Deciding on a starting point can be the hardest part – where do you start your search for geo-centric link gold?
@sonray Chamber of Commerce is my usual go-to hub to find out who’s who & who I need to know.
@matthewayoung Start by defining an audience for content, looking at successful local competitors in the linking space.
@sonray yes! There are a few national groups that have local chapters… BNI, Toastmasters..
@jacquesbouchard Obvious answer, but I’d start with local listings on Bing, Yahoo, Google, Yelp – easy wins before you get your hands dirty.
@caitlinboroden Backlink analysis of other local competitors. Check out their links should be a good jumping off point. I’m a fan of local hashtags to find out who’s tweeting about specific topics/areas.
@morgan_corbett Neighborhood associations? Local bloggers?
DragonSearch Find people/organizations/sites related to the site you’re working on. Active on social? Where? What are their profiles? I’m a fan of local hashtags to find out who’s tweeting about specific topics/areas.
@mikeramsey Type in the city name and look Google stuff and see what sites are ranking on pages 1,2,3 and generally you’ll find targets.
@tony_dwm First thing I do is ask for a list of key contacts in priority order inc biz placed (if B2B). Natural local links
@kg7maj First, look for the audience: demographics, exact communities, common characteristics between those two & your service. Look at the webmaster tools & see what keywords people have used to find your site. Fill in the blanks with new content.
@kristikellogg From personal experience, I can tell you that sometimes you literally have to “take a walk” with Google Maps to look at a place.
@gobrandify Research higher ranking links within that particular niche.Take reviews, social, local pages and locators into account.
Do you have a process for learning more about your client? Do you try to highlight achievements or use current relationships?
@Sonray I’ve found that newspaper interviews/people highlights are good at crossing platforms & building links. Help a journo out! It can work on the flip-flop too. You can feature others in “your” community to earn links (& shares).
@bradydcallahan Keep an open, two-way line of communication going with client at all times! Nothing like a good Q/A session. Be sure to have understanding of industry, products/services, see how competitors (from client’s mouth and top of SERP) talk.
@bruceclayinc Dig deep — your job is to know everything about that client and leverage their selling points within content. Recently, a client had a whole swath of amazing videos that they never mentioned- until I found them accidentally on YouTube.
@directom We have a set of standard questions & always conduct a kick off call to highlight USPs, target audience, etc.
@jacquesbouchard I look to see what will garner enthusiasm – or crush it – with the client. Brand restrictions can be a big obstacle, as can PR.
@MikeRamsey When we take on a client we have a 50+ questionnaire that helps us get to know the company & the community. Sometimes quick answers. Which can say a lot about them as well. It’s a great test to learn about people. Clients that won’t spend an hour with you answering questions won’t ever be willing to do something worth doing. You can’t pay your way to understanding. It takes time. No way around that.
@lancemoore22 Sometimes I have issues just getting verifications completed.
@kristikellogg To this point of discovery, I wrote this article on how to interview a client for the first time.
Anchor text – are you geo-targeting your anchor text? How are you preventing over optimization? Any rules to live by?
@bradydcallahan Prevent over-optimization by not worrying about anchor text. Rather, focus on geo-specifc domains (local news, papers, blogs).
@bruceclayinc If there is a geotargeted category, then geotargeted anchor text makes sense. 1 or 2 times is sufficient on a page.
@MatthewAYoung Not necessarily. I think algo understands query intent and location better than ever For sure, let your schema and content carry a site. Don’t rely exact match anchor text. It’s soo 2009.
@jacquesbouchard Definitely not. Even if that still flies today, I fear the day when a Google update sends us scrambling to remove the anchors. Also, it seems to me like Google will become sophisticated enough to understand the context of the link from the page & site.
@sonray Sounds like we’re all in agreement on Q3 – natural is best.
Reviews, Local Sponsorships, Bloggers, Coupons can provide links – what is your ideal mix or do you focus on one bucket?
@tony_dwm We focus on 1) researching their indstry 2) SWOT analysis & 3) finding gaps where demand but no supply (no boilerplate)
@jacquesbouchard Too many eggs in one basket sets of red flags. And remember when press release links were devalued? Keep it diverse & stay safe.
@bradydcallahan If budget is there, local sponsorships and blogs most ideal mix for relevant, good links. But Reviews CRUCIAL for campaign.
@sonray Also, searching for job postings…many colleges accept job postings which will give you another .edu link & a candidate.
@bradydcallahan Yep, best way to go about earning reviews, IMO? Leveraging offline touchpoints w/ biz’s customers.
@sonray We’ve done this w art festivals: map for bathrooms, galleries, places to eat. Works well and can be updated.
Searching where others aren’t searching; do you hunt unconventional link opps? What is ‘outside the box’ these days?
@sonray Your Q&A comes in handy: exchange testimonials from service providers: janitorial serv, catering, car rentals, plumbers.
@dragonsearch Always keep an ear to the streets and stay agile. Is your product/industry trending? Hashtags you can hop on?
@caitlinboroden I’ve found great information on city specific subreddits. You never know what unique infor, sites, etc. that you can find.
Creating resources – what are some of the best ‘linkbait’ resources you’ve created or seen that are geo focused?
@Sonray Corporate park, strip or actual mall have a website? Usually geo focused and an easy geo link to earn.
@directom We created a Geo based blog for a client,Use blog to feature local businesses-reach out via email/social and 9 out of 10 link back.
@jacquesbouchard Things that double as a public service, such as local maps and current event listings. Personal photos of local events.
@sonray I’ll leave you with one final thought: Everyone in #seochat today is a local resource for someone else. Use those relationships!