Loaded question. Let me first talk about “staying under the radar.” I used to have this mentality when it came to link building, especially in local, as it’s so freaking hard to get real links in this space. When you can get to the point that the links you build have nothing to do with ranking on Google, you will sleep better and succeed more.
Here’s why: link building for increasing page rank is against Google’s guidelines. They will continue to interpret that statement unfairly, and with major bias and small businesses will fall on the wrong side of that list forever. So do these things for links and you will be fine.
- Quality Guest Posts(try to get them locally) – I started writing on my blog, and no one came to read it. So I started writing for other websites and I didn’t do it to get a link; I wanted to get recognised in my industry. I wanted people to know who I was. That lead to speaking events, stories on other websites and mentions + posts on other blogs. I can tell you I got more business from the things I wrote or said speaking than I ever did off my rankings (and we have had a lot of good spots).
Rankings are a by-product of building your brand. link penalty for it). It’s more expensive, slow, and not easy, but it’s always worth it.
- Citations– These are links. Most directories allow for a naked URL to show. Most importantly, people search for businesses on directories. If you fill them out and do a proper job of it, then you will look better than your competitors. You will stand out, you will have reviews on your listing and it will get indexed and the link will count for your business and it will help. We have 17 Local directories that we primarily submit NAP data to. We choose these 17 because making changes in the event of a move, or change of information is simple, real time and accurate, so as not to confuse Google.
- Microsites– Not dirty copied content microsites that just switch out a location name. I’m talking unique sites that serve a purpose like this one. The point of this site isn’t to link back to a main site. The point of the site is to share and gather testimonials for this business. Having it on its own URL makes finding and sharing the site offline easy.
- Social links – Ranking for money keywords on Google by using Social links should not be your primary objective. If you create enough social buzz you will have more way more business than a top local search term raking.
If you focus on the above, you won’t fly under the radar. You will fly way above it and not even care.