Link building continues to be an important part of SEO even after the roll-outs of Google Penguin and Panda algorithms. Links form the crucial connection between pages and sites that helps both the search engines as well as searchers. Search engines crawl the web for relevant links, discover new pages and assess the popularity as well as relevancy of results. Building links is an extremely beneficial activity for SEO, provided it is done with latest practices. Building good links involves time and labor over weeks or even months to get desired backlinks with the focus on quality rather than quantity that involves sustainable activity rather than irregular spikes in pattern or speed.
However, link building for local businesses needs to be implemented and focused differently especially if they have a brick and mortar existence. In case of local link building the emphasis is on location with a geo-target rather than a particular niche. Local link building has tremendous potential and often left untapped by businesses. Not every business or website can have the advantage of belonging to a locality and catering to local clients but if there is any potential at the local level, then it is worthwhile to invest resources in local link building. Here we discuss a few commonly adopted tactics for successful local link building that all work towards leaving a local footprint in the minds of residents of the locality.
- Interact at Local Level
It is important that you make your presence felt at the local level. You can do this by interacting with community members, creating awareness about your business through local events, sponsorships, start discounts or distribute coupons in partnership with a local entity, contests, etc. You can also ask people to contribute to your blog if you have one and share their experience. Leverage local contacts and sources in local media to spread a word to two about your business. These efforts may not yield instant results but are sure to pay off in the long run.
- Build Citations
Accurate citations are crucial for local link building as they themselves serve as links. Citations usually include NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) but can also include a link which will serve as an added advantage. Though not having a link in the citation does not have any adverse effect, the information provided needs to be as precise and genuine as possible. Focus on the quality of citations rather than quantity and create genuine descriptions for each without altering NAP that needs to be consistent across the web.
- Community Resources
If you wish to create local impact, creating community resources can be very helpful. You can have resources about local tourist attractions or sightseeing spots, local guide to best restaurants or hotels in the area, things to do in nearby areas, a calendar of local events like sports, cultural, entertainment, etc. If you can create a resource that is associated with your industry, you are bound to hit a jackpot with the only prerequisite being that it should be of some public interest. You can check out resources of other local websites and competitors to get more ideas and figure out what works.
- Create and Leverage Local Relationships
Since this entire exercise is all about local links, it will help to create relationships with local vendors like service providers, restaurants, charities, etc. Participate in their events, share reviews and testimonials that are positive and genuine. You can also ask people to leave comments in blogs and forums. After you have developed such a connection, you can even ask them to include them in their resource list and is appropriately linked to your company website.
- Be a Part of Local Resource Lists and Local Directories
Just as you include local resources, you can also become a part of local resources that are created by local authorities. Find local sites and communities that list local resources like official city website, county or city libraries, city council websites, local clubs, groups, organizations, local media like newspapers, magazines, reputed bloggers, etc. that are authentic and have credibility.
Search engines and some websites also host directories of local businesses. Some examples are Yahoo Local, Bing Local, Yelp.ca, YellowPages.ca, Canpages.ca, 411.ca, n49.ca, weblocal.ca, etc.
Adopting these simple yet effective techniques for local link building will help businesses catapult to the top of SERPs and local searches, boosting traffic and overall business.