Local SEO improves a business’s visibility across local search results, making it easier for potential customers to find a brand. While on-page optimization and local citations are essential, an often overlooked but highly effective strategy is local link building.
In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of local link building, its significance, and strategies to elevate your local SEO game.
What is Local Link Building?
Simply put, local link building is the practice of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own, specifically from websites within your geographic area or niche. These hyperlinks, often referred to as backlinks or inbound links, establish your website’s authority and relevance.
From a local SEO standpoint, these links come from websites that are not only related to your industry but are also located in the same vicinity. Local link building involves forging partnerships with local businesses, associations, and directories to establish a network of connections that can significantly enhance your local SEO efforts.
Importance of Local Link Building
Local link-building is privy to the success of your digital marketing campaigns. This is because when you have relevant backlinks coming from high-quality local sites, it boosts your brand’s ranking across SERPs. More than 80% of consumers trust Google to form an opinion about local businesses. That’s why local link-building is a necessity for brands.
In case your company relies heavily on foot traffic, local link building can help you find potential customers. By all means, local links are a lot like digital signposts that guide search engines toward recognizing your brand as a top player in the community. That’s why when your website receives links from other high-quality websites, search engines are more likely to consider your business a top choice for local searches.
When determining a website’s authority, Google considers the number and quality of inbound links. Thus, when you have reputable local websites linking to your business, it enhances your brand credibility. This, in turn, can lead to higher search engine rankings and more visibility across local search results.
How Many Local Links Do You Need
Typically, there are four types of local links that a brand needs.
- Citations and data aggregators
- Community engagement
- National and local awards
- Relevant local content, campaigns, tools, reports, and studies
Each type of link has a specific purpose to serve. However, they all have one common goal-to add value to the local community. Citations and aggregators help customers find phone numbers and addresses of local businesses. On the other hand, local awards help customers trust a particular business.
One of the most straightforward ways to gain local links is online directories. This is because they have all the necessary information a business needs- a one-time fee, phone number, and an address. Sometimes, only mentioning the name of a brand is more than enough to build a reputation and enhance credibility.
Modern-day SEO experts have also started thinking beyond conventional link-building techniques. They focus on link building as a part of off-page SEO, as the brand mentions equal locally earned backlinks. Measuring the SEO impact on community participation can be tricky, but the difference it makes in terms of brand credibility carries weight.
Also, by investing in community engagement, a band can do much more than improve rankings. In other words, it forms a part of an ongoing conversation. Similarly, receiving an award is not just the end of the story. It’s about the satisfaction, the feel-good factor that it imparts to your brand, a trust signal for prospects. That’s why brands choose to display awards received in the footer section of a website.
Customers rely on recognition and awards before choosing a particular vendor. Some common types of award opportunities for a small business include:
When choosing a vendor, customers rely on awards and community recognition to decide on the fit for their needs.
Types of award opportunities for a small business include:
- National accreditations
- Local trade organization awards/certifications.
- Local publication awards
- Local environmental awards
- Local awards for community involvement
A good starting point here is to get your business recognized by a national accreditation, like the Better Business Bureau (if you’re in the US). The next best option to consider would be the Local Chamber of Commerce, which acts as a resource for all small businesses looking to make a mark with the greater community.
Once your desired organizations can find an award that aligns with your line of business, they can help you come up with a plan to receive the same. Most of the time, you’ll be in luck as these organizations have several categories and aspects to an award, which means you just need to apply to win one.
Of course, winning a particular award can never be an immediate scenario, but it can always help an organization develop a broad perspective. Accordingly, the leadership can draw upon the goals and align them with the values and beliefs of the brand. By effectively developing a plan around the organization’s core elements and eligibility to receive the award, one can chalk a roadmap to win backlinks. It’s a common theory that search engines consider such awards as a token of organizational expertise, trustworthiness, and authority. In fact, in the Search Quality Rater Guidelines, Google highlights the point of awards to build brand authority.
Thus, achieving high-quality backlinks through awards can dramatically improve a business and save a brand from staying segmented across its own SEO channels. In other words, local link building is the gateway for a brand to harp on an organization’s broader goals.
Furthermore, as a small business, you can turn the value of community engagement to enhance your line of products and services, build long-term relationships, and get high-quality backlinks as a result. While it’s common for small businesses to stay focused on improving their operations, SEO growth is viewed as a secondary benefit and is often overlooked.
Awards and recognition as a way to acquire high-quality backlinks can also make a brand a thought leader. Of course, as a brand, you’ll need to share resources with local citizens and create content around it. Here’s a look at the kind of content that is expected from a small business with a desire for high-quality backlinks.
- Brainstorming about the average age of a home around the area you operate
- Interviewing company experts about the challenges they face
Such content can be directly published on the brand site to garner attention and win backlinks from multiple third-party websites. Keep an eye out for local community blogs, magazines, and newspapers, which are always looking for the latest information to share with the readers.
Pro tip: As a small business, you can always drive conversations by publishing relevant and helpful content. The easiest way to achieve this and earn backlinks in the process is to keep an open mind and not be too selective about things you can publish.
How to Build Local Links
Building local links is a lot like gardening. You’ll have to sow some seeds and wait for them to grow into seedlings and later come bearing fruits. Here are a few ways to kickstart your local link-building game.
- By establishing a baseline citations
- By reflecting on the values of the company
- By channeling company values into a befitting marketing strategy
- By reviewing everything that is working in your favor and enhancing the same
- By effectively targeting local links in line with realizing community needs to outrank competitors
Once you integrate the backlink strategy with the existing values of your business, you readily connect with the essence of backlinks, which is caring. In other words, your organization isn’t among those who want backlinks just for the sake of it. Instead, as a small business owner, you want to share the right information and help people, give back to the community, and offer reliable services. Besides, you also care about driving the industry you operate in by doing what you do best. By all means, caring is equivalent to link building.
At times, it might appear overwhelming when you chase these backlinks. That’s when you need to understand that the activity is less about falling right with your SEO checklist and more about reflecting on what you do. Once your small business spends considerable time making an impact within the community, it’s only a matter of time before you start receiving local backlinks.
Get Links from Other Ranking Sites
If you follow the plan, getting high-quality links from other reputed sites should be a problem. Always target to win backlinks from sites that match your industry or acknowledge your products and services.
Get Links Your Competitors Have
Another effective strategy to gain valuable backlinks is to identify the kind of links your competitors have. Hiring a local link-building agency can help you discover the websites that link to your competitors. Next, the agency can help you reach out to the webmaster and make a case to publish and promote your content.
Reclaim Lost Links
It’s only natural to lose some links over time, or they may be broken. However, when you work with a local link-building agency, they can help you reclaim lost links where the valuable link juice will boost your position across SERPS. Usually, webmasters control the backlinks, but you will need an expert outreach expert to build a good rapport and recover those links.
Create Locally Relevant Content
It’s a no-brainer that local search engine optimization (SEO) is vital for any business. So, always take time to create content that is relevant to the area your business operates. That way, local blogs, directories, and websites will take more interest in reaching out to you for backlinks.
Get Local Citations
Local citations, like brand mentions across online directories and local business listings, are of utmost importance for local SEO. One must ensure that business details are correct to perform consistently across such platforms. Only then will you be able to maintain your position across SERPs.
Pursue Other Local Link Opportunities
While local citations are helpful for link building, always be on the lookout to pursue other opportunities. It can be partnerships, local events, and sponsorships. The idea is to stay active across the local community and win backlinks from every different source.
Claim Unlinked Mentions
Working with a local link-building agency can help you keep track of unlinked brand mentions. Experts get in touch with website owners where your brand is mentioned and request a backlink to your site with proper attribution.
Buy Companies, Or At Least Their Websites
While it’s only applicable to some local businesses, sometimes acquiring other businesses works wonders. And it doesn’t have to be a multi-million deal. Even if you can’t afford to buy companies, try and acquire their websites. That way, you will expand your brand presence over unknown territories and redirect traffic and backlinks seamlessly.
Add Internal Links
Don’t overlook adding internal links across your grand site, as it can significantly boost link equity and enhance overall SEO.
Inarguably, link-building is a never-ending process. You’ll have to keep doing it as long as you choose to be in the business. Don’t be impatient if you can’t make it work on the first go. Instead, pay attention to building a brand first, create relevant content around it, and backlinks will follow.
Remember, good stuff means quality over quantity. In other words, you don’t need a thousand backlinks to accomplish brand objectives or rank high across SERPs. Don’t be alarmed when we tell you that most small businesses doing well have less than 100-150 links.
Ready to take your local link-building efforts to new heights?
Schedule your discovery call with DWS today!