Top 10 Link Building Strategies for Tree & Landscaping Businesses
Most people think of links as a way to get to more information, but when it comes to designing your site – links have an entirely different purpose. Essentially, links are votes of confidence for the content at the other end of the link.
Because there is so much content on the Internet, people have a number of choices in where they can point users to get more information. If they choose to point to your website, that means that they feel you either know more about the subject or provide the clearest information on a particular subject.
That is a huge plus. Every time someone links to your site it increases your SEO ranking, but it also brings in more traffic from sources outside of search engines.
This is an extremely powerful tool that no tree or landscaping business can really afford to miss.
The power of algorithms really cannot be understated either. While search engines have a number of algorithms they use, the most popular ones take into account how often pages are linked to from outside sources. This article will touch on some of the key points about algorithms, but will not go into depth about them.
If you are interested in learning more about algorithms used by search engines, here are a few links that will give you more details (and a word of warning, algorithms mean a lot of math, so be prepared for a bit of a dry read and maybe have a math book handy):
Before getting into the strategies that will help you improve your ranking and get more people and companies to link to your site, you need to understand a few things about links. This should spare you having to spend lots of time trying to understand algorithms (the details of which still do not tell you everything you need to know about how search engines evaluate pages). The following are what you need to know to better understand how the strategies work.
Companies are constantly trying to get people to like them on things like Facebook, and they pay writers a considerable amount to maintain a visibility on Twitter. This is because social media is one of the most popular ways of linking to a site. If you can get enough people to like you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter, or checkout what you’ve posted to Instagram, you will increase the amount of traffic to your site as people are curious to learn more about you. It is one of the easiest and cheapest ways of significantly increasing your visibility. Of course the best social media is constantly changing (very few people still have a MySpace account these days), but as of the writing of this article, these sites are among the best for getting your tree, landscaping or lawn care company more links and attention.
It may not be necessary for you to maintain a presence on all of these sites. Quicksprout has produced an extremely helpful guide letting you know which sites may or may not be useful to your green-industry business and what you will need on each of them. Whatever social sites you do maintain, make sure that you include links to them from at least the homepage.
In terms of popularity, no site can compare to Wikipedia. Even though the information there is not considered academic and the problems with it have been pointed out numerous times, it still has a reputation for being the place to start any research project or gain basic knowledge. The number of sites that link to and from Wikipedia are staggering. While you won’t be able to compete with something like that, if you can become an authority for your subject, you will increase the number of links to your site.
Subject Specific Links
It may be nice to have lots of links to your site, what you really want is to have links to sites that are related to your subject matter. For example, if you sell yarn and yarn crafting items, you will want to be linked to sites that have patterns for crochet and knitting, as well as pages that are popular with crafters.
How Trustworthy You Are
Spam is a serious problem on the Internet, and search engines use algorithms to eliminate spam sites from search results. One of the best ways to increase your ranking as a trusted source is to get other trusted sites, such as organizations, government sites, and educational institutions to add links to your page. For example, if you sell yarn getting linked to from your local chamber of commerce can help.
Another thing to consider are the pages that your site links to. You have to keep an eye on all of your links not only to make sure they remain active, but to ensure that the sites you link to are not sites that tend to be mostly spam content.
Keywords as Anchor Text
If you know anything about the Internet, it is that you have to use keywords to get better standing with search engines. If you use keywords with anchor texts (links to other parts of your site or other places on the web), you increase the value of that keyword, especially if the linked page uses the same keywords.
Updating Your Links
Believe it or not, search engines pay attention to the age of your links. This means if you do not monitor your links, you are risking more than just having broken links, you are hurting your rank with search engines. Sites come and go (as mentioned for social media), so you need to make sure that you keep your site current with the latest trends. Use links to the sites that are currently popular for your subject matter so that your search engine rank stays high.
Link Building Strategies
Now that we’ve spent time looking at links and their potential to help (or hurt) your site, let’s get into the strategies that you can use to improve the links on your site.
1. Use Relevant Sites
You need to have sites that are relevant to what you do, otherwise you are not going to get the traffic you need. Spend time researching sites that are related to what you do and talk to them about linking to your site. This does not mean that the site is necessarily in the same field as yours, as long as they have a page or section that pertains to your business it should help. As long as they can use an anchor text in a natural way, you stand to benefit from the link. Going back to the yarn business, there isn’t much to correlate your business with the library, but if they have a page for events and you are hosting (or participating in) an art show, you can see about your site getting added as a link. This increases your trustworthiness (libraries are government run), as well as helping call out your business for the show.
2. Make Sure Links to Your Site Meet Basic Search Engine Criteria
It could be helpful to understand some of the algorithms, but most people don’t have time, and they do change over time. Here is what you need to know to make sure your site meets the currently established criteria.
- Don’t copy content and then link back to the source. You need to come up with your own content and include the link within it. Remember, plagiarism is never acceptable.
- Avoid blogs and guest posts that are of a low quality or that are irrelevant to your business. You don’t want to hire a writer who writes the same content for your site as others (especially your competitors), so you will need to monitor what is posted. Trial periods can help.
- Make sure that those linking to your site aren’t just copy/pasting your text. This only hurts both of you. If needed, you can offer to help customize the text that goes on their site. After all, their linking to your site primarily benefits you, and this does give you some control over what is said about your business.
Google has produced a very helpful guide on other things you should do to meet their criteria.
3. Think Outside the Box
You need to keep sites that link back to your site relevant; that can be done in many different ways. Aim to have a wide, diverse range of sites that link back to your site. Once you have established links from related pages, look into less common pages that would benefit from linking to your page. If you are hosting an event, publishing material, or offering services, think of different scenarios where people would want to find information to your site. For the yarn shop, you can get links on places like Etsy, eBay, Amazon (even if you are a brick and mortar shop), or you can offer to blog for a site as a specialist in your field.
4. Publish Documents
People are always looking for more information, and documents that they can download can be invaluable. Publishing doesn’t mean going through the whole publication process; it simply means producing some documents on your site that are copyright free. The more documents you have, the more likely others will want to link to your documents as a way to help people. It also showcases your knowledge on the subject. In the example of the yarn shop, you can document patterns for different types of products, you can provide step-by-step guides for learning to knit or crochet, or you can even provide an ebook on how to select the right yarn for a project.
5. Be Original
You need to know how your competition is handling their links, but that doesn’t mean you should copy them. The more similar your approach to links, the lower your ranking will be. As much as possible, avoid linking to the same pages, and try to avoid being linked from similar pages. The more unique and diverse your approach, the more likely you are to reach a wider audience.
While you want to avoid following the same strategy as your competitors, you should be examining the backlinks to their sites. If they are linked from a page that has a high ranking, you will have the knowledge you need to try to find similar sites to improve your own ranking. You can even target a few of those sites to get links to your own site, but do be careful how often you do this.
7. Try to Get Links on Pages with Few Other Links
Part of the way algorithms judge a page is by the number of links on it. The more links on a page, the lower its individual link value. Having numerous links implies there is not as much information on any one page as is needed to make it useful. Keep this in mind both when you approach others about linking to your page and when you link to other pages from your site.
8. Make Sure Links Are Natural
This ties back to several other strategies, but it means staying aware of how people are linking to your site. If a page links to your site in a very general way, you may increase your traffic, but it will probably be with lower returns. Review the sites that are linked to yours and see if there is a more appropriate location that will be more helpful to both you and the owners of the website linked to yours.
9. Guest posts
This is a very unique and powerful way of getting additional links. People love to have stuff published, and if you can get some high quality guests to post to your site they will probably link to the page from their own websites. Frequently this will be in the way of a mention, which means that it will probably be the only link on the page and they will provide information that is relevant but not identical to what they posted to your site. By the same token you can write guest posts for others and link back to your site in your “author bio”.
Search engines are great, but word of mouth is always beneficial. If you have customers who have expressed satisfaction and delight with your product, see if they would be willing to mention that on their site. The more referrals and accolades you get, the more traffic you will get, regardless of if the search engines recognize it.
Finding the right balance between quality and quantity of links can be difficult, and the job is never finished. As long as you are in business you will have to monitor not only the links on your site but the links to your site. You will need to network to get your business linked on the right pages to ensure that you get and retain a higher search engine rank.