Most people spend six to ten hours on the internet every day, either working, shopping, or browsing social media. It has made gathering information and looking things up instant and convenient. For this reason, even local brick-and-mortar businesses need to have a web presence. Even if you personally don’t spend a lot of time chatting online, ask yourself how you might find a new vendor or research a potential business partner. You would look them up on the internet, then judge what you found. If, for instance, you need to source a baker for a special event, you’re more likely to choose one of the top three search results for bakeries in your area. You assume they are the top three because their business is popular and verified. But how does the search engine know that? The answer is off-page SEO.
What is off-page SEO?
You have probably heard of perfectly normal SEO, in which you help search engines find your website by including helpful associative phrases like “Fort Worth Bakery” or “Wedding Cakes in Fort Worth”. That’s easily enough done simply by explaining your business and products you offer. This is on-page SEO. However, this only determines whether the search engines know that you fall into the category of bakeries in Fort Worth, it doesn’t determine how high on that list you appear.
Off-page SEO does in fact represent popularity, but in a way, a search engine can understand. When people link to your site from their own websites, this gives you off-page SEO points, and you show up sooner in the listings. Likewise, when you link to another website from your own, that gives them off-page SEO points and they get a boost to search listing priority. This is why being considered an expert in your field with informative and useful content can be so powerful. The more people link to pages in your website, the more prominent you will be in search engine results.
Supporting the community
Local businesses can use this mechanic to create a synergistic online community that reflects your supportive local economic community. When deciding which pages to link in your website content and blog articles, choose the websites and content of other local businesses. The Fort Worth bakery, for instance, might include links to local wedding venues on their website, who may, in turn, link local florists on their websites. This not only helps to guide local customers to services, but increases the search engine ratings of all the local businesses involved.
Boosting local businesses
There is a special advantage gained when a community of local businesses comes together to boost shared off-page SEO: Prevalence over popular non-local chains. If the local bakery sells morning doughnuts, it’s entirely to their benefit to appear above Dunkin’Donuts and Krispy Kremes that happen to be in the area, and the same goes for every industry with a local contemporary. Local hardware stores, dress shops, and restaurants can gain local popularity which will then be reflected back in local customers who find them more easily when searching for a local place to shop through their smartphones.
When you support your fellow local businesses with off-page SEO linking, the entire community benefits. Just remember, the more businesses understand this tactic, the better it will work. While direct link trading is not encouraged, legitimate linking as it relates to your content is exactly what the off-page SEO ranking was built to support. The easiest way to explain may simply to link to this blog, which might boost our off-page SEO a little bit as well. Whoever you link to, remember that you are essentially making a recommendation to your customers, so link responsibly.