How to Get Started with Local Link Building
2018 is set to be the year for local businesses to scale up their web presence, courtesy of local SEO. To make your business website’s local SEO dreams a reality, your focus needs to be on the most important contributing factors. Backlinks are one of these factors.
Backlink farming for local SEO is slightly different from conventional SEO. That’s primarily because you can pretty well go about collecting backlinks from websites with medium to high domain authority. That’s because a mention from even a low authority local website can be useful for local SEO. I’ll tell you more about it; read on.
Always Keep Your Hunting Hat On
Getting backlinks for your local business is a challenge that can be best overcome with creativity and perseverance. Invariably, backlink experts experiment with a mix of Google search queries that connect them to websites of online magazines, portals, forums, and message boards relevant to their niche. Some of these search queries, to help you get started, are:
- Niche keyword + “magazine”
- Niche keyword + “write for us”
- Niche keyword + “forum”
This becomes hunting ground for link building. For local SEO focused backlinks, however, your search will need to incorporate terms related to local businesses. Here are a few examples:
- site:.gov “your city + services”
- site:school.edu “your city + services”
- “Your City’s Name”+ “Nominate a business”
- site:meetup.com city+keyword
- IndustryName + intitle:tradeshow
If you’ve explored this method already, you can use a tool such as LinkAssistant from SEO Powersuite to access a vast range of backlink opportunities, across different categories.
Competitor Backlink Analysis
Why do all the groundwork when there’s a clear winner in the market who’s already cracked the local SEO backlink code? This method helps you cover good ground quickly, to directly compete with the leader in your local business niche. Moz’s Open Site Explorer is a great tool to do this.
Conduct a few generic search queries for your local business niche and find out 5 top ranking competitors.
- Start the Open Site Explorer tool
- Paste one of the competitors’ websites URL, and go the Inbound Links tab on the dashboard. Use these filters here:
- Target: This root domain
- Link source: Only external
- Link type: Link equity
- Save the results in CSV format
- Repeat the above two steps again for the remaining URLs
- Arrange all these according to Page Authority (an indicator of the authoritativeness of a web page) in descending order (higher Page Authority gets higher position).
- Start targeting these websites one by one to plant your backlinks
You might want to combine this method with the first method to filter out websites that offer structured guest posting opportunities; example, using a search query such as:
“write for us” site: WebsiteName
Tip: Use the skyscraper content technique; understand what your competitor’s content does well, and do it a step better. This ‘better’ content will get you a backlink, for sure.
A great way to know your domain metrics are also available for free with this domain authority checker.
Get A Lot of Citations from Business Directories
Citations are among the most important local SEO success factors. For many businesses, high-value backlinks are much easier to attain once they have a sufficiently high number of online citations. A citation is a mention of your business’ NAP (name, address, & phone number) online. To get valuable citations for local SEO, business directories continue to be the best option for webmasters. Here are some tips and tricks:
- Look for business directories that represent your niche and your locality closely
- Understand that business directory citations need to be added upon month after month (target at least 20-25 citations per month)
- Look for bucket lists of top 50 or top 100 local business directories relevant to your niche
- Make your business profiles as detailed and as complete as possible
To find more business directories, here are a couple of methods.
Use variations of these Google searches.
- CityName “recommended links”
- CityName “add your site”
- CityName “add your business”
- CityName * directory
Use a tool to check local directory listings for your top competitors. Uberall, for example, helps with an overview of your competitors’ directory citations. Plus, it will help identify incorrect citations for your business, and correct them, across 100+ directories.
I wrote a full guide on Google maps marketing so you can get even more value for your local SEO plan.
I mentioned earlier how local SEO backlinks require creativity. Here’s a method where you can use it to its full effect. Every city has a lot of groups; check out Meetup.com to understand how socialization of these groups works.
The key here is to identify groups that are relevant to your niche. Once done, reach out to them and offer your business conference room or garden space for one of their meetings. That’s all you need to get a high quality, super relevant, and credibly local backlinks.
If you have a budget to spare for this, you can even sponsor one of their meetings and get a backlink.
Farming for More Backlinks from Existing Sources
Once you get backlinks from high authority and relevant websites, your job’s not over. You must have a sturdy mechanism to check on the status of your backlinks, apart from maintaining a good relationship with the other website’s think tank. Doing this manually can be cumbersome. This is where you need to look for a backlinks monitoring and follow up tool, because it makes a lot of difference.
SEO SpyGlass is a good option. Once you create a project, you can go inside and click on Update Backlinks. Next, choose the Backlink Page Info to be updated and wait for a sec. Next, check the Links Back, and Backlink Status sections.
Here, you can find whichever backlinks have ceased to exist. Attempt to get them restored.
Backlinks that have been turned to nofollow also deserve a follow-up from your side.
Most importantly, you want to send out thank you emails to those who’ve linked to you, to start a possibly beneficial relationship.
More Local SEO Backlinking Methods
Here, I’ll cover some more interesting and effective backlinking methods.
Participate in local business competitions: That’s because most of the organizers publish a list of nominees and winners online, which can get you a great backlink.
Focused Promo Offers: Create discounts and special offers for your city’s most loved communities (war veterans, children, women entrepreneurs, etc.), and reach out to online magazines for coverage (not many want to be left out of a chance to connect with a highly respected and loved social group). They get discounts; you get backlinks.
Connect with local bloggers: Find a way to do something great for them, and float the idea of a business mention with a link on their blogs.
Use your local knowledge to create a stunning resource page: For instance; an interior decor service business can do a piece on the most artistically designed and well-kept hotels in the town). This makes your resource page a great way for other non-competing but related local businesses to flaunt themselves (giving you a backlink), and can also get you backlinks from websites that curate content with local flavors.
Backlinks will do your local SEO campaigns a world of good. Begin with the methods shared in this guide and master the art of local SEO in 2018.