As all SEOs know, backlinks are still a hugely important ranking factor; in fact Moz’s recent Search Engine Ranking Factors Study rated domain level link features as the most important factor influencing Google’s algorithm. For local businesses, having a strong SEO strategy in place that includes local link acquisition is essential to gaining and maintaining rankings. This is especially important with the recent changes to Google’s local pack, which now only displays 3 results.
Earning local links isn’t easy and needs a multifaceted approach to work successfully. For any website to attract links it first needs to be useful, informative, user-friendly, and ideally, host a number of linkable assets. Without these features, it’s almost impossible for a website to build a strong and authoritative backlink profile. If you have this in place, there are various strategies you can use to earn local links.
- Local Citations
While local citations technically don’t need an accompanying link to be classified as such, they are arguably the most important way a website can earn local backlinks. An example of a local citation would be a listing on a directory like the Chamber of Commerce or a mention on a community website with an accompanying name, address, and phone number. Local search experts frequently mention the consistency and quality of local citations as being one of the most important local ranking factors. Claiming and managing local listings should be an integral part of any local SEO strategy.
- Press Releases
While using press release syndication services is no longer a viable way to build link equity to a website, a press release about a company event, promotion, or new product, can be a great outreach asset that can, in turn, attract local links. Adding press releases to your website and promoting them to local news and community websites is another great way to expand their reach. An interesting story could pique the interest of a journalist and lead to an article with backlinks to your website.
Hosting a community event is a great way to increase local brand awareness and build valuable geo-relevant backlinks to a website. Whether you are hosting a community art class, holding a tennis tournament, or arranging a meetup, nearly all events can be leveraged to acquire valuable high authority local links. Before starting any outreach, make sure your event has a dedicated landing page with all relevant information; you could also release a press release talking about the event. Use this landing page to reach out to community websites, news sites, and event websites. Many local news organizations even have a dedicated events calendar where you can submit your event.
- Local Guides
Creating local guides that align with your business can encourage organic links and provide existing and potential customers with valuable content. The guide can even be optimized to target long tail keywords and attract new visitors to the site. The guide could be a list of healthy local restaurants on a health club’s website, free kid-friendly activities for a children’s clothing store, or summer food and drink events for a grocery store. These guides can then be used to reach out to local websites, social media groups, and the businesses mentioned.
- Local Influencers
Building relationships with local influencers can be a powerful strategy leading to increased brand awareness and highly relevant local backlinks. A local influencer could be a blogger, an admin for a community group, a journalist, or many other important community figures. Build relationships by attending community events, offering up an interesting story, or creating small events where influencers can learn more about your business.
These are just a few ways that you can help your local business to expand its online presence. Link acquisition should always be a key part of any SEO strategy and with many small businesses ignoring online marketing altogether, these strategies can really help you move ahead of the competition.