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A guide for building links for a local business

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 04 Sep, 2018
Essential Essential topic

What links mean for your business and how to get them

When it comes to online marketing for a local business, it may feel like a fruitless task. Doing the SEO, setting up your Google maps pack, making your social media accounts is just the start of it. Once you’ve done that, then surely that’s the end of the road, right?

Not quite.

Just as you can target people around the world with effective marketing online, you can just as successfully target local business as well. It just requires the right strategy.

Part of that strategy is making sure you have an effective on-page SEO , so targeting the right cities, regions or suburbs with individual pages.However, that probably isn’t going to be enough.

To truly have a large impact on your SEO, and drive a lot of traffic to your site, you will NEED to improve your link profile.

Links

If you’re not already familiar with the concept of links (or backlinks) they are essentially just when other websites or blogs link to your website.

The more quality links you have going to your website, the more traffic you’ll drive to the site.

Both as a result of:

  1. These links act as “votes” to the search engines. So the more votes you have, the more authority and trust the search engines place on your site. After all, if loads of sites are linking to the same page talking about something, then it must be valuable, right?
  2. And obviously, direct traffic should flow from that website linking out to you. The higher the quality of the site and the more contextually relevant your link is, the more traffic you’ll get.

And in 2018, links are now more important than ever. As search engine algorithms continue to improve they’ve had to move away from only assessing keywords, or on-site structure, to also taking into account link profiles and traffic.

It applies both for national and international businesses, as well as small to medium size businesses trying to generate leads at a more local level.

However, there is one thing I want to clear up regarding the kind of links you should be building. When I talk about links, I am not talking about spammy links, PBN links or any blog comment spam.

Yes, inherently these are also links in some form – but they are not what I’d call “real world” links. They are generated for the purpose of manipulating the search engines, and giving the impression that you have a quality site worthy of better rankings. And don’t get me wrong, if you utilize this kind of black or grey hat techniques, you may see some increase in rankings and traffic… But how long will it last? And the next time Google does an algorithm change or update, will you actually see your efforts reversed? Could you be penalized?

By utilizing only white hat techniques, you’ll get there a lot slower, however, you’re doing things the correct way, with long-term thinking – and you’ll future-proof your business from any changes in search engine technologies.

Local backlinking

Local link building tips

The importance of content

This is going to be mega crucial to the success of your link building campaigns. And especially so, if you have a local business.

Create content in your industry, niche or around your business that people will truly find interesting. It needs to be content which helps your business stand out, something which gets people reading, makes them laugh and keeps them engaged.
Theere is no magic bullet which is going to nail this part of the strategy for you. A lot of this is going to be down to

  1. Knowing your target audience.
  2. Knowing what makes them tick.
  3. Knowing questions or pain points that they have.
  4. And having the passion and drive to create amazing content that fulfills their needs.

Whether it's by creating articles, filming videos, doing interviews, podcasts or whatever, this is something that can continually be worked on, and you never will reach a stage where you’ve “finished your content”.

Now its time to get some links…

Once you have an idea of the kind of content you should be creating and who your target audience is, its time to do some email outreach and find those places where your audience are going to be lurking.

Here are some techniques which will help drive them to your site.

Local newspapers

This will be about approaching real, quality websites in your local area or region. Local newspapers or blogs about the local area will be good. There will be a lot of localized traffic residing on these sites purely because people are aware of their brand and/or they rank well for loads of localized search terms.

More often than not, especially with the local newspapers, you may have to pay a fee to be featured. You may not have to pay a fee, it just depends on your content or if your company has done something which is extremely newsworthy.

A good method is to go straight to a journalist. Especially if they already write articles in your industry or area, this can be extremely effective.

Local bloggers

Again, a lot of localized traffic could be on here and especially if they blog about your industry. E.g. if you have a restaurant and they do reviews about food or eating out, this can work extremely well.

You may have to entice them with something, especially if they are a particularly influential blogger. But it may be worth doing some kind of value exchange with them. Whether that’s giving them a sponsored fee, free product, sharing their stuff on social media, or whatever it may be.

Donating to local organizations

Think along the lines of local sports teams, local clubs or charities. The more relevant it is to your industry, the more effective this could be.

The bigger the organization though, the bigger the donation may have to be though. Just check their site as they may already have a page discussing the topic of donations and sponsorship deals, and make sure you’ll get a link from doing this.

Synonym Method 1

Find other local businesses which have some vertical relevance, but are not doing exactly what you’re doing. Since, it's unlikely that your competitors will want to link to you.

For example, if you have a law firm that deals exclusively in compensation, then get a link from another law firm that only does immigration cases.

Synonym Method 2

This would be finding other businesses which are not in the same industry at all, but could still be linked in some way. For this method, you may need to have some kind of bridging content so that the link can be placed in a contextually relevant way. That could either be on your own site, or you could write a guest post for them, which explains your product or business.

An example would be an immigration law firm getting a link from a local travel or tourism blog.

Local forums/comments

In most cities and industries there probably is likely to be some forums for that particular sector. By being active on forums like this, it can help you understand your industry and perhaps even help you gain some insight on your audience. But as well as that, when you start to contribute and recognized within forums like this, if you can drop in a link (but only where it's relevant) it can be a good way of driving what may initially only be a small amount of traffic  - but very targeted traffic. Also, bear in mind, your comments and links will stay there for the lifetime of the forum, so it’ll continue to drive direct traffic further down the road.

Conclusion

This is just a taster of the kind of links you could build, but this should be plenty to get any successful link building campaign started. What I want to drive home is this – if you provide valuable content which resonates with your local audience, it’s going to dramatically increase your chances of driving them to your site – and generating business.
You’ll then find as you continue to build some authority, rank better for local terms, are being talked about in forums, blogs and newspapers – you’ll then start to build some brand awareness. And you may even start generating some links on autopilot! Whether that’s links within other websites, or people linking out to you via social media – its all going to work towards generating more traffic and more business.

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By Expert commentator

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