Relationship Building in 2016: Leveraging Community Involvement into Online Success
Online success and dominant organic visibility don’t occur overnight. With limited online real estate available, Google and other search engines reward the sites they believe will provide the most value to online searchers.
Improving a site’s online visibility the right way — which is to say, by not cheating — takes a significant investment of time and sustained energy. Through the Leadbuilder® online marketing program, Mediagistic will optimize your website, strategy, and online marketing channels to produce the best ROI.
However, we have found that the more active companies are in their local communities, the more likely they are to achieve their internet marketing goals. This is because Google’s algorithm takes a number of factors into consideration, both online and offline, when deciding how to serve up search results.
Relevance, Distance, and Prominence
For service-area-based businesses, including those in the home services vertical like HVAC, Google uses three main factors to determine if a site should be displayed to a searcher:
This factor refers to how well your local business listing matches the intent of what someone is searching for. For example, Google is more likely to display a company listed in the service category “air conditioning repair service” for a searcher looking for keywords related to air conditioning repair. The reality with relevance is that all competitors in a vertical essentially tend to be categorized properly, which makes it very difficult to distinguish your company from your competitors.
Distance is the second factor Google uses for local search. While the closest company to a searcher’s location does not always show up first — other factors such as the strength of the site are used to determine which sites are listed — the reality is that companies located closer to the epicenter of a city tend to have better visibility in the local map section than those on the outskirts of a city or in a neighboring city.
Of these three main local factors, prominence may be the most important one. It allows companies to distinguish themselves from their competitors based on the amount of awareness being generated about their brand. Prominence is defined by Google as follows:
“Prominence refers to how well-known a business is. Some places are more prominent in the offline world, and search results try to reflect this in local ranking. For example, famous museums, landmark hotels, or well-known store brands that are familiar to many people are also likely to be prominent in local search results. Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business from across the web (like links, articles, and directories). Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking.”
Improving Your Local Prominence
While you surely have heard about the value of online customer reviews, especially Google reviews, improving your local prominence can be difficult. Time and time again, though, we have seen home services companies increase their prominence through offline activities.
This is accomplished by building meaningful relationships with other businesses and nonprofit organizations in your local community. Here are just a few of the many relationship-building opportunities that we suggest looking into:
- Sponsorships (local sports team, community events, etc.)
- Volunteer Work
- Business Relationships (local vendors, related businesses)
- Participation with local Chambers of Commerce
Community involvement ultimately offers many advantages to your business. Often, it naturally will translate into backlinks to your site, which in turn, generate additional online visibility, site traffic, and ultimately leads. And as we’ve noted in previously on the Mediagistic blog, this is just one of the many ways that community involvement can help improve your brand.
Putting it All Together
As part of your LeadBuilder® package, your site will be listed in the most powerful directories. It also will receive monthly content creation in the form of blogs and articles, and manual domain authority building. These all are items Google uses to determine a site’s online visibility.
When these online strategies are leveraged in combination with offline relationship-building tactics, the results are profoundly powerful. Consult with a Mediagistic digital strategist today if you would like to learn more about how to leverage available opportunities in your area and/or your competitors’ level of involvement with community events and sponsorships.
Christopher St. Jean is the Digital Marketing Strategy Manager for Mediagistic, and he places an emphasis on analytics and optimization. He’s passionate about helping companies and clients see the “big picture” not only by acquiring qualified traffic, but by maximizing each site visit to ensure the best possible chance of a conversion via A/B and multivariate testing. Connect with him on Linkedin.
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