Local link building is one of the most important strategies you can use to improve your local SEO and earn higher rankings in local search results. But with so many local websites unlikely to link back to you, where should you start building links?
In this post, I’ll outline 9 proven local link building tactics that can help you get links from local sites and publications to boost your local SEO efforts. From leveraging local business directories to reaching out to local influencers, these are strategies that work to build quality backlinks at the local level.
Why Is Local Link Building Important for SEO?
Link building refers to the process of acquiring backlinks – links that point back to your website. These incoming links serve as votes of confidence in your business. Search engines like Google use links as one of the top ranking factors, so websites with more quality backlinks tend to rank higher in search results.
But link building is especially crucial for local SEO. Since most local searches have local intent, Google wants to connect users to businesses operating in their area. So earning local backlinks signals your relevance in the searcher’s location. The more local sites link to you, the more Google trusts you as an authority business for those local customers.
Simply put, local link building is one of the best ways to boost your local SEO and search ranking. By building links from locally relevant websites, you can significantly improve your visibility for local searches and drive more local traffic to your site.
9 Local Link Building Tactics That Work
Now let’s dive into some actionable tactics to start building links at the local level:
1. Get Listed on Google My Business and Other Citation Sites
Google My Business (GMB) should be the cornerstone of your local SEO efforts. This free tool allows you to create a Google business listing that displays prominently for local searches related to your business.
But GMB is also a powerful link building tool. Your NAP (name, address, phone number) citations on GMB and other directories like Yelp serve as backlinks to help search engines identify your local business identity. Having complete, consistent NAP citations across the major directories signal local relevance.
Make sure to optimize and claim your listings on top citation sites like:
- Google My Business
- Apple Maps
- Bing Places
- Yellow Pages
2. Get Featured in Local Business Directories
Print and online local business directories are great sources for local backlinks. Sites like Manta, Hotfrog, and CitySearch curate lists of local businesses by region and industry.
Claim and optimize your listings on relevant directories for your business niche and location. Highlight what makes your business unique, link back to your website, and include keywords that customers would use to find you.
Over time, try to earn featured listings on these directories which tend to come with link branding benefits. Active participation can help drive referral traffic while the backlinks boost local SEO.
3. Build Relationships With Local Media
Reach out to local media outlets like newspapers, radio stations, magazines and TV channels to see if they will feature or interview your business. Local media sites typically have high domain authority and relevance, making them quality sites to earn links from.
Offer unique angles you can provide commentary on or data local media can use in an article. Make yourself the go-to local expert in your niche to build ongoing relationships with multiple outlets.
4. Guest Post on Local Blogs
Find popular local blogs relevant to your industry and pitch the editors ongoing guest posting partnerships. Offer to provide them unique local content their audience would value.
For example, if you own a restaurant, reach out to food and dining blogs in your city or county. Contribute posts with locally flavored recipes and cooking tips. This provides helpful content for readers while linking back to your site.
5. Sponsor Local Events and Festivals
Sponsoring local events like festivals, galas, conferences, and fundraisers can earn you links and exposure in the local community. As a sponsor, you’ll typically get a link on the event website. You may also have the opportunity to present at the event or speak to local press covering it.
Focus on sponsoring events that target your customer demographic and industry. The more niche and specialized the better. Use these as platforms to connect with local influencers and reach more customers.
6. Partner With Related Local Businesses
Reach out to other local businesses in a complementary niche to your own to form cross-promotion partnerships. These could include co-hosting local events, creating joint content, or promoting each other through backlinks, social shares, etc.
For example, a caterer could partner with local wedding photographers. The caterer provides food for the photographer’s styled shoots in exchange for links from the photog’s blog.
7. Volunteer for Local Organizations
Volunteer your time, resources or expertise to support local charities, chambers of commerce, libraries, business groups, trade associations etc. This builds goodwill in the community while opening up backlink opportunities from their websites.
You can volunteer skills related to your business such as social media help for nonprofits or catering for a charity golf event. Get creative with ways you can get involved locally to give back.
8. Claim and Optimize Your Listings on Industry-Specific Sites
Create and optimize your listings on niche local sites related to your specific industry, profession or specialty. For doctors this may include sites like Healthgrades or RateMDs. For lawyers, Avvo and other attorney directories.
Populate these listings with detailed business info and a link back to your website. Participating on niche sites helps build localized relevance and authority for searches in your specific sector.
9. Build Links From Your Local Customers
Finally, don’t underestimate asking your customers for help! The easiest links to acquire are often from local customers who already love your business.
Ask loyal local customers for testimonials, reviews, and referrals to their networks. When featuring their feedback on your site or social channels, link back to their websites or social profiles when possible. It’s an easy win-win for link exchanges.
Link Building Takes Time, But Pays Dividends for Local SEO
As you can see, there are many creative strategies a local business can use to build high quality backlinks. Link building takes effort and time, but pays huge dividends for your local search visibility and ranking.
Focus on slowly and consistently building a diverse link profile from locally relevant sites. The more quality local links you earn, the more Google will trust your business as a go-to local authority. Pair link building with on-page optimization and you’ll see the leads and new customers start pouring in through organic search.
Key Takeaways for Effective Local Link Building:
- Optimize your NAP citations on directories like Google My Business to build a local identity
- Get featured on niche local business directories relevant to your industry
- Build relationships with local media outlets to earn high authority backlinks
- Guest post on local blogs that reach your target customer base
- Sponsor events and festivals aligning with your brand and audience
- Partner with complementary local businesses on co-marketing campaigns
- Volunteer your time and resources to local nonprofits and associations
- Participate actively on niche directories related to your profession
- Ask loyal local customers for reviews, referrals, and backlinks to your site
Link building is an ongoing process, but following these tactics will help you make steady progress. Focus on quality over quantity, prioritize locally relevant sites, and build relationships in your community for the best results. With consistent effort, your local link profile and SEO authority will continue to grow.