This is the #ThrowbackThursday edition of the Daily Golden Nugget. This week, I'm jumping back to Nugget Number 93 from December 1, 2010. The topic is Trading Links with Local Businesses.
Linking to Avoid
Google has placed heavy penalties on websites that use link building to affect their ranking. The Google Penguin filter specifically targets all the bad ways you could build links to your website.
Here's a short list:
- paying for links
- creating your own network of thin websites
- trading links to other businesses on 'links pages'
Those are all bad, and that last one is known to be especially bad. Google scrutinizes links pages because so many companies sell the links places on them. It's easier to stay away from that strategy than to have deal with a manual penalty that Google's webspam team might hit you with.
Linking for Customer Benefit
Google talks a lot about doing what's best for your customer, and linking your website to other websites won't be penalized when it's done for a reason.
Here are a few good reasons:
- sponsor a local event
- donate to a local charity
- participate in a local event where you will make an appearance
- write about a local event in your blog
- create a list of good proposal locations and link to them
- build a section of your website dedicated to the other local wedding vendors that have helped your customers
Each of these ideas shows your customers that you either care about your community or want to make their life a little easier.
Let's face it, jewelry stores get requests from local charities all the time. Every year there are dozens of fund raisers asking for physical donations or gift cards. A gift card of $50 is a great way to bring one new customer into the store for an advertising cost of only $50. What's your average cost to acquire a new client? I bet it's much higher than $50!
Every time you sponsor one of these events you should set up a page on your website to promote that event, and detail what you contributed. You should also include a link to the event website.
Then ask the event coordinator to include your name, and a link to your website, on their sponsor page. They might not want to do this, but they might change their mind after you show them the page you created before asking.
Google says that you should nofollow a link if it was paid for. Although you are donating to a charity, the sponsored event is also advertising for you, so this is a grey area. You can apply the rel=nofollow attribute to your link if you like. Obviously, the event coordinator can do whatever they like.
Although you might get some SERP ranking benefit from the linking explained here, the real benefit is showing your customers the sponsorship and selfless promotion of that event.
Because you have a variety of sponsorship opportunities every year, you should carefully choose which ones to participate in. Don't simply choose the sponsorships at random, instead you should cross reference your sales reports to see which local towns or zip codes produce the greatest sales and ROI.
You could offer greater donations to sponsorship requests coming from those towns. You could even donate a gift card around the value of the real new customer acquisition cost. Is that about $125? Maybe even more?
Of course, you could donate gift cards to everyone who asks, and a little more to those target towns. Just remember that you should be setting up those sponsorship pages on your website and asking for links in return for your sponsorship.