Want to figure out how your local business can outrank your direct competitors online? Then you should definitely master local link building.
Local link building is an SEO strategy that gets your local business website links from other relevant local business websites to boost your rankings, traffic and eventually sales.
This guide outlines what local backlinks are, why they’re valuable, and how you can earn them.
First, let's differentiate between local backlinks and local citations. This will help better understand how to earn local backlinks later in this guide.
A backlink is a link from another website to your website. They can come from blogs, forums, and other places around the web. Backlinks are valuable because they earn you “link juice” from the linking domains. This “juice” gets you traffic, exposure to new audiences, higher rankings, and higher domain authority.
Local backlinks are links coming from sources specific to your service area, or to your local target audience. Sources may include online business directories or local newspaper websites.
In the example above, you will notice a niche edit highlighted in blue. That’s a local backlink published on a local website.
The reason local backlinks are important is that they signal Google to boost your website rankings in your service area.
So let’s say you’re a plumber based in Tampa, Florida. You want to appear in top search results when Tampa residents are typing “plumber services in Tampa” term in Google. In order to improve your site rankings and show up in the top positions you need to drive relevant local backlinks.
Local citations are listings of a local business’ NAP data - name, address, phone number - and other essential information such as key offerings, customer reviews, and sometimes photographs.
Local citations are often listed in online directories. For example, the citation above is posted on Yelp. Mainly citations include a link to your website. In which case, you would have a citation with a backlink.
Directories like the Better Business Bureau and the Whitepages are a great way to earn links. But, these sites aren’t locally focused. To earn local backlinks, we recommend directories specific to your service area.
First, head over to a search engine like Google. Search for your city, state, or service area location and the term “business directory.” Your search could look like any of these:
This method is nearly identical to the one outlined above. However, instead of searching by location, search by industry. Here are some example search terms:
Again, click through the first few search results. You will notice listings with NAP info. You will also notice most industry-specific directories let you filter results by location. For example, this listing for plumbing services:
If you want to strengthen your backlink profile, there are some strategies you can try. Below are the top eleven strategies we recommend to earn quality local backlinks.
As mentioned earlier, local backlinks can come from social media accounts. Further, linking to your website from different social media platforms can help strengthen your backlink profile. We recommend you create, complete, or optimize profiles across these platforms:
Be sure to include info like:
This is the easiest and fastest way to boost your backlink profile because you can set these up yourself.
Many locally-focused websites feature round-ups that highlight the best businesses around town. Often these round-ups revolve around a specific niche, interest, or industry. For example, January Round-Up: Best Coworking Spots In Dallas, TX.
Alternatively, local resource pages usually list relevant and helpful links. For example, a local vegetarian food blogger may have a resource page. The page is dedicated to listing (and linking back to) local vegetarian restaurants.
In either case, contact the people who run such websites and ask to be included in upcoming lists. Remember to include value in your request. We recommend pointing out why a link to your website would be helpful to the website’s readers.
Many local niche-related websites offer guest post opportunities. This is when you write content for another company’s website. Such posts usually contain a link back to your website in exchange for the “free” content. You may have also heard this referred to as guest blogging.
For example, let’s say that you own a parenting brand (or a “mommy brand”). You can find and contact locally-based websites related to your brand. Like the example above, many companies have a place to submit guest posts directly from their website.
Many city-level and state-level communities have local bloggers. They're usually writers who are dedicated to covering certain topics, niches, or industries.
In which case, search social media and the internet for local bloggers. Be sure they’re relevant to your business or industry. Then, connect with them to find opportunities to build local links.
Many local news websites publish press releases and other stories about local businesses. For example, here’s a local news outlet in Los Angeles:
So let’s say your business is based out of Los Angeles. Search for local news websites (like the one above) and reach out. Ask the website to share your press releases, local news stories, and so on. Always include backlinks in everything you share with local news outlets.
Local award submissions are another great way to build links in your local area. For example, the Los Angeles Times below:
First, research local news outlets and award organizations in your region. Then, search their websites for award opportunities in your industry. Apply for every relevant award.
In most cases, when companies win local awards, they earn more local attention and press opportunities. With those opportunities usually come local backlinks.
Sponsoring local events can help build stronger local backlink profiles as well. This isn’t limited to events, either. Businesses can also sponsor other local organizations like nonprofits and charities.
Most local events have websites that feature a list of donors, sponsors, or partners. These acknowledgment lists usually include links back to each sponsor’s website.
Not to mention, local event sponsorship comes with other benefits. For example, increased brand exposure, networking opportunities, and possible media coverage.
When you participate in local scholarship programs, you have an opportunity to get mentioned in .edu websites. Note that primarily local college and university websites are trusted by Google and typically have high domain rate.
Below is an example of a local scholarship program funded by a law agency in Ohio:
Here is a backlink that the company got through the scholarship outreach campaign:
Similar to local event sponsorships, scholarships can provide other benefits as well. For example, you may earn media coverage (which can also earn local backlinks). Such programs also help boost brand awareness in your community.
Many local government sites and local news sites have event calendars. Plus, government and news sites often have high domain authority. As we already know, the higher domain authority the more valuable the backlink.
By simply hosting an event, and having event pages on those websites, you can guarantee a backlink. This is true whether anyone attends your event or not (or if you host a virtual event).
Like college and government sites, online job boards usually have high domain authorities. You can earn backlinks by posting a job opportunity on a local online job board. In the job listing, be sure to include a link back to your own website.
You can also list internship announcements on many educational and institutional websites. By including backlinks in those listings, you earn yet another local backlink.
Partner with other local businesses to earn local backlinks from their website. Make sure they're relevant to your business, and that they aren't competitors.
For example, let’s say you’re a local personal injury attorney. Reach out to local motorcycle repair shops, insurance agencies, or healthcare providers. Introduce your business and explain why it would be valuable to exchange backlinks.
It’s likely there’s a lot of overlap between your audience, and theirs. So when you secure a backlink from their website, your profile gets boosted. Plus, you get access to new potential clients.
Local link building can be a challenge, but only if you don’t have the right strategy. Here’s a quick recap of everything we’ve covered:
Ready to learn more about local backlinks and SEO? Visit the Loopex Digital blog for more information. Remember to bookmark the blog and check back frequently for updates.
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