You make New Year resolutions for health in your personal life. Why not for the health of your business?
Link building is tops
According to Website Magazine editor-in-chief Peter Prestipino, the importance of incoming links has taken a leading role in search engine optimization (SEO), and likely will for years to come. Here is how I think that applies to elder care professionals (those marketing care management, or responsible for home care marketing, hospice marketing, and to a certain degree, home health marketing).
Why incoming links are important
When other websites link to you, it’s like a cyberspace word-of-mouth recommendation. They think enough of your site that they are willing to risk viewers leaving their site to go to yours.
This was the brilliance of Google founders Larry and Sergei when they wrote that fateful college paper that was the genesis of the search engine giant.
The number of links you have going out to others is not a factor. The important part is the number and quality of links you have coming IN.
Credibility booster: “gilt” by association
With all the websites on the Internet, how could users get a list of options that was prioritized by the quality of the information? No human could sort the magnitude of data and prioritize whether a web page was offering credible information. An automated “spider-bot,” however, could count and catalogue incoming links for every page on the Web. So, in an automated version of crowdsourcing, the listings on a search engine results page (SERP) are ranked in a priority order that includes an acknowledgment of the number of links from other sites that pointed to the Web pages listed.
Not all links are created equal!
Links from link farms (websites that publish links in bulk from a wide range of industries) actually hurt you. These “services” are what they call “black hat” methods to game the search engine algorithms.
People can register and in theory get many incoming links. Link farm links are now discounted by the search engines, however, and may even hurt your ranking.
Look for local organizations with high credibility
In Web marketing, these are called “high authority websites.” They are websites that receive a lot of incoming links themselves. Usually they have lots of content or resources pertinent to your service area. For example, your local Area Agency on Aging, the public library, the websites of local municipalities, the local newspaper. Getting a link from one of these has more SEO value than a link from a less “authoritative” website.
Next, consider your referrers
Elder law attorneys, medical centers, senior centers, adult day centers: What they may lack in Web authority, they make up for in the fact that you both share a customer base of family caregivers.
As many as 25% of people will get to your website from a link on another page. At Elder Pages Online, our client analytics reveal that these are higher quality viewers: they check out several pages, stay a long time absorbing the information, and often return again in the future (a sign of brand loyalty, if nothing else)
The terms of the link phrase matter
If you have a care management business, for instance, it would be ideal if the other website links to your home page or to your “Our Services” page with the term “Care Management in [Your Service Area].” But that may be too much like promoting or endorsing you.
This is where content marketing is handy. If you have an online newsletter for family caregivers, “Family Caregiver Resources in [Your Service Area]” would be a great link phrase.
Give a little to get a lot
Providing a Local Resources page of your own is a good way to start a conversation. You create a page where you list all your potential referrers. (List your best referrers first!) Look to find those who have a similar page for local resources and telephone/email them first to tell them about your link to them and ask about a link to you. If they hesitate, be ready with some educational pages they can link to (e.g., an e-library for family caregivers). They typically are very willing to link to that, especially if you have linked to them. Hooray for content marketing!