There is this nice pizza place near my house. They do beautiful little wood fired pizzas that are some of the best I have ever had (and I lived in NY for 5 years). There is just one problem:
They are not happy being a pizza place. The menu and waiters push family style dinners that no one wants. Portland is a competitive restaurant town and I don't know that they will make it. If they don't I think it's because they are focusing on the wrong things.
I may be in danger of doing the same thing here. I have 6 posts done, and have barely even spoken of one of the two most important things you need to do to rank your landscape website.
Links. When someone puts a link to your website on their website it impacts the way Google views your site. Since Google went live links have been THE way to rank a site.
So why haven't I discussed links here?
Because links are dangerous. If you start your DIY SEO journey with links you are likely to make a bunch of mistakes, mistakes that can take a long time to fix. You might create links in spammy ways or, even worse, buy links. If you have some success that way you will double down. Then, one day, your site will be penalized and no one will be able to find your site. A manual penalty from Google can mean that your website won't show up even when someone searches for your company by name!
It is much safer to focus on your website first, build your understanding of online marketing, then make efforts to get links. So how can you get safe and valuable links for your landscaping website? Here are 3 ways that I know can work, and at the end of the article is a reference that will help you find more.
Safe Ways To Get Links To Your Landscaping Website:
1- Get links while building citations. In my beginner's guide to SEO I explain that citations are a key component of marketing a landscape company online. Citations are places online where you have a business listing that includes your business name, address, and phone number. Many of these listings also let you add your website address. Every time you do that, you create a link. Some of these, like Houzz or Yelp, bring valuable traffic. Others are especially valuable from an SEO viewpoint, like the ones in this great post.
2- Get links from other local businesses. This is simply an updated version of the old school networking you have been doing. Think of all the local businesses that your business relies on. I personally use an irrigation supplier, stone yards, nurseries, lawn mower repair shop, etc. And they all have websites.
But how do you get them to link to you?
You can ask (make sure to say please). This is easy if they have a "recommended" contractors page. If they don't already have a place to link to local businesses you can suggest they start one.
You can also provide them something useful for their website. You could take pictures of a landscape that utilizes their materials. Another option is to write up a testimonial and tell them to feel free to use it. Then gently suggest that they link to your name when they do.
And if you take the lead by linking to them first? Then it becomes much harder for them to say no.
3- Be a source for a reporter or the subject of an article. Links from local news websites are fantastic. Not only do they help you with Google, people actually read them! Industry publications, like Lawn & Landscape are also constantly looking for stories and sources.
But how do you end up in a local paper or industry site? You have to keep your eyes and ears open to opportunities. Here are a couple ways:
Social media. Follow the organizations and their writers on Twitter. Interact with them by favoriting, retweeting, and commenting. You want them to see you as helpful and engaging. So take the time to make meaningful comments that add to the conversation. In time this can lead to you being approached with an opportunity. I know this works because I have done it myself!
Pitch a story. Do you have a notable project? Then perhaps the local paper would be interested in profiling it. Is your business story compelling? Email the editors of trade magazines and tell them about it. Keep your pitches upbeat and to the point. Remember, these sites need hundreds or thousands of stories a year. If you have a real story they will be real happy to hear it.
Ready to start getting those links to boost your rankings? Use the 3 methods above and your landscaping website will benefit!
Want more safe ways to get links to your website? This is the best list I know of, though this list of easy-ish link opportunities is pretty great too. And if you enjoyed this article please share it with another landscaper!