How to Optimize a Backlinking Strategy for Local SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and local SEO is becoming a critical component to digital marketing, building awareness, and generating demand for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
A recent report stated that search engines were the starting place for 68% of online experiences.
Another SEO report showed over 90% of global web traffic came from either a Google search, Google Image, or a Google Map. Thus, ensuring that you have high-quality content that interested potential clients can find easily online is paramount to your success.
But there’s more to it than just good content. There are a number of factors that Google includes in its algorithm when determining where to rank a site or page in its SERPs. #2 on the list provided by MonsterInsights, after valuable content, are backlinks.
We’ve already talked quite a bit about what a link-building strategy looks like and how B2B businesses can get backlinks, but when it comes to local SEO, not all the traditional backlink strategies work the exact same way. There are some nuances and some tailored strategies that must be implemented to make it work on a local level.
So, for our third installment in our backlink series, we’re going to share SEO tips about link-building best practices from a local SEO perspective. But first, let’s recap briefly on what backlinks are and what local SEO is.
What are Backlinks?
Obtaining backlinks, backlinking, or link building is the practice of getting a link to your site or content in an external piece of content. Typically this will be anchor text that is relevant to your content.
For example, we’ve linked to an authoritative report on SEO above and used the anchor text, “recent report” to link the article to.
This adds further credibility and authority to your content because, in essence, the site linking to your stuff is saying, “Hey- this content is valuable enough that we wanted to link to it in our own stuff to back up our points or add proof to a case we’re trying to make.”
The more authoritative sites link to your content, the more Google will take note and increase the ranking of your content, thus, the more traffic your webpage will get.
So what about local SEO? What’s that all about?
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the practice of optimizing content to increase traffic and ranking for a local search. Often a local business will do this to try to get traffic and awareness from folks located in the same geographic area.
This isn’t super important for every business. For example, an entirely digital business may or may not care where their traffic comes from, but local businesses operating both online and in a local territory, they may choose to implement both general SEO and local SEO to attract local customers and those abroad.
So you can see the difference let’s take a look at a general Google search, versus a local Google search:
- A general Google search for a WordPress web design company may read like, “WordPress web design agencies”
- Alternatively, a customer in New York that wants to hire a local agency might search for “WordPress web design agencies in New York” or they might search for “WordPress web design agencies near me.”
A web design agency looking for both local and general SEO traffic would have to ensure they’ve optimized their content and their site for both types of searches. The tactics for generating traditional SEO look a bit different than those tactics used for local SEO.
For example, traditional SEO will involve activities like keyword research and mapping keywords to topics and funnel stages whereas local SEO ranking factors include the aforementioned activities plus things like:
- NAP citations (business’ name, address, and phone number)
- submitting your business information to Google My Business listing (GMB), and
- ensuring all mentions of your address (whether on social media or Google Maps) are accurate.
So now that we’ve covered what backlinks are and what local SEO is, let’s put the two together and cover why local backlinks are an important part of an effective local SEO strategy.
Why Are Local Backlinks Important?
There are a number of valid reasons why obtaining local backlinks is not only an important part of a local link-building strategy, it’s a crucial aspect that business owners should prioritize.
- Local backlinks can drive targeted, relevant local traffic to your business’ website and landing pages
- Local backlinks can help to establish your brand as an authority and a trusted resource in your area
- Local backlinks require outreach and communication which makes it a great way to make connections and build relationships with other local businesses in the area.
Now that we’ve discussed local SEO backlinks and why they’re important, let’s move on to some strategies you can implement to help you get local backlinks.
7 Places or Strategies to Obtain Local Backlinks
The following are some of the strategies we use and recommend to our clients when helping them to build their local SEO presence through backlinks.
1. Local Business Directories
While you should be submitting your NAP business listing to the major directories like the Better Business Bureau and Whitepages, they may not do a ton to help you with local search results. That’s why it’s important to submit your business listing to local directories as well such as Yelp, Google My Business, and any additional directories that are specific to your region.
Also, it’s important to focus on those local area directories that see a decent amount of web traffic and are a good fit for your business. Furthermore, if they charge fees for the inclusion of a local citation, that’s another consideration you’ll have to take into account.
2. Industry-Specific Directories
Speaking of directories, there are a number of industry-specific directories that exist as well.
Niche directories, for example, G2 and Capterra for those who sell software or SaaS application, can be a critical component of the buyer journey as searchers typically investigate these sites as a means for evaluating potential options.
These types of backlinks can send targeted, qualified leads to your site. Furthermore, they can also be a great source for testimonials as G2 and Capterra allow verified buyers to leave reviews after their purchases.
Similar to local directories, some industry-specific directories may have subscription fees to join.
3. Social Media
Creating a social media profile or business listing is a simple and effective way to add to your backlink profile. Facebook, LinkedIn, even Instagram can be a good fit to promote your business depending on your industry and your target audience.
These social media sites tend to have high domain authority, so having your homepage linked to them can help to boost your search rankings and your local rankings although not as much as having a link in a local blog with high domain authority.
Having your NAP details on a social media platform like Facebook or LinkedIn can also help validate your business’s information on search engines.
4. Local News Sites
Being references in local content, for example on a local newspaper site or community forum, is another great opportunity to add a quality backlink to your link profile.
This will require a bit of outreach but could serve multiple purposes including getting a free press release and awareness for your business in addition to increasing your rankings and domain authority.
Many publications offer a way to submit a press release or list the contact info for their editorial resource that you can reach out to request opportunities for collaboration or to promote a local event.
You may get further if you first reach out to establish a connection before pitching your idea for content.
5. Work with Influencers or Bloggers
Another great strategy is to reach out to a local blog or influencer and seek opportunities for collaboration. This might mean submitting a guest post or asking the person or publication to collaborate on a piece of content.
This could be a case study (if they’re a customer or willing to become one) or perhaps a round-up post.
Another option is to offer to trade products or services so that you can both offer a review of each other’s products. Regardless of the form the collaboration takes, it’s always a great idea to offer something of value in exchange for the value you’re requesting.
Additionally, being promoted on a high-domain authority site can help to expose your business to a wider audience full of potential customers. This is why it’s important to work with someone in a non-competitive, yet adjacent industry.
6. Pursue Sponsorships
Leveraging a sponsorship is another way to obtain local backlinks and leverage a potentially new community to increase your brand awareness.
Ethically, you should only pursue a sponsorship with a brand or company you know, trust, and value and you also should disclose the partnership on your site.
7. Utilize Tools to Identify Competitor Backlink Opportunities
Another option is to utilize SEO tools to identify opportunities to outrank competitors through backlinks. Great examples include Ahrefs, Moz, and SEMrush.
With these tools, you can often just plug in your competitor URLs and/or local keywords you both use to see where your competitor’s backlinks come from.
With this information, there are many options. You can seek out these publications to have your link included or offer a more valuable piece of content to replace your competitor’s content.
Another option is to reach out regarding broken backlinks and offer a piece of valuable content to replace the broken link.
We hope you’ve found these seven local link-building strategies helpful. However, we also realize how time-consuming it can be to try to implement these strategies full scale when you’re strapped on resources as it is.
So, if you’d like a guiding hand to help you build out your backlink strategy, Interrupt Media can help.
We are a full-stack B2B marketing agency. We help our clients to implement full-scale marketing strategies to generate demand, improve ROI, and increase the number and quality of leads.
If you need help building a successful backlinking or overall marketing strategy, let’s schedule a time to chat about how Interrupt Media can support your unique objectives
Topics: B2B Marketing, Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, Local SEO, SEO