Local SEO isn’t just about scoring the #1 spot in SERPs; it’s about getting the word out to a local, very narrow audience. But there are financial implications, too.
When consumers search for services or products in their vicinity, they’re often ready to make a purchase or engage with a service. According to a survey by WebFX, 80% of local searches result in a conversion, as local services tend to be more urgent or immediate.
So by ensuring your business appears prominently in local search results, you not only increase your visibility but also position yourself as a top choice in your area. This leads to higher foot traffic, increased sales, and a stronger reputation within the community.
Additionally, in an era where personalized experiences are highly valued, appearing at the top of local searches signals to consumers that you’re a trusted and established entity in their locale.
So, how do you position your business to dominate local search results?
One of the most effective ways to do this is through local linking. Below, we’ll look at 15 tried-and-tested local link building tips and provide actionable insights to dominate your local search results.
What is Local Link Building?
Local link building is a subset of traditional link building that focuses primarily on acquiring backlinks from locally relevant websites and platforms. While the overarching goal remains the same — to increase a website’s authority and improve its search engine rankings — local link building emphasizes connections within a specific geographic area.
This strategy is particularly beneficial for businesses that operate within a confined region, as it helps them stand out in local search results and connect more effectively with their target audience.
For instance, let’s say you run a luxury villa in Ithaca. Instead of trying to dominate search results for the phrase “luxury villa for rent,” local linking helps you rank higher for local search terms like “luxury villa in Ithaca.” This way, you get your business to stand out to people specifically looking for a luxury villa in your area.
At its core, local link-building is about fostering community relationships. It’s not just about getting a link from any website; it’s about securing links from reputable local sources such as local news outlets, community blogs, chambers of commerce, and other regional platforms—any outlet your community frequents.
These local backlinks signal to search engines that your business is an authoritative figure within its locale, making it more likely to appear in local search queries.
Why is Local Link Building Important?
In today’s digital age, consumers frequently turn to search engines to find local businesses, services, and products.
Think about the last time you wanted to eat or buy something in a new location. How did you go about it? Did you ask someone for a recommendation, or did you get your phone and search for something like “nice restaurants near me?” If you’re like most people, you probably did the latter.
By prioritizing local link building, you can ensure your business is visible to these potential customers, driving organic traffic and fostering community trust. In essence, it’s a powerful tool for businesses aiming to dominate their local market and build a strong online presence that takes long to build but lasts even longer.
Here are some of the key benefits of local link building, especially for businesses targeting a specific geographic audience:
Enhanced local visibility
One of the primary advantages of local link building is that it increases visibility in local search results. When search engines recognize that reputable local websites are linking to your site, they deem your business more relevant to local queries, boosting your chances of ranking higher in local search results.
Builds trust and credibility
Acquiring links from well-respected local sources can significantly enhance your business’s credibility within the community. When locals see familiar and trusted entities vouching for your business, it fosters a sense of trust.
Drives targeted traffic
Local link building can drive highly targeted traffic to your website. Since the links are from local sources, the visitors are often from the same geographic area and are more likely to be genuinely interested in your products or services.
Many businesses overlook the power of local link building, focusing only on broader SEO strategies. By investing in local link building, you can gain a competitive edge over brands that focus on keyword spamming, vapid blogs and hourly social media posts.
Local link building often involves collaborating with local bloggers, news outlets, and community events. This not only provides backlink opportunities but also fosters community engagement and strengthens your local network. You might also build lasting professional relationships, too.
Supports other local businesses
Local link-building often involves mutual promotions or collaborations. This can help uplift the entire local business community, creating a supportive ecosystem and positioning your brand as an active participant.
Higher conversion rates
Traffic from local links tends to have higher conversion rates. This is because local visitors often have a specific intent, such as looking for a local service or product, making them more likely to take action.
Resilience to algorithm changes
While global SEO tactics can sometimes be affected by major search engine algorithm changes, local link-building strategies, rooted in genuine community engagement and relevance, tend to be more resilient.
15 Local Link Building Tactics
Now that you understand the importance of local link building, here are some tactics you can use to propel your business to the top of local search rankings.
1. Links From Relevant Websites
One of the cornerstones of effective local link building is acquiring backlinks from websites that are relevant to your business and location.
This includes not just websites in your industry but also those that focus on your local audience.
For instance, a bakery in Boston would benefit immensely from a link on a Boston food blog or a local event site promoting Boston-based businesses.
This tactic works for two reasons:
- First, it provides relevance to your business, which is one of the factors search engines consider when ranking websites. A link from a topically and geographically relevant site carries more weight than a generic link.
- Second, links from relevant websites drive highly targeted traffic. That’s perhaps the most underrated benefit of local SEO—since you’re topically and locationally related to the outlet that’s linking to you, people will actually click on the link.
Reaching this level of authority, though, takes time. You need to start off by identifying local bloggers or websites catering to your audience. Reach out to them with a personalized pitch, offering value or collaboration. You could also consider writing guest posts in local blogs or engaging in subtle link exchanges so that you can get featured on relevant sites within your locality.
2. Get Local Citations
Local citations are mentions of your business’s name, address, and phone number on other local websites. These could be local business directories, apps, social platforms, or other relevant sites.
For this to work effectively, however, you have to ensure consistency in your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone number) information across all citations.
The main advantage of local citations is that they help search engines verify your business’s existence and location, boosting your local search rankings.
Additionally, local citations help build trust among potential customers who see consistent information about your business across multiple platforms.
The easiest way to get local citations is to start with popular local directories like Yelp, Yellow Pages, and TripAdvisor. Make sure you use the same information across all platforms to avoid inconsistencies that can make potential customers lose trust. Additionally, it’s a good idea to regularly audit and update your citations to maintain accuracy.
3. Optimize Your Google Business Profile (and Google Maps)
Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is a free tool that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By verifying and optimizing your Google Business Profile listing, you can provide potential customers with accurate information and improve your chances of appearing in local search results.
Some of the advantages of optimizing your Google Business Profile include:
- Enhanced visibility: A well-optimized Google Business Profile listing can appear in the coveted “local pack” of search results, driving more organic traffic.
- Builds credibility: Showcasing customer reviews, photos, and updated business information on Google Business Profile can enhance your business’s credibility.
- Direct engagement: Google Business Profile allows businesses to post updates, respond to reviews, and provide essential details like operating hours, ensuring direct engagement with customers.
To make the most out of Google Business Profile, start by claiming and verifying your business profile listing. Ensure all business information is accurate and comprehensive. You should also regularly update your listing with new photos and posts and respond to customer reviews.
4. Press Releases in Local Media
This local link-building tactic involves sharing newsworthy announcements about your business with local newspapers, TV stations, radio channels, and online outlets.
Local press releases are particularly effective because they tap into local relevance, enhancing your business’s credibility within the community.
Being featured in local media not only offers a third-party endorsement but can also provide valuable backlinks, boosting local SEO and driving increased traffic to your business.
To implement this strategy, identify a compelling, newsworthy angle for your press release, such as a grand opening or a unique promotion. Write a concise and engaging release that captures the essence of your story, then send it to the most relevant local media outlets.
To enhance visibility, share your release on social media and make sure to engage with subsequent feedback or comments from your audience.
5. Reach out to local Bloggers and Influencers
Reaching out to local bloggers and influencers in your industry can be a goldmine for local link-building. These individuals often have a dedicated following and can provide valuable backlinks and exposure to your business.
For example, if you have a clothes store, consider collaborating with and getting backlinks from fashion bloggers within your city or town. Similarly, if you run a cosmetic shop, reach out to local beauty bloggers and influencers.
Local blogger outreach has several benefits. First, it allows you to reach a targeted audience since local bloggers you partner with cater to a niche audience that’s likely interested in your products and services.
Second, collaborating with relevant local bloggers is a great way to get genuine reviews of your products and services that resonate well with readers. For this to work, however, you must also provide some value to the bloggers you collaborate with.
Finally, blogger outreach helps you build a diverse link profile. Since you’re getting links from various local bloggers, this acts as a positive signal for search engines, leading to higher local search rankings.
The best way to go about this is to identify local bloggers or influencers in your industry or niche and craft a personalized outreach email. In the email, you can offer collaboration, a product for review, or inquire about guest posting opportunities.
But most importantly—don’t just focus on what the other party can do for you. Focus on building long-term relationships and try to position yourself as a reliable collaborator and a worthy resource.
6. Get Third Party Reviews from Local Websites
Encouraging reviews from local websites, especially those that specialize in reviewing businesses in your area or industry, can be great for local link building. These reviews not only provide valuable backlinks but also influence potential customers’ purchasing decisions.
Since the local community relies on these outlets for their purchases, even a single positive review can significantly boost your business’s trust and credibility, leading to increased sales. Additionally, consistent positive reviews can influence local search rankings, especially if they contain relevant keywords.
Reviews also act as a great source of feedback for your business. Since experts will be dissecting your product or service, you’ll know exactly what to improve upon.
If the reviews are positive, you can encourage satisfied customers to leave their own reviews on these platforms. Just politely ask them to write a review or, if necessary, offer incentives for leaving reviews, such as a discount on the next purchase.
And last but not least—don’t forget to engage with reviewers by thanking them for positive feedback and addressing any concerns raised in negative reviews.
7. Claim Unlinked Mentions
Oftentimes, local businesses are mentioned in online magazines and blogs, but without a link to go with the name-drop. Unbeknownst to most, claiming these unlinked mentions by reaching out to the content creators and requesting a link can be a quick win for local link building.
Since your business is already mentioned, the content creator is very likely to oblige to your request for a link. This makes this strategy an easy way to improve your website’s authority and search rankings.
Additionally, adding a link to the mention improves the website’s user experience since readers can directly access your site from the mention, enhancing navigation and potential engagement. Be sure to mention these particular benefits in the outreach mail, as it indicates the relationship is mutually beneficial.
Once you identify sites that mention your brand without a link back to your website, reach out to the website owners or content creators with a polite request to link the mention to your website.
- Identify Unlinked Mentions – The most challenging part of this strategy is identifying unclaimed mentions you can claim. However, with social tracking tools like Google Alerts, Mention, and Brand24, you can easily track and get notifications whenever a website mentions your business name.
- Evaluate Relevance and Quality – Once you locate unlinked mentions you need to check if the website is high-quality. Check if website’s content is well written and relevant to your business. Additionally, you can use SEO tools such as Ahrefs to check website’s metrics such as domain authority.
- Create a Polite Outreach Email – Personalize your outreach email. Address the website owner, editor, or content manager by name if possible. Be specific about your requirements and include URL of your business mention.
- Follow-up if Needed – Sometimes website administrators don’t respond right away. Use sheets to track when you email which website administrator and send follow-up emails.
If necessary, offer additional information or resources to make the link more valuable to their audience. Ask them what they need, and who knows—you might be able to provide just that.
8. Learn From Your Competitors (re: Get Their Links)
Another easy way to get local backlinks is to analyze where your local competitors get theirs. This can provide a roadmap for your own link-building efforts.
If a local website is linking to one or more of your competitors, there’s a good chance they might be interested in linking to you as well.
Besides helping you identify opportunities for local link building, this strategy also gives you strategic insights into your competitors’ SEO campaigns. You can then use these insights to find potential opportunities for your business and gain an edge over the competition.
The best way to find where your competitors get their backlinks is to use tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Moz to analyze their backlink profiles.
Pay special attention to high-quality, locally relevant sites that link to them, then craft a personalized outreach strategy to these sites, highlighting what makes your business unique or valuable.
9. Leverage Digital PR
Digital PR link building involves promoting your business through online channels to gain high-quality backlinks, improve your online presence, and enhance your brand reputation. It is driven by activities like online press releases, influencer collaborations, online events and webinars, and content marketing campaigns.
In addition to helping you attract local backlinks, digital PR is beneficial to your business in several other ways. It is a great way to expand your brand exposure since digital PR campaigns have the potential to reach a wide online audience and boost brand awareness.
Digital PR is also a good way to build your brand’s authority. Getting featured on reputable online platforms acts as an endorsement that can make your brand more credible and authoritative.
Finally, well-executed digital PR campaigns can foster engagement, encouraging shares, comments, and organic backlinks.
You don’t need a dedicated PR department to pull off a well-executed digital PR link building campaign. All you need to do is identify newsworthy stories or unique aspects of your business that would interest a broader audience, then reach out to relevant online platforms and pitch your newsworthy content.
To ensure success over the long term, it’s a good idea to build relationships with digital PR agencies or professionals who have established connections with online publishers and influencers. This way, whenever you have a newsworthy story or press release, you have a network of people who can easily get you published on the right platforms.
10. Create Engaging Local Content
Creating high-quality, engaging content tailored to your local audience is a foundational block for local link building. Whether it’s blog posts about local events, infographics showcasing local statistics, or videos highlighting community involvement, content that resonates with the local audience is more likely to be shared and linked to.
This approach is highly effective for several reasons. First, content that focuses on local interests, concerns, or events naturally resonates with the local audience, increasing its shareability.
Additionally, high-quality local content is more likely to attract organic backlinks from other local websites that find your content valuable. You won’t even have to ask for these links. These websites simply link to your content because they consider it a resource that can benefit their audience.
Finally, creating high-quality local content regularly positions your business as a local expert or authority in your niche. When someone has a problem or challenge within your niche, they’ll automatically come to you for a solution.
To implement this strategy, first identify topics of local interest or concern, then produce content around these topics. If possible, focus on multiple content formats, including articles, videos, podcasts, or infographics.
Here are some types of local content you can create:
- Neighborhood Guides: Develop comprehensive guides about different neighborhoods in your locality. Highlight local landmarks, popular spots, historical sites, or hidden gems. These guides can include maps, descriptions, and insider tips.
- Local News and Updates: Share news relevant to your niche or industry within the local context. Discuss trends, developments, or changes that impact your local community.
- Local Data and Infographics: Compile and present local statistics, trends, or data in visually appealing infographics. This informative content can attract attention and backlinks from other local websites seeking valuable information.
Finally, find ways to distribute this content to people within your location. Identify the key channels and focus on them until you see your local link building efforts paying off.
Focus your efforts on local facebook groups, forums or other local online communities.
11. Secure and Optimize Local Business Listings
Business listings are online profiles that contain your business’s name, address, phone number, and other details. Platforms like Google Business Profiles, Yelp, and Bing Places are prime examples of where you can list your business details.
Well-optimized business listings improve your chances of appearing prominently in local search results. At the same time, they boost your business’s trustworthiness by providing consistent information about the business across various platforms. This consistency is crucial since potential customers often check business listings for reviews and business details before making a decision.
To take advantage of business listings, set up profiles for your business on all major business listing profiles and ensure that your business details are accurate and consistent across all listings.
It’s also a good idea to regularly update your listings with new photos, reviews, and other relevant information. This shows customers that your business is still active and cares about its online presence.
12. Web directories (Yes They Still Work)
Web directories are online platforms that categorize and list websites.
There are three reasons why getting your business listed on popular web directories is a good idea:
- Relevance: Local or industry-specific directories often have a targeted audience looking for specific services or businesses. If someone wants the best landscaping businesses, for instance, you’ll pop right up.
- SEO boost: A link from a reputable directory can enhance your website’s authority.
- Increased traffic: Web directory link building can drive targeted traffic to your website.
Getting your business listed on relevant web directories is pretty easy. Simply identify reputable general and local/industry-specific directories and submit your website, ensuring you provide accurate and detailed information. It’s also important to avoid low-quality or spammy directories, as they can harm your SEO efforts.
Here is a list of some reputable web directories:
- Google My Business: Arguably the most crucial directory for local SEO. It’s free and allows businesses to manage their online presence on Google
- Bing Places for Business: Similar to Google My Business, Bing Places allows businesses to claim their listings on Bing search engine and maps.
- Yelp: Particularly important for businesses in the hospitality, restaurant, and service industries. It allows customers to leave reviews and ratings, influencing local search visibility.
- Yellow Pages: A traditional directory that has transitioned online. Having a listing here can still contribute to local visibility.
- Facebook Business: Create and manage your business page on Facebook, where customers can leave reviews and engage with your brand.
13. Host or Sponsor Local Competitions and Events
This is a somewhat unconventional approach, but hosting or sponsoring local events and competitions is actually a fantastic way to gain local visibility and earn backlinks. Whether it’s a charity run, a local talent show, or a business seminar, such events can attract attention from local blogs and media, most of whom will link to your website when writing about the event.
For example let’s say you run a fitness studio in a mid-sized town. You decide to sponsor a local charity run organized by the city council to benefit a community cause.
Besides generating potential backlink opportunities, this strategy is an easy way to build local engagement. Such events and competitions naturally attract local participants and attendees, ensuring high local engagement and helping generate buzz about your brand.
That said, don’t rush to host or sponsor just any event. Instead, think of events and competitions that align with your business values and target audience. You can also collaborate with local organizations, schools, or other businesses to co-host or sponsor. This increases the chances of getting local buy-in into the event.
Finally, put lots of effort into promoting the event online, and ensure you provide details and links back to your website or event landing page. Sponsorships aren’t just opportunities to be seen—they’re also opportunities for conversions.
14. Buy “Good” Backlinks
Buying backlinks is a controversial tactic in the SEO world. While it can offer quick results, it comes with significant risks. Search engines like Google have strict guidelines against unnatural link schemes, and buying links can lead to penalties if not done cautiously.
Despite the risks, buying backlinks is a highly effective tactic because it provides quick results. It can provide an immediate boost to your traffic and search rankings. Additionally, you have more control over the anchor text and the type of sites linking to you.
If you choose to buy backlinks, ensure they come from reputable, high-quality websites relevant to your industry or locale. But don’t just order a topic and an anchor text and be done with it—request the final draft to ensure your link has been inserted contextually and subtly. Otherwise, you might be forced to disavow the link later on.
15. Add Internal links to Key pages
Internal linking refers to linking one page of your website to another page on the same website. While it’s not “local” in the traditional sense, a well-structured internal linking strategy can significantly boost your site’s rankings, making it more visible to local searchers.
A good internal linking strategy provides several benefits, including:
- SEO boost: Proper internal linking helps distribute page authority throughout your site, improving the rankings of individual pages.
- User navigation: Internal links guide visitors through your website, enhancing user experience and increasing page views.
- Relevance: By linking related content together, you can highlight the relevance of your older and evergreen pages to search engines.
When establishing internal links, start by identifying key pages or posts on your website that you want to boost in rankings, then link to these pages from other relevant content on your site using descriptive anchor text.
To make your internal links more effective, ensure each link provides value to the reader and enhances their browsing experience.
Local link building isn’t just another item on your SEO checklist; it’s a game-changer for businesses aiming to establish a strong digital presence in their community and dominate their local market.
By leveraging the 15 tactics we’ve unpacked in this article, you’ll not only boost your online visibility but also establish trust and credibility within your community. Remember, it’s all about creating genuine connections and offering real value to your audience. The visibility and top spots in SERPs are just a byproduct of that.