How to Boost Your Local SEO with Link Building
Consumers are increasingly invested in connecting with local businesses, and this is changing the way they search for things. 81 percent of consumers used Google to search local businesses.
Google has reported a significant increase in the use of the phrase “near me” in searches.
So, if the consumer is ready to find you, you need to make sure you are visible!
To appear at the top of relevant searches in your local area, your content needs to have optimised SEO, ranking you higher than other businesses in your field.
Link building is a strategy for SEO that assists in driving the right traffic to your website by boosting your visibility in organic local search results.
These local customers are your ideal target market, as that geographic connection makes them more likely to buy from you.
What is Link Building and Why is it Important?
You may have heard backlinks referred to as inbound links or incoming links, but they are all one and the same.
Building a profile of these links is important for the growth of your website.
Link building is when you obtain links from other websites back to your own.
This inevitably drives traffic back to your website.
Ideally, these backlinks will be from relevant local businesses.
The more backlinks you acquire, the better you will rank on Google.
Backlinks are one of the components of Google’s ranking algorithm.
Ranking highly in organic searches really pays off for your traffic, as most users will click on the first 5 ranked options they are given in a search.
Backlinks help to drive a specific target audience to your website that is invested in what you have to offer, making them more likely to make a purchase.
Backlinks also help to get your name out there.
The classic “rule of 7” says that it takes an average of 7 brand impressions before a consumer acts.
Being visible in relevant searches will help you rack up those brand impressions with the right audience and help local customers who are more likely to buy from you.
How to Build Backlinks
So, now you understand their importance, where do you start in getting backlinks on your website?
Here are some methods for Link Building:
1. Reviews & Ratings
Commonly consumers will seek online reviews for local businesses they have not connected with before.
This is the start of the trust build between the consumer and the business.
Mostly the consumer will be looking for a high star rating to give them confidence in the business. Research shows 98 percent of consumers read online reviews.
To establish a solid star rating, you need to encourage your existing customers to leave ratings and reviews.
People are generally quicker to complain than to compliment, but there are a few ways you can encourage your customer to leave a review.
- Make it easy for them through Google reviews or Trust Pilot that have simple quick processes.
- Create an incentive through discounts or freebies for those who leave a review
- Re-share testimonials on your socials. This not only gives a shout-out to the person who left the testimonial but also gives the idea of a review to fellow customers.
- You can pitch to local directories to get them to list your business. This is often a form of recommendation for other consumers. You will often also have the option to add existing reviews to your directory listing.
2. Events & Promotions
To be linked with other businesses, the best method is often to host them or collaborate with them.
Events are a great way to do this and to tap into the local market as your guests to increase your brand awareness.
Events and promotions might include a social media giveaway (either on your own or in partnership with other local businesses), running a workshop, hosting a fundraiser or charity event, product demonstrations or sponsoring a sporting team or event. 96 percent of 18 to 25-year-olds and 87 percent of 55 to 66-year-olds check social media daily, so online platforms are a good place to start
You can also invite local publications along to cover the events and gain exposure to your local community that way.
After you have hosted the event or promotion, you can generate a short and simple media release that covers the event details and highlights, as well as your URL for backlinks.
When drafting your media release, try to keep in mind the keywords that would help this content rank well if someone was to share it.
For some assistance with this, you can use any of the free online SEO keyword tools that provide a range of suggestions.
Research your target market, and what local newspapers, radio stations, Facebook groups or Instagram pages they are following, and send your media release to them to be featured.
3.Local Business Directories
As mentioned before, consumers often use business directories (particularly local ones) to find a business that meets their service or product needs.
Popular directories include Bing, Facebook, Yelp, True Local and Google Business Profile.
Beyond these, you can use Google to find more specific local directories suited to your niche. For example, Easy Weddings is a directory for wedding vendors in Australia.
Once you have found your chosen directories, follow their instructions to register your business, being sure to include the key details such as opening hours, business description, and web address.
If you haven’t already established a blog on your website, it’s time to get started.
It may seem initially overwhelming, but it is an investment of your time and effort that will pay dividends when it comes to website traffic.
The best plan of attack for your blog is to cover local content. This will showcase your knowledge and expertise to potential customers.
You will build trust with your audience, and the blog will also set you apart from anyone else in your industry that isn’t following suit.
An early part of the consumer process is the research stage. This is when potential buyers tend to investigate not only the product or services but the business behind them.
This is your blog’s time to shine, where the local consumer can establish a connection and be encouraged to complete the purchasing process with you.
The blog also gives you additional content for your socials, as it is easy to share a synopsis, and direct the traffic back to your website to read the full blog.
If others on socials share your post about the blog, you are already creating more traffic and exposure for your business.
Even if they don’t, you can still get backlinks to your posts by making sure your posts are filling the needs and interests of your audience, and the content they like to consume.
Look for other bloggers or link Roundups that may be looking for posts/articles on that subject matter. Once they feature or share your blog post, this will create a backlink.
By being active in both your blog and your social media platforms, you can begin to establish yourself as a trusted expert in your field, and with this will come a range of backlinks.
Do some Google searches and determine who your biggest competitors are in your field.
This shows you who is linking your competitor’s site, which means they may also be a fit for you.
Research each link and see which ones align with your brand, and how they fit into your overall marketing and communications plan.
6.Try to Get Your Unlinked Mentions Linked
You can use brandmentions.com to run a search for all the brands that have mentioned you but haven’t necessarily linked your website.
This is the easiest method for securing a backlink, as you know you are a good fit with them already mentioning your business.
Look into these mentions, and ensure they are trusted sites that will help build your site reputation rather than compromise it.
You can approach them via socials, email or even through their website and explain how linking your website can benefit you both in increasing organic traffic.
7.Get Linked by Local Publications
Local newspapers and blogger mentions are great ways of link building.
Previously we mentioned this when you have an event, but you can still pitch for mentions even without an event or promotion.
Mentions in your local newspaper, news website, or by an established local blogger will be seen by your audience as an authentic recommendation.
It doesn’t portray staged marketing and will therefore be noticed through organic searches by the right consumers.
8. Purchase Domains for Redirect Links
Plenty of domains don’t get renewed after their initial 12 months.
You can then purchase the domain name and simply set the website up as being a redirect to your own website, adding to your link profile.
Alternatively, you can invest in the website itself, by buying both the domain and the website in its entirety through a website asset transfer agreement.
This option is more of a financial strain, but it offers the chance to keep all the existing content with its original dates which contribute to its credibility.
You can then reshare this content, and link everything back to your website.
To go down this road, use the contact details listed on the website, or complete a contact form on the website with a sale proposal.
Probably the easiest method, and the one you can start on immediately, are internal links.
Although they aren’t as bigger drivers as the other methods discussed, they should still form part of your overall link-building strategy.
Internal links encourage consumers to spend more time on your site and engage with multiple pages.
By linking to another relevant page on your website, the consumer is gaining additional information, while also building their knowledge and trust in your brand.
These local links to your content also help Google to understand your site map, and how the information on your website is sorted.
The internal links explain the relationship between different pages, and the structure of the website, and aid Google in ranking and finding your relevant content.
The internal links can also assist to give credibility to a new blog post by linking to an established one.
Overall, link building is a great way to build your SEO specifically in your local area, targeting your local consumer who is willing to support local small businesses.
How important are links for local SEO?
Links are hugely important for local SEO because they help to boost your local search ranking. With a higher ranking, you’re more visible in search results, and customers are more likely to visit your page.
Should I use an agency to help with my local SEO link-building strategy?
You might find a digital marketing agency partnership helpful if you lack the time or resources to dedicate to marketing, but it’s absolutely possible to create your own strategy by following the tips I’ve outlined above.
How can I get reviewed by local publications to get backlinks for my business?
Link building for local SEO means liaising with local businesses. You could contact local publications directly, host an event and invite their representatives, sponsor a contest, or even reach out to and sponsor local influencers. It all depends on your marketing budget and what’s most likely to appeal to your target audience.
Is a blog a good way to build local SEO backlinks?
Yes! Blogging is a great way to build links naturally in the long term, so prioritize writing useful, engaging content on a regular basis. Don’t forget to optimize your articles for local keywords.