Local SEO Link Building
This guide was originally published in 2018 and updated on 12-29-2021.
Not so long ago, local SEO (search engine optimization) relied heavily upon citations.
Recent studies have indicated that a mere fraction of citations built will ever get indexed, especially those on second- and third-tier sites. Compound that with the fact that some local results mirror organic rankings, while others bear no resemblance, and you can see that local SEO is quickly growing in complexity.
This is not to say that local citations including accurate NAP (name, address, and phone number) are not useful, rather that you need to be smart about where to spend your time.
Local SEO vs. Organic
Just like its organic counterpart, local SEO has been subject to countless updates, leaving local businesses frustrated. As recently as late 2021, Google rolled out another local SEO update. This latest local SEO update is rumored to be one of the largest in the past few years – with a focus on proximity.
As with organic SEO, links are not the only thing you need to succeed. Local SEO landing pages, how well your Google my business profile is optimized, your reviews, and your proximity to the searcher all come into play. However, when used as part of your overall local SEO strategy, link building can catapult your site above the competition.
Leveraging Local Links
The right link building strategy will help you gain links from local press, local businesses, and reputable local business directories. These local links, combined with publishing local content will help your GMB (Google My Business Listing) rank higher in the map pack. With improved local search rankings comes more traffic and leads from local users.
Local SEO Link Building Tactics
Local SEO link building helps to improve your site authority, while creating geo-relevancy signals to Google. Today, we are going to discuss a few effective ways to acquire quality local links.
Niche Specific Sites
Not all links built for local SEO need to be location specific. Last week, I briefly mentioned that a link should provide one or more of the following signals: power, popularity or relevancy.
In this case, niche specific sites could cover two signals. Let’s say you run an architectural firm located in New York and your site gets linked to from archdaily.com. That site is relevant to your business and the site is very powerful, so you have power and relevancy signals. That would make a great link.
As another example, let’s say you find a site that covers architectural history in your city. This site may not provide power signals, especially if the site is more of a hobby site, but it is a very strong source of relevancy signals.
Although different, both links are niche specific and could be very good links for your local search engine optimization campaign.
Location Specific Lifestyle Sites
In the above example, you can see that this site only has 15 unique referring domains pointing to it, so it’s not a “powerful” site in the traditional sense. However, franklinlifestyle.com is extremely geographically focused to a single town. This site is great as a relevancy signal, in this case it is geo-relevancy instead of niche relevancy.
If you are running a local campaign and you run across sites like this one, don’t be too quick to dismiss them based upon metrics alone or you would miss out on some good local links.
Local Sponsorship Opportunities
For organic SEO, sponsorship and scholarship style links are overused and often low quality, making them all but worthless. When it comes to local SEO though, this type of link building still works, so long as you use it to create the right signal.
If your business is active in the local community, you can very naturally pick up a handful of links from local sites, here are some ideas for event and activities to sponsor:
- Little league baseball teams
- Local soccer teams
- Citywide cleanup events
- Sponsor a city 5K run
If you take just a few moments to jot down some events and activities that happen in your area, you could probably come up with several great opportunities to get involved in your community and increase the geo-relevancy of your site with Google.
Local Business Listings
No, I am not telling you to submit your site to a bunch of low-quality Web directories. You should, however, look for business directories specific to your city. Here are a few ideas to get location specific directories listings that don’t suck:
- Join the Chamber of Commerce.
- Join the Better Business Bureau.
- Look for business incubator programs from local colleges (great for startups)
- Look for local networking groups, mastermind groups or niche specific organizations.
In addition, you could also use a simple search like “your city” + “business directories” to uncover sites in your area that you may not have thought of.
Local Businesses Need Local Links
There is no doubt that link building is every bit as important to local SEO as it is to organic. In some cases, your business may not have much local competition and you will be able to rank in the maps with just the basics.
If you find yourself getting stuck before you can break into the top three map results, implementing a local SEO link building strategy and making sure your site is properly optimized is critical. If you have a business that is getting filtered currently, boosting geo-relevancy signals can help tremendously.
Looking for help with your local SEO link building? Get in touch today.
Local SEO Link Building FAQs
When it comes to getting local links, there is a lot of confusion about what works and what doesn’t. Below we are going to cover some of the common questions we hear about local SEO link building.
What is Local SEO Link Building?
Link building is simply the act of getting other websites to link to your site. Local SEO link building is a subset of this which focuses on finding other local sites or sites that provide information about a location. As touched on above, local link building can also involve reaching out to sites in the same niche, but not necessarily the same location.
Is Local SEO Link Building Important?
Yes. Authority derived from link building is one of the most important ranking factors for organic and local search rankings. Remember, links are seen as a “vote of confidence” by Google, so the more quality sites that link to you, the more trustworthy your site appears.
How Can I Generate Backlinks for Local SEO?
Above we covered a few of the many local SEO link building tactics. Almost any method of reaching out to other local businesses, local press, or getting a link from a local publication can be effective. If you are having a had time coming up with additional ideas, here are 50 local SEO link building tactics you could try: https://loganix.com/local-link-building-tactics/
What Kind of Local Businesses Should I Consider When Planning my Local SEO link building Strategy?
One of the best things about local SEO is that you can get links from sites in different niches. If you are a local plumber for example, you could get links from local sites such as:
- Insurance companies
- Water Restoration Services
- Roofing Companies
- Landscaping/Irrigation Companies
- Remodeling Contractors
- Even the Local Bakery!
So long as you are getting mentioned by another local business, your outreach efforts are going to help with your local rankings. This is because search engines are looking at geo-relevancy as part of the GMB SEO ranking factors.
Do ‘No Follow’ Links Help with Local SEO?
Yes. As part of your overall local SEO link building strategy, no follow links can be helpful. This includes those generated from local business directory listings. Aside from SEO value, a no follow link from a local press site or local business could send referral traffic to your site.
Do I Need Local SEO Landing Pages?
Yes. Local landing pages help Google understand your service or product, along with the area you serve. Before you launch a local SEO link building campaign, it is a good idea to set up any necessary landing pages. Aside from SEO benefits, specific pages will also help local users better understand what you offer. Both Google and local customers benefit from clearly defined local SEO landing pages, so definitely take the time to make them good.
Does GMB SEO Really Generate Customers?
Local searches are one of the most effective means of reaching potential local customers. Nearly 46% of searches are location based. This means local searches are both frequent and valuable. As a local business, this is one of the best ways to gain new customers!
Should I Still Be Building Local Citations?
Yes, so long as you focus on quality citation sites, it is worthwhile. Starting with the major data aggregators is a good idea or you could use a service to build the citations for you.
How Does Content Optimization Impact Local SEO Link Building?
Remember the importance of content mentioned above? Our competitor analysis for “local SEO link building” found that it was used 18 times on average by the top ranking sites. We also identified over 40 additional terms such as “local backlinks” and “local seo landing page” that needed to be included for this post to rank.
If you are seeing this guide, then you can see first hand the impact of using competitor data to optimize your content. As a local business, trying to improve your search engine rankings, this same type of analysis can be performed to ensure your local SEO landing pages are fully optimized. Proper optimization combined with quality local backlinks will put your local business ahead of the pack.
If you plan to go it alone, take the time to create local SEO landing pages and optimize them before you attempt local SEO link building. The right content paired with quality local backlinks is a recipe for success in 2022.