Keep on Linking in the Real World

When practicing SEO and link building, sometimes it’s quite easy to focus only on web based directories, relationships and linking methods – when some truly organic and grassroots link & traffic building opportunities may be right under your nose.

If you represent a brick and mortar business such as a restaurant, video store, fitness center or even a home improvement contractor… mobilizing your client base and optimizing your current offline marketing is a sure way to building natural language anchor text and links from decentralized sites with rich & relevant content.

As an example, let’s look at the neighborhood gym in my hometown, Club One.

Club One does not have a very well built site at all. Honestly, it’s quite amateur and does a terrible job of representing the facility.

If the club’s marketing staff were to email local sites or fitness portals asking for links to the aesthetically challenged Club One site, I seriously doubt that they would earn much of a positive response.

For a search of “fitness” in Chester, Maryland, Club One is ranked #3 on Google Local Maps. Their profile on Google Maps shows 4 references and 2 reviews. This can be built upon.

On site content issues aside, Club One does have one major advantage working for them; a rather large and active paid member base and an equally larger budget for print advertising in their area.

Here’s what Club One can do to build a horde of quality links to their web site with minimum investment and little effort.

1. When collecting information from new club members, along with phone numbers and email addresses, be sure to ask them if they have a blog (web log, or online diary) or personal web site. Add their blogs to your database.

2. Email the blog owning list with a coupon for a $20 membership fee credit (or a free t-shirt – which should be free anyway, or a free bottle of protein drink or whatever) if they blog a review about the club and link to the Club One web site.

3. Mirror the promotion in the gym : put up signs on the front door, in the locker room, near the car key basket and above the urinals and water cooler. Anywhere from 10% to 50% of your members could be blogging. If you have 3,000 active members, the promo could easily result in links to your site and reviews of your gym on the blogs of 500 members.

4. Set up a user PC in the gym. When members see that they can save $20 by spending 5 minutes to access their blog and write about the gym, they won’t think twice about blogging then and there. The PC will also be a way to view member sites to make sure that the links are live and active.

5. As an extra bonus, include the blog promotion in the current print advertising campaigns which are going out to local newspapers and mailbox flyers. New members who blog about the fitness club get the discount or free item, make sure to add that this promo is also open for current members.

6. The new member promo will attract active older and younger blogging potential members to the club, possibly being a deciding factor during their decision making process.

7. The more people blog about your club, the more citations and links you receive, the higher your rankings will become in normal and LOCAL search results = which are the Yellow Pages of the very near future.

8. The end result will be more traffic to your site and more importantly, through your front door. Now, just get started addressing your site’s usability and image.

For an even deeper impact on Local Search results, stay tuned for the next installment of Real World SEO where I’ll show you how to further mobilize your client base with little effort to effectively market your business online.

  1. ToddWToddW04-23-2006

    Wow great article! Great Steps 1-8 too 🙂

  2. NickNick04-23-2006

    *Goes and starts a health club* Great examples of what owners/marketers can do for businesses.

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