Every business wants to be on page one. Page one is more views, and views turn into customers. A lot of SEO techniques we suggest are very easy to understand how they help you. Updating to current technology, having a social presence, and getting positive reviews all help you rank. But, what if you are doing all that? What if you are doing everything you can think of and you still feel like you are bashing your head against the wall? What then?
Links are fundamentally important. However, it can be hard for a business owner to know how many links they have, how many their competitors have, and how to get more of them. Let’s take a minute to examine what they are first.
Why Are Links Important?
Each time someone links to your site, it is like they are voting for your content. Think about it for a second: if you write a blog, how often to you link to someone else’s site? Usually, it’s not very often. And, when you do link, it is not at random; it is for a site you are interested in. You link to your favorite restaurant perhaps, your child’s little league team, the marathon you just ran, or to pictures of your sister’s new baby. You link to what you care about. Google knows this. They rank sites better when they have more links. More links means more people trust you, trust your site, and think there is something valuable on it.
Also, notice with Matt Cutts had to say about Backlinks.
Are All Links Created Equal?
Not all links are the same. A link from your neighbor’s blog on how to do a perfect cart-wheel is not as powerful as a link from a trusted brand. In fact, you could have your neighbor link to your site 100 times, and it still would not be as good as a single link from a trusted site.
An example of a trusted site would be the college you went to, another doctor’s office (perhaps your partner, or a colleague) the rotary club, a news agency that interviewed you, a magazine or newspaper that prints an article you wrote, or even blogs from others respected in the online community. These are the links you want.
How Many Links Do I Have?
Roadside updates the links you have every quarter. Each site that markets with us has an seo-stats page. Type in your URL, and put /seo-stats at the end. This will take your personal page where you can see how many links you have now, and what you had for the past year. If you want to know specifically what links you have, we also use two tools.
First is Open Site Explorer. This lets you see how many links you have that are quality links. No directories or social sites are included in this tool. (That means no links from Facebook, Google+, Yelp, Youtube, and so on.) However, it does tell you how valuable each link is to Google.
The second tool we use is from Google itself: Google Webmaster Tools. This requires a login and security access from your website. This allows us to see all links to your site for the last 90 days. This gives us a better view of who is linking to your site. But, this tool does not tell us if it is a valuable link or not, it simply tells us all links pointing to your site.
How Do I Get Quality Links?
Getting strong links is not easy. It takes time, focus, and effort. You need real people that have real websites linking to you. Copying a spam blog and posting it to your site will not get you links from your peers. You need to engage those that could potentially link to your site. You need to reach out to your peers, email your patients, and link out yourself. It is the same as reviews. Yes, sometimes positive reviews spontaneously will happen, but that is the exception to the rule. Generally, you are reminding your patients to review your site, you email them and ask “how did we do?”, you hand out business cards showing where to review you, and you talk to your team about pushing for more reviews. That is the kind of effort you need to put into links. Write up a case study on an exceptional patient you just treated. Include an interview of them, before-and-after shots, the techniques you used, and obstacles you overcame. Discuss your most recent training, how it will impact your office, and then share it with others. And do this kind of sharing regularly. The more you write, the more you update, the more you share, the more likely someone will link to you as an authority.