Brick and mortar multi-location businesses have a great opportunity to acquire new organic traffic (new customers) and 25% in-store coupon redemption rates through white-hat link building approved by Google and Bing. Coach Handbags needs an “authentic” link building strategy. Here’s what I mean by that …

link-building

Authentic linking strategy

Through better link building, I’ve seen companies get a 10x lift in organic search traffic over a 12 month period, with 25% of the visitors to store location pages redeeming a coupon in-store, e.g., making an in-store purchase. In these cases, monthly unique visitors (MUVs) and combined average order value (AOV) provide a significant new revenue stream. In-store coupon redemptions offer a great way of tracking ROI for your SEO and local link building strategy. The cost per organic visitor is unprecedented, sometimes dipping to 1.2 cents-per-visitor.

Locally Relevant Links = Site Visits & Conversions

The result of pushing accurate business data through the proper channels is relevancy and trust from search engines. By developing the actual number of high-quality, locally relevant links that you deserve for each of your physical store locations, you are helping users on the Web and Mobile Web to find and visit you online or in-store.

The first step is an authentic linking strategy specifically for multi-location brick and mortar businesses — the more physical locations, the better it will perform. For instance, an apparel company client with 840 locations or an automotive parts client with 3,800 locations — it works great for all brands with more than 100 physical store locations.

It’s important to understand why links are so valuable. Links are the essence of Google’s IP (intellectual property). It was Google’s unique foresight many years ago to rank websites in their search results using links as the primary measure of value (measuring the importance of website pages). PageRank was named after Google’s co-founder Larry Page.

PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to gauge a rough estimate of how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that most important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites. (Source: Google).

The Link Building Slippery Slope

“Link Building,” however, can be a slippery slope. Many brand name companies have listened to the wrong SEO’s, including brands like Expedia.

  • USA Today – Expedia hit by bug drop in Google search traffic
  • The Wall Street Journal – Expedia Stock Tumbles on Web-Search Concerns
  • Entrepreneur – First It Was Rap Genius. Is Google Punishing Expedia Now, Too?

One of the classic link building schemes discovered and penalized by Google was performed by JC Penny in 2011.

reckless link building

Reckless link building will result in penalties and lost revenue.

Battle Against Web Spam

In the battle against web spam, Google and Bing continue to broaden their horizons by penalizing newly defined types of spam including negative SEO.  Negative SEO, is the practice of hurting your competitor’s rankings, a major problem for webmasters in 2013. By continuing to lower its tolerance for spam such as low-quality links, Google and Bing are tweaking their algorithms to keep pace in providing the world’s best search results.

White-Hat Link Development

Because the term “link building” has such a bad history, I’ll refer to the following white-hat technique as “link development.” This link development method is best practice SEO and distributes consistent, optimized local business data with relevant backlinks from Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs), social networks and directories to increase organic search relevancy.

safe linking strategies

Safe linking strategies

In other words, this is a 100% safe link building method and is compliant with Google and Bing guidelines.

Using Optimized Feeds for Link Development

I optimize data feeds for targeted keywords and categories and upload as bulk data feeds from a proprietary SaaS management system. The optimized brand and store data goes through Information Service feeds such as Acxiom, InfoUSA and/or LocalEze. The Information Services alone will not optimize your feed, hence my middle-man status. My optimized feeds go through Information Services to hundreds of high quality IYP directories such as Superpages.com, Yellowpages.com and Local.com.

How Do Search Engines Verify Data?

Google and Bing, after indexing the Web, go out to cross-verify their indexed data with other data aggregators, e.g., IYPs and Information Services as a third-party verification. When the business data lines-up consistently and is up-to-date and current, the search engines reward the brand with trust local relevancy. This translates into multiple page-one listings (organic and local maps). It’s good white-hat SEO; it provides good data fidelity, and the search engines love it.

The way it works, for example: if a brick and mortar business has 100 physical locations feeding their current, optimized business data into 3 information services going to 250 directories, it naturally creates 100 x 3 x 250 relevant backlinks to the client — in this case, 75,000 naturally relevant backlinks. Any SEO will tell you this is golden and 100% white-hat. Each of those backlinks provide highly-relevant, accurate business data, the type of information search engines use to rank websites.

Remember what Google said, “… by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is.”

One Location Landing Page For Each Store

Note that each physical store location must have its own location landing page, unique to its location with locally relevant, updated content. This is the webpage receiving the inbound link from data aggregators and IYPs. It’s very valuable to all parties involved and reflects the way the Internet is intended to work. Good data fidelity produces a good user experience.

If you’d like help with your client, or if you are a multi-location business with 100 or more physical locations, you can get more information here at my IYP Link Optimization page or email me directly.

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