9 Easy Local Link Building Tactics
Out of all of Google’s search engine ranking factors, link building stands side-by-side with content as the most important. Despite this fact, it is one of the most underutilized practices in SEO.
This is in no small part due to how difficult it can be to acquire valuable backlinks. It’s one of the few strategies that, at least in some part, is partially out of your control. That’s why most companies tend to focus exclusively on the content and internal linking on their side.
Link building doesn’t need to be an impossible task. In this article, we’ll provide a list of 9 easy local link-building tactics you can employ, so that your site can benefit from this powerful SEO strategy.
What is Link Building in Marketing?
Link building is a marketing strategy that involves acquiring a number of webpage links from both internal and external sources to your domain. Links that direct from one page to another within your own website are referred to as internal links. Whenever another website refers to a page on your domain, this is known as a backlink.
What Are the Benefits of Link Building?
As mentioned above, acquiring a healthy number of backlinks is one of the top-ranking factors in Google search results. However, acquiring backlinks from any old site won’t suffice. Your backlinks need to come from quality, trusted sources in the eyes of Google’s algorithm. In other words, if a high-ranking website links back to your site, the algorithm sees this as a vote of confidence in your favor.
The more backlinks you acquire from these types of sources, the more authority gets shared with your domain. The trick is that you still need to create compelling content of your own and utilize best SEO practices to be worthy of that backlink. Otherwise, a link back to your website could actually harm the other domain if your website is not up to par.
In addition to being a direct ranking factor, having a link to your domain on high-traffic pages around the web will promote additional traffic to your site. Just with how you create new content pages to rank for additional keywords, the more gateways to your site that exist online, the more opportunities you have to improve your number of daily visitors.
The same concept also applies to internal linking. While internal linking won’t give you the benefits of shared confidence, it’s proven to increase the average duration of a session and the number of pages visited in a single session. This is because you are providing similar, relevant content to users in a natural way.
9 Easy Local Link Building Tactics
Now that you understand the powerful benefits of an effective link-building strategy, it’s time to examine how we can acquire local links back to our domain. Some of these will integrate seamlessly with your overall SEO strategy if you’re using best practices, while others will require some additional outreach within your community.
1. Create Content Worth Sharing
This is the most logical starting point and is one of the best ways to provide something of value in exchange for the link. Consider that the primary reason that anyone links back to a site is to share a compelling article or video they discovered. By creating interesting, unique content, you stand a better chance of seeing others spread your domain online. This applies to both individual users and other website owners that are sourcing the web for compelling content.
Excellent content should appear both on your main website pages and your blog. If your website currently does not feature a blog, you should consider creating one. It’s a personal platform that you can utilize to share a variety of content including industry news, opinions, the latest research, or other captivating topics. It’s also a premier opportunity for you to build a library of data that builds your reputation and establishes your brand as an industry thought leader.
For acquiring local backlinks, in particular, try to feature pieces regularly that are relevant to your immediate surrounding area. Be sure to feature locations, features, and values that are specific to residents in that area. Google will identify the content, how it correlates to the local area, and provide that material to users searching for your topic in that zip code and surrounding regions.
Not only will locally-relevant content provide your website a boost in local rankings, but it presents opportunities for other local websites or businesses to pick up your content and feature it if it applies to their own site. You can also take a proactive approach by reaching out to those websites yourself and presenting your content should you find natural opportunities for it to benefit you both. Any time that another site features your content (even just excerpts), you have the right to request a backlink.
2. Get Your Site Featured on High-Ranking Aggregator Websites
There are hundreds of websites online that exist primarily to aggregate local business websites that are specific to a certain industry. You can try this yourself by entering “Fort Lauderdale Marketing” or “Miami Doctors” in Google right now. This will pull up a variety of results including both direct links to specific businesses as well as directories.
Most of these aggregators provide convenient ways for you to sign your business up on their website. You’ll need to provide the appropriate proof that you own and registered the business, but doing so will earn you an easy backlink to your website. These types of sites rank high and demonstrate high authority with Google as they are designed to primarily accomplish one task. These types of backlinks will always be reliable and you should make an effort to register your website with as many of them as possible.
For other high-ranking sites, you generally can’t expect to get a backlink from a direct competitor. Doing so would be counterintuitive as it would direct their website traffic to yours, possibly resulting in lost business. Instead, high-ranking websites that deal with a similar subject matter, but do not necessarily sell the products or services you do, could still present a possibility to feature your content on their site as discussed above.
3. Fix the 404 Errors on Your Website
Many website owners make the mistake of failing to correct 404 errors found on their website. A 404 error is whenever a browser makes contact with the website server, but the server is unable to find the content being requested through the hyperlink. This is most commonly the result of the page no longer existing or the content being moved to a slightly altered URL.
The reason this often gets overlooked is because they do not negatively impact your SEO. Google explicitly states in their guidelines: “404’s don’t harm your site’s indexing or ranking.” Additionally, a 404 will likely not be very common on your end so long as you are managing your website and updating your links appropriately when changing URLs.
However, a 404 does have an impact when another site backlinks to your site and vice versa. For example, if you backlink to an education article on a peer website, and that page returns a 404, it can then hurt your SEO. Likewise, if a website is giving you a backlink to a page that no longer exists, it hurts their SEO and you also do not gain the value offered through the backlink.
While fixing the URLs causing 404s on your own site is easy enough to fix, it can possibly prove a challenge to fix backlinks found on other websites. The simplest method is to simply email the website owner and explain the situation. By having them update their backlink to the correct URL, you will both benefit as you gain back the link and the referring website will no longer be harming their site’s SEO.
Alternatively, you can set up a 301 redirect in the event that you cannot get the webmaster to update the URL. This will prove necessary if a piece of content on your site goes viral, for example. Instead of attempting to do the impossible and fix every single referring hyperlink, you can set up a permanent 301 redirect that sends all users attempting to access the nonexistent page to the correct one.
Though it can take the server a bit longer to process the request, Google does not hold this against you as you cannot reasonably be held accountable for every broken URL that exists online. Therefore, you can feel free to set up as many 301 redirects as necessary so long as the situation calls for it. Once those links begin directing users back to your website, you’ll retain the value previously gained from those hard-earned backlinks.
4. Sign Up for Online Directory Listings
Similar to the aggregators mentioned in tactic two, the internet features a wide number of local directories that categorize and list businesses by the industry for their users. These function as search engines that list out addresses, phone numbers, emails, business hours, customer testimonials, and much more. They are excellent resources for managing your reputation online.
They’re also a quick and easy way to acquire a number of backlinks from high-ranking website domains. Examples of these sites include Yelp, Foursquare, Yellow Pages, Apple Maps, and Google My Business. A complete and optimized GMB profile also offers the potential to see your website featured in the local pack within Google search results. This shows the three most relevant businesses above all search results including paid advertisements.
Local directory listings can boost traffic to your website through additional channels, drive your call and email volume, and pinpoint your exact map location to users that prefer to do business in person.
5. Analyze Your Competitors’ Link Building Strategies
Every high-quality SEO strategy involves some level of competitor research. These are not necessarily similar brands that sell the same products or services as your brand. Instead, they are the websites that are vying for the same keyword search rankings that your website is through content marketing, link building, and paid advertisements.
Many SEO tools will provide ways for you to check on competitor backlinks including SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Ubersuggest. Most of these backlinks will primarily consist of local directories and aggregators like we mentioned above in our previous tactics. What remains will likely be blogging networks or other local organizations. You’ll also be able to view how much traffic they’re gaining from each backlink to determine which ones actually get results.
Rather than viewing the backlinks your competitors have as lost opportunities, look at them as a blueprint of which ones to pursue and which ones aren’t worth your time. Remember that these referring domains are in the business of providing great content to their visitors, not partnering with or promoting any one business. If you see that a domain is channeling high amounts of traffic to a competitor, check out their site and look for opportunities to collaborate and earn your domain a valuable backlink.
Analyzing competitor backlink strategies will not only point out the high-value referring domains but will also show you what they’re actually doing to earn those backlinks. This can vary depending upon your industry. If guest blogging seems to perform well for your peers, then you should dedicate some of your team’s efforts into creating powerful content that is unique and exclusive for those referring domains.
However, don’t make the mistake of cutting corners on your approach. Google both values backlinks and understands that businesses will look for the cheapest, quickest way possible to acquire them. Ensure that content you feature on other sites is distinct, of high quality, and is appropriate for that referring website to feature. Otherwise, these types of backlinks will do very little to boost your SEO.
6. Don’t Forget About Your Internal Links
If you search the web to learn about backlinks and internal links, you’ll find compelling arguments about which is stronger. The truth is that both very much have their place in SEO and support your website in different ways. While high-quality backlinks are seen as a transference of trust from one domain to the other, internal links help search algorithms better understand the layout of content on your website.
The primary focus of your internal links should be on pages deep within the site layout, primarily blog pages. This is because your core website pages already have a clearly identified navigational map at the top of the website. In addition to this, your home page is already the most likely to receive plenty of links from other sources.
You also do not want to make the mistake of linking too often to your Contact page. This page usually serves one purpose – to provide or collect contact details. It generally does not contain a high amount of SEO-optimized content and will do very little to boost your site’s overall SEO value.
Instead, you want to use your internal links to help Google’s search algorithm understand how your different content pages relate to one another. This creates an interconnected map or web, which Google can use to get a complete picture of what your brand offers and how it is unique from other websites that deal with similar content. You can also manually communicate which pages you want to have a higher value but linking back to that page more often within your website.
However, be sure to avoid link stuffing and consider ways to utilize internal links in a way that feels natural to the reader. For example, if an article touches on a topic that relates to, but isn’t critical to the main subject, you can provide an internal link to an article that explores that mentioned topic further. You are merely suggesting the opportunity to learn more to the reader while mapping out how the two topics relate to one another to the search algorithm.
7. Leverage Social Media for Additional Link Building
Social media is all about building connections. Unfortunately, businesses fail to respect or make time to leverage social media as a marketing strategy effectively. You’ve likely been witness to countless automated posts that appear robotic, lifeless, and automated. That’s because they are.
Instead, a great social media strategy requires a proactive approach to building connections just as you would in your day-to-day life. The only difference is that your goal is to connect with like-minded brands, outlets, bloggers, and influencers that can help get the word out about your website’s content. The question is, how can you use social media to start gaining new backlinks?
The simplest way is to start engaging with the content shared by the people you want to follow you. This includes commenting, liking, sharing, and doing other things that can help them drive their own engagement. The people managing those social media accounts will notice and, if they’re also proactive, start digging into your website and brand.
If those social media accounts take notice of your content and find it worthy of sharing, they may do so without any additional work. In most cases, you’ll need to do some additional outreach and ask about opportunities to develop a mutually beneficial relationship for both of you. You won’t only be investing in those relationships, but can gain benefits by seeing your content widely shared by their followers, and so on. With a genuine, organic strategy, everyone can win on social media.
You can also get more eyes on your content pages by making sure to leverage hashtags and trending topics when appropriate. However, don’t make the mistake of forcing your content into areas of social media where it doesn’t really belong. Social media users are aware of brands online, and you can develop a bad reputation quickly for dishonesty and deceptiveness. It’s easy to make this mistake, but much harder to undo the damage once it’s done.
8. Sponsor Local Activity Groups or Teams
Your local community has numerous link-building opportunities waiting for the right business to approach them. Consider the number of local communities and groups that require funding and sponsorships in order to provide meaningful experiences to children, students, athletes, and more. Most of these groups and organizations utilize one or more business partnerships to accomplish this.
In exchange, you receive premium local advertising online and offline by acting as a sponsor for these groups. Consider this is a low-cost addition to your marketing budget that helps spread brand awareness while simultaneously aiding your community in a meaningful way. In return for that sponsorship, you can generally work out agreements to see your business listed as a sponsor on their website, which earns you a backlink.
Serving as a benefactor to the community may also in some cases earn you a spotlight with local newspapers or magazines that need to report on the latest community happenings. It relies on the same principle as content sharing online. By providing something of value that you have to others in need, they can provide something of value back to your brand and everybody wins.
9. Guest Blog for Other High-Ranking Websites
This is another link-building strategy that focuses on social outreach. Rather than working out a partnership or dealing with another website, you can offer your services to provide exclusive, unique content that gets posted to their domain only. As long as you utilize your brand, your resume, and your expertise, webmasters may be thrilled at the opportunity to have a local expert create valuable content that they may not be able to create themselves.
This works both at the local level and at the international level online. You may have seen examples of guest blogs when visiting one of your favorite news or blogging networks. You can identify a guest article by looking for a brief excerpt that highlights the author, briefly describes their background and links back to their website. While you won’t get to use the content for your own domain, you do not only get the backlink, but you get a brand-new platform to sell yourself by offering your unique insights as an expert in the industry.
Guest blogging can not only be an effective way to earn backlinks from trusted sources but can also help you acquire a following from audiences mutually interested in both parties. Some of the best content creators online are able to amass a huge following simply by looking for opportunities to spread their name and brand wherever they possibly can online.
You can also look for high-profile content creators and work out arrangements to guest blog for one another. This connection not only gets you both access to new and distinct content but can further expand the target audience for both parties without any real drawbacks or downsides to your overall marketing strategy.
Use These 9 Easy Local Link Building Tactics to Boost Your SEO Now!
Don’t make the mistake of overlooking link building. Collecting a number of backlinks and internal links where appropriate can prove to be a foundational piece of a successful SEO strategy. Be sure to stick to the fundamentals that we know work and slowly expand your reach to others online so long as your content team and social media teams have the means to do so.
At its core, the secret to acquiring quality backlinks is simply by creating high-quality content that’s worthy of reading and sharing. So long as you stick to best SEO practices and ensure that your domain is healthy in the eyes of Google’s search algorithm, other webmasters will likely be happy to explore opportunities that benefit both parties and will help you climb in the search rankings.