One of the most effective and efficient ways to start being seen locally is to get a few useful backlinks to your business. If you have local businesses who you work with regularly, there is a great strategy you can use to work with them to increase your local SEO and get more people on your sites.
The Useful Links Page
A long time ago, useful links pages were a popular addition to almost any website, though now they have become less popular due to many of the pages being identified as spam. There is a way to get a useful links page and make it work however. It just requires a little bit of time, patience and understanding of what makes a page actually valuable to search engines like Google.
The key to being not identified as spam is to put relevant information on the page, and what’s more to add quite a few businesses to it. By providing relevant information, you are not just churning out a tonne of useless links, but rather adding links with important information about them. This is added value and it makes your page useful, and therefore different from the majority of useful links out there.
I recommend setting each of the links on your page up a little like this.
Under the company name, shown here as SECT.NEWS I am going to write between 250 and 350 words about the website. By adding a decent amount of information about SECT.NEWS and keeping it relevant to the local area, this ceases to be a spammy link. In fact, now that we have suitable information on this page, the page gains a little value. For every friendly website we add, the value increases. Add as many as you like if new companies and website owners wish to get involved. The more information, the stronger the page becomes.
With sections like this on the page, the page will then have relevance to the company and be a useful backlink. Let’s say you run your business and there are 5 other people locally that want to work to create this kind of network. Each of these companies will have a website. In the menu under the about section, you can have your Useful Links page.
Each company’s page should be completely different. So every person involved would write their own version of the information about each company on their page. The pages would then have a minimum of 1250 words on each of them, making them stand out locally, especially if you mention the names of places within your local area. They would vary in composition and ranking due to having different authors and not all of the, containing exactly the same companies. I usually recommend writing a few words on your local town or city at the bottom to help localise the businesses.
You can put something a little like this at the bottom of your Useful Links page.
We are all companies located within the x area. We all provide services to the local surrounding villages of a, b and c. We strongly believe in the local community spirit and support f and g charities based in x.
This information will help localise the page and your website.
So why is it important to have different information on each of the company’s pages?
One of the things Google and other search engines hate the most is useless spammy information that has been copy pasted or ripped from other websites. They tend to penalise pages like this and have a very low value for them, reducing their effectiveness. By ensuring that each person involved is writing their own variation of the information, you will keep the pages fresh, original and useful.
Once you are finished with the page, that doesn’t mean you automatically stop there. You can always add a few other businesses if they want to work out a similar deal with you, or possibly add a few others if you are looking to set up a contra deal with a new partner. Let’s say a photographer wants to be on there, they could do headshots of your staff for a link back to their website. This would increase the information on your page and therefore its power. It’s a great tool to use to haggle with people.
You should make it your goal to try to work with and network with businesses locally, source out contra deals where you can, and try to get mutually beneficial services together. If your pages start to get long and are full of information, you could always consider offering to help write the information down to help them. It will take time but it will help your company, as when their site gets boosted up by your partners, your site will improve in power as well.