Search engine optimization (SEO) is an important part of any website, but it’s important to realize that it isn’t just about keywords on your website.
SEO can be broken down into two types of activity.
On-page activity encompasses your site’s content and how you present that content to the world. For this, you’ll need to make sure your website is technically sound and follows some generally accepted best practices.
Off-page activity includes things like building links to your site, your social media activity, and much more.
Link building, which is the practice of placing the link to your website in various places online, is a key part of every SEO program. Google considers these links to your website to be votes of confidence in your website’s quality, which can have a positive impact on your search rankings.
These links are especially beneficial on other relevant websites, like local organizations and businesses, as well as pet-related websites.
To get an additional leg up on your competition, you should consider investing some time in building links from local sources. Let’s have a look at local link-building opportunities that can benefit your practice and your community.
Work with your community and leverage your local relationships
As a local business, you probably already do some of these things. However, it’s important to note that most of these activities provide opportunities for links that can help your search rankings. If you’re given the opportunity, never leave a link on the table.
Sponsor a local team or club.
Supporting local charities, children’s or amateur sports teams, and rotary and kinsmen clubs are all great ways to give back to your community. They also typically come with an opportunity to list your clinic as a sponsor on their websites. These links are local, and usually well-trusted by Google. All in all, this is a great way to give back and get valuable links that can benefit your search rankings.
Hosting events or meet-up groups can be a great way not only to get in touch with your community, but also to build links.
For each event or meet-up, create a page on your website with the event details. Post the links to these event pages on your social media accounts, get some friends to share, and watch other local websites pick up the information.
Get involved with local business organizations
If you’re a member of your local business improvement area (BIA) or Chamber of Commerce, you can have your business listed on their websites with a valuable link back to your site.
Reach out to other pet-related local businesses
You’re all in the same boat. Try reaching out to the local groomer or boarding facility to see if they’d be open to having their business shared on your website, and if they’d return the favor for your practice. This opens the door for links from local pet-related websites.
Avoid sharing links on a “Links” page. This is an old technique that Google frowns upon. Links found on a “Links” page are usually identified as spam and can have a negative impact on your search rankings. Instead, position these relationships as partnerships. Create individual posts with details of your relationship (and a link) for each business you work with.
Offer to write an article for your local paper
In smaller towns, this might mean working with your daily newspaper. In larger areas, it might be the free commuter or alternative papers. In either case, these publications are usually looking for content, especially from experts like a veterinarian.
Consider reaching out to see if they’d be interested in having you write a monthly or semi-regular column. Name recognition and high-quality links will just be some of the reward for interacting with the community in this way.
Work on your blog content and share it on social media
Fill your blog with shareable, locally oriented content. Make your blog a go-to resource for pet owners in your area, which can help encourage other sources like community websites and social media accounts to promote your posts.
Need an idea or two for local pet-related content? You could try writing about:
- Dog-friendly businesses in your area, such as cafes or shops
- Seasonal awareness issues, such as when flea and tick season begins in your area
- Pet-friendly or pet-related events coming up in your community, such as a doggy swimming party or a free grooming day
- Pet health dangers or concerns that uniquely affect your community, region or climate
Get your business nominated for local awards
Most communities have regular business awards. These benefit your practice both in general and in terms of link opportunities. If you’re unsure about what these awards are, try searching Google for terms like “nominate a business in [your city]” or “nominate a business in [your state/province]” to find some in your area.
Get on provider lists
Does your practice sell food, cat litter, or other consumables? Most manufacturers have a tool or at least a webpage that tells pet owners where they can buy products—make sure you’re listed here.
Provide offers for special groups
Providing a discount to special groups such as unions, senior groups, military, and students and teachers of your local college or high school can be a great service to some valuable members of your community.
This will generally also include a listing promoting your discount on the organization’s website. If possible, try to get links on education- and government-related websites; they can sometimes be much more valuable than standard links.These are just some of the opportunities for relationship and link building in your community. Hopefully they get you thinking about the possibilities in your community.
Need some educational content for your blog? ClientEd Online has all kinds of articles that you can adapt into your own unique blog posts!