Let’s face it. Link building isn’t fun. Anyone in local marketing will tell you how important it is to build back links, include internal links in your content and use second-tier links.
On top of this, you have to know the difference between nofollow and dofollow links, make sure your citations on third party directories are up to date and accurate and keep your social signals in good shape as well.
And let’s not forget about the importance of monitoring for broken links on your site.
Yup. Link building can be a royal pain in the you-know-what.
But since over 90% of all online experiences begin with a search engine, it’s a necessary evil.
In fact, link building could very well be the single most important aspect of your SEO strategy.
The good news is, you don’t have to dig through mountains of data to figure out which local link building techniques are the best and how to implement them in the most efficient, effective way.
We’ve actually done the legwork for you and compiled a 10 step “cheat sheet” for your reference. Ready? Here we go!
1. Conduct your own research and publish the data.
You might have already noticed that we frequently link back to relevant data that supports our articles. Not only does this demonstrate that we’ve done adequate research and that our content is reliable, but it also provides our readers with additional resources that they might find useful.
If you’re having trouble getting people to link to your content, sharing data is a great way to gain some more traction. But rather than using someone else’s data, conducting your own study and generating your own statistics can be much more effective.
Just as we do throughout our own content, other content marketers will reference data you provide that is interesting, relevant and meaningful in your particular industry. Of course, the type of data you produce will be dependent on the industry or niche you are in.
If you don’t have a large enough audience to produce meaningful results, writing and publishing case studies could be the next best thing. Rather than focusing on a large pool of people, a case study focuses on one customer or business in great detail.
And they make great backlink material. Have a look at this case study on SEO conducted by Search Engine Land as an example.
2. Create infographics.
Another great way to get more backlinks and social shares is by creating infographics. People love visual content, which is why infographics have become such a powerful and effective medium for content marketers.
The good news is, you don’t even have to use all your own data. You can compile a list of relevant statistics and include them in a visual representation of the information you’re trying to convey and then simply reference your sources at the bottom.
The even better news? There are a ton of tools available online that enable you to create beautiful, professional-looking infographics that you can publish on your website to attract traffic and backlinks. For instance, Canva offers a great free online infographic maker that is simple to use and produces stellar results.
Just remember to include an embed code as well as social share buttons to make it easy for people to share your content on their social networks and republish on their own blogs.
3. Post consistently on social media.
Social signals are very important for both your domain authority and search engine ranking. The more backlinks you receive from popular social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, the higher your potential for ranking well on Google.
To accomplish this, you need to make sure your social accounts are up to date and active, and that your content is generating shares.
The key here is the shareability of your content, which means you need to focus on publishing content on social networks that is likely to get attention and encourage engagement from your audience. A promo video with a boring sales pitch isn’t going to do it. Something funny or entertaining, on the other hand, probably will.
Think about the type of content that you share on social media and look around at what others in your network are sharing. Then, try to generate similar content for your own company.
4. Join relevant online directories.
Third party directories play an important role in local search. Not only do these sites provide valuable backlinks to your website, but they also tend to rank high in the SERPs on their own, which means you’ll get more bang for your buck, so to speak.
Take the popular review site Yelp for example. It’s one of the largest third party directories in the B2C world and consistently ranks at or near the top of the local search engine results.
Of course, there are plenty of other directories that are similar but may be more niche-oriented. For instance, we did a quick Google search of “top digital marketing agencies,” and the top two organic results were from a third party review site called Clutch and a directory called Digital Agency Network.
The key is to figure out which directories your business would be a good fit for and focus on those. Keep in mind that some third-party directories do charge a fee for their listings, but given the value of the backlinks and subsequent boost in ranking you’ll receive in return, it may be well worth the investment.
5. Get familiar with the difference between nofollow and nofollow links.
Before you spend any time building backlinks, it’s important that you understand what dofollow and nofollow links are and the difference between the two.
Dofollow links are backlinks that help you build authority and climb up the search engine rankings.
Nofollow links, on the other hand, essentially tell Google not to give the linked URL any additional link juice.
Some websites use the former and some use the latter. Obviously, you want to target dofollow links. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean nofollow links are entirely worthless, because they still ultimately have the potential to send traffic to your website. In fact, on the right website, nofollow links can still generate valuable leads and conversion opportunities.
To make things easier, Google Chrome offers a convenient extension that will show you right off the bat which websites use nofollow links. With the extension installed, hyperlinks boxed with red dots will indicate nofollow links while links without visual cues are dofollow.
So, you can quickly tell that this directory uses nofollow links:
Just be aware of the difference so you can make more informed decisions when working on your local link building efforts.
6. Always use relevant anchor text.
If you’re using terms like “click here” as your anchor text, you’re making a huge mistake that is likely impacting your website’s local search ranking. Why?
Because Google places almost the same amount of weight on anchor text as it does the fact that you’re generating backlinks to begin with.
Simply put, Google wants to gain a better understanding of what your website is all about. By creating consistency between the keywords found throughout your site and the keywords you’re using in your anchor text, you’ll give Google more information for better SERP ranking.
7. Fix any broken links.
When a website has broken links (i.e. URLs that no longer lead to either an internal or external resource) it can have a negative impact on your SEO. This is because Google’s web crawlers – aka Googlebots – go from link to link, gathering and collecting data about each page. Broken links cause a disruption in this process.
Broken links can happen for a number of reasons. For instance, web pages that have been deleted and/or replaced with newer content can result in a broken backlink to the original page.
To avoid this, you’ll want to routinely check for both broken links on your own website as well as any broken backlinks that exist on external websites. You can use the Chrome Broken Link Checker extension to look for these discrepancies.
When you find broken links on your own site, take the appropriate steps to fix them. If you locate broken backlinks on external sites, you can either do a 301 redirect or reach out to the publisher and ask them to replace the broken link with the right one.
8. Participate in guest blogging.
You may have heard a rumor that guest blogging is no longer considered a viable technique for link building. While there have been plenty of changes to how guest blogging impacts SEO, the fact remains that it is still a highly effective tool for generating backlinks – provided, of course, that the content you’re producing is relevant, of high quality and that the links you’re using add value.
That being said, the act of blogging isn’t really the hard part. It’s getting those guest blogs published on high authority, relevant websites that’s the real challenge.
While there’s no magic formula to pitching a guest blog to an editor, there is a format that you can follow that should help you get some traction. That format is as follows:
- Show that you’re a human by introducing yourself and drawing a connection between yourself and the publisher/editor.
- Complement them on their existing content.
- Explain why you’re pitching, what your topic idea is and, most importantly, how it would benefit their audience.
If you need some inspiration, check out this list of more than 30 guest post outreach scripts.
9. Leverage testimonials.
Writing testimonials for other websites is one of the easiest yet surprisingly underused ways for generating backlinks. How? Well, most testimonials include information about the person writing them, including (you guessed it) a hyperlink.
To get started with this tactic, all you need to do is try out other companies’ products or services and then send them an email offering to leave a testimonial for them on their website. If you write a really good one, you’re almost guaranteed to get it published, which means you’ll get a nifty little backlink to your website.
Simple? Yes. Effective? Even more so.
10. Keep track of brand mentions that aren’t linked back to your website.
Oftentimes, when someone else mentions your company, product or service online, they don’t link back to your website. But just because they didn’t doesn’t mean they won’t. In many cases, it’s simply an oversight.
When you come across these unlinked mentions, just reach out to the editor and politely request that they include a link to your website. Most people will gladly do so.
To see where people might be talking about your brand online try Social Mention’s free search tool.
As you’re probably already well aware, local link building is a complex process. With this checklist in hand, however, you’ll always have an expert guide handy that will help you stay on track. Feel free to bookmark this page and refer back to it whenever you need a refresher.
And, as always, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or simply don’t have the time it takes to develop, implement and maintain an effective local link building strategy, give Dialed-In Local a call at 469-587-9833. That’s what we’re here for!