Local link building is an essential strategy for businesses with a physical location e.g. a shop or office that clients visit, or that have a specific geographic service area, such as a plumber working throughout London.
Our local SEO package helps businesses that want to dominate the search results for a specific area build local backlinks at scale quickly and painlessly.
Acquiring backlinks, mentions and citations that relate to your geographic position helps your site appear for location specific searches and lets the local community know that that you exist in their area. This is especially important for businesses giving services or products on site like hairdressers, make-up artists, doctors, dentists, lawyers etc.
So, if you live in Brighton and are looking for a solicitor, the businesses appearing at the top of Google’s results will be those that make their location clear and have built up their local backlink profile.
This is an excellent example of how local backlinks combined with on-page SEO can help you rank, but those are not all benefits of local backlinks. We will discuss more benefits later, but for now, let’s focus on the main types of local backlinks and strategies that will help you earn them.
What are the benefits of Local Link Building?
Local link building optimises your website for local searches, which should eventually result in more traffic from your area. Suppose local websites, such as local newspapers, influencers, and directories, mention your business. In that case, Google will get a signal that you are essential to that local community and offer your content in inquiries before content from some websites that might be “stronger” than yours.
This means that if you have backlinks from reputable local websites, you will get an advantage on Google for people who are geographically speaking near your business when searching for answers.
According to MOZ, the most important ranking factors for local searches are:
- Link signals such as inbound anchor text, linking domain authority and linking domain quality
- On-page signals such as the presence of NAP (name, address, phone), keywords in title, domain authority etc.
- Behavioural signals such as click-through rates, check-ins
- Review factors based on Google reviews and other review platforms
All these factors will be considered when trying to improve your domain and page ratings and get more organic traffic for your business.
Now, let’s explore how to make the difference between local citations and local backlinks.
What is a local backlink?
There are many types of backlinks, and the main thing that creates the difference between backlinks is their origin. As we learned previously, more expensive backlinks come from websites with a good internet reputation and high domain ratings. Local backlinks can come from those websites or those that are not as good and expensive.
Their main characteristic is that they are from websites important in the target market or a specific location. They can come from a social media profile that interests a specific community or from an influencer who speaks only for his fans in a specific language. For local backlinks, context is the most important, and you can create some precious local backlinks just by understanding what your target audience reads and visits while they are scrolling through the internet.
What is the difference between backlinks and citations?
Local backlinks and citations are helping your business rank higher on Google, but there are a few differences between them. Local backlinks are regular mentions of your business on websites, while local citations are mentions which contain the name, phone number and address of your business. Local citations can be found on yellow pages and niche directories.
So if you, for example, search for a plumber in Nottingham, you will see that there aren’t many plumber websites. Most of the results will come from specific directories because of local citations.
As we will explain later how to get local backlinks, it is also crucial to explain how to get local citations. You can submit your most important data to websites that serve as data aggregators, and they will update many listings and citations at once.
Or you can find big important websites such as social media websites, maps, and similar websites where you can add data about your business for free. Make sure that the data you add on each is the same, as that will prove to Google that your citation is correct. As always, the best strategy is to check what your competitors are doing and where they appear, then do a bit more.
How many backlinks do I need to rank locally?
The good news is that, according to Ahrefs, many local businesses don’t need a ton of backlinks to get a solid ranking. To understand how many backlinks you need for a particular keyword that is localised, you can check Keywords Explorer on Ahrefs. When you get the list of websites competing for the keyword you are interested in, check the domains column.
In this case, you will see that you will need more than 26 backlinks. Also, as your competitors for the word “pest control Brighton” don’t have any backlinks, you might see changes with fewer backlinks.
Now that you know how to explore how many local backlinks you need, it is time to check the dominant backlink strategies that will help you secure a good position on Google.
What are the best local backlink strategies?
Depending on the budget, you will be able to use different strategies. That is why we wanted to mention first strategies that will be less expensive and, in the end, strategies that can be done if you use paid tools such as Semrush, Moz or Ahrefs.
Also, don’t forget that you can cut costs if you sign link-building services to agencies such as Dream Digital that are already experienced in this field.
Now without further ado, let’s check out the essential local backlink strategies.
1.Create Social Media Profiles
One of the first steps when starting a new business venture is opening social media profiles that will lead to your website. This can be great for opening new channels of communication with your audience but also as a validation of your name, address and phone numbers. We mentioned this above when we wrote about citations.
Our main advice is to build your profile on Google My Business, as it will help people find you on Google maps and help you rank better.
It might look like a good idea to open LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tik Tok, but you have to be careful about that. Some experts suggest creating only social media profiles you will post regularly. That way, you will be able to continually offer your clients the latest updates about your business, and they will be able to get answers fast and improve customer experience.
So, start with the social media platforms that suit best the niche of business in which you work, and stay present there. People will get accustomed to getting information about you there, and if they google you, they will easily find your website through these platforms.
2. Find Local Business Directories
This strategy is the basic strategy for building a local backlink profile. To start with it, you need to search for local business directories. And what are those, you might ask?
A business directory is a website that contains lists of businesses with specific geography or within a specific niche. There are many free directories, but be careful, as some require a certain fee for uploading your listing.
To find directories, you need to type what kind of companies you are looking for and add the word “directory”.
If you check out this example below, you can see that the first three results are directories for beauty. With the help of Ahrefs chrome extension, we have the opportunity to check domain ratings and traffic for those results. If we have a client in the beauty industry, we would advise them to go with the first, as it has a solid domain rating and organic traffic. The third result is not bad, but we can keep searching for more suitable directories.
After you find the directory suitable for your business, you will get the opportunity to search the website. If you are already listed, you can claim your account, and if you are not mentioned, you will get the opportunity to create your directory.
Don’t forget to use link checker extensions that show you if the backlinks in the directories are do-follow or no-follow. If the backlink is no-follow, you will not receive significant domain improvement by building backlinks even on the directories with the highest domain ratings.
3. Find Industry-Specific Directories
A great tip for finding industry-specific directories is by free advanced search on Google. You just need to type in keywords, location, and additional information, and you will be able to do some extensive research and find better websites.
You can type a niche business or some keyword that businesses in that niche often use.
Remember that those industry-specific directories can have higher prices, but sometimes, you must decide whether the directory is worth the money.
Simply check organic traffic, and check the domain rating. Also, don’t forget to check if their keywords have any commercial value. This value is also a good sign that you should invest a few dollars more into that directory when asked.
4. Local news sites and press
If your business is a part of a wider trend, or if you are doing something that no one is doing, don’t wait to tell that to your local press. Find the most popular news publications, and send them a well-crafted email with a story. If you can, include the specific statistics, or just let them know you are available for an interview.
As some cities have bigger audiences, not all will jump to your amazing story and publish it. You need to analyse previous content and point out some clickable insights. For example, if you are selling backyard equipment, you can explain which one is the best equipment if you want to grow a rooftop garden like a celebrity. Connect your service with someone famous or something happening at the moment, and wait for those beautiful local backlinks.
Getting mentions and backlinks on popular local websites might be expensive in some cases, but it is definitely worth trying to get to know the editors of local publications. That way, the local community will get to know you, especially if you create a memorable story.
5. Events and scholarships for local backlinks
We have more ideas for you if you don’t have a super specific business, or if it is hard to think about the story that local journalists will pick up and publish. Think about some kind of an event that might be beneficial for your local audience, and speak for the media about it. You can educate people or invite professionals to a panel that can be helpful for the community you live in. If you don’t have the time to organise that, you can sponsor these events and get in front of the locals.
Also, if your company is big enough to have scholarship options, go and mention that to local news websites. University websites usually have high domain ratings. If they pick up this news about the scholarship your company provides, you will get a significant amount of backlinks for your local business. Eventually, you will help the community and get great press and some fantastic local backlinks.
6. Get Mentioned By Local Influencers
For some audiences, influencers on social media are more important than local newspapers for building authority and excellent backlinks. This strategy is straightforward as it gets. You need to investigate who are the people that your ideal customer would follow on social media and work on building a relationship with them. If your budget is tight, you can offer collaboration, such as a giveaway or let the influencer use your services and write a review about it with a backlink to your business.
It is also crucial here not to rely on the number of followers but on their audience engagement. And you can check that on their profiles quickly, but it will take more time than checking the number of followers. Focus on their posts’ comments and how they interact with their audience. If the audience leaves supporting comments and asks questions about the products they are promoting, you can ask them to collaborate.
7. Turn Brand Mentions into Backlinks
Before you search for brand mentions that you can turn into backlinks, we suggest creating a list of words that might connect with your business. These words can be the name of your founder, store, or most popular products or services.
For example, if Apple is working on turning brand mentions into backlinks, they would have to enlist all popular Apple products like iPads, iPhones, apple music, apple watch, iCloud etc.
If Nike was to do this, they would enlist things like “just do it”, air max, Jordan shoes etc. So you should also consider the slogans you used and remember what people call your products.
When you create this list, you can use SEO content tools to find if there were unlinked mentions of your brand online. If that happens, you need to prepare an outreach and find the editor’s email address for that publication.
8. Monitor Competitor’s Backlinks
One of the basic link-building strategies is constantly checking on your competitors. The same goes for local links. To monitor your competitor’s backlinks, you will need an SEO tool.
Moz, Ahrefs or Semrush can help you find out when backlinks were created, and you will be able to find out in which context they were placed on websites. It might be overwhelming if you check the whole list, so check only those with local names or some you recognise as local publishers. Find out what kind of article they mentioned, and check if you can produce something similar.
Don’t be afraid to say that in your email outreach if you can. That way, the editor will understand better what you want, and they will reply if that mention is possible.
9. Reclaim lost backlinks
The internet is a dynamic place where things change rapidly. After all that hard link building work, it might happen that it disappears due to changes on the website where you have built a backlink. The reasons may vary, but the most often is the one where you lose your backlink when the page on which it was gets deleted.
Understandably, you can’t go back to all the links you have ever built from time to time, and it is best to use SEO tools to keep track.
For example, if you are using Ahrefs, you need to paste your domain URL in the site explorer search bar and find the best by links report. In your filter list, check the option for “404 not found”. To sort the list, pick referring domains column, and start contacting websites that no longer link to your website.
From our experience, it usually turns out that they would gladly return your backlink if you had a previous collaboration.
10. Don’t forget internal backlinks.
As you already have a local website, you might as well use it to improve your overall domain rating by creating a good internal link structure. Check which pages are getting the most attention, and connect them with pages of your products or services. Also, don’t forget to connect all the pages on your website with their parent topics. When creating internal backlinks, you need to think about two things. The first one is to keep them do-follow so that crawlers can go through those and increase the page authority of the linked page. The second one would be to add internal links on top of your page and to be careful about the anchor text.
Try not to use the same anchor word for different landing pages on your website. Instead, use descriptive anchor text when pointing out to different pages.
Creating a perfect internal linking roadmap will keep your readers on your website longer and educate them better. And Google loves when people don’t bounce immediately from your website. If you would like to check how your internal backlinks are doing at the moment, check them out.
11. Create a Podcast
If you have already considered creating podcasts in your niche, you will be thrilled to hear that podcasts can bring you a lot of great backlinks. How does that work?
First, you need to find websites with solid rankings in your niche. When this list is made, go on and find a contact form or email on their website, and ask them to participate as a guest on your podcast.
Make sure to offer social proof in that email and to show genuine interest in talking to those business owners. After publishing the interview, ask them to link to your website when sharing the video with their audience. This way, you will get great content for your community and some link juice.
We know this is easier said than done, but we just want to ensure that we share with you all our ideas.
As you can see, many strategies exist to build local backlinks. We suggest trying them and combining those that give the best results in terms of money investment and several backlinks. Don’t go blindly into following what your competitors are doing, as it turns out sometimes that they are just experimenting.
At the end of the day, as in any type of link building, the most important is to read the latest blogs about SEO, do your research and experiment until you find the perfect formula suitable only for you. We will certainly try to educate our readers, but if you feel overwhelmed by all these SEO strategies, you can always delegate your work to experts.
If you’d to talk about local link building or are thinking about expanding upon the types of marketing activity you offer clients through the use of a local SEO white label service, please get in touch.
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