Local link building is too often overlooked within link building campaigns. I’ve had great experiences involving local link building throughout campaigns, gaining traction within very competitive search verticals, helping drive relevant and converting traffic.
The trick to optimizing links for local search is two pronged – building great national industry links using geo-specific anchor text, and building great links from local authorities.
For this post, I’ll be covering how to build great links from local authorities – which time and time again has proven to require human creativity and leveraging relationships.
Why Local Links are Important
Dr. Pete at Moz wrote a fantastic post about the effect of SERP crowding for organic spots, due to features such as local listings, advertisements, the knowledge graph, rich snippets, etc.
Said plainly, Google is working to evolve. They want to go beyond being a search engine returning relevant websites and become an information provider, social tool, and really, world changer.
I recently read an article in Businessweek that really helps highlight this, specifically concerning their Google X department. The quote involves Google Glass, the latest hot item from Google X:
Parviz wants the world to see Glass in the context of Google X: It’s aimed at making access to knowledge so fast and seamless that it “fundamentally changes the meaning of knowing things.”
One easy way to tap into Google’s effort to provide deeper information within their SERPs – and secure an easy win – is to tap into local link building.
Creating a Local Mindset
The first and foremost step in launching a local link building campaign and building local authority links is establishing a local mindset. This is different than national link building, where it’s supremely important to build links only on sites that are highly relevant to your industry, with a measure of authority.
For local link building, the main consideration is who has authority within the community.
Two primary questions you should ask when beginning a local link building campaign:
- Who has authority within your community
- Have I interacted with any local:
- Service providers
- Media organizations
- Social events
- Universities, colleges, high schools, etc.
- Groups, associations, societies, etc.
Truly, that should be enough to get a local link building campaign off the ground and open creative opportunities.
Let’s dive a bit deeper into each of these questions.
The first targets you need to identify are those who have authority within your local community. This is important for two reasons:
- So you can work to build a link from their site to yours, which will clue Google into your own local authority
- To establish what gives them their local authority, and further your own pursuit of local authority.
Step 1 is the goal, with Step 2 being an extra ‘above and beyond’, depending on how involved within the local community you wish to become.
Step 1 — convincing local sites to link to yours — can only be taken by reaching out and building a relationship with local authorities, one at a time.
It’s extremely important to create positive interaction between your company and the local authority before attempting to secure the link. Get involved in some positive way with your target and the community before asking for a link. A few possibilities:
- Sponsor/participate at an event of which they’re a member
- Create a community event and ask them (and other local authorities) to join
- If possible, employ their services
- Don’t forget to write a review/give a testimonial – a great way to secure a link
- Ask to interview them based upon a local topic they’re passionate about, then feature it on your site
- Ask to write a relevant article for their site, if they have a blog/host news
- Create (and promote!) content useful to the community:
- Local maps showing important community spots
- Pet friendly locations within your local community
- A local entertainment guide
- A map/review of nearby great outdoor opportunities
- Offer to be a source for any local journalists – odds are they won’t have a story right away, but when they do they’ll know who to come to
- Release positive news about yourself periodically, that is relevant to the community
Those are just a few suggestions that should help get your creative juices flowing. There’s no one solution for local link building; every campaign will be different based upon industry, locality, and current standing within the community. Thinking creatively will always net you the best results.
Step 2 is important in understanding the level of involvement necessary to become a local authority. If you want great local links to flow in, the best way is to become perceived as a local authority.
Some actions that help create authority within a community:
- Invested time, money, or energy into the community
- Providing news, information, or purpose to the community
- Leading discussion on community hot topics
- Organizing community events
- Multiple ties throughout the community
Again, spend time brainstorming how you can use assets, relationships, and current business strategies to further boost your local authority.
Have I interacted with anyone local lately…
The second piece of a local link building campaign that’s all too often overlooked is bringing current relationships into the online world.
Take a moment and consider your current local relationships. These can include:
- Your current office complex
- Real estate groups you used to find your current offices
- Local vendors
- Local service providers
- Local charities
- Coverage in local media
Anytime you have a positive interaction with a local business, provide a review on your site or offer to give a testimonial. SEER wrote an article about this, and covered it pretty well.
Local link building is 100 percent about finding local authorities, creating positive interaction, and bringing your relationships into the online world.
How far you want to take it is fully dependent upon how much you want to invest, your current level of involvement with your community, and how important local is to your business.
The best link building tool is your own brain. Creativity and unique thinking will build high quality, great links that no tool will ever match.