Link building has long been a cornerstone of effective SEO management, but when it comes to local SEO, the rules of the game change quite a bit.
Local link building requires a distinct strategy, specifically tailored to your local context. This article explains what local link building is, why it’s different from standard link building, and most importantly, how to do it effectively.
What Is Local Link Building?
Local link building is a subset of SEO strategies that focuses on creating, improving, and optimizing inbound links from locally relevant websites. Often overlooked, this strategy plays a crucial role in boosting the visibility and credibility of a business in local search results.
It’s all about making your business presence more prominent in the area in which you operate.
Importance-wise, local link building is an integral SEO strategy for any business looking to rank highly in local searches. It can:
- Significantly impact search engine ranking algorithms by demonstrating that your business is reputable and anchored in a specific geographical area
- Generate local traffic and attract visitors who are more likely to convert since they hail from the same geographical area your business is established in
- Build a sense of authority and trust in your brand within your community, creating more opportunities for growth and profitability
How is Local SEO Link-Building Different From Standard Link Building?
Local SEO link-building and standard link-building are two different entities, each with unique strategies and targets—understanding this distinction can significantly impact your SEO success.
|Local SEO Link Building
|Standard Link Building
|Focuses on helping businesses gain prominence within their specific locality
|Typically targets a global or national audience
|Gaining links from local, relevant sources
|Gaining any high-quality backlinks from diverse sources
|Local partnerships, sponsorships, and influencer relationships
|Locally relevant, aiming to attract local customers
|Broader in scope, to cater to a diverse audience
|Local Directories and Citations
|Involves creating and optimizing listings on local business directories and citation sites
|May not place as much emphasis on local directories unless they have relevance to the business’s industry or niche
|Local Reviews and Testimonials
|Encourages the acquisition of local reviews and testimonials from customers
|While testimonials can be part of standard link-building, the emphasis may not be on their geographic origin
|Encourages active participation in local community events, forums, and discussions to build relationships and earn local links
|May involve engagement in broader industry-related forums and discussions
Seven Strategies For Local Link Building
When approached strategically, local link-building can yield significant results. Check out these seven effective strategies that can boost your online presence and directly reach your local audience.
1. Add Your Business to Google My Business (GMB) and Local Directories
Getting listed on Google My Business and other local directories places your business on the map and provides opportunities for local backlinks. Don’t skip directories that are specific to your locality or industry.
Manage your listing effectively after adding your business to Google My Business and other local directories. You should:
- Keep your listing updated, respond to reviews, and engage with your customers here
- Have consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone) information across these listings
- Add photos as businesses with photos on their GMB listings receive 42% more requests for driving directions and 35% more click-throughs to their websites
When working with local directories, remember to diversify. Don’t just use the major directories but aim for smaller, niche ones that have a specific focus on your industry or area. These links could be more relevant in the eyes of search engines and could potentially have a larger impact on your ranking. Plus, they may be less competitive, making it easier for your business to get noticed.
2. Form Relationships With (local) Media
Connect with local newspapers, TV stations, and radio channels. If you can get a mention or a feature, it’s a win-win! You’ll gain the attention of the local audience and earn a potential backlink from a high-authority website.
- Invest in press releases. Regularly share news about your business, products, or services with media channels. It will not only get your name out there but also increase your chances of gaining a valuable backlink. Engaging press releases can generate social shares, result in high-quality backlinks, boost traffic, and better overall SEO performance.
- Become a source of expertise. Local journalists often look for industry experts to quote in their stories. By offering your expertise, you can earn valuable backlinks and boost your brand’s authority.
- Get involved in local events. Spreading your name through a high-profile local event can put you on local media’s radar. Participating in local events is a successful way to get noticed by, and establish relationships with, community reporters or influencers.
- Offer exclusive deals to local media. An exclusive coupon code or deal shared through a local media outlet not only drives business but also encourages the outlet to link to your site.
3. Tap Into Local Sponsorships
Exploiting local sponsorships isn’t just a charitable commitment but a potent technique to bolster your local link-building strategy. It’s a win-win approach—while the local community benefits from your business support, you gain a boost from an SEO perspective.
Companies that sponsor organizations are frequently lauded on respective websites, newsletters, and press releases, which usually entails a link back to the sponsor’s site.
Most local communities have tons of sponsorship opportunities. This might range from annual festivals, fundraisers, charity runs, and local sports teams to supporting art and music events. The hosts of these events have websites, and they’re often thrilled to include sponsors’ links on their sites, providing vital local backlinks that can significantly influence your SEO performance.
Beyond a backlink, a well-placed logo or brand mention on an event’s webpage is another way to increase visibility within the local community. These mentions are effective in driving local traffic back to your website.
When selecting an event or organization to sponsor, ensure it aligns with your brand’s image and values. A fitness brand should seek partnerships with local marathons or a sporting event, whereas a food company may be better suited to sponsor local food festivals. The more relevant the link between your business and the event, the higher the quality of the link.
4. Generate Locally Relevant Content
Content creation is a kingpin in SEO and for local SEO, generating locally relevant content takes the trophy. With 53% of marketers agreeing that content creation is the most important local SEO service, there’s no room to question this strategy. Be it blog posts about local news or events, a guide to your local area, or even case studies featuring your local customers, local content tends to attract local backlinks.
Here are some creative ways that can help you execute this strategy:
- Write about local events and stories. Covering community events, local news, or stories adds value to your readers and naturally attracts local backlinks. It might be thorough recaps of popular local festivals or articles on local issues. Doing this demonstrates your involvement in the community and makes your website more likely to receive backlinks from the organizers, participants, or local news outlets.
- Develop local guides. Creating comprehensive guides regarding local attractions, businesses, or things to do can also attract local links. For example, a restaurant may develop a “Food Lover’s Guide to Torshavn” or a real estate business might write up “A Comprehensive Guide to Buying Homes in California.” These articles could even earn you a link reference from local tourism sites or business directories.
- Create content featuring local customers. Highlighting case studies or success stories of local customers can draw the attention of those customers and their networks. This tactic not only humanizes your brand but could also lead to backlinks from your customers’ platforms who are eager to share their success.
5. Reach Out to Local Influencers
Influencers lend an air of authenticity to your brand. They are trusted figures within the local community, and by associating with them, you can enhance your brand’s reliability. Ranging from Instagram stars and popular local bloggers to YouTube sensations, these figures can inject your brand into local discussions, create quality content about your brand, and link back to your website.
Much more than this, brands that rely on influencer marketing can earn up to $18 for every dollar invested. If this convinced you to test this approach, here’s how to do it:
- Do your research and identify influencers who align with your brand values and have a following in your local area.
- Follow them on their active social media platforms and engage with their content meaningfully—like, comment, and share their work.
- Consider a soft outreach approach—start by liking or sharing their content, then send a personalized direct message or email expressing your interest in collaboration.
- Highlight the value of your proposal. Explain what’s in it for them—for example, you could offer free products or services, money, or exposure to a new audience.
- Maintain professional yet friendly communication, and show genuine interest in their work and how a partnership could be mutually beneficial.
- After establishing a connection, send them a formal proposal outlining the specifics of potential collaboration.
6. Produce Guest Blog Articles
Producing guest blog articles brings numerous benefits, from building quality backlinks and boosting SEO rankings to enhancing your brand’s reputation within the industry.
To perfect this strategy, follow these steps:
- Identify appropriate local industry blogs. Search for local blogs related to your industry and use online resources to help identify reputed blogs where a guest post by your business would be beneficial, but also relevant.
- Create high-quality content. Generally speaking, articles that are deeply researched and comprehensive get a higher number of backlinks. Ensure your content is engaging, informative, and valuable for the target audience.
- Include a backlink. Always, always include a backlink in your guest post. Backlinks act as votes of confidence from other websites and are a critical part of local SEO strategies.
- Follow the guidelines. Each blog will have its own set of guidelines for guest posts. Adhering to these requirements will increase your chances of acceptance. This not only creates a positive impression but also helps secure more guest post opportunities in the future.
- Engage with comments. After your guest post is published, don’t forget to engage with readers in the comments section. This can lead to additional link-building opportunities and help you build meaningful relationships with the audience and website owners.
7. Claim Unlinked Brand Mentions
Watch out for your business being mentioned without a backlink on local websites. If you find unlinked mentions, claim them as part of your local link-building strategy. Here’s how to go about it:
- Start by setting up Google Alerts for your brand name. Google sends you email notifications every time your brand is mentioned online.
- Use a brand monitoring tool, like Mention or SEMrush. These tools monitor the web to identify mentions of your brand and notify you when they occur.
- Once you identify an unlinked mention, reach out to the site owner or author via email or social media. Politely request them to link back to your website..
Benefits of Link Building for Local SEO
Gathering quality local backlinks offers numerous benefits to your business’s overall online performance. It strengthens your local presence and improves your visibility, especially to potential customers in your area. Here’s why that’s important:
- Boosted Local Rankings: Local link building connects your website to other relevant and authoritative local sites. Search engines like Google consider these backlinks as a voting system—the more high-quality local votes (or links) your site has, the more likely your site will rank well locally.
- Qualified Traffic: Building local links targets a niche but highly engaged audience of local customers. These individuals, specifically searching for services in your area, are more likely to convert, resulting in higher sales.
- Refined Brand’s Online Reputation: Local link building could help you become an authoritative source within your locality by associating your business with other reputable local businesses. This association also increases trust among potential customers.
- Improved Business Relationships: Link building often involves partnerships and collaborations with local influencers and other businesses. This fosters meaningful local connections, which can lead to future business opportunities.
- Increased Market Visibility. Statistically, businesses that claim high-ranking positions on local searches have the potential to exponentially increase their visibility and traffic, according to data from Moz.
- Enhanced Community Engagement: Local link building often involves interacting with local businesses, influencers, and communities. By contributing and participating in community discussions and forums, your business increases its visibility while fostering a positive community image.
- Competitive Edge: As many businesses overlook the potential of local link building, capitalizing on this strategy ahead of your competitors gives you a headstart, reinforcing an online presence directly targeting your local consumer market.
- Consumer Trust and Brand Reputation: When consumers see your business linked from reputable local sources or influencers they trust, it reinforces your brand’s credibility and establishes trust. A survey indicates that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, emphasizing the power of peer-led local linking.
Local Link Building: Key Takeaways
Local link building is a fundamental element in any comprehensive SEO strategy. It helps enhance your online visibility, boost your website’s search engine ranking, foster community engagement, and increase trust in your brand. By adopting proven strategies like listing in local directories, building relationships with local media and influencers, and generating relevant content, you can effectively bridge the gap between your business and your local audience.