Increasing organic rankings in search results is a top marketing goal for most dentists and small businesses. Many different factors go into gaining the coveted top spots in search results – watch this 3-minute video from Google’s own Matt Cutts to learn what’s involved:
You heard it, direct from the source: LINKS are a key ingredient in Google’s process of delivering relevant, timely search results. Further, notice this quote from Google’s Steps to a Google-friendly site:
“Links help our crawlers find your site and can give your site greater visibility in our search results…Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote by page A for page B. Votes cast by pages that are themselves ‘important’ weigh more heavily and help to make other pages ‘important.'”
The benefits of linking extend beyond just getting links – giving links is involved as well. When you link OUT to businesses, resources, and organizations, you deepen and strengthen relationships with them – everyone LOVES getting a flattering mention online! Google notices this too and rewards your generous sharing. When you receive links IN from other trusted sites, Google takes notice – every link back to your website is a “vote” in your favor.
Clearly, links are super important to help your site rank at the top of search results for potential patients or customers in your community. So the question arises: “How do I gain quality links?” Here are a few easy steps!
4 ways to gain quality links
1. Write more blog posts
Writing unique blog content is a great way to give and get links. It’s also an essential way to rise to the top of search engine rankings.
One blog topic with high linking potential is information about a local community business. Google loves to see you actively linking to other businesses – plus, you might even get some link love sent back your way!
Choose a business you work with on a regular basis, such as a dental lab, a personal trainer, or a local restaurant. Describe their services, how they benefit their customers, and why you personally love them.
Now that you’ve written your post, how do you increase link building potential? Here’s a simple formula:
- Once you’ve published your post, send the business an email or connect with them on social media to let them know you’ve written about them. Include a link directly to the post.
- Ask if they’d be willing to share the post on their blog, website, and/or social media pages.
This simple formula applies to other blog topics as well – the possibilities are endless!
2. Sponsor a local organization
Sponsoring a local organization or group, such as a youth sports team, is a great way to gain more exposure for your business – both online and offline. Depending on the organization, the benefits of sponsorship could include:
- Links to your website from the organization’s website.
- Mentions of your business and links to your website on the organization’s social media pages.
- Links to your website in a monthly email newsletter.
- Posters, banners, or flyers at events.
- Word of mouth referrals.
- Warm and fuzzy feelings from supporting your community.
3. Provide education
Do you lecture at a local dental school? Are you part of an alumni group for your alma mater? Have you gone to local elementary schools to teach kids about the importance of brushing and flossing?
Public schools, colleges, and dental schools often have opportunities for guest speaking, teaching a course, or participating in an internship program. Any of these activities could result in a link to your practice – but you will probably need to ask. A link to your site from an educational institution’s website (a website ending in .edu) is incredibly valuable and well worth the effort!
4. Include a community page on your website
One way to gain quality links is with a community page on your website. Benefits of this type of page include cross-promotion, building strong relationships with businesses and organizations in your area, and providing users with timely and useful information (reality check: they don’t just want dentistry-related content!).
Here’s how to do it:
- Make a list of your team’s favorite local attractions, restaurants, organizations, shops, services, and events.
- Get out there and patronize these businesses – take photos, meet the proprietors, enjoy your experience. Talk to the business owners and learn more about their passion for what they do. If applicable, discuss how to cross-promote each other’s businesses with referrals. Tip: Spread
this responsibility among your entire team – assign each person to do this for a business he or she adores.
- Provide this information to your marketing agency or website designer and have a page created on your site featuring this information.
- Once the page is completed, reach out and connect with these businesses via email and social media, so they’re aware you’ve linked to them and promoted them. Don’t be afraid to ask that they share the information on the page with their own audience!
- Don’t just let the page sit and collect dust. It’s a living, breathing opportunity! Keep it thriving by periodically adding to it. There’s a lot to explore in your city. Set a goal to add three more recommendations each quarter.
Gaining quality links is worth the effort!
Offline relationship-building – making connections with businesses, patients, and organizations in your community – isn’t measured in one single way. The real connections you make offline can translate into any number of benefits online, including links!
For a deeper dive into link building, check out The Beginner’s Guide to Link Building from Moz.