Imagine if you could permanently triple your website traffic for your most desired keywords.
What sort of impact would that have on your business?
An amazing one, I bet.
If you’re a local, brick-and-mortar business, you can achieve exactly that with local link building.
Local link building is the practice of getting other websites in your local area to link to yours.
These links are a signal of trust to search engines like Google. If you get enough of these local backlinks, you can outrank your competitors in the SERPs and start getting really targeted search engine traffic.
That targeted search traffic often converts into paying customers.
Why You Should Optimize for Your Local Market
Optimizing your site for your local market opens you up to a large chunk of highly targeted traffic and qualified leads: people near you, looking for the services you provide.
Let me give you an example.
A couple of friends of mine used to own a dance studio that specialized in teaching salsa dance classes.
One day, a lady approached them and offered to do local SEO for them for a monthly fee. They asked me if they should hire her, and I told them I could show them how to do it for free.
We spent about an hour optimizing their site to rank for relevant local search terms like “Philadelphia salsa classes” and “Philadelphia salsa lessons” by adding those keywords to their content, title tags and meta descriptions.
Their site quickly started ranking and getting traffic for local search terms and, ultimately, experienced a 3.5× increase in search engine traffic and ranked second for both of the keywords mentioned.
Amazing! But sounds way too simple, right?
The main reason they were able to rank so easily is because they already had a lot of great inbound links to their site.
Search engines could see that they were a trusted website and business.
However, many local businesses won’t find it quite that quick or easy to rank. So, you’ll have to do some local link building to increase your authority and start getting more relevant SEO traffic.
Local Link Building: 6 Simple Tactics to Start Driving Leads and Sales
#1: Citations and Online Directories
The first step for local link building is to get citations and get featured in local online business directories. Citations are usually a great place to start for local link building because sometimes getting the link is as simple as just submitting your information.
What are citations and how do you get them?
A citation is simply any online mention of your business name, phone number and physical address.
Some recognizable citation sources include Facebook, Foursquare, Yelp and Superpages. Note that while links from many citation sources are nofollow, they’re still recognized by Google as citation links and can help with SEO.
Google My Business: What is it and why is it important?
One of the most important places to submit your local business information is Google My Business.
Submitting your business information here allows your business to show up on Google Maps, as well as when people search for your business or others like it.
It’s also an easy Google backlink—one of the strongest backlinks you can get!
A Google My Business account allows you to respond to customer reviews and create updates on your Google page to keep in touch with your customers. You also get free analytics to let you know how people are finding your business online.
Other citation sources
Besides Google My Business, you should also submit your business information to a range of other online directories to get more citations. Take a look at this list of 13 core sites that you can submit to for a citation.
You can also find city and niche-specific directories by doing a quick Google search for [your city] + directory or [niche] + directory.
#2: Sponsorships and Community Events
Getting involved in your local community can sometimes result in great local links back to your site.
You can find sponsorship opportunities by searching Google for phrases like sponsor + [your city] or sponsorship + [your city].
Visit the organization’s site and see if they’ve linked to other businesses that have sponsored them. Then contact the organization’s event organizer and ask if you can sponsor them.
#3: Blogger and Influencer Outreach
You can also get links from local bloggers and influencers in your niche.
You can find local bloggers by doing a search for [your location] + [niche or keyword] + blogger or [your location] + [niche or keyword] + reviews.
For example, if you own a local restaurant in Orlando, you can try searching for “Orlando restaurant blogger” or “Orlando restaurant reviews.”
A friend of mine owns a ramen restaurant in Philadelphia and has gotten several links from food bloggers reviewing his restaurant.
Getting such links can be as simple as reaching out to these bloggers and offering them a free meal in exchange for an honest review on their website.
#4: Events and Press Releases
Press releases and newsworthy events are another great way to get local links.
When that same friend of mine first opened his restaurant, he contacted local publications and newspapers to let them know about it. As a result, he got several links from local authority news sites, which allowed him to quickly rank in the top 10 for “Philadelphia ramen” and other related keywords.
Aside from the launch of an exciting new business, events can also be a good way to get links from the media. Free food giveaways and food eating contests are a couple of examples of events that are press release-worthy for your local area.
To get press release mentions, do a quick search for local newspapers and publications and identify journalists that cover your niche. Send a copy of your press release to anyone you think might be interested in covering your business.
You can also use resources like PR Newswire to distribute your press release if you have a few thousand dollars to invest.
#5: Mention Monitoring
Tracking online mentions of your brand and your competitors can help you get some of the easiest links, because half the work to getting the backlink is already done.
Once your brand becomes known in your local area, people will start to write about your business. Sometimes, they’ll forget to link to your site when they do.
But if you set up mention monitoring, you’ll get an email alert every time someone mentions your business online, and where they’ve mentioned you. All you have to do is check to see if they’ve included a backlink.
You can use a free tool like Google Alerts to monitor any number of phrases you want. Simply enter your business name and if someone mentions your business without linking to you, you can send them a quick email asking them to include a link.
In most cases, they’ll be happy to do so.
You can also monitor the names of your top competitors and get alerts whenever they are mentioned online. For example, if a local food blogger publishes a review about your competitor, you could reach out to them and see if they’re interested in reviewing your business as well.
#6: Competitor Backlink Analysis
Your competitors can be an excellent source of inspiration for backlinks. Take a look at the links they already have pointing to their site, and see if you can find opportunities that you can take for yourself.
Monitor Backlinks makes this easy to do.
Under the Competitor Links tab, you can enter the domains of the competitors you want to track. Click on the domains to see their backlink profiles.
Now, with their backlinks in front of you, go through the list and look for any site that’s linked to them and that might also link to you.
For example, maybe your competitor has a handy online resource that’s been featured in a post:
But you have a better resource on your own site. That’s a great opportunity to reach out to the author of the post and let them know that you can help them provide more value to their audience.
Or maybe your competitor has published a guest post on a niche site that you didn’t know about. You can reach out to the site and pitch your own guest post—you’ve got a much higher chance of success of getting a link if your competitor has already gotten one from there.
Getting local links is one of the most important steps for driving targeted search engine traffic to your local business website. But, it’s not the only thing you should be focusing on.
A good local SEO strategy should also include:
- Local Keyword Research – Do keyword research targeted to your local area to find the search phrases that people are using to find your business and others like your business. Add those keywords to your site’s title tag and meta description to reach more local searchers.
- Local Structured Data Markup – Applying structured data markup to your website’s code allows Google to display more data about your business in their search results.
- Local Business Reviews – Local reviews help your business rank higher in search results and also provide social proof for your business.
Local SEO is one of the best ways to get more business from your website.
Take action on these local link building and SEO tactics and you’ll be getting more qualified search engine traffic and leads in no time!