Link building is a foundational element of search engine optimization (SEO), crucial for propelling your website to the first page of search engines. However, a broad approach isn’t necessarily the only way for businesses to gain organic traffic, especially for those serving a specific geographical area. In these situations, targeted local link-building techniques can help you reach the people most likely to make a purchase.
What Is Local Link Building?
Local link building is where you obtain backlinks from sources within your geographical region. For example, you could write a press release or guest blog to earn links from regional news sites and blogs. These backlinks improve prominence — a ranking signal for Google Maps and other location-based services.
Just as traditional link building improves authority and search dominance, local SEO link building also helps increase trust while driving organic traffic. However, its target audience is highly specific, enhancing the likelihood of sales.
The Difference Between Link Building and Local Link Building
Search engines consider backlinks a form of endorsement from one website to another. As such, links from websites with high domain authority or large audiences typically have a more substantial effect on SEO.
However, backlinks also provide valuable context to help search engines understand content. Local backlinks demonstrate that others in within your local community trust and endorse your business, which can hold a lot more weight with local search engine algorithms.
14 Local Link-Building Strategies to Boost Search Visibility
Getting started with local SEO can feel a little overwhelming. However, there are many techniques you can employ to build links and gain prominence.
1. Get a Better Business Bureau Profile
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) maintains a directory of businesses across North America, Canada, and Mexico. While not as sparkly as other link building methods, creating a profile on the BBB website allows you to monitor reviews and resolve complaints, reinforcing your brand’s credibility and reliability, it also provides a local SEO backlink from a very high-authority domain.
Your profile lets you outline your services and products, helping improve brand awareness, and the BBB will give you a nice little “trust badge” to add to your website, which only helps to boost your E-E-A-T score. Think of it as a sticker to add to the plethora of others decorating the emotional support water bottle that is your website. (Here seems like a good spot for a “drink your water” plug!)
2. Claim Your Profiles on Review Sites
Reviews are a big ranking factor in local search, and many review platforms also provide powerful backlinks. Claiming your profiles on these platforms lets you take advantage of linking opportunities while managing your reputation with customers. It also allows you to ensure your name, address, and phone number (NAP) are consistent, which is a major signal of prominence. Consider taking an active approach by inviting customers to leave reviews as part of your SEO efforts.
While getting reviews is the hard part, ensure you respond to your reviews once you receive them. According to BrightLocal, 82% of customers read online reviews for local businesses. I would even say that responding to negative reviews is more important than positive reviews. People are going to be looking at negative reviews to get a wider scope of a business, and responding to negative reviews/taking accountability is huge.
3. Sponsor a Local Event
Sponsoring a community event like a farmers’ market, art fair, or festival can help you build local SEO links through websites and social media accounts dedicated to the event. Being a sponsor also has many other benefits for local SEO beyond these links, as it offers networking opportunities and helps show potential customers that your business values the community. Creating your own content to promote the event may even attract additional backlinks from the blogs of attendees or other companies in your area.
While the concept of local sponsorship is easy enough to grasp, acquiring sponsorships can be a different story. I recommend starting with exploring local events and directly contacting their organizers. And don’t forget to pay attention to your competitors to see who they sponsor.
4. Participate in Local Events
Even if you can’t afford to sponsor an event, you can still participate in an event to engage with potential customers, build brand recognition, and earn local SEO backlinks from the organizer’s website. You might also attract attention from news sites.
For this to be an effective strategy, the events you choose should align with your niche, brand goals, and business values so you don’t find yourself wasting money on an event that may not have anything to do with your products or services.
Some ways to participate in events include:
- Hosting a pop-up shop.
- Hosting a charity event.
- Providing catering.
- Providing event space.
- Offering exclusive deals to attendees.
- Assisting organizers with planning.
- Participating in First Fridays or Small Business Saturdays.
5. Sponsor a Local Team
Sponsoring your local Little League team, a high school football group, or a sports club can help with local link-building strategies, as many sports teams maintain a website and social media accounts where they actively promote sponsors. Plus, having your logo on uniforms and game signage can boost brand awareness. If your team performs well, you may even gain additional exposure from local papers, TV stations, and news sites. Can you just imagine how sharp those little soccer players would look with your logo on their jerseys? Say less!
6. Host a Charity Drive
Charity drives often yield some of the best backlinks for local SEO because many people link to events that support their community. While you can start your own charity drive and donate the proceeds, you might also consider working directly with established charities, as many have highly authoritative websites. Promote your charity drive for opportunities to attract social media attention and additional backlinks from prominent local influencers.
Charity drives and events can also yield favorable reviews — which are crucial for local SEO — as search engines seek reliable sources to share with users, enhancing trustworthiness and credibility.
7. Allow Groups To Use Your Space
If you have a meeting room, event hall, or other type of space you use sparingly, you can offer it to community groups during downtime to help with link building for local SEO. While many community groups have websites and social media accounts where you can earn backlinks, attendees might also tag your business when posting on sites such as Facebook, extending your social media reach. Local directories also list potential venues for community groups, serving as additional link sources.
8. Join a Local Business Organization
Membership in local business organizations, such as chambers of commerce representing companies throughout an entire community or smaller bodies promoting business corridors, can benefit your local link-building efforts immensely. Often, these organizations have prominent websites where you can gain backlinks, and members may refer customers to each other. You can also earn links from local bloggers and media by participating in events your chamber of commerce hosts.
A thing to keep in mind: It can take some time to find the right person to contact at organizations like a chamber of commerce. A little patience yields better sourdough starters, or whatever the influencers are promoting these days.
9. Write a Column for a Local Paper
Despite the waning popularity of newspapers and magazines, you shouldn’t overlook local papers as a source of customers. Many still boast a dedicated readership and have a significant online presence. While several of the local link-building tips on this list come with the added benefit of helping you attract attention from the media for additional backlinks, you can also write a column to take a more active approach and showcase your topical authority. Using another form of media also ensures you’re getting in front of all the audiences you want to share your services or products with. Inclusivity always wins!
10. Get Listed on Tourism Websites
Many cities have a tourist-focused website that outlines major attractions in the local area, and these sites can be excellent for local SEO. While it’s easier for certain types of businesses, such as restaurants and hotels, to be listed on tourism sites, companies operating in other industries can often earn backlinks by collaborating with tourist-centric businesses. You could also offer business-to-business services or host conferences and workshops targeting corporate travelers to gain a website listing.
11. Connect With Local Bloggers
Connecting with bloggers is one of the best ways to learn more about your customer base and attract new leads. While you can gain backlinks in doing so, connecting with bloggers also assists with your local social media campaigns, as many bloggers have large followings you can leverage to amplify your own efforts. Here are some ways to collaborate with local bloggers for mutual benefit:
- Guest posting and sponsored posts
- Tours and behind-the-scenes demonstrations
- Giveaways and contests
- Ambassador programs
- Affiliate relationships
- Product reviews
12. Submit Events to Local Events Pages
Freshness is a key factor in search engine ranking algorithms. When you submit events to local pages, there’s a high likelihood you’ll receive a backlink to your website. However, this also helps improve prominence in local search by ensuring your brand remains relevant. Companies attracting fresh content may rank higher for certain time-sensitive keywords in local search.
13. Form Local Partnerships
Local partnerships allow you to benefit from another business or nonprofit organization’s existing customer base, earning backlinks in the process. Partnering with a well-known brand can also help promote trust and credibility. Some things you can consider doing through a partnership include:
- A guest blogging exchange for links and referral traffic.
- Running events together to reduce costs and labor.
- Shared social media campaigns to tap into each other’s audiences.
14. Find Unlinked Mentions
Unlinked mentions, where a website refers to your business without directly linking to it, are common across the internet, and you can usually find them with Google Alerts or by using local SEO tools such as Ahrefs. After finding one, contact the site admin and invite them to link to your business directly as a way to improve their site’s user experience.
Bonus Tip: Spy on the Competition
If you’re unsure how to continue with local SEO, monitoring what your competition is doing is never a bad idea. Not only can it help you decide on a content direction based on what attracts the most engagement, but it can also reveal backlink opportunities you might not have considered by showing what kinds of websites link to your competitors. Many platforms help with this, but here are some popular options:
Local Link Building: The Process That Never Ends
The internet changes constantly, making link building a never-ending cycle, much like Shari Lewis and Lambchop’s classic hit, “The Song That Never Ends.” As you’ll inevitably lose some links when events conclude or blogs restructure, it’s important to keep an eye on broken backlinks. Broken links can impact a business’s SEO performance in various ways, with user experience, authority, revenue, and Google rankings being the most significant factors affected. Every backlink you gain represents improved stability and a bright future for your business, so stay ahead of the curve by continually building backlinks and seeking new local SEO opportunities.
Ready to rise to the top of local search results like House of Pain? If you understand that reference (and even if you don’t), reach out for a free consultation to learn how our team of link-building experts can help you build high-quality backlinks and let your search performance shine.