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Link Building For Local SEO: Does It Work?

When it comes to SEO, there seems to be a debate over backlinks and their value. Some people claim that they have achieved amazing results with PPC alone, while others preach about how much their traffic and Domain Rating has grown since they have started link building for local SEO.

A bit of personal input on this: I have been building links to our blog for the entirety of 2021, every single workday. On average, I was able to secure 10-20 high-quality incoming links every single week. 

In that year, our traffic has grown 700%. So I would say it’s pretty safe to say that link building does still work, and will definitely continue to work throughout 2022 and beyond.

Even Google’s John Mueller has confirmed that quality backlinks have a big influence on websites’ local search rankings.

I can hear your question already. “But what about the link spam update they have recently rolled out?” – you may ask.

The keyword here is spam. Google is only against spammy and black-hat link building. Good local links are still very important for your SEO and a now-classic growth hacking technique. 

Local link building for SEO can help improve your efforts by providing more traffic to your site and showing that you’re an authority on your subject.

But how do you determine which link is good and which is spammy? The answer to this is pretty simple, actually.

The best links are in-content backlinks from relevant resources. A good example of such a link would be a link from a guide on how to change your car’s oil filter to another guide on how to check your tires.

Also, the older a website is and the more domain authority it has, the more valuable the links from it become.

The Importance of NAP

You should also seek out local links from places like local business directories, local bloggers, local news sites, and other sites that your local community will tap into.

Local directories and other forms of local backlinks are a huge part of building out your business name, address, and phone number. Having consistent NAP information online helps local customers find you in search engine results. There are also industry-specific directories that can help you, too.

SEMRush NAP

There is an obvious benefit to building backlinks and one that’s not so obvious.

The former is the fact that the more backlinks your website has, the more people click on them and the more organic SEO traffic your website receives from local search engines. This is a great way to build a local audience.

The other benefit that’s rather hidden from sight is in the way backlinks interact with Google’s algorithm.

Once a crawler bot registers a new backlink pointing to your website, it works as a sort of “vote” that your content is of high quality. The more backlinks your content has, the higher it will show up in search results. The higher it shows up in search results, the more likely your business listing will reach your target audience.

This applies to local searches as well. So, if you’re looking for increased online visibility, it’s well worth investing in link building in addition to your Google My Business page. Many local businesses boost their organic search efforts with a fully optimized Google My Business page. These are completely free business listings that help boost your local SEO efforts by giving your customers more ways to find you.

Google My Business

It will also be very difficult for your competitors to outrank you in SERPs until they collect a similar or greater number of backlinks to their own local content. Be sure to look for local link-building opportunities with local blogs and local newspapers.

However, I can’t talk about the benefits without mentioning the disadvantages of link building. And oh, there are a couple of things about it that turn lots of people away from it.

It’s Time-Consuming to Start

The first issue is that it takes massive amounts of time to carry out properly. You will need to hire an in-house link builder or an agency to help you manage it for you. 

Otherwise, you will have to sacrifice sleep and personal life if you want to manage link building on top of your other business responsibilities and get actual results.

It’s a Long Game

The second one is that building local links takes a long time to start taking effect. You can wait for months until you notice any considerable changes in traffic in rankings.

However, the end result is very well worth it for your local SEO and the optimization of your site in general. In the end, it can bring you more local leads.

Before you start link building, there is one crucial thing that you need to invest some time and resources into. And that is your blog.

The Importance of Your Blog

Even if you’re running an eCommerce business, a blog will be necessary to use both as a link magnet and a reason for your visitors to stick around your site for longer.

Very few people would link to home/product/service pages for free, so the primary targets for your link building will be your blog posts.

start a blog min

As I mentioned above, you will also need either a huge amount of time you can dedicate to link building, or hire someone to help you out with the process.

The link building process is as follows: 

  1. You find relevant articles for your links;
  2. Find the contact information of the people behind these sites;
  3. Select the right blogger outreach tool to save your time & efforts. 
  4. Reach out to them and offer something in return, like an indirect link from your guest post for another site.

What About Response Times?

The average reply rate for cold link-building emails is only 10%, and some of these replies will be negative, so another thing you will absolutely need for link-building is patience.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the common link-building strategies that are also quite easy to carry out if you’re just starting out.

Anchor Text Strategy

The anchor text link-building strategy is probably the most straightforward. To do it, you simply need to find articles that mention your target keyword and reach out to their owners.

To make your prospecting stage easier, you can take advantage of special search operators, like:

  • Inurl:blog
  • Intext:
  • Intitle:

The first one tells Google to only look for pages that are part of a blog, while the other two allow you to specify exactly which words or phrases need to be mentioned within the articles’ titles and bodies.

Once you have found your prospects, reach out to them with a decent pitch. Here’s a template you can grab and use: 

“Hey {first name},

Happy {day of week}!

Just finished reading through your post, {url title}.

It was such a good read, I had to share some thoughts.

Firstly, it really stuck with me when you pointed out that [article summary snippet].

Secondly, you covered, “[anchor/targeted keyword]” in the article, but didn’t go into further detail or link to another resource.

We just released a guide that will provide a little something extra for readers who want to learn more about [anchor/targeted keyword].

Want to take a look? I got you: [article url]

As a huge “thank you”, I’d be happy to provide [incentive – (social share, indirect link, free trial, etc)].

Regardless, I’ll definitely be a frequent reader. Keep it up with the stellar content 🙂

Thanks,

[Name]

One big downside to this strategy is that manually searching for prospects can take a really long time, so you might want to use tools to speed it up.

Personally, this is my favorite link-building strategy. The premise is very simple – you take websites that are linking to your competitors’ content, and reach out to them, asking them to link to you instead.

I prefer it because prospecting has already been done to you – all you need is to take Ahrefs (or any similar alternative) and take a look at your competitors’ links. Sentiment analysis can be helpful as well.

The downside is that you need to produce similar content to your competitors’ and have a pretty convincing pitch to have someone switch out the link to yours.

It needs to provide value to your prospect. What will they get for doing it? 

A good incentive would be an indirect link back, a social share, a mention in your newsletter, a free trial of your tool, or anything good you can think of. Some people pay for backlinks, but I would advise you against them.

Guest Posting Strategy

Guest posting is probably the most effective way to build backlinks. It is the process of writing guest articles for other resources, and including a link back to your website within them. 

If your writing is good, there are practically zero reasons for someone to turn down your guest post pitch, so your success rate may be higher than with some other link-building strategies. If you’re struggling with writing, you could use the help of writing apps or hire a writer

There is one considerable downside to guest posting: most blogs only allow you to have only one or two links back to your site per post.

However, there is a way you can level up your strategy here.

If you have any link-building partners, you can include links to their sites in your guest posts (if they align with the context). The limitations when it comes to other external links are rarely as harsh, so you would normally be able to add 5-10 links to a guest post, depending on its size.

Once you publish the post, let your partners know that you just got them some links. They will do the same for you by either getting you more links on their sites or adding your links in guest posts of their own.

It is a lengthy and often frustrating process. But, with time, you will be able to conquer search results pages, especially local rankings.

If you’re the most authoritative website in your area for a certain query, you will always show up on top of your competition, so dedicating your time and resources to building quality backlinks will definitely pay off in the long run.

Get Ready for Takeoff with Orbit Local

At Orbit Local, we offer link-building services as part of our customized SEO plans. Our local link-building strategies focus on quality over quantity. This way, you don’t have to worry about spam and instead, can enjoy launching your business into orbit with high-quality backlinks.

Our team of digital marketing experts helps boost your local SEO visibility by focusing on local links, content creation with internal links to your own website, and more. We combine our link-building efforts with keyword research and strengthen your local citations so you can rank at the top of the local pack.

Ready to soar in local search results? Contact us today for a free consultation. We work with you to understand your business’s unique needs.

About the Author

Managing brand partnerships at Respona, Vlad Orlov is a passionate writer and link builder. Having started writing articles at the age of 13, their once past-time hobby developed into a central piece of their professional life.

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