Biz Ladies: How to Use Networking to Improve Your Search Engine Rankings


Today’s Biz Ladies post comes to us from Felicia Ceballos-Marroquin of Acrassy Marketing. Felicia focuses her marketing services on creative businesses and assists in creating intelligent and viable brands for her clients. Today she shares her expertise in the online world by offerings some useful tips on how to get your website noticed in search engines.  Thank you Felicia for tackling this important topic! –Stephanie

Read the full post after the jump…

This post is brought to you by MailChimp, an app created to help you design, send, and share email newsletters. Discover their tools for bloggers here.

You need to give action before you can get action. This is what networking is all about.

If you want to become great at networking, you need to know be fully aware of what you have to offer. Ask yourself, how can I be of service? How can I contribute? What do I have to give? And then start putting out.

Once you start giving, you’ll find that others will give back. This law of reciprocity has been socially programed in to every one of us. We can’t receive a gift without feeling like we need to return the favor.

Of course you can’t give away everything for free, you are trying to run a business after all, but there is one tiny thing you can give that won’t cost you much time or effort and will help you build great relationships and improve your search engine rankings.

Links.

If you have a blog or a website, you have the ability to gift others with links. And they truly are a gift, a gift that keep on giving.

Links and Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization gets a bad wrap. It’s boring, it’s complicated and too technical. You want to believe that if you create awesome content and sell amazing products, you won’t ever have to worry about doing any SEO.

But that’s just not true. What most people don’t know is, there are two branches in SEO. On-site SEO, which improves all of the title tags, meta data, alt tags, and other tricky bits on your site and off-site SEO, which is how search engines determine how popular something is by looking who has been linking to it.

On-site SEO is meant to help you get the robots on your side, while off-site SEO is the reason why great content prevails. If you are creating helpful resources that others are linking to, then you’re not avoiding SEO. You’re just focusing on off-site SEO. It’s a different strategy and if it’s the strategy you’re going to choose, then I’m going to show you how to do it right.

But before I do, let me just say that I’m not dismissing on-site SEO. It is still very important important, which is why you should learn how to your own on-site SEO, but it’s not the end of the process. Once you have an OK foundation for your on-site SEO, you can focus your effort on your off-site SEO and really start to see some impressive results.

OK so let’s get back to off-site optimization. It all begins with quality links. Links are the secret ingredient to unlocking your true ranking potential and improving your site for robots and humans, but only if they’re done right, so let’s look at what makes a good link.

How to Build Amazing Links

Which link is better?

A.) For the best halloween costume ever, click here.
B.) Check out the best halloween costume ever!

Both links take you to the same page (which really might be the best costume ever) but the option B link is better, because the anchor text (clickable text) describes what the page is about. This is great because Google uses these descriptions to understand what the page is about to rank pages. If enough people use the anchor text “best halloween costume ever” that page will rank higher in Google search results for “best halloween costume ever.”

This happens because each link is basically a vote. When you link to someone, you’re casting your ballot, but Google won’t know what “position” you’re nominating someone for if you don’t mention it in your anchor text. Also, unlike some elections, you don’t get just one vote. You can link to the same blog multiple times.

When linking to your friends’ content for instance, don’t link to Natalie or Natalie’s Blog. I’m sure Natalie doesn’t want to rank for Natalie. She wants to rank for Los Angeles vintage stores or vintage wedding dresses because that’s what she’s selling. When you link to your best friend’s site time after time with just her name, you’re not doing anything for her, but once you start using the keywords she’s after you’re going to be improving her rankings and bring her more traffic with something that took you five seconds.

Not All Links Are Created Equal

Not all keywords and links are created equal, so take that into consideration when you start choosing what you’d like to include in your anchor text. Some keywords get more general traffic then others. Some keywords get more targeted traffic and others get traffic that’s more likely to convert and buy what you’re selling. Do you research and learn how to choose your keywords wisely.

You can choose to rank for a keyword with a lot of traffic, like photographer, but that may not be the best choice because it isn’t very specific. In many cases, keywords that are more focused will bring you more conversions since you’ll be exactly what someone is looking for.

With that said, don’t be afraid to make friends with your competitors and ask them for links. These links will be more valuable. If one photographer links to another photographer, Google will interpret it differently than if a pastry chef links to a photographer.

Search engines use your on-site optimization to determine what your site is about and what your field of expertise is. If you’re an expert photographer then obviously you know more than a pastry chef about photography so if you link to a photographer then they must be a good one because you know what you’re talking about. This is also why it’s important to find your niche so you can ask for links from your competitors and give them links in return without losing customers.

Bigger sites with more traffic also have more link juice than smaller blogs. This is why you should guest post for large sites and in your bio, include a couple links with well-chosen keywords. A link from a larger site counts as a more important vote.

Using Links to Build Relationships

Once you understand how valuable your links are to other people you can begin to ask them what they want and use the law of reciprocity to help you get some great links in return. You can ask your blogger besties or new aquaintances, hey, what are you trying to rank for? And then help them get there. It gives you a reason to talk and it gives you something to offer.

It’s much easier to approach someone and say, I love your content and I’d love to help others find it. Are there any words you’re trying to rank for that I should use as anchor text to help you out?

It’s so much better than approaching someone and saying I love your content….awkward silence….hey do you need any web design or know someone who does?

You can also ask bloggers to change the anchor text they use to link to you after the fact. Just ask, hey would you mind linking to this word instead? I don’t know if you knew this but it helps me get ranked higher and I’d be willing to do the same for you if you tell me what you’re trying to rank for. It’s a great way to establish a mutually beneficial relationship instead of saying, hey thanks for mentioning me on your blog.

You want to build your networking on mutual respect and building quality links is a great way to do that because it doesn’t require much time or any money. It’s such a great icebreaker because it allows you to demonstrate your willingness to cooperate.

In a way link building is relationship building, and the people who will give you the best links are the same people who you should be talking to that will help you improve your business. If you approach them with an offer that benefits them from the get go you’re more likely to get what you want in the future.

Remember, there are enough keywords and clients for everyone. Building better links and helping those in your community only makes your community stronger. Others will give back and the goodness will keep getting reciprocated and who knows, with enough links we can start knocking off the boys clubs from the top of the rankings throne.

So talk to each other, build your beter links, share this article so everyone knows how to give better and get better. At the end of the day it helps everyone get to the top of their niche and reach their target audience.

 

Jenn

This post was like a lightbulb going off over my head. Thanks so much for explaining this in such a succinct and straightforward way! Pretty excited to start linking correctly in the future :)

Kate

Thank you! My project for this month is to create a newsletter for my blog and I really need all the help I can get. Mailchimp seems a little daunting at first.

Kimberly

So incredibly useful; thanks so much for sharing this!

Hyun

This is very helpful to know. Now I have to apply this new knowledge to practice. Thanks!

Jodie

It really is a wonderful key to networking on the internet providing benefits for the linker and linkee. Another great Biz Ladies post.

Theresa

Biz Ladies offers some of the best information, condensed with helpful links. Thanks for another helpful post.

Rachel

Thanks Felicia! This post couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m contributing to a brand new blog and have been reading a lot about increasing blog readership, but this is the first post I’ve read about link optimization. I’m definitely sharing it with my fellow “pickler” bloggers.

Sarah

Great post, I’ve spent lots of time doing keyword research but did not realize that anchor text comes to play in that equation. So helpful, thank you, stephanie!

gayle pickering

great post – really helpful for me as i’m setting up my website to market a new personal business service. You’ve given me some great ideas in setting things up. Now i have to go back to my profile and start editing!

Suny

Love this! Funny that I stumbled onto this post today as this is one of the things I am working on this week. Very helpful, thank you

Jamie

Speaking of having quality content to make your site linkable- Hello Biz Ladies articles!

Kerry

Outside links do raise your Google raking, but too many links for one keyword can work against you. The most recent Google update to their algorithm (implemented to battle spammy links) actually mean that you want an equal number of three kinds of links: links that contain your keyword, links that contain your full domain name, and links like you mentioned above that say “here” or “click here.”

If you are selling a product on your site, another great tip is to name your images strategically. Modern-gold-jewelry.jpg will bring many more visitors to your site through a Google image search than a picture named Img0245.jpg, and it will raise your ranking for the key words “Modern Gold Jewelry.”

排名優化

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Julie Edwards Designs

I just went through my site and did a TON of editing. Does anyone know how long it usually takes before I should start seeing results? Thanks!

BK Scriblz

Wow, did I learn alot from this; both what I’m doing incorrectly and great insightful advice/tips to implements. Thank you!

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