The “Low Hanging Fruit” for Local Link Building & Stronger Search Engine Rankings

Local-SEO-Map-Pin-Link-ChainIdeally, an effectively link building strategy for local SEO would be centred around creating & promoting remarkable, creative pieces of content. Content that your local audience loves & is willing to share or link to.

However, it’s not always easy to produce high quality content. Especially if you’re a local business with limited time & a lack of creative flair. Or maybe you’re just operating in an industry that doesn’t really lend itself to viral / linkworthy content.

The good news is that there are still plenty of ways to build valuable backlinks to your business’ web properties. I recently scoured the internet and couldn’t find a complete list of local link building tactics that businesses could employ to help boost search engine rankings. So, I whacked one together for my benefits & for yours.

Hope you find the list useful. If you can think of any other ways to get local links without content, I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below this post. Oh, and if you do find the list useful – don’t forget to share across your social media profiles 🙂

Local Link Building Tactics (When You’re Contentless!)

1. Check competitors’ backlinks

If your local competitors are outranking you on Google, it may be that their edge is thanks to a handful of quality links pointing to their site that you haven’t yet acquired. Go to Open Site Explorer and type your competitors’ URL in to check which sites are linking to their domain. OSE allows 3 free searches per day. Analyse the links pointing to your competitors’ sites and think of how you can acquire those links your site. (Be sure to only source links from sites that look credible, relevant to your industry or locality.)

2. Local area business directories

Do a simple Google search for business directories in your local region. Probably only consider the sites you find on the first 3 pages of Google. Many of these will offer a free listing option – go take advantage of that. You might even find that you generate a handful of leads from these local listings.

3. Your other web properties

If you have other websites, social media profiles, or blogs setup – Why not link to your business’ website from these?

4. Suppliers, Customers’ & Local Contacts

Make a list of all your business’ suppliers and – if applicable – business customers who have websites. Some examples could be your accountant, product wholesalers, tradespeople, or even just friends who have businesses. Many of these business contacts will have a “Partners” page or “Suppliers” page on their website where they can mention your business. This list is SEO gold for local link sourcing & relationship building because you’re actually nurturing REAL relationships. Try to make sure your links are placed with some contextual relevance, rather than in barely visible footer links.

5. Local Associations, Accreditations & Business Groups

Local business networking groups & industry associations are a great way to show your customers & the search engines that you are credible & active in the local community.

Step 1. Write a list of all the relevant local associations, accreditation providers, or business groups you are a part of, or could be a part of.

Step 2. Check out these organisations’ websites and see if they have any pages dedicated to members’ listings.

Step 3. For the sites that do have a members page, email the owner and ask to be listed

Step 4. For the sites that don’t have a members page, email the owner and either suggest they create a members page or think of a creative way to have your business profile published on their site.
6. Local Sponsorships, Sports Clubs & Local Events

As with local associations & business groups, sporting clubs & local events are a great way to show the universe that your business is awesome. You might already sponsor your kids’ soccer team. If you do, go get yourself featured on their website. If not, consider forking out a few hundred bucks to contribute and support a local event or sporting team. Make it a condition of your sponsorship that they feature your business on their website and maybe even their email newsletter for some extra exposure.

7. Daily Deals sites

Possibly a controversial option, as many of daily coupon sites like Groupon can hurt a small business’ cash flow. But, if you can figure out a way to make this marketing medium work for your business, then why not hit up the daily deal for a link back to your site?

8. Comments on Local Blogs

Do a Google Blog search for local blogs that are preferably relevant to your industry. You may be suprised to find some great local content on these sites. If you genuinely do find some of the content interesting, then go ahead and engage in the conversations via commenting. You’ll learn a few things, forge some new relationships and maybe even score the odd valuable backlink. (DO NOT do comment link spam. If you don’t know what that is, read this article first)

9. Google My Business (of course!)

Google My Business is the old Google Places, or Google+ Local pages. This is Google’s free service that allows you to list your business & build a profile on Google. If you haven’t already, go and create your page & be sure to include as much great content as possible (Off the topic of this post). Be sure to include a link to your home page and even a few links back to key pages within your website. (Don’t overdo it though)

10. Offer testimonials to authoritative local businesses (Ok, this is kind of content – But really easy content!)

Have you been a customer of a well known local business recently? Write them up a quick testimonial (Ok, that’s technically content creation – but it will take you less 2 minutes). Email them the testimonial and tell them that they’re welcome to publish it on their website. Include your name & web address with the testimonial. Genuine & effective.

11. Job Sites / Employment Agencies / Internships for Local School Students or Universities

If you use local job sites or employment agencies to find new staff, be sure to have your business’ website listed somewhere in the job descriptions. Not only will it help your propspective employees learn more about their potential employer, it’ll also help build some local clout with the search engines.

12. Fresh Web Mentions (Google Alerts –> Outreach)

Set up a Google alert for your branded terms (eg. ABC Dental). This is a free service that sends you an email whenver your elected terms are mentioned online. You might find from time to time that your business gets mentioned on other local websites. If that does happen, reach out to the person who mentioned you and ask them to include a link somehow. This is also a great way to keep on top of your reviews online.

13. Arrange a discount partnership with another local business

Example – A local chiropractic & massage clinic I work with realised that their patients were often asking for fitness & weight loss advice. I put them in touch with some friends of mine who run a personal training studio and they’ve designed a partnership agreement for mutual referrals. This is a great way to increase leads & customer loyalty. It’s also a great way to source links from other related businesses.

14. Local Charities

Don’t just do this for the backlink. It feels good to contribute to charities that you’re passionate about. Karma will bring good things back to you if you do decide to help out the less fortunate. If that karma results in a link back to your website somehow, then that’s a bonus 🙂

15. Use a High School Kid As Outdoor Advertising

This one’s my personal favourite. Hire a high school kid to stand on the busiest road in your town, wearing a huge sign reading as follows:

“PLEASE LINK TO [insert your business URL here]”. You know what – Scrap the first 13 local link building tactics & just roll with this one!

Kid holding a sign asking for links

 

*No.14 is not a serious recommendation – BUT I’d really love for someone to try it out and let me know how it goes! 😛

 

So that’s the list! Most of these tactics came from my own brain, but I also did a little research to find additional ideas. So a big thank you must got to the following bloggers whose articles helped me to compile this list for local link building without content:

 

Matt Green from Ethical Consulting for his post on MOZ here: http://moz.com/blog/5-link-building-tactics-to-improve-your-local-rankings

Adam Melson for his post on SEER Interactive blog here: http://www.seerinteractive.com/blog/35-local-link-opportunities-you-missed

Andrew Shotland (Local SEO Guide) for his post on MOZ here: http://searchengineland.com/5-local-linkbuilding-ideas-for-the-post-penguinpanda-era-120757

Scott Dodge for his post on the Whitespark blog here: http://www.whitespark.ca/blog/post/8-local-link-building-tactics-beyond-business-listings

 

I hope this list was useful for you. Again, if you can think of any other great ways to build links for local SEO without the use of content marketing – I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Don’t forget to share this post if you found it useful 🙂