You likely already understand the importance of local SEO, but you may not realize all of the processes it involves. Most people tend to focus on local keyword research and creating content with the keywords that comes from that. But you also need to work on your local link building if you want to improve your rankings.
In this article, we’ll explain why local link building is such an important part of your local SEO strategy and how to get the best results from your link building efforts.
What Is Local Link Building?
Before we get into local link building tips, you need to understand the process.
Local link building is just what the name implies: earning backlinks from websites that are local and relevant. This can include getting links and mentions from other businesses that are local to your area.
Why Is Local Link Building Important?
Google uses your local links to help determine how relevant your website and business are to local consumers. In other words, if you want to rank well online, link building needs to be on your SEO to-do list.
We’ll go into more detail on the impact of local link building below.
Link Building Strategies To Try
Once you understand local link building and why it matters, consider incorporating the following strategies.
1. Use Guest Blogging
One of the most popular methods of local link building is guest blogging. This refers to when you write blogs to post on someone else’s website. It is particularly popular to write guest posts on influencers’ blogs or other local businesses that are related to your industry.
For example, if you are a gym, you may reach out to a health food store about writing a guest post on exercise for them. Or the health food store may ask to write a blog post for you about healthy eating after a workout.
The key here is to mention your business and include a link to your website in your guest post. More importantly, you want to do so subtly.
2. Create Content Quality Content
You are likely already creating content as part of your local SEO strategy. While it’s easy to get sidetracked by quantity when it comes to content, try to avoid making content just for the sake of hitting keywords. You also want to make content that is useful—quality is just as important as quantity.
This will serve several purposes. To start, it helps your website visitors view you as an industry authority. That makes them more likely to choose you over a competitor.
You also get the natural benefit of other websites linking to you. After all, why rewrite something if you already have a great guide they can link?
Remember that quality content isn’t limited to blog posts. You can also create infographics, eBooks or in-depth guides, videos, charts, images, and more.
Try to create something new—useful content with information people likely haven’t seen before. For example, if you have original data and research, this is excellent information that can be used when creating content and generating local links.
3. Use Manual Outreach
Manual outreach is when you take the time to reach out to websites to ask if they will mention your business. This is the most effective if you have a good reason to reach out to the company in question. For example, if your business did something newsworthy, you might reach out to a local news website and ask them to write about it.
4. Create Listings on Local Directories
One of the easiest things you can do to build local links is to list your company on local directory sites.
For reference, local directories are lists of businesses that are within your local area. Yelp is an example of a prominent directory. You should start with well-known directories, as people are likely to search them for your product or services.
But you also want to do a search for local directories in your niche. Just type “[your product, service, or category] [your city] directory.” Look at the results and get listed on as many of the relevant directories as you can.
5. Create Programs People Want to Talk About
We already mentioned the importance of creating interesting content that people actually want to link to. But you can also get great results by creating local community programs that people want to talk about.
For example, sponsor a local event or create a local sponsorship. Your company will be mentioned (and likely linked to) every time that event or sponsorship gets mentioned. As a bonus, being involved in the local community improves your local reputation.
If you don’t have the resources to sponsor or host local events, consider volunteering with or donating to local charities instead.
How Does Link Building Impact Local SEO?
As mentioned, local link building efforts have a significant impact on your local SEO because they are one of the major search ranking factors. As your business is mentioned in more places online, your online rankings will improve.
Local SEO Backlinking Best Practices
As with every other aspect of your SEO strategy, there are some things you should and shouldn’t do to maximize the results of your local link building. The following tips and tricks will give you a head start.
This one may seem obvious, but it’s easy to get carried away and link to non-local websites in an effort to get as many backlinks as possible. You want to do your best to build backlinks on websites that are local or relevant to your local audience. So, stick to local blogs instead of those across the country.
Use Custom Searches
One of the best—and most simple—tips for finding potential websites or blogs for backlinks is to do a simple online search. Just enter something like “[Your city] blogs,” and you should get plenty of results. You can use a similar strategy to find local news sites.
Stick to Relevant Websites
Of course, you don’t want to reach out to every single website that comes up. Your audience will not overlap with some of them, and your content may not be relevant. Instead, look for websites that relate to your brand in some way.
You want to be able to do one of the following:
→Write a guest post that is relevant to their audience.
→Tell them about existing content you have that is relevant to their audience.
You can even sit down and brainstorm the categories of local businesses that you could get links from. For example, a gym may want to work with local sites like:
→Health food stores
→Workout clothing stores
→Stores selling workout equipment
→Electronics stores selling fitness trackers
→Local race websites
→Sports medicine centers
Avoid Websites That Exist Solely for Guest Posts
When it comes to local link building, quality is much more important than quantity. You want to link to websites that Google deems relevant and authoritative. The opposite will be true of websites that only exist for guest posts.
Years ago, creating content for these pages would have helped your SEO. Now it may hurt it. Posting on a non-authoritative website can make your business look spammy, which you definitely want to avoid.
Take Advantage of Tools
You can also use various link prospecting tools to help you find potential websites to work with. Some will be free, while others will be paid. Ideally, you should read reviews of the various tools to help you choose which one to use.
Pay Attention to Anchor Text
As you create your backlinks, pay attention to the anchor text for your website. Anchor text is similar to a keyword—you want it to be relevant to your business because Google will assume that it is. So, if you are a gym, and your anchor text is “place to work out,” Google will assume people can work out there. Or if the anchor text is “yoga classes,” Google will assume you offer yoga classes.
Consider Looking for List Posts
When you look for guest post opportunities or encourage other websites to mention you, consider list posts. This form of content is incredibly popular because it provides useful information in a digestible way.
Make Link Building a Part of Your SEO Strategy
The bottom line is that local link building will boost your search engine ranking. With a good link building strategy in place, you will appear higher in search engine results, making it more likely that searchers will come across your page. Link building is just another important part of SEO that will help you reach new customers and grow your business.