Link building for your local business is challenging and time consuming, even with a large budget and all the resources. However, a strong link profile is an important part of being found on Google.
But what is link building…? And why is it important?
HOW TO ENSURE GOOGLE TRUSTS YOUR LOCAL BUSINESS’ WEBSITE?
ANSWER = LINK BUILDING
Google wants to show the most trustworthy and acknowledged website on the first page, because those are the website that give most value to the Google users! But how does Google decide which website they can trust and which one they cannot? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question, because there are A LOT of factors that Google takes into account. But one of the most potential trust measurements for Google is the number of links that are pointing to the website, and if these links are from other trustworthy websites. You can see each back link as a “vote” that your website is worth a visit! The higher the quality and relevancy of the backlink, the more value Google gives to this “vote”.
I hope that makes sense!
LOCAL LINK BUILDING IS ABOUT QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY
Of course, links on high-authority websites are harder to contain than links on lower quality websites. You need to develop a plan for targeting the “hard to get” links. If your competition does not have them, because they are too hard to get, your local business will benefit a lot from obtaining them! This is the approach successful businesses use to beat the competition in the search engines. After all, that is how you build a memorable brand. Set your sights on high quality links, not the low-quality ones.
How are quality links defined?
There are three major factors in identifying quality links:
- Do they drive quality traffic to your site?
- Do they help with building your brand’s reputation?
- Do they increase visibility amongst your target audience?
The majority of local link building methods mentioned below will achieve one or more of the above targets. Additional metrics to consider when defining a link’s quality include search traffic, domain rating, and how many other domains the site is linking to.
Now, let’s take a look at some common types of links to build…
Citations are online references that provide your business name, address, and phone (NAP). Similar to links pointing to your site, Google uses citations to evaluate the authority your local business has. Building both niche related and local citations will help Google to determine where your business is located, and what you offer. But ensure the NAP information is correct when building new citations! The same as the information in your Google My Business listing. Furthermore, the more local links Google detects, the better it associates your business with specific location services.
Examples of citations: Yelp, Foursquare, Cylex, dLook, AussieWeb, Hotfrog, YellowPages, TrueLocal, BrownBook, etc.
Tip: If you have a ‘green’ business model, look for eco-friendly business listings in directories.
#2 Social Bookmarking
A social bookmarking site allows users to easily share videos, blog posts, articles, images, and web pages. Begin your link building journey through searching, discovering, collecting and organising web pages through virtual bookmarks. Social media platforms like Pinterest can be used for social bookmarking, while helping to increase quality backlinks.
These are all good starting points, but we do not suggest spending too much time with social bookmarking as they don’t really meet any of the three major factors mentioned above to identify quality links.
#3 Local Media
Be creative and create a controversial story through media or local newspaper companies. For example, you can be the first “plastic free pub” in Australia and pitch your story to the news, or as a hotel, you can offer your guests free taxi rides. You can also tell your own “story”. Are you a single mum building a 6-figure business? I’m sure the local media would love to write about this! But why attract the media’s attention? The answer is simple, to build your brand’s reputation.
Generally, local media outlets have a high domain rating and domain authority. Therefore, getting a backlink or even a simple shout out from these sites is enough to help Google trust your business more. This results in a positive impact towards your overall ranking, while reaching a broad audience and building brand awareness.
Examples: The Australian, Forbes, Good Food, The Age, 9 News, The Hotelier, Local Newspapers
Nearly all cities, no matter the size, have some sort of (local) business awards. These types of awards can be sponsored by your chamber of commerce, local newspaper, or another organisation with a website. This could be “Best of” awards, or age related such as “Top 30 Under 30” or even awards based on the business type, such as “Best Law Firm” or “Best Restaurant”.
The goal here is to locate the award opportunities that would fit your business and work on getting listed. Sometimes you will only be listed by winning, but some may mention you just for being nominated.
Awards can help send referral traffic directly to your local business’ website.
Other types of links you can obtain after receiving an award…
- News publications
- Chamber of Commerce
- Major publications
#5 Local Events
Another good way to build brand awareness is through hosting local events. This can include anything from fundraisers or workshops to sporting events. It lets people in your community know you exist, and it can be a great opportunity for getting links to your website.
Hosting local events and building links on event listing websites can provide several benefits, including:
- Attained rather easily
- May include NAP information
Examples of events you could organise… Live music events, workshops, speaking events, webinars, tastings, free sporting classes, etc.
Where could get listed? Evensi, Eventbrite, local community websites, Eventfinda, online university boards, etc.
#6 Local Guest Blog Posts
If your business is in or around a well populated city, there may be a large population of bloggers in the area. These can include pet bloggers, mom bloggers, travel bloggers, health bloggers or food bloggers to name a few. You simply need to create an article that will provides value to the blogger and their readers. In this article you mention your own business within the context of the article. Of course, the link has to be natural and not be forced into the text.
- A plumber may share a story about the weirdest things they’ve encountered in pipes, likely placed by children for a mom blog.
- A pest control company could write an informative blog about common pest threats for a local pet blog.
- An attorney could write about how to increase home safety for children for a mom blog.
- A divorce lawyer could write about how to assist children during divorces for a mom blog.
#7 Local Resources Page
Using resource pages on other local business’ websites for your local link building strategy is considered a strong white hat method. The reason? The whole purpose of a resource page is simple, to link to various other websites. The only requirement is getting the person who operates the resource page to add your link, which can be a lot easier compared to other link building strategies.
- University admission pages – The purpose of these are to help students and families locate local accommodations when visiting.
- Providers of local accommodation commonly offer a resource guide for visitors with for example, local activities and coffee shops.
- Localised calendars with popular events categorised by topic. Such as movie premiere dates, school football calendars, HOA meetings, etc.
#8 Local Review Articles
There are ‘review’ articles in every town, frequently written by local influencers or bloggers. These types of articles help to educate and inform people about the local businesses and venues available. Simply look for existing articles and see if the site owner will link to you from their page.
- Top 7 Things to do in Houston
- The 10 best restaurants in St. Louis
- Top 8 digital marketing agencies in Memphis
Both niche and local mentions can be important to SERP rankings, especially if you can get your name, address and phone (NAP) information mentioned. Remember, your NAP information should look the same as on your Google My Business listing!
#9 Local Infographics
An infographic can summarise content or provide informative stuff that would usually take up an entire page. However, they only take a single image and small local businesses can use them to their advantage by creating high-quality visualisation of local information.
- Trending vacation spots in the area
- Infographic on lowest cost rental car companies in the area
- Cheapest rentals in the city
- Most recently opened restaurants
- Map of the local parks or outdoor areas.
You can publish infographics on your own blog and build links to that page, or you can even submit the infographic to other websites, for example, local and niche related bloggers.
#10 Local Business Relationship
A good way for local businesses to build links to their website is by networking and building relationships with other local businesses, excluding your competitors. If your clients and the other local business’ clients can both benefit from both your products and services, then you can organise a link exchange. Or another option could be offering space at your location or your products and services to another business in exchange for a link.
- You can offer space where you are located to local businesses for running workshops
- Mortgage Brokers can exchange links with realtors
- Offer other businesses discounts for you products and services
- For doctors, you could connect with other local doctors with other specialties, to use as emergency clinic references, or insurance companies
- A link exchange between a personal trainer and a remedial massage therapists
#11 Local Sponsorships
Sponsoring local sports teams, conference series, clubs, races, charities or other local events or organisations is a good way to connect with your local community, increase brand awareness, AND build a new quality link on a local and/or high authority website.
- Sponsor local nonprofit organisations, including charities
- Sponsor local football and baseball teams
- Sponsor local conferences or other local events
- Sponsor local golf clubs and/or sports clubs
#12 Local Internships
Local SEO experts LOVE .edu websites! An easy way to get a link from the famous and high authority .edu websites is by hiring an intern. You will want to search and find external internship boards (these are great), in addition to the Universities software and databases which is not the best way to go because the students are the only ones to access this information. Not every university provides DoFollow links to other websites though. So check before getting onboard!
#13 Scholarships & Academic Awards
One of the easiest ways to get .edu links is to offer a general or industry specific scholarship. Before you create a scholarship page, you will need to look for .edu domains that have other scholarships. It will allow you to tailor your offer around the domains with the highest autority and the pages that have DoFollow links to other commercial sites.
Another option is offering money for academic awards, a one off payment the the “best law student of the year” for example.
If this is done correctly, then you can turn a simple $500 to $1000 scholarship into multiple .edu backlinks.
#14 Local Discounts
If you are looking to promote a special deal, it is best that you use niche related or local websites in order to promote it. You may have heard of Groupon, but there are so many more opportunities out there that can promote this discount offer.
You can list your business on a local university website which offers deals and discounts for students. Or for coffee shops and tour operators, you can look for backpacker discounts at hostels. There are even some state .gov sites which host discount pages.
Each business will have other local businesses that they have worked with in the past at some point.
For Example: Cleaning companies, Marketing or Branding agencies, Construction companies, Contractors, Painters, etc.
Reach out to companies like these and offer to write them a great testimonial to publish on their website, in exchange for a link back to your website. This is a really great way for you to build up goodwill and connect with other local businesses well beyond getting a backlink. The exchange of value is key!