I have been fielding a lot of calls from sites big and small that believe they got hit by Penguin, Google’s “over-optimization” algorithm. Or maybe it was Panda? Who knows? Traffic is down and everybody is freaking out.

I have a particular soft spot in my heart for the small, local businesses that have been hit, in many cases because they bought into someone’s spammy linkbuilding scheme.

I have had a few discussions with other SEOs who are attempting to take down clients’ spammy looking links, and while that might be effective, the ROI on finding and getting all of those links deleted seems iffy at best.

This mindset gets at the heart of why the site had a problem with these wacky animal updates to begin with – linkbuilding is not a substitute for a marketing plan.

With that in mind, I thought I’d offer up all you localistas out there some tried and true local marketing tips that just so happen to also help generate links, hopefully without infuriating any Google algo-beasts:

1.  Sponsor My Kid’s Baseball Team

There’s not much for us parents to do while watching our little Jeters learn the fine art of hitting off a tee, so getting your name on their jerseys for cheap might be a good way to build awareness.

It also might get you a link or two from the league’s website which is what we call a “citation” in the local SEO biz.  Here’s an example. It also gives you an excuse to connect with all of the parents on Facebook if you’re into that kind of thing which brings me to my next idea…

2.  Doing Something Socially Good In Your Community

How about a fundraiser for cancer that gets you a link from one of the top newspaper sites in the area? Or maybe a charity golf tournament?

3.  Join Your Local Business Association

Sure, it’s a good networking opportunity, but chances are, you will also get some nice links/citations out of the deal. Check out the Pleasanton Downtown Association’s Business Directory (which is not very well optimized btw – Hey PDA, give me a call!).

Another upside of joining these types of groups is that they help market you.

4.  Run A Contest

The state of today’s media is that pictures of dogs with funny ties is news – see proof to the right. Well, so are pie eating contests.

If you need something to wash the pie down, how about a local brew crawl (promoted by the Pleasanton Downtown Association, btw)?

5.  Make A Video

One of the great things about the Web is that it’s super easy and cheap to make and distribute your own videos.

Find a local artiste who is looking to build their rep and have them whip out something for you that can get some attention (and links) like Presidential Car Wash.

I could go on, but hopefully by now you get the picture. For SEO to succeed over time, you have to invest in marketing your business.

If you stop thinking of SEO as some alien witch-crafty thing and start thinking of it as a natural compliment to your marketing plan (assuming you have a marketing plan that is) – you’ll find that the only Penguins and Pandas you need to worry about are the ones your kid is spending way too much money on on Farmville (excuse me if my farm is more exotic than yours).

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Link Building | Local Search Column

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About The Author: is the proprietor of Local SEO Guide, a local search engine optimization consulting company specializing in yellow pages seo and local directory search—the blog is pretty fabulous too.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



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  • http://twitter.com/PaprikaMktg Alison Wren

    Good advice – love the alien witch-crafty comment! The trouble is too many people are looking for an instant fix. Building those good links naturally takes time and patience.

  • http://funky-trends.blogspot.com/ Jenny

    nice tips

  • http://twitter.com/YoungbloodJoe Joe Youngblood

    CSR is always great. The largest problems I see with using it as a link building strategy is A) looking disingenuous and B) many times the links turn over for yearly / seasonal events.

  • http://twitter.com/scottensign Scott Ensign

    In other words, do something real and meaningful. This is the way anyone doing SEO needs to start operating.

  • http://twitter.com/johnelincoln John E Lincoln

    Good article… Isn’t it funny though the things we will do for links? haha

  • http://www.facebook.com/suzlorenz Suzanne Schell Lorenz

    In addition to what you are advising above (great ideas), making sure you have a keyword-rich representation (with your video, photos and website link) in local “trusted” online directories { example: http://search.thedesertonline.com/Palm-Springs,Ca/La-Brasserie-Bistro-Bar/profile } can cause a move up in the organics (search:la brasserie palm springs). Google appears to approve, indexing 517,000 of our references:)

  • http://twitter.com/localseoguide Andrew Shotland

    exactamundo

  • http://twitter.com/localseoguide Andrew Shotland

    Very meta of you Suzanne :)

  • http://www.richardrazo.com/ Richard Razo

    I’ve never joined but I’ve been told by friends and some clients that the local Business Association is not worth it-at least the ones I live near. They say the biz association membership costs a good amount plus in some cases the biz association also wants you to give free or really discounted services to them. I guess it depends where you live if the local Biz Association is worth it.

  • Tabita Green

    What if my child doesn’t play baseball?? :)
    Great list. #2 & #3 are always on my list for new clients.

  • http://twitter.com/localseoguide Andrew Shotland

    I guess the subtext of the article is – if it’s a good marketing opportunity and you can get a link out of it, go for it.  If it’s a bad marketing opportunity, then definitely don’t go for it.

  • http://twitter.com/localseoguide Andrew Shotland

    Doesn’t play baseball?  Local linkbuilding is only for patriots.

  • Vincent Totino

     went to a small business networking expo near me and found businesses that are more than willing to look into setting up a link exchange.

  • Kevin Alvarez

    Great post Andrew.  I think too many people were focused on the wrong things the past few years.  ”Market to people, not robotic algorithms” has been something I have been preaching the last couple of years.  If you get a link, the win should not be about boosting SERPs but about the actual exposure the link provides.

  • http://davidawilson.co.uk/ David Wilson

    I think this line sums up what SEOs should strive to achieve:

    “I could go on, but hopefully by now you get the picture. For SEO to
    succeed over time, you have to invest in marketing your business.”

    SEO should become more than just searching for links and optimising on page content. Sure, this is important, but if you don’t have the other, wider marketing you are limiting your / your clients marketing potential. After all, SEO is a form of marketing, digital marketing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/suzlorenz Suzanne Schell Lorenz

    I love Andrew “speak”…I think I’m actually getting the hang of it ;)

    Maybe this is a discussion for another day, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen where you have addressed the wisdom of using enhanced profiles like the one above as a website with a redirect. This has worked fairly well for some of my customers (they control the domain name). What concerns me is when the YP’s build “splash pages” and rudimentary websites (no logo, no art) leaving the customers with several different domains out there and when they cancel their contract (they have no control over the domains) the sites languish with stale information or 404 errors.

  • http://www.gg2.net/ Garavi Gujarat

    i liked the whole article, this is the evergreen 5 tips from andrew for new SEOs and for those who are using some old techniques to build link for their sites, thanks for sharing with us.

  • ToddKeller

    Great info! Andrew…I look forward to meeting you in June when you speak at our event. I am on Wesley’s team at SureWest out here in Sacramento/Roseville.

    These are all things I preach to clients when offering advice to establish and build their local presence. Be yourself….be honest and be active! Don’t try to fool what hundreds of people at Google are being paid big bucks to control and maintain.

    Again…very excited to meet you!

    Cheers,

    Todd K.

  • ToddKeller

    Don’t try to fool what hundreds of people at Google are being paid big bucks to control and maintain.

    Again…very excited to meet you!

    Cheers,

    Todd K.

  • ToddKeller

    Don’t try to fool what hundreds of people at Google are being paid big bucks to control and maintain.

    Again…very excited to meet you!

    Cheers,

    Todd K.

  • ToddKeller

    Don’t try to fool what hundreds of people at Google are being paid big bucks to control and maintain.

    Again…very excited to meet you!

    Cheers,

    Todd K.

  • ToddKeller

    Don’t try to fool what hundreds of people at Google are being paid big bucks to control and maintain.

    Again…very excited to meet you!

    Cheers,

    Todd K.

  • http://www.msimail.net Ty Baisden

    Is your event open to the public. I live in the Roseville area and would like to attend.

  • http://www.msimail.net Ty Baisden

    Any problems with receiving links from a non-related site like a youth baseball site? Isn’t the “new” Google looking for the links to be related to the site?

  • CoreyBurke

    Great concept article, however lacking in methodology in how to do many of these items. One thing to note make sure the newspaper you get your “link” from actually get’s your URL correct ::
    http://www.mercurynews.com/entertainment/ci_20039153?source=rss put a misspelled  URL to the site.

  • CoreyBurke

    Nice article. Too bad you didn’t go into all the things that are actually necessary to set up a charity auction or charity golf tournament as they are not easy, nor are they cheap to set up.

    ALSO you have to make sure that the newspaper that links to you actually uses the correct URL. http://www.mercurynews.com/entertainment/ci_20039153?source=rss linked to a misspelled URL so it’s likely not helping as much as it could. Oops.

  • http://www.q2im.com/search-engine-optimization Brian MacDonald

    Sure, there’s not a quick fix, but that’s the point – is it not? SEO should not have an overnight success potential. There are very relevant sites, selling excellent valid products, which launch new websites every day – they need to do the same thing everyone else does in business -get your name out there, advertise using traditional advertising, pay for adwords, or wait it out. Those that are buying into the latest get-ranked-quick scheme will be affected by some other future update. Play by the rules, “don’t be evil” (cheating is evil) and you don’t have anything to worry about. 

  • http://twitter.com/PhilippaJaneNor Philippa Jane Norman

    Great article – upbeat and common sensical (I made that last word up) – Very refreshing in an overly paranoid and buzz-worded business – I was glad to see my company are already doing some of these and will take tips from the rest of the ideas – Well done!

  • Dave Brookes

    Loved the post, and that video really made me laugh. I think I may turn to video marketing for my business

    Self Adhesive Labels UK

     

  • kevinlee670

    my friend’s sister-in-law makes $85/hour on the computer. She has been unemployed for ten months but last month her payment was $16065 just working on the computer for a few hours. Go to this web site and read more ⇛⇛⇛⇛► http://hirebestfreelancer.blogspot.com

  • andrewlea14

    my buddy’s mother-in-law makes $69/hour on the internet. She has been laid off for 5 months but last month her pay was $13406 just working on the internet for a few hours. Here’s the site to read more ⇛⇛⇛⇛► http://Makecash11.blogspot.com

  • Loki God From Asgard

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  • omthoke

    Yeah, but the sad part is that most business owners dont understand the SEO process, and look at catchy adverts & SEO packages that guarantee top rankings with 10,000 links, and pay big money for the spammy activities of their so-called SEO firms!

  • http://www.cutey.co.uk/ cutey

    Some cool ideas, but not going to bring in a lot of links.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Genda-Dunmatta/100000524114398 Genda Dunmatta

    Not helpful. NEXT IDEA, please.

  • SargentManuela

    my roomate’s st ep-mot her brought ho me $1 3342 the previous mo nth. s he g ets pa id on the c omputer and bo ught a $ 369300 c ondo. All she did was get lucky and pr ofit by the ad vice u ncove red on this w eb pa ge ===>> ⇛⇛⇛⇛► http://Freelancerseeker.wordpress.com

  • http://www.southernstatesinsurance.com/ Southern States Insurance

    What you are saying is actually create real relationships and connect with “people”? I don’t know… I may prefer virtual community investment by “LIKING” links. “LIKES” mean a lot these days you know. : )

    Thanks for the write up – I completely agree.

  • SalinasMorris

    my roomate’s ex-wife brought home $19224 the previous month. she is making income on the internet and moved in a $491500 condo. All she did was get lucky and try the instructions laid out on this web page===>> ⇛⇛⇛⇛► http://hiringfreelancers.blogspot.com

  • NguyenMarquita84

    my best friend’s sister-in-law got paid $14696 the prior month. she is making money on the inte<!–truth is almight–>rnet and bought a $372500 home. All she did was get blessed and work up the steps uncovered on this link ===>> ⇛⇛⇛⇛► http://hiringfreelancers.blogspot.com

  • http://www.adjuice.co.uk/seo-company/ Ewan Kennedy

    Wholesome advice with a good dose of humour gently stirred in, as always Andrew.

    Could’ve been titled “Do natural things and links will come naturally”.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/X3WVO5NQMWQHUXIFNCX7SSR44I buster

    Just because your child doesn’t play baseball doesn’t mean you cant sponsor a team, in any sport. It’s about networking your link and exposure.

  • http://FreeWebsitesAtlanta.com/ Gannon Murphy

    Dogs, kids, neighbors, actual personal interaction to grow local links. Watch out, you just may start a revolution with this kinda talk. Makes sense in some vaguely familiar way too! Count me in, sign me up.

  • http://www.weboutsourcing-gateway.com/ Web Outsourcing Gateway

    I beg to disagree madam, I think Andrew had made a good points here. These are link building tips that can be done locally. I don’t see anything wrong about that

  • http://www.iwebsquare.co.uk/ iWebSquare

    Appreciating your ideas.

  • generationx4u

    Great work sir I read your blog it’s very useful to me,thanks for sharing with us.

    Evdo Wireless Internet

  • Shawn Lippert

    Not bad Ideas, however for onsite and offsite optimization in order to gain back those rankings in the organic results, post Panda and Penguin updates there is some new strategies that include Social Integration and Semantic Search. 
    http://www.javascriptsandmore.com/1/post/2012/06/post-panda-and-penguin-seo-and-link-building-for-local-search.html

 

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