Make sure you complete all the validation steps. You need to prove the business is in fact yours so you may need to submit documents or complete a postal validation. As a rule, the more hoops you have to jump through, the better value the listing will be… so do whatever you’re asked, except sending money. Paid listings are not necessary!
Make sure you use a valid street address! If you want to appear in the Local Search results, Google needs to be able to show your location on one of their maps… no street address, no listing! If for some reason you cannot list your street address, find a nearby business who will let you use theirs to receive the verification postcard. Do not set up your listings with a post box… you won’t get a local listing and I can tell you from first hand experience it is a major pain to change!
Do it once, do it right. Once these are set up, you shouldn’t need to go back too often, so take your time and do it right the first time around. Enter plenty of information, full contact details, sample images, website and social media links etc.
Save your links as you go. Make sure you bookmark your login pages and save your passwords, so when you do need to go back you can get in easily. Some will let people comment on your business, so make sure you follow up any notifications you get them. (We also want to get your links are indexed, so make sure you save them all!)
Add links to your social media pages. You also want to add some of these to your social media profiles. Don’t over do it, but try to have a couple of links pointing to each of your ‘directory’ pages.
[/slide] [slide name=”Search Engine Local Business Listings “]
The first step of getting the search engines to recognise your business as a local one, is to register with each of them. The process is slightly different for each so just visit each of the pages below and follow the prompts to claim and/or set up your listing.
Next you want to list in the following directories… if you can. Some are country specific, so you might need to find the local equivalent in your country. Do a quick search for “YourCountry Business Directory” and you should find a few options… make sure you list in at least 10-12 major directories before you move on.Business Listings Submitter Pro service. Subscribe for just a month or two ($29/m) and you can run your initial submission, wait a few weeks to check they’re all accepted, redo any that missed and then export your account details for future reference! When you consider the time that goes into submitting and checking each directory, this is amazing value! Check out Business Listings Submitter Pro here. [/notify_box] [/slide] [slide name=”Question & Answer Sites”]
One of the last legitimate DIY backlinks these days are the Question & Answer sites… providing you use them properly. The key is relevance and value… finding questions relevant to your business and adding real value with your response.
To create the backlink link, you need to be linking to additional information relevant to your answer, so the best approach is to link to a blog post you write about the subject of the question. Another option is to record a short video response and post that to your site.
If you just link to your site, you’ll be seen a s a spammer and possibly blocked, but if you always link to useful and relevant information, you’ll get good feedback on the Q&A site, which translates to even more valuable social signals as well as the backlink.
For best results you also want to post with some sort of regularity, so this is really only going to work if you like helping people out like this and have a genuine interest in sharing your knowledge and experience.
As mentioned earlier, there aren’t a lot of options for easily creating backlinks anymore without risking Google penalties, but here’s a few less-known tactics that can be useful, IF they apply to you and your business.
Join local chamber of commerce or any relevant business association (photographer’s guild?) and get a backlink from their site.
If you photograph any school or college activities, talk to someone there about linking directly to relevant galleries or lightboxes. (This is especially useful if their website is on an .EDU domain… links from those domains are very high value).
Sporting Clubs could be a similar option, especially if you’re one of the many who volunteer your services to the local sports clubs. They mightn’t have been able to pay you but most will have a website these days! Most small clubs are always looking for sponsors, so a small donation of cash, goods or services could get you a semi-permanent backlink.
Ask your commercial Clients for a link. Any time you license a photo to another business, ask for a link. Many photographers go as far as to stipulate that ANY online use MUST provide a credit and a link to their website.
Give your Local Council a disk of low-medium res images. Give them a small selection of images they can use to promote your town or suburb online, in return for a link from their website… the .GOV backllink is particularly valuable!
Donate to local charities that list and link to their sponsors. You can find these easily enough through Google, and just check their site to see if they offer a link. If they do, then a a small donation is going to be a win-win for both of you!
Publish a Press Release any time you have something newsworthy to announce.This doesn’t have to be a major story, but anything current and interesting can work, and with the power of syndication, you get value (and backlinks) even if no one actually runs the story! Check out PRWeb for more info.
Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is a great place to register as a source for your fields of interest and expertise. Any time a reporter needs an opinion or background on a subject you can assist with, you get a very high-value backlink! http://www.helpareporter.com/
Spying On your Competitors Backlinks might be an option if you can’t seem to crack the first page of results. Use a service like Ahrefs to see which sites are linking to your competitors… you can see if some of those will link to you as well and use the info for ideas of other sites that might give you a backlink! https://ahrefs.com/
Photography Directories are a final option if they offer a business-listing type page. Straight up portfolio pages aren’t a lot of value here, but anything with a business description and contact links is going to help your Local SEO profile. Grab a free listing at Global Photographer Search for starters, and then try some Google searches for more listings relevant to your field of work and location.[/slide] [slide name=”Automation, Outsourcing & Final Tips…”]
Probably the best shortcut I can recommend is the Business Listing Submitter Pro software listed above… as long as you use it properly. While it offers a ‘Mass Submit’ option, you really are better off taking your time and using the software to submit to one site at a time. You will still save heaps of time just by letting the software fill the various forms for you, but you’ll also have the option to tweak each listing for maximum value.
Another option is to look at outsourcing the work. Fiverr.com has loads of people who can run submissions for you, but be aware, you only ever get what you pay for. If you want to go that route, look for an outsourcer who is offering to do a small number of submissions well, rather than someone promising hundreds for the same $5.
The DIY option is probably not that bad if you’re patient and persistent.
Start by doing a search for local directories in your country, and then your state and even your city. Copy the links you find to your scrapbook file, and keep going until you have about 100. Then just make it a habit to submit to a few of those every week until you get them all done.
Personally I don’t have the patience for that and I’d rather grab the software and just get it done, but the hands-on approach might suit some people better.
However you go about it, it is important not to create duplicate listings…
It devalues your efforts and complicates the process when the site starts trying to work out which one is legit… so always check the directory before you submit, and make sure your business isn’t already listed. If it is, there will usually be a link to ‘Claim Ownership’. Just follow the prompts to prove it’s yours and you can then login and update the listing.
(A lot of sites like Yellow Pages do this… they create a page for your business automatically with information on file, and it stays in the directory like that until you claim it. )
OK, that’s it for this section, but probably not for your work.
Please make sure you set up the local listings on Google, Bing and Yahoo, and then submit your business details to at least 12 major directories before you move on.
Then make a list of at least 20 more sites you can submit to… preferably a whole lot more… and then make a genuine commitment to work through that list and submit your details to all of them in the next month or so!
If you’re anything like me and you have trouble getting back to finish off the tedious jobs, then don’t risk it… grab a one month subscription to the Business Listings Submitter Pro, and get them ALL done NOW![/slide] [/accordion]