Local link building. If you’re an agency owner like me, the idea of building links at all was a mystery for a long time. Along the way, thanks to mentors and sources such as Brightlocal Learning Academy, link building has become much less of a mystery. This article will hopefully help you understand better the process and importance of local links to your SEO strategy. So let’s dive in! My hope is that this article will help you better understand the how and why of local link building.
Local Link Building Starts With Good Research
Business owners like yourself who care about succeeding long term are likely to “do their homework” before venturing out. A common pattern I’ve seen is competitive analysis. What are your competitors doing to be successful? What kind of marketing strategies are they using? How can you differentiate yourself by offering something unique? These same principles hold true with local link building research. A successful plan will involve working with a good SEO agency who has access to tools such as MOZ, AHREFs, SEMRush, and others. Tools like these will help you identify your own links, as well as links your competitors have. Based on this research, you can identify opportunities to be unique. What link opportunities are out there which your competitors AREN’T going after?
Don’t restrict this analysis only to your local market. Look across other major cities, even across the country. You might find amazing ideas that you wouldn’t have thought of if you stayed in your local bubble. And remember: this type of research is not a one time process.
Local Link Building Is About Avoiding AND Adding
Good local link building is as much about avoiding bad links as obtaining good ones. In the early days of SEO, the name of the game was to simply see how many links you could get. This gave rise to several shady “black hat” SEO practices such as buying links in bulk. Google’s stated mission is the organization of the world’s information. They care about serving the best result for the search term entered. The problem with practices such as link purchasing is that searches ended up returning irrelevant results. Flash forward to 2012: Google made a massive update to their algorithm entitled “Penguin.” This article from Searchmetrics.com does a much better job explaining the how and what of this update. In brief, Google frowns upon links pointing to a site that have little or nothing to do with the content of the domain.
This is my two cents on the matter: if an agency tells you they can rank you quickly by purchasing links, avoid them. I have witnessed firsthand owners who had their rankings killed after the 2012 penguin update due to an abundance of bad links pointing to their site. It is also best to avoid links from spammy directories, widget embeds, blog comments or forum posts.
Traditional Link Building Tactics
With the help of an agency you’ve done your link research. We have covered bad link building tactics. So how do you go about building great links to your site?
I have a friend up in Canada whose favorite phrase is, “content is king.” And he isn’t wrong. As an owner, one of the best things you can do is to share your expertise, or hire out someone who can help with this if writing isn’t your strength. Great content is likely to get organic links back. Along with this, conduct some interviews, or again, have a content creator help with this. You will likely have a following who would love to see or hear guests give their feedback or insight on their industry.
Another tactic which will likely require the help of an expert is link reclamation: links that pointed to your site but are now broken. Additionally, finding unlinked mentions on social media platforms or other sources are a great potential source for local links. Lastly, and this will require an on-staff team of agile content creators: the practice of “newsjacking” or being the first to write about a local event to obtain local links.
Local Link Building: An Ongoing Process
Hopefully you have found this article useful. There is much more that can be said about the practice of local link building, but let me leave you with this: building links is much like tending a garden. It requires continuous effort, but if you are willing to put the effort in, the fruit will come.
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