How to Improve Your Local SEO With Backlinks
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Today, people search for businesses in their local areas. According to one study, nearly 9 in 10 people search for a local business using their phone at least once a week. Furthermore, in the U.S., more than 1 billion searches containing the phrase “near me” are input monthly.
As a business, appearing in local search results is a must. Therefore, you need to optimize your business for local SEO (search engine optimization), also known as local search. One way to improve your local search marketing strategy and boost your local SEO is with backlinks.
This blog explains what local SEO backlinks are, their benefits, and how they improve your local search rankings and boost online traffic. We also give seven tactics to gain more local SEO backlinks.
What Is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a digital marketing strategy that helps businesses rank well on search engine results pages (SERPs) in relevant local searches.
When people enter local search queries on Google, they’re often brought to the Local Pack (3-Pack), Local Finder, and local organic search.
As noted earlier, consumers are searching locally for businesses. If you’re not implementing local SEO tactics, you’re likely not appearing in these various local search results; thus, you’re losing potential customers to competitors.
One way to optimize your local businesses for local SEO is through backlinks, which we’ll define next.
However, if you want more details on optimizing your multi-location business for local search, download our guide, the Top 10 Things You Should Be Doing in Local SEO Now.
What Are Local SEO Backlinks?
Backlinks are links on other websites that link back to your website, local listings, or local pages. Local backlinks often come from other local businesses or organizations linking to you. Why are local backlinks important to your local SEO strategy?
Local backlinks are an essential factor for local SEO. They help improve the credibility and authority of a website in the eyes of search engines like Google.
Search engines see backlinks from other local businesses and institutions as a vote of confidence, indicating that your website and content are valuable, trustworthy, and relevant to local communities.
In general local backlinks help:
- Improve your business’s domain authority and reputation in the eyes of search engines
- Increase local traffic to your website, local listings, and landing pages
- Generate more online connections between you and other local businesses
Seven Local Backlink Building Tactics
Now that you better understand the relationship between local SEO and backlinks, let’s discuss a few local SEO backlink best practices.
Below are seven local backlink strategies you can implement today to gain more backlinks, improve your search rankings, and boost online and in-person traffic!
1. Utilize Local Directories and Citations
Accurate and up-to-date local listings are a major local search ranking factor.
Local Listings Defined
Local listings are online mentions of your business on local directories. These listings often include your local NAP (name, address, and phone number) citations and other pertinent business information, such as hours of operation, links to your website, reviews, and current promotions.
Local listings live on search engines and other high-trafficked local directories. Below are a few of the most important local directories and their local listing names.
Backlinks on Local Listings
Google owns the search engine and maps market share, with 93 percent of people worldwide using Google Search and 84 percent using Google Maps or Waze (also owned by Google).
According to local SEO experts, the quantity and quality of backlinks from local and industry-relevant domains affect your local listings’ rankings. Meaning, you want backlinks from reputable local businesses, newspapers, bloggers, and other industry-related sites.
It would help if you also had a well-developed internal linking strategy, such as having links from your local listings to your local landing pages.
2. Create Local Partnerships
Creating partnerships with other local businesses is an easy way to get more local backlinks. You can create partnerships with local:
- Nonprofits and charities
- Retailers that aren’t direct competitors
- Example: a restaurant and local organic farm
- Industry groups or organizations
- Youth sports teams and clubs
You can create co-sponsored events such as fundraisers, webinars, promotions, or specials through these partnerships. To gain backlinks, both parties should promote these events before, during, and after the occasion on their website, blogs, and social media.
Not only will these partnerships increase backlinks to your local businesses, but they’ll also generate brand awareness and customer loyalty.
3. Generate Relevant Local Content
The saying ‘content is king’ holds true — particularly for gaining backlinks. By content, we mean:
- Blog posts
- Data studies
- Interactive content (calculators, quizzes, videos)
Well-written and unique content, particularly at the local level, can immediately gain passive backlinks when journalists, bloggers, and others link to your content without you reaching out to them.
For example, if you’re a property management company (PMC), you could produce a monthly rent report in different cities where you have properties. These rent reports will likely gain backlinks from local real estate journalists and bloggers covering multifamily properties or urban development.
4. Participate in Manual Backlink Outreach
Sometimes, your content needs some help to get backlinks, especially when you’re first building up your SEO efforts. If this is the case, consider manual link-building. Manual link-building is requesting backlinks from other sites and people to your website’s content.
Below are some of the most common manual link-building tactics:
- Offer other sites or bloggers guest posts in exchange for backlinks
- Request for local journalists or critics to write an honest review for your local business and its services or products
- Reach out to local bloggers to add your business to their local recommendations articles or listicles
- Promote your proprietary study to journalists and bloggers in hopes of a citation and backlink.
Manual link-building takes time but can give your content the initial jumpstart that it needs to rank well on search engines and gain more passive backlinks.
5. Contact Aggregator Sites
Another manual link-building tactic is to contact aggregator or directory-type sites. Traditionally, aggregator sites collect data and information from other online sources and put them on their site so people can easily access them.
For instance, theweblist.net is an aggregator site collecting newstories from other major sites. If your multi-location business is mention by tier-one newsources, it’s worth reaching out to these aggregators to mention and link to your site.
Here’s an example of what an aggregator site looks like:
You can reach out to these aggregator sites and build a relationship with them so they’ll place your newly published and relevant content on their sites.
Note that not all aggregator sites are high-quality or authoritative. Some are spammy and can hurt your search rankings. We recommend using an SEO tool to check their domain authority before reaching out, which we’ll discuss later.
6. Disavow Spammy Backlinks
Again, not all backlinks benefit your website or local listings’ health. Bad or spammy backlinks do exist, and they can hurt your general and local search rankings.
Good or bad backlinks often depend on where the links originate. Here’s a basic overview of how to judge backlinks.
You can use tools like Google Search Console and an SEO tool like Ahrefs or Semrush to spot spammy backlinks and disavow them. Disavowing backlinks signals to Google that you don’t want Google to count or consider the backlink when it crawls or reviews your sites.
7. Use SEO Tools
We previously mentioned SEO tools like Ahrefs or Semrush. These tools allow you to audit, analyze, and disavow backlinks to your site.
Moreover, you can use these tools to identify lost links, which are backlinks that used to link to you and are no longer doing so. You can reclaim them by reaching out to the site they belong to and requesting a backlink.
These SEO tools and others also let you analyze competitors’ backlinks. With these backlink gaps, you can use the insight found and target high-authority sites or journalists who have linked to your competitors but not you.
Below is an example of what one of these backlink gap analyses looks like.
Lastly, you can use these SEO tools to claim unlinked mentions. Unlinked mentions occur when another site mentions your multi-location business or a local store but doesn’t link to it.
If you have a list of unlinked mentions from high-authority sites, you can request a backlink to your cited page.
A targeted link-building strategy is a great way to improve your general and local SEO. However, link-building takes time, particularly at the local level. Be patient as you implement your local SEO backlink strategy and tactics.
Remember, one of the first steps to having a rock-solid local SEO strategy is ensuring you’ve claimed your local listings and have an SEO-friendly website.
This is where SOCi can help. SOCi Listings can help you claim and optimize all of your local listings on major directories, helping to ensure they’ll rank high for non-branded local search queries.
Furthermore, SOCi Local Pages and Locator can also help to improve your local search rankings and visibility through local pages. The tool allows you to create brand consistency and inform local consumers about your businesses and current promotions they have.
Request a demo today for more information on how SOCi’s products and services can help improve your local SEO and gain more backlinks!