A friend of mine and local entrepreneur had been talking with one of these new SEO “gurus” (they call themselves gurus now, I guess I need to pick up the latest slang for that). And the guy was telling him that “link juice” is dead.
Link juice is just a fancy way of saying backlinks.
People seem to think that if they put a fancy title to it, it’ll make it sound better than it is. So, this SEO “guru” was telling my friend that that link juice is dead, that he doesn’t need to be concerned about that anymore; he needs to be concentrating on something else because that’s the newest, greatest thing that’s out there.
And I’m not going to say what he said it was because it’s not true. It’s not the newest, greatest thing.
And the truth is that link juice, backlinks, are not dead. As a matter of fact, they are more important for local businesses now than they ever were before.
And of course, they’re important for national businesses too. But for local businesses, it’s our hope to get to the top of the search engines for local clients. Even though I run an SEO company and I can work with clients anywhere around the world, I prefer to work with clients that are close to home, simply because the “know like and trust” is there.
They know that I’m a local person, they’ve got a little bit of that trust and like already instilled built-in (I’ve talked about that in earlier episodes).
Anyway, having links come to your website from other websites is extremely important. Links from Google to your website are vitally important. If you don’t have a link from Google to your website, there’s something wrong with your site. And at that point, you should download my free workbook. Is your website Search Engine friendly?
This free workbook will help If you’re having any problems with your website, so you can make sure that it was built correctly. That’s very important.
Now, assuming that it was built correctly, the next thing you really should do once your website is done is start getting links from other local companies. Let’s say that your business is in a strip mall. I would get backlinks from every other company around there, assuming of course that you all are on friendly terms.
But if you’re running a tanning salon, and you’ve got a coffee shop next to you, talk to that coffee shop owner about trading links.
This is more important than backlinks. When you trade links, you’re cross linking. And Google loves that. Google’s going to see the address of both of you, they’re going to see that you’re right next to each other and see that you traded links with each other. And they’re going to put both of your websites even higher in the search engines.
Cross linking is huge. Of course, you can cross link around the country, the nation, even around the world if you want. Let’s say you’re an Austin, Texas plumber, you can cross link with an Australian plumber. You’re not going to go to Australia to do plumbing (you might go there on vacation, but probably not to do plumbing). So, they’re not really a competitor. But since you’re both plumbers, Google’s going to look at that.
Google is going to put a higher importance on this cross-link because this is a competitor, even if they are in a different country. They’re going to see that you’re linking to a competitor and they’re linking to you and that is very important to Google.
Backlinks are, like I said, vitally important now, but you want to get the right backlinks. So, backlinks aren’t dead, but you don’t want to just hire someone off of Fiverr or Upwork. And yeah, I’ve done that in the past to test it: I hired somebody off Fiverr to give me 500 backlinks and the backlinks were terrible.
They were from blog posts in the UK, but I’m not the UK. And they were blog sites for flowers and about people’s gardens.
I don’t even know where they found these, but they were useless to me. And worse than useless, they were terribly rated backlinks. Luckily, my site didn’t go down at all. But Google immediately discounted every single backlink I got. They didn’t care about the links because they were not good backlinks.
You want good quality backlinks.
And the way to find out if it’s good quality is: Number one, is it another local business? Google is going to see, like I said they know where these businesses are because if you’ve got a business, you’re going to have a Google My Business listing. And if you don’t, you need to contact us because you need to be in there.
So they’re going to see that you have a Google My Business listing, they’re going to know at least what city you’re in, if not the exact address. So local links are huge.
Also links with other real businesses; nothing against network marketing. But there are some network marketers out there that create websites that are nothing but what’s called a “link farm.” And those link farms aren’t worth getting into. It used to be that they would hurt you. They don’t hurt you anymore, but they don’t help you at all either.
You want to trade links. If you are going to create links with a network marketing company, that’s fine. Just make sure that their website isn’t a link farm before you trade links with them, because you might be helping them out a lot more than they’re helping you.
That doesn’t mean that having a lot of cross links is bad. You can have a page full of cross links coming to and from your site, which is just fine as long as they are high quality cross links. The higher quality, the better. A link from Google is rated at a 10. If you can get a link from like hp.com that’s rated to 10 too.
But you can also get links from like citysearch.com. That’s a great one. There’s other directories out there also. Your business should be listed in every directory that’s out there, get a link from it, get your address in there, or at least your phone number, and a service area.
Dr. Ty Belknap
CEO, Port Bell SEO
Don't SWEAT the TECH - Local SEO made easy!