Internet Marketing  (See what I did there?  See how I included the geography and the keywords I’m trying to rank for in my anchor text?)

Link Building Best Practices

When building links, there are a lot of things to consider. In my experience, it’s a lot more complicated than simply getting as many links as you can, or going for those with high PR. So this list of Best Practices should be helpful when you are link building.

PR isn’t everything. It is an indication of how much link juice a site will pass, but only one of many elements. Just because a site is PR5, doesn’t mean it is good for your campaign.

Acquire a mix of PR. The world wide web is MOSTLY made up of sites with PR lower than 2. Your link profile should match this. If you link to a big PR site, you should probably also links to a lot of low PR sites to go along with it.

Build relevant links. You’re a doctor? Build links on health related sites. You’re a lawyer. Build links on law sites. Or at the very least, something professional. A gambling link on the mommy blog isn’t going to be effective. The search engines won’t give you much credit for links that appear on sites that have nothing to do with your business.

But don’t over-scrutinize relevancy.For example, a dentist should link to any site related to health and medicine – even a link on a site about vision care would be perfectly fine for a dentist. Consider your overall “vertical” (health, construction, shopping, computers) when deciding if a site is relevant enough to link to.

News and business sites are great“generic” sites when you’re struggling to build links on sites related to your category. Everyone reads the news, so just about anyone can link to a news site.

Use city names in your anchor text when promoting locally.

Build in content links when possible. When your links appears in content in a relevant article, it can be much more effective – even if the page itself isn’t that impressive.

Grow the links slowly. Depending on how many backinks your site already has, build a small percentage each week.

Avoid site wide links- especially sites with over 100 pages, unless your site already has thousands of links.

Don’t expect immediate results. Typically it takes 30/60/90 days to see results.

Don’t swap out links a lot.Even if a link has lost some PR, if it is relevant and old, it is still adding value to your backlink profile.

Anchor Text Best Practices:

  1. Use Brand Anchors: “www.davidselectronics” or “Davids Electronics” instead of “Electronics”
  2. Use a variety of keywords as anchor text: “Camera Accessories”, “Tablet PCs”, “Solar Gadgets”
  3. Use before and after text: “Buy RC Helicopters Online
  4. Use unrelated anchors: “Click here”
  5. Point approximately 50% of links to the home page and 50% to the keyword-specific interior pages.
    (i.e. http://www.davidselectronics.com/computer_accessories.htm)
Lots of good stuff here too: Link Building S’cool

Thanks for reading.

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David McBee