How to optimize your backlinking strategy for local SEO

1. Citations

You’ve got the perfect business, and it’s time to let the world know. But you can’t really get anywhere without a proper search engine. Pages that are worth ranking are those that are proven to provide the most value, whether it be through informative content or an authoritative site. Quality covers a lot of ground, but it’s not merely limited to your product or service. Ranking factors also include backlinks and social signals, two aspects absolutely vital for local SEO.

In this article, we’ll cover five ways to optimize your backlinking strategy to help you rank online presence – and that includes your citations. Citations are essentially online references to your company information such as name, address, and phone number (NAP). 

This is often displayed as structured data on other sites across the web, and should always be consistent. Inconsistent information leads to duplicate listings, which can produce bad results for both users and search engines alike. It’s worth checking out Google My Business’ official citation tips page for more information on the do’s and don’ts of citations.

2. Guest Posts

Guest posts are an easy way to build backlinks, but they also provide value to your company. Sharing your expertise on another site is a great way to showcase who you are as an authority in your field. And if done right, guest posts can drive traffic back to your site and improve brand awareness. It’s not always easy to land a guest post opportunity, though getting one can help expand your reach.

3. Local Directories

Local directories are one of the most overlooked citation resources out there simply because they’re harder to find. They can be particularly effective for local businesses, and provide a good way to get an edge over competitors in your area. Plus, you’re more likely to rank higher on directory listings than you are on other platforms. There are a lot of great directories out there, but here are our top picks:

  • Yellow Pages (YP) 
  • Yelp 
  • Merchant Circle 
  • City Search        
  • White Pages

4. Social Media Sites

Google search results can sometimes be influenced by social media signals, including links. When trying to build links for local SEO, it’s important to remember that most social media sites are not indexed by search engines. This is largely due to privacy concerns, but the signals still exist and can help you rank in some instances. Social signals can also influence how well (or poorly) your website ranks against competitors in SERPs. This is particularly true for local search, as the visibility of your website can be influenced by how many followers you have on different networks.

5. Backlinking Outlets

The best links are those that come naturally to a company’s website through outreach efforts. But there are other ways to get high-quality backlinks, one of them being from other relevant websites. Link building has been a practice used by search marketers for years, though it’s often done without much strategy. The best links are the ones that come from other authority sites – and this is especially true for local SEO. Here are a few backlinking outlets you should explore:

  • Press Releases 
  • Industry Publications 
  • Social Media Sites 
  • Niche Forums       
  • High-Quality Blogs

6. How To Content For Your Industry

Your industry is more than just one giant umbrella. It’s made up of niches, sub-niches and many other smaller areas within it. And ranking well in certain niches can be extremely beneficial for local SEO. You can beef up your backlinking strategy by writing how-to content related to different niches in your industry. For example, if you’re a dentist in Southern California, try writing articles such as “The 3 Best Ways to Whiten Your Teeth” and share them on niche forums. Remember: the goal is to provide value, not sell your services.

7. Local Links

Not all links are created equal – and neither are all link-building strategies. Links from local sources can help improve authority and rankings in local search results. This includes links from:

  • Scholarly Journals and Publications 
  • Government Sites 
  • City Outlets 
  • Local News Sites       
  • Local Blogs

8. User Experience

User experience is critical to your online success, especially in local SEO. If you want to rank higher in local SERPs, make sure your website provides a good user experience. You can do this by providing helpful information through blog posts and guides, as well as easy-to-read content on your site.

9. Competitor Backlink Analysis

If you’re trying to rank for a local keyword, it’s helpful to find out what your competitors are doing. Competing for local rankings can be difficult because of how close search results tend to be. You’ll need every advantage you can get – and that means knowing what your competition is up to. One way to do this is by using a backlink analysis tool. You can input any local keyword and find out how much SEO value (i.e., links) your competitors have in the SERPs, as well as where they’re ranking for certain phrases.

10. Target Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are not to be ignored when it comes to local SEO. Google still gives preference to long-tail keywords and tends to rank websites higher for those types of phrases, as compared to more generic ones. Long-tail keywords can help businesses with less online visibility because they tend to convert better than head terms. They also give you a better shot at ranking in the top 3 spots rather than the #1 spot.

10. Outreach and Networking Strategy 

The best way to rank in local search results is to have a strong outreach and networking strategy. This means building relationships with both influencers within your industry as well as with those who are trying to target the same keywords you are. You can do this by creating a list of relevant websites, bloggers, and social media influencers who might be willing to share your content or help promote your website.

11. Develop An Exit-Intent Popup

A great way to convert visitors into customers and build your email list is by using an exit-intent popup. This tool automatically displays a form asking readers to subscribe to your email list as they near the end of their session on your site, so you can get an early lead on potential customers. It’s also a good idea to have call-to-action buttons throughout your website that are designed to help visitors take the next step in becoming a customer.