A guide to natural local link building for SEO

The local link-building strategy is an essential strategy for small businesses looking to grow their online presence. And it doesn't have to be hard! This blog post will provide you with a few ideas to start building links, build a backlink profile from local sources, and increase your local search rankings.

Compared to organic link building, where we look a lot at the authority of the linking website and whether the types of links to obtain, local links also focus on geographical relevance.

First things first, why are links important in SEO

In the search engine optimization world, links are essential for several reasons. First and foremost, they act as votes from someone to your page who believes it deserves to be there. They're essentially a "vote" that tells Google you should rank higher in local searches due to their high authority (links with trust).

How many backlinks should I get?

There's no set number for how many links you need to rank higher in local searches. First, it is pretty common to analyze your competition's backlinks to understand how competitive your industry and a specific keyword are. At the same time, you should keep in mind that links can be a resource-heavy tactic.

It's essential to start building your base of backlinks early on and not leave it until later. The more organic link growth you have before launching into other aggressive tactics like guest posting or local directory listings, the better off you'll be overall

And most importantly, not all backlinks are created equal....

Quality links will always outweigh quantity. Find relevant sites to link from specific to your industry to provide you high-quality traffic and assist in building your domain authority. Gone are the days of blog network linking for fast backlinking - the search engines have evolved, and at best will ignore them link schemes; at worst, they will punish you and lower your rankings.

Ok, now onto the tactics......

1 : Citations

Citations are low-level links but easy to acquire. A Citation is different from a conventional link because it primarily references your name, address, and phone number. Typical samples of citation websites are Yelp, Angie's List, and Google Maps, & yelp.

While they do not carry the same weight, they used to. Citation building is still a foundational item in local SEO.

2: Local link building opportunities

If you are a local business, there is no shortage of opportunities for linking. The chamber of commerce is one example, but there are many others, such as local business networks, local government websites, and non-profit organizations.

The key is to find the relevant ones to your work or services for the link to be valuable.

You can easily find local business networks by searching on the internet for "your town" + local business networks/listings.

3: Sponsorship opportunities

Sponsorships opportunities can build site authority and build brand awareness because it shows that you are active in the community. 

Here are a few ideas to get you started: 

  • Local charity events, such as walkathons
  • Food truck festivals
  • Outdoor public events.
  • Concerts

These types of opportunities can extend your reach beyond just people who live in your area. Get creative!

You can easily find local sponsorship opportunities by searching for "your town" + local sponsorship opportunities.

4: Local influencers and bloggers

Local influencers are a great way to gain links and increase brand awareness. Influencers are people who can sway opinion in your favor with their followers.

Local bloggers may not be as influential nationally, but they can still reach potential customers locally; this could also lead to national blogging opportunities down the line! A prime example is food bloggers that your new restaurant could reach out to for a review.

If you can contact local bloggers, try offering them something of value for free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review on their blog or social media account.

5: Watch your online brand mentions

Monitoring your mentions is an easy way to find opportunities by others proactively mentioning you already. Tools like SEMrush have brand mention monitoring built-in. Brand monitoring tools work by automatically scouring the web for mentions of your company, and many of them can filter by location, saving you from sifting through irrelevant local chatter. With a little bit of outreach, they are generally willing to update their content to include a link.

6: Press Releases for local coverage

Another easy way to get local coverage is by submitting press releases about your company. These releases are typically sent to local news organizations and have a high success rate of getting published. Press releases are also relatively easy to write, but they should be written in an objective tone that is not promotional or self-serving.

7: Backlink gap reporting

More so a strategy to reveal additional opportunities, a backlink gap is often used for sizeable organic SEO campaigns. Backlink gap reports are generated by first finding your competitors and then compiling a list of backlinks that they already have. These backlink reports may reveal various link opportunities from sites that have already shown a willingness to link to your business niche.

To get a backlink gap report, you can use tools like Majestic, Ahrefs, or Moz. Keep in mind that these tools all have a different database and will often return mixed results, so it is best to run multiple reports for the complete picture of your competitor backlinking.

8: Social sharing

A social share is a post on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn that has been liked/shared by another user. These shares can be done either in text posts with images and videos for better engagement or just direct links to your site.

While social share links are "no-follow" and do not carry much weight for SEO authority, do not forget that building brand awareness will drive traffic and provide ongoing customers through various other channels. 

9: Niche directories

A niche directory is a website that offers a directory of sites and small businesses in specific niches. These directories can be extremely valuable if the topic is relevant to your business and directory links are pretty simple to acquire

Similar to a citation, niche directories offer limited information (NAP), but the directory will likely have contact information for each category & you should use these as an opportunity for exposure and drive additional traffic to your website. While citations generally contain any business category, niche directories tend to target specific industries such as an attorney or restaurant.

10: Create shareable content

Content is still king in SEO. Providing sharable content to users is a great way to answer your customer's questions and build organic authority in your niche.

A blog post can be a fantastic piece of sharable content - it has the power to make you a thought leader in your industry and establish yourself as an expert (which means more links naturally).

11: Local job listing websites

Are you looking to hire? Local job listing websites can provide an easy, relevant link to your website. Compared to something like indeed, local job boards will hold a little more local rank value due to their geographical interest.

12: Host Local Events

Hosting local events is a great way to get links! Local events are often sponsored by local businesses and can provide you with natural opportunities for in-person conversations about your business.

13: Guest Posting

Your business has a lot to offer, and everyone is looking for content. Guest posting for other local companies can be a great way to get your content published into relevant local business websites and build a link back to your site as the author. Build site authority, create a network, be seen as the expert, and increase your traffic sources. A win-win tactic & increased referral traffic

There are several local link-building strategies that you can use to increase your website's rank for local SEO. The majority of the tactics suggested above take time, patience, and consistency but will yield great results for any small business looking to build its online presence and backlink profile. If you have followed these tips, then there is no doubt that your local website presence is on the rise, and so is your business.

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Hero image - Photo by Artem Gavrysh on Unsplash

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