If you want your local business to rank higher in Google, then you’re going to need backlinks. In fact, this study showed that backlinks are an important ranking factor for both Map Pack and localised organic rankings. But unlike general link building tactics where location isn’t always hugely important, links from local sites seem to have more impact when it comes to link building for local SEO. So today, we’re going to show you six ways to build backlinks for local SEO.
Difference between local and general link building
Before we get into the actual tactics, it’s important we differentiate between local link building and link building in general. Link building is the process of getting contextually relevant websites to link to a page on your website. And local link building is basically the same thing, but with one additional but very important layer. Ideally, you want to get backlinks from pages that are both contextually and locally relevant to your website.
For example, let’s say you’re a photographer in Singapore and want to get backlinks to your site. Getting a link from a page on how to take good pictures would certainly be contextually relevant, but it lacks locational relevance if it’s a blog that targets a global audience. Now, there’s nothing wrong with these links but it’s ideal if you can get a link from a page where there’s contextual relevance and it’s also a locally relevant website. And if we add in authority, then the ideal backlink would land somewhere in this sweet spot:
But finding “ideal” links isn’t always possible, so it’s perfectly fine to get contextual or locally relevant links too. While the difference might not sound that big, your approach to finding, qualifying and pitching link prospects will be different from the usual link building tactics.
Now, the good thing about local SEO when it comes to backlinks is that there won’t be as much competition because you’re competing with local players. But the downside is that you may need to get more creative in finding link prospects because there will likely be fewer targets compared to a site doing global SEO.
So let’s talk about some easy local link building tactics.
#1: Join your local chamber of commerce
A chamber of commerce is simply a business network for local organisations. And most major cities and even smaller suburban towns will have a chamber of commerce. And these kinds of links would fall right into this section in the venn diagram:
Chamber of commerce websites often have high authority and local relevance, but aren’t the strongest in terms of contextual relevance because they’re usually just directory links. Nevertheless, they’re easy to get and not bad at all.
So to get started, just search for “chamber of commerce” and your city. Then go to one of those sites and you should be able to easily sign up for a membership. After that, you should be added to their directory with your business’s name, address, phone number, and website URL.
Now, in addition to becoming a member at your local chamber of commerce, you may also want to consider providing member discounts. This lead to new business as well as a link back to your site!
#2: Local resource page link building
So let’s move on to the next tactic which is local resource page link building. Resource page link building is where you get backlinks from web pages that curate and link out to useful industry resources. And it works really well because the purpose of the pages are to literally link out to relevant and helpful resources. Resource page links have decent contextual and locational relevance. But on occasion, you’ll be able to find some websites that have decent domain-level authority.
So let’s assume that we’re building resource page links for a plumber in the UK. For example, we’ll go to Google and search for something like inurl:resources.html site:co.uk, and then we’ll add “plumbing” as the niche. And now you can see sites that contain resources.html in the URL, are on a co.uk domain and include the word “plumbing” on the page.
From here, you’ll want to do two things. One, visit the pages to see if they actually link out to external websites. If they don’t, then it’s probably not worth your time to ask for one. Two, exercise some common sense. If you’re really a plumber and you’re asking another plumbing company down the street to link to you, it’s probably not going to happen.
Now, you can alter your search a bit because there could be tons of locally relevant websites using a generic top-level domain like .com. So search for inurl:resources, your city and state, and then your niche-relevant keyword. Filter through the list and then send your link pitches where appropriate.
However, you shouldn’t stop here. You can also search for tangential businesses in the same location! For example, if you’re a wedding photographer in Sydney, you might want to look for flower shops, event venues, cake shops, etc. So you might search for “inurl:resources.html sydney wedding venue.” Then click on the results and see if there are any appropriate places for you to ask to be considered as a resource!
#3: Guest post on local websites
Guest posting is when you write content on someone else’s website. And this tactic falls smack dab in the middle of our venn diagram because when you guest blog, you can handpick the sites you want to write for!
To get started, you can use a tool like Ahrefs’ Content Explorer to search through billions of pages of content and filter prospects by their SEO metrics. So let’s say you’re a photographer in Australia. I’ll search for “title:photography site:au.” This will narrow down results to pages that mention photography in the title and live on a .au domain.
Next, let’s hit the one page per domain filter since we don’t need to pitch the same site multiple times. I’ll also exclude homepages since we’re looking for local websites that have blog posts. And they’d likely be more receptive to a guest post pitch.
Now, since we’re searching for guest blogging opportunities, let’s set a word count filter to show pages with at least 500 words in the content which will exclude gallery, contact, and other thin pages. Finally, we’ll set a Domain Rating filter with a minimum value of 30 and a maximum value of 60. And this will show us websites that have decent website authority, creating a list of blogs we could pitch for a guest writing opportunity. Again, you can alter the search and replace the “site” part of the query with your city name to find potential local opportunities too.
#4: Get featured on local list posts
For almost any product or service, there’s likely going to be some “best of” lists. For example, “Best Mexican Restaurants in Singapore,” or “Best Helicopter Tour in NYC,” etc. Plus, there will also be variations like “Fun Things to Do in Sydney” and “Child-Friendly Restaurants near Bells Beach.” Bottomline: people are always looking for options, and there will almost always be blog posts for that. You just need to become one of those options! These links are great because not only do they fall right in the middle of the venn diagram, but they’re also a great way to get customers through your doors.
So to get started, just search for a query that’s likely to bring up a list in your area. You’ll want to pay attention to pages that are likely blog posts and ignore directories. From here, take a look through other restaurants they’ve mentioned and if you feel that whatever you offer is comparable or better than the rest, then consider pitching yourself as a potential candidate.
For example, you might reach out and say:
“Hi (Insert Name),
My name is (Insert Name) and I’m the owner at (Insert Business). I saw your post on (Insert Webpage) and was sad to see we weren’t included. But hey, it’s not your fault! 🙂 We just opened up our business and if you’re open, I’d love for you to come try our (Insert Products/Services) so we might be considered for inclusion in your list. No obligations at all!
If interested, please let me know a date and time that works best for you. We’d love to have you!
Now it’s just a matter of rinsing and repeating and getting on every list if possible.
#5: Analyse your competitors’ backlinks
Alright, the last tactic is to look at your top organic competitors’ backlinks. The logic behind this tactic is that if your competitors are ranking at the top of Google, then they likely have backlinks that are moving the needle. So it’s worth finding common backlinks between your competitors and then reaching out to these sites to try and get them for yourself.
To get started, go to Google and search for something like “your niche + city.” So we’ll search for “Mexican Restaurant Toronto.” as an example. From here, you’ll want to gather a list of your competitors’ domains using the Map Pack and organic results. And we want to avoid sites like directories as well as blogs because we’re looking for real business competitors here.
Alright, here’s my list of around eight competing restaurants. Now we need to find common backlinks between these sites. So I’ll go to Ahrefs Link Intersect tool and in the top section, I’ll enter all of my competitors’ domains. And in the bottom section, I’ll add my hypothetical Mexican restaurant’s domain. Now, let’s run the search.
And now you can see the websites that are linking to your competitors, but not you. As a general rule of thumb, the more competitors that a website links to, the more relevant the referring domain will be to your site.
For example, if we click on the link from Narcity to this competitor, you’ll see the link comes from a post on Toronto’s best taco restaurants – a perfectly good page to get a link from. Just make your way through the list and you should be able to find more than enough link building opportunities for your site!