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The Ultimate Local SEO Guide

Local Link Building

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Getting links to your website is as important with local SEO as it is with any other type of SEO. Many of the techniques you’d use are similar. 

This includes publishing valuable content for your audience, promoting to relevant influencers, guest posting on other blogs, and getting links on relevant resource listings. 

What distinguishes local link building from general link building is its specificity. You should aim to place your links in more locally targeted resource listings and blogs. 

Assuming you already know what valuable content is, how to promote to influencers and all the other usual things that The HOTH usually mentions. The remaining guide will give you some insight into how to find local backlinks, what local business listings links are, and everything else you should know about local link building and how to succeed.

Keep scrolling for the good stuff!

What is Local Linking and Why it is Important?

Local link building is the method of building relevant and local links to a business website. The goal is to drive organic traffic. That in turn helps to rank sites better for localized searches and appropriate map packs. 

Most of the time, local businesses don’t need a large number of links to be able to rank in a local search. You can check SERPs with tools like The HOTH Google ranking tool. That can give you a quick idea of how many backlinks you can expect to need to rank locally. 

A Backlinko study says that the number one search result in Google’s organic search results has a click-through rate of 31.7%. That’s one of the reasons it is so important for your business to rank in your localized business niche. 

Local linking is absolutely vital for ranking in Google. In fact, according to a 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors survey by Moz, backlinks are one of the main ranking factors for local SEO

So, what’s the difference between local links and local citations

Let me explain:

What is a Local Citation?

A local citation is any online mention of your business. Whether it be name, address, or even the phone number. Citations can happen with local business directories on websites, apps, or sometimes even on social media platforms. Citations help local users to find local businesses. They also impact local search engine rankings. 

Many SEO experts think that a key ranking factor for local SEO is citations. These citations appear in a ton of different places such as business directories, social media, and anywhere a user may look for local business information. Claiming these local citations or creating more of them shows Google that your business is important to your community.

How do you check your local citations?

Every consistent and accurate citation benefits your brand and boosts your local search rankings and traffic. But making sure that every single online entry of your brand can take up time and effort. 

That’s why using tools such as The HOTH’s local citation checking service, Moz Local, and Whitespark can show you exactly what you need to boost your local citations and index your local directories

Figuring out your local citations will improve your visibility, ranking, and click-through rates. 

How Do You Find Local Backlinks?

Every major local SEO map pack study shows that links are one of the most recognized ranking factors. If you want to rank your local business higher in Google then you need a link-building strategy to nail those infamous backlinks

Here are some valuable tips to give you some ideas:

  • Get links from authoritative websites
  • Win links that your competitors are using
  • Create local content
  • Nail those localized citations
  • Find as many link opportunities as you can
  • Claim unlinked brand mentions
  • Buy quality links
  • Add relevant internal links to your content 

By getting backlinks from authoritative websites, you can then boost your own authority in your niche. Authoritative websites include high traffic or .org or .edu websites that are trusted by Google already. 

Researching your competitors is an important step in understanding what your business needs to improve. After researching what you need to change to boost your traffic and sales, it would be a good idea to try and win some of those same backlinks that your competitors are benefiting from. 

Creating great content is always considered a great idea when planning your SEO strategy. However, local content would be blog posts about events or local sales. It’s good to post on social media and other platforms besides your web pages. Spreading the word via content is a good idea to boost your local backlinks

It’s important to know that a spammy website that backlinks to your website might end in a penalty. So, keep your backlinks reliable and trustworthy as much as possible. 

Claim unlinked brand mentions are a good idea. What you can do is Google search your brand name and any mentions of your business that don’t have a link attached, you can email the webmaster and ask for a link to your website. This can create connections and earn you backlinks

Internal links are also important. They show Google that your website has enough content to be relevant to your target audience for your selected keywords. 

Local Business Listings Links

Let’s head straight to what’s new: finding your locally targeted leads. Whitespark has created a list of the top 50 local citation sites by country that you can refer to.

Below are combinations of queries you can use for business listings and directories:

  • [location] business listings
  • [location] business directory
  • [location] directory
  • [business type keyword] business listings [location]
  • [business type keyword] business directory [location]
  • [business type keyword] directory [location]

For trade organizations:

  • [location] [business type keyword] alliance
  • [location] [business type keyword] association
  • [location] [business type keyword] council
  • [location] [business type keyword] society

If that comprehensive list failed to cover everything you need, you can also find more local leads by mining and researching them on Google.

The Best Strategies to Get Local Links

Local links are vital to gaining more organic foot traffic. Actually, 76% of people who search on their smartphones for something nearby visit a business within a day. That’s why metrics and gathering data are important steps to increasing your local links. 

A strategic tip would be to gather as many results of your search into a spreadsheet as possible and organize by priority—which ones to connect with first, depending on their relevance and influence.

  • Reach out to get your business listed in the most relevant business directories. (Or use our citation building service.
  • Join the most active, massive, trade-based organizations related to your business.
  • Partner with local charities, non-profit local organizations, or schools. Offer services, sponsorships, scholarships, or even an office space to host their events.
  • Participate in or spearhead community events.
  • Mine your connections to set up an interview with prominent local figures (such as elected officials) then pitch it to your local newspapers. Local sponsorships are a great idea!
  • Network and connect with local bloggers, local blogs, and other small businesses in your area. Choose which ones are the most relevant connections, and open up a link or promotion exchange.
  • Open a mentoring program, whether for the community or for local schools
  • Speak at your alma mater’s next events, or, even better, grant an interview.

Once you do any of these things, pitch the announcement or story to your local newspaper.

Why are these important?

Getting featured by any of these local resources such as local news sites may yield you some very authoritative .edu, .org, and .gov links. It also improves your organic search

One local link building case study cited on Moz, where the owner opened a local scholarship, got featured in their local paper, and even got so far as to get a link from the Wall Street Journal.

Wall Street Journal

Even better, participating actively in these local events not only gives your local SEO a boost, but will also increase your local visibility—and, if you deliver your projects right, boost your reputation within your local community

It may also increase your sales and conversion rates. ThinkWithGoogle suggests that 28% of searches for something nearby result in a purchase. 

With that said, ask yourself this question, what establishment would the locals rather support? 

The business that keeps posting about how good they are on their blog and on social media, but has yet to make any connection with their locality, or the business with an active presence and consistently makes a positive impact on the community?

Connections with a local audience, customers, and businesses are extremely important when planning your local link building strategy

What are the Benefits of Having a Local Link Building Strategy?

Local link building can aid you in improving your organic traffic and rank for keywords that are searched locally. That gets you a wider audience! As I mentioned, local link building refers to the process of getting links, brand mentions, and references from other local businesses

Here are some of the main benefits of using local link building:

  • Improvement of local traffic both online and off
  • Higher search rankings
  • Better site metrics and SEO scores
  • Better trustworthiness and domain authority
  • Increased sales, conversion, and click-through rate
  • Better B2B and customer relationships
  • Higher visibility and lower bounce rate
  • Better user engagement and more followers on social media

An improvement in local traffic is a main benefit of local link building. Your business can rank higher in SERPs, and your metrics and SEO scores will improve. 

Your business will seem more trustworthy to first-time clients and your domain authority for your business niche will improve. You may even see increased sales, CTR, and conversion rates. 

Customer and B2B business relationships will also improve because when you outreach, you will begin networking and making meaningful relationships. 

One main reason for link building is visibility and being seen by the customers and businesses you want to see you. That means a higher user engagement and more traffic.

Google Maps and Link Building

Ranking in Google Maps is an important part of SEO strategy and local link building tactics. It’s probably one of your goals if you are trying to build a good digital marketing or local marketing strategy. You want your business to rank in local search results, and that includes Google Maps. 

Backlinks are a big part of ranking in Google Maps and in their map “3-pack.” Local backlinks have an effect on ranking because they let Google know that authoritative websites in your area view your business or website as important. In fact, an Ahrefs study suggests that the most top-ranking pages get ‘followed’ backlinks from new websites at a pace of +5%-14.5% per month.

Listings from local directories have the benefit of improving the campaign’s local citations. As I mentioned above, local citations are just when other sites share your information like name, address, and number. This is commonly referred to as NAP.

The more times this information is displayed across authoritative websites, the more Google’s algorithm will recognize your website in Google search as being important in your area. That’s one of the reasons why backlinks are so vital for local link-building

Here are a few other suggestions for ranking in Google maps:

  • Google Business Profile (Previously GMB) optimization 
  • Add subcategories to your Google Business Profile
  • Build high-quality local citations
  • Optimize your website for SEO
  • Outreach to local websites for a referral
  • Get Testimonials
  • Get more Google Business Profile Reviews
  • Be careful of spammy backlinks 

Google Business Profile optimization is a good way to make sure that your business is ranked when someone locally searches for “places near me” or other local keywords such as “stores near me.” It’s a great way to get your business seen, rank, and make connections with potential customers. 

Optimizing your website for SEO is not only a good way to rank in general, but it’s a good way to prove your authority to Google. Google and your customers are who you want to impress. 

So, so creating a great piece of content and then optimizing your homepage and landing pages for customers will prove that your business is trustworthy and get you seen on local search rankings.

Outreach is one of the most effective ways for getting local backlinks. One of the benefits of searching for links locally is that you can meet your leads face to face and create great business relationships. 

Testimonials and reviews are an important part of showing local customers why your business is great. The more reviews you have on your Google Business Profile, the more legit your business looks. 

A quick tip would be to respond to each review, whether good or bad. It shows that your company cares and that makes people want to buy your products or use your services. 

In Summary 

To sum it all up, local link building is important for your local SEO strategy. Link building is the bread and butter of building a local audience that brings users to your brick and motor store and increases your online traffic. 

By doing the above steps and creating and planning a strategy, you can increase traffic, sales, conversion rates, rank in Google Maps, and even reach the top page of Google for your target keywords. 

If you need some assistance in creating a local link-building strategy, you can always schedule a meeting with one of our experts to discuss a plan that works for you!

Also, don’t forget to sign up for free and try some of our tools and resources!

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