Local link building can be tough. Providing a specific product or service to a small target audience means that only a small number of link prospects are available for your website. This makes it easy for large national websites with huge backlink profiles like Trulia and Trip Advisor to dominate most local search queries.
We provided our top 10 local link building sources for businesses to get links and improve their local SEO so you can more easily hunt down these opportunities and possibly expand your linkable audience.
One of the easiest and most useful sources for increasing relevant and quality backlinks to your website is through directories. There are three different types:
Large Local Directories
These are the directories that provide information for businesses in all locations in all industries. You’ve likely heard their names before, and it is well worth getting your local business listed with a link as search engines trust and value their information. Some examples include:
These directories provide business listings based on an industry. Many require payment, but some are free and well visited. If you’re an industrial business operating locally you’d consider getting your business listed in:
These are the directories catered to providing information on your region. If you operate a local business in Suburban Detroit, you’d want to be in these directories:
2. Outdated NAPs
When SEOs talk about citations they always reference your NAPs and NAP consistency. If your business changed its Name, Address or Phone number (NAP) in the past, you may be suffering from NAP inconsistencies that need to get fixed.
Search engines use the prevalence of NAP listings to determine that a business has a brick and mortar location, that they can be contacted by customers contact information, and that all of this information is accurate and reliable.
The easiest way to find out if you have outdated NAP listings is to search for your old and outdated information. If you previously moved or changed your phone number, do a Google search and see what you find.
Doing this not only is helpful for citation consistency but it gives you the opportunity to check up on your citation listings to see if there are opportunities for including a link to your website.
3. Link Reclamation
Depending on the size of your local business, this may not uncover a great deal of opportunities, but it is certainly worth looking into.
For example, if your brand name is mentioned in a local news article but a link to your website is not included on the page, there is a good chance that you could reach out to the manager of the page and request that they include a link to your website in the article.
The easiest way to find these existing opportunities is to a search for your brand excluding results that include your website:
- “your brand name” –site:yourwebsite.com
Because many websites link using a business logo or image, there may be websites out there using your logo but not providing a link to your website. Use Google’s search by image tool to find these opportunities.
4. Jobs/Careers Page
If you are actively looking to hire new employees and have a careers or jobs page on your website it can be utilized as a link building resource. In particular, internship openings are a golden link building resource as they are interesting for .edu websites.
Say you are an environmental consulting company with multiple locations operating locally, and some of these locations hire interns, and you have an internship page that provides necessary information about the internship program.
Many large universities, community colleges, and private colleges have internship opportunity postings on their department or career services pages and would love learning about new and relevant internship opportunities for students in their area.
5. Competitor Research
You can find opportunities by looking at what your local competitors are doing well. Looking at directories your competitors are listed in, resource pages they’ve created, places they sponsor, etc. you can uncover many link opportunities.
Ideally you would have a backlink analyzer like Majestic, Ahrefs or Moz to assist with this process. You can find a few opportunities first hand by again using a simple advanced search query. Sound like an oxymoron? It really is pretty easy:
“competitor name” –site:competitorwebsite.com
Also, the Citation Labs Co-Citation Tool is perfect for competitor backlink analysis. It helps you collect numerous backlink data of competitors and figure out the pages and domains that more than one of them are getting links from.
An easy to overlook option for local link building are sponsorships. If your business sponsors a local charity, club or organization there may be an opportunity to obtain a link from their website or a website that they manage. If they link to their sponsors and you’re not included, find out what it takes to be linked from their website.
Meetup.com is a great way to find local groups in your area that could use a sponsor. A great find by Phil Rozek was that groups lacking any sponsor have the same phrase “this group does not have sponsors right now”. – read his post.
7. Resources for Local Audience
There are resources you can create to target just about anyone in your local area. What is your city known for? What information does your local chamber of commerce or local tourism association not provide about your local community?
What’s great is that while these resources are mostly useful for people who live in a regional area, you don’t have to think local when it comes to link building.
We created a Grand Rapids Brewery Map with Reviews resource as Grand Rapids, MI is “Beer City USA” and has a large number of high quality microbreweries in a small area. While this page is relevant to any website interested in Michigan tourism, Grand Rapids businesses, Michigan business growth, it is also relevant to beer enthusiasts across the country.
8. Links/Resources Pages
You can find these opportunities by doing another simple advanced search query. Here are a few examples:
- Your city intitle:links OR intitle:resources – displays pages relevant to your city with “links” or “resources” in the title tag.
- Your county inurl:links OR inurl:resources – displays pages relevant to your county with “links or “resources in the URL.
It’s often difficult to find links and resources pages that would be a good fit for your business, but consider if your resource for a local audience (#7) would be a better fit instead.
9. Target Clubs/Groups/Organizations
There are a few reasons why to target local clubs, groups and organizations in your area for links:
- They’re not a business
- They have some level of organization and structure (they have a website person)
- They want to keep their website updated with resources and useful information
These local groups are often need of sponsors as well (#6). Ideally you would want to pursue clubs and groups that are related in some way to your business (see #7). Here are some example ideas:
- Auto repair shop in Connecticut: Calendar of classic car events and shows throughout New England. Target antique car clubs and auto enthusiasts for links.
- Veterinarian in Florida: Create a Google custom map of dog training centers in Florida. Target dog agility, dog show, and dog enthusiasts in Florida.
- Real estate company: Pick a nearby university and create a list of all alumni clubs and groups across the United States. Target alumni clubs, sport fan websites and any page mentioning “___ alumni”
10. Utilize Existing Relationships
Very simple and possibly the most useful way to get links. If you are on good terms with another organization in your area or someone you do business with you may be able to get a link from their website.
If you have been working with your accountant for the past 10 years and they have a page on their website dedicated to businesses they work with, there’s a good chance that you could include your business on the page.
Clearly, local link building is a challenge – even for those with experience. However, just because link building is a challenge doesn’t mean it should be ignored or made less of a priority. With enough time and creativity effective local link building is possible, which will have a strong impact on your local SEO presence.