SBS Mailbag: Locally-Targeted Linkbait

Filed in Link Building by Matt McGee on June 16, 2008 7 Comments

After mentioning last week that I’m actively seeking mailbag questions to answer here on the blog, I promptly received an interesting one about linkbaiting and local business.

The question comes from “Bob” (not his real name), who owns a national company that provides local services all across the U.S via franchising. Just like hotel companies, Bob’s web site offers a unique page for each city where they offer services. Here’s Bob’s question:

We’re now looking at doing some link baiting. Any thoughts on where we should start? The key for us is that we have 340 franchise partners and we want them all to get out there and get links to their metro pages, i.e. ourdomain.com/seattle. Any thoughts would be appreciated, Matt.

I changed Bob’s domain, as you can see. My reply to Bob was pretty brief:

———
I think your line of work probably lends itself well to some linkbait ideas — 10 Biggest (redacted), etc. — but I don’t know how you’d do that while targeting 340 different city pages. You might be able to get a couple different URLs to hit the digg homepage, for example, but after a while, users will get tired of seeing the same URL with the same type of content, and you’ll get buried.

I think your best bet is just going to be trying to create something terrific that targets your main URL, and then allow the link juice pointing to that URL to filter into your metro pages naturally.
———

That was my response. How would you have answered the question about linkbait and locally-targeted businesses?

Have a question you’d like answered? Email me today!

Comments (7)

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  1. Todd says:

    For locally targeted linkbait, I’d also consider trying a few local pieces of linkbait, but pushing them outside of the standard linkbait distribution channels (Digg, SU, etc.) and instead pushing them to local websites. In every city there are thousands of bloggers, news & media sites, etc. that would surely link to a high quality piece of content. You’ll have to get the ball rolling a bit by emailing the piece to a few websites probably, but the upside could be huge. A few hundred new links from Seattle-based websites all pointing to the Seattle page on your site = Money.

  2. David Mihm says:

    Todd is right on the money here. Contact influential bloggers in each metro & see if you can push some content to them on an individual basis. Yes, it’s more effort, but the links are also going to be WAY more targeted.

  3. What about working with the franchise partners to come up with their own ideas for link bait content, maybe having a contest or some type of incentive? Corporate can then head up more of the link bait tactics with the help of the franchise partners.

  4. MiriamEllis says:

    I agree with the sentiment of going local with this, and think Michael Jensen’s idea of giving the individual franchise’s some power in this is a cool one. They know their town, their customers, etc. And, there is good reason to believe that any local links or citations that result are going to pack the most punch in a variety of ways.

    Neat question, Matt!
    Miriam

  5. Matt McGee says:

    Great comments, gang. Further proof that collective wisdom is better than singular wisdom. I’m glad to have such smart friends & readers.

    From reading the email I got (I only included the most relevant portion in this post), my impression is that “Bob” is looking for something grand — something like digg, reddit, etc. But you’re absolutely right that if he aims for something smaller, targeting content to local sites/bloggers, he might still be able to attract a good quantity and quality of links to those city pages.

    Great stuff. Thx for sharing your smarts.

  6. Good suggestions above for sure. It would be nice to know the type of business Bob is running as that would present some opportunities or ideas for that industry. Here are some small level ideas, not the digg or SM top level ones.

    If he was a hotel chain, working other local destinations and the like might produce some local links as being a preferred place to stay by in turn highlighting their offering. Or how about creating an award? Bob’s Hotel 5 Star Tourist Attraction. ;)

    If he was a restaurant chain, local blogging or photo/flickr contests can produce some link love. A blog dedicated to creating or naming a new menu item or nominating your favorite server/bartender.

    If Bob’s business is something less mass or media appealing like plumbing, maybe they could create a “trusted Minneapolis home services list” that other local service businesses would link to.

    Just a few small thoughts I might try.

  7. leon says:

    i think hosting up a contest for local bloggers would be good , less work done

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