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
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).