Local Link Building: Strategies, Examples & Step-by-Step Guide

Farzad Rashidi
Farzad Rashidi
20 minute read

Do you find it hard to get local links for your business?

We know local link building can be as challenging as any other kind of link building.

The truth is that link building is still one of the most important ranking factors.

Rest assured that it can make a big difference to your local rankings.

Getting high quality backlinks from other local businesses and local organizations can help you improve your site’s domain authority and, ultimately, get higher rankings on the search engine results pages (SERPs) for local terms.

That’s why we’ve created a local link building guide with everything you need to know when it comes to building links locally.

To be more precise, in this guide we’re going to discuss:

  • What’s local link building?
  • Why are local links important?
  • The most prominent local linking tactics for improving your local SEO

As well as take you through a step-by-step process for doing local link building right.

We’ve got lots to cover so let’s get started.

Local link building is the process of getting backlinks from relevant local websites.

Local link building can help you improve your organic positions for terms that indicate search on a local level – AKA local searches – and thus help you reach a wider local audience.

To put it simply, local link building refers to the process of getting links, brand mentions, and references from other local businesses.

Overall, local links are links from sources that are location-specific.

What does this mean?

It means that you might be a small business based in New York that gets high-quality links from local directories.

We’ll have more on the benefits of local backlinks a little further down in this post.

We need to highlight that, when it comes to local link building, it’s essential to do it as part of your overall local search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.

The following definition of local SEO says it all:

Local SEO definition
Image Source: Ahrefs

As we can see, local SEO is basically the process of boosting your online presence on a location-specific basis in order to get your business to attract more visitors from organic search and, ultimately, get more leads and generate revenue on a local level.

Since link building is an integral part of every SEO strategy, getting link equity from other local web pages can have a significant impact on your SEO efforts.

Of course, other things like having a Google My Business page with testimonials from your customers can help as well.

Local link building can work as an amplifier for your website and thus can help in getting more visitors to your website.

I believe that you now have an idea of what local link building and local SEO is.

Let’s move on with our guide, where we’ll talk about the significance of local backlinks and also check out a few great examples.

Before we get any deeper into how you could use local linking, let’s start by answering the burning question.

Why are local backlinks important?

As we mentioned earlier, local link building can be important because it helps our website on an SEO level, which, by extension, can lead to getting more organic traffic and generating more leads and revenue for our business.

This can be truly beneficial as a link building tactic because getting backlinks from local websites with high Domain Authority (DA) works as proof to the search engines that your website is a valuable resource in terms of local searches.

Consequently, the search engines are very likely to favor your resources over others that might not be as popular, geographically speaking.

According to a 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors survey by Moz, backlinks – as well as the number of referring domains and the linked text – is an important localized ranking factor.

Have a look:

Local organic ranking factors
Image Source: Moz

As we can see, link signals, such as inbound anchor text, linking domain authority, linking domain quantity, etc., take up the biggest part of the pie chart of the localized organic ranking factors, with over 27%.

The following example will help us illustrate the importance of local backlinks.

To show you how this works we’re using a search operator that will give us location-specific results.

Our search operator is as simple as this:

Local search results or storage units
Image Source: Google

Needless to say that we could have used alternative search operators that would work in a similar way.

Here’re a few examples of alternative search operators for that same local search:

  • storage in London
  • self storage London
  • storage near me
  • storage London center
  • storage units London

And so on and so forth.

What we see on the screenshot above are the top results we got from our simple Google search.

How about having a closer look at these three pages, so that we understand what drives rankings in this local search engine results page (SERP)?

First up is the Self Storage Units London page.

As we can see, the page has 93 referring domains linking back to it.

Number of referring domains 1

The same applies to the second page we got from our Google search, with an even higher number of referring domains – over 1,000 referring domains and over 16,000 backlinks.

Number of referring domains 2

Last but not least, the third result also gets a number of referring domains pointing back to it.

Number of referring domains 3

We therefore understand that the top Google results are pages that get high numbers – some higher than others – backlinks from local directories and other local businesses.

That might be only one of Google’s ranking factors, but it’s certainly a rather important one. 

Here’s an overview of all pages that rank at the top of the results for that particular term.

All these have high numbers of referring domains, probably domains from local businesses that have helped place these businesses high in the local market in terms of the search results.

Referring domain quality measurement

To be clear, we’re not saying that a page can’t rank for local searches without backlinks.

We’re just saying that backlinks from relevant and authoritative websites can help a lot when it comes to getting higher positions on the SERPs.

We’ve now established why focusing on getting local backlinks seems like a wise thing to do.

Let’s get into some general local link building strategies that can help you improve your local SEO and rank higher in local searches.

Wondering what some local link building strategies for getting local backlinks and  improving your local SEO might be?

We’ve already seen that, when it comes to local backlinks and local SEO, it’s essential to focus on your online presence in terms of local businesses, local business owners, and the local community, such as local influencers and bloggers.

Without further ado, we’re jumping right into the first strategy we want to share with you.

Strategy #1: Local business directories

The first local link building idea for acquiring local backlinks is to make your business present in local business directories.

A business directory is basically a list of businesses within a specific geographic location or industry.

In our case, we’re interested in online business directories, i.e. prominent ones like Yelp and other more niche ones, that focus on particular locations.

Let’s see an example.

Example: Storage companies in London

Like we did before, we’re using storage companies in a specific location to see how this local link building strategy works.

We want to find directories for storage companies in London so that we can get featured on those same location- and industry-specific directories as well.

We go looking for:

Google search for London storage companies

These are the results our search got us:

London storage unit results

How about having a closer look at the first result, which comes from whatstorage.co.uk?

We click on the page and we can see that the first page is indeed a self-storage directory with several storage companies from London as business listings.

WhatStorage home page

You can find some more details on how well this page does in terms of its organic visibility right below:

WhatStorage backlink profile

As we can see, this page gets – according to Ahrefs – more than 3.7K organic visits per month and has a traffic value of $45.4K per month, which means that the keywords that the page is ranking for have commercial value.

At the same time, the DR of the page is very good, which means that we’ll benefit from a listing in this directory both in terms of getting link equity, as well as through getting relevant referral traffic.

Ranking keywords for WhatStorage

Author’s Note: To get link equity from another website, you’ll have to get a dofollow rather than a nofollow backlink. 

Given this directory’s high ranking, we can only assume that the majority of location specific storage businesses would be delighted to be included in it and boost their backlink profile.

Keep reading to find yet another strategy to acquire local backlinks and improve your local SEO.

Strategy #2: Local press – local newspapers, news sites, etc.

Similar to getting your business included in local business directories, another local link building tactic is to get local press, like local newspapers and local news sites, to write about your business.

Doing so can help you achieve a double goal:

  • Raise local awareness on your business
  • Establish your business as a go-to resource in your niche and location

Let’s see an example.

Example: Nesta self-storage

Our example comes from one of the biggest self-storage businesses in Dublin, Nesta.

Nesta Storage hompeage
Image Source: Nesta

The company noted an upwards trend in the use of self-storage in Ireland during the COVID-19 pandemic and passed this to their SEO team.  

More specifically, they were able to see the trend because their business grew significantly during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Based on identifying that trend, they got the opportunity to get some press coverage from the local media.

The result?

A popular local publication, Dublin Live, did an interview with the company’s CEO, Brian Hefferon for their Made in Dublin series.  

Nesta storage PR article
Image Source: Dublin Live

Pretty interesting, right?

Let’s get to the next local link building strategy we have for you.  

Strategy #3: Local sponsorships and scholarships

Offering local sponsorships and scholarships can also help your business in terms of building local links and enhancing your local link profile.

The way this works is that you offer a sponsorship for a local event or scholarship for students that come from or might want to move to your area to study.

Then, colleges and universities will naturally want to promote these opportunities to their students and keep them up to date in terms of scholarships that are available in the area.

In doing so they’re very likely to link back to your scholarship landing pages or other local content, thus helping your business’ website and SEO.

The example that follows will make this a bit more clear.

Example: OZ Moving & Storage

OZ Moving & Storage is a storage business with locations in:

  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Connecticut
  • California

As you can see in the screenshot below, the company offers a scholarship program for college students.

Oz Moving and Storage home page
Image Source: OZ Moving & Storage

Having a scholarship program like that increases the company’s chances of getting backlinks from local press that might want to promote these opportunities to students from a specific area.

Additionally,  the company is very likely to gain backlinks from universities that want to include the opportunity in their newsletter or homepage in order to provide their students with relevant information.

The numbers of referring domains and backlinks for the OZ site show that their SEO strategy seems to be working well:

Oz Moving and Storage backlink profile

As we can see, there are forty four backlinks from eighteen referring domains.

Not bad for a storage company, right?

Let’s get to our final strategy.

Strategy #4: Get mentioned by local influencers and bloggers

The final strategy we totally think can help you establish your brand on a local level and gain local backlinks and mentions is to put your brand in front of local influencers and bloggers.

That’s pretty straightforward, right?

This is as easy as reaching out to influencers and showing them that your products and services are worth mentioning.

You could do the same thing with finding local bloggers and simply present your product’s qualities.

These might seem like baby steps, but they can truly increase your chances of getting mentioned in local pieces of content and social media content, thus engaging your local community and widening your local reach.

We’ve talked quite a bit about what local link building is, what some of the most prominent strategies might be, and how they can help your business grow locally.

Let’s now get our hands in the step-by-step process of actually starting a local link building campaign.

Are you excited?

Let’s get started.

In this section we’re going to take you through four easy steps to show you how you can efficiently start building your local backlinks through Respona.

To illustrate the whole process and make it easier for you to follow, we’re using  a hypothetical scenario.

For the sake of this scenario, let’s say we’re a storage company in London.

We’re looking for blog posts from local blogs that include the term ‘storage solution’ as an exact match, but don’t include the terms ‘storage’ or ‘london’ in their title.

The reason for this is that we want to avoid as much as we can to find local blogs from our competitors.

We also need to mention that, in terms of finding pieces of content from local bloggers, marketers, and local sites, we’ll be looking for local blogs that include .co.uk and blog in their URL.

We’ve got loads to cover so let’s get right into the find step of creating our local link building campaign and finding our prospects.

First things first, we need to find local link prospects that we can reach out to in order to start building links locally.

The very first thing we need to do is to go to Respona and start a new campaign by clicking the blue plus button icon that’s highlighted below:

Creating a local link building campaign in Respona

What we also need to do in terms of setting up our campaign is to give our campaign a name that describes it in the right way, as well as one that’s easy to remember.

This might sound like an unimportant thing, but it can be particularly useful when you’re running more than one campaign at the same time.

Author’s Note: In case of multiple campaigns, we should also make sure to set a campaign priority that’ll allow us to keep track of all our campaigns depending on how important or urgent each campaign is.  

Since we’re building a campaign that will potentially help us acquire local backlinks, we’re going to give our campaign the following name:

Local Link Building Campaign

As straightforward as it can get!

Naming the campaign

We’re now ready to start finding opportunities for local backlinks.

The whole thing starts with a simple custom search query on Respona’s built-in search bar.

We need to select a source for the search results we want Respona to get us.

Our options are:

  • Blogs
  • News
  • Trending Content
  • Influencers
  • Podcasts
  • Web Search
Selecting a source to find content

Author’s Note: Keep in mind that Respona uses Bing to provide users with search results. In cases where you use Google for your online searches, you might notice some minor differences between the results you get from Google and the ones that Bing brings up.

In this case, we’re going for a general web search, so naturally that’s going to be the source for our search:

Respona Web Search source

As we mentioned a little further up, our scenario is to find local blog posts from sites that include .co.uk in the URLs and also include the term storage solution as an exact match in the text, thus allowing us to request a link to our homepage or dedicated landing page.

For that reason, we’re using an advanced search operator that’ll help us refine our search and get the most relevant results for our campaign.

Here’s the search operator we’re using:

instreamset:url:co.uk AND instreamset:url:blog AND inbody:”storage solution” AND (-intitle:london OR -intitle:storage)

After having added a search operator our screen looks like this:

SEO Metrics button & search string

We might be focusing on finding local blogs, but we’re also interested in finding authoritative sites that could potentially give us high quality local links.

For that reason, we’re also activating the SEO metrics.

Our search has gotten us a significant number of results – over 10,000 results as we can see on a screenshot a little further down – that match our search criteria.

Selecting opportunities in Respona

Although we couldn’t avoid getting blog content from some of our competitors, our search got us many results that can be used in the local link building campaign we’re working on.

More specifically, the top result we got seems to be a great match; it includes the exact term we’re looking for:

Relevant anchor text

Pretty neat, isn’t it?

No matter how time consuming or boring it might sound to review all the results, we advise you to go through most of them so that you don’t miss any great opportunity for link building locally.

After we review all results and make sure they match our query, we select the ones we want to use moving forward and we’re ready to take the next step.

Moving to the sequence step

Our second big step is to prepare our outreach email.

Step #2: Prepare your outreach email

For a great link building campaign you need a great outreach email.

No matter if you’re a good writer who loves crafting thoughtful emails or you’re always struggling to say the right thing via email, your link building campaigns can still be seamless.

Luckily, Respona offers a wide range of email templates you can use and customize according to your needs and target audience.

What’s more, you can also use Respona to create your personal templates and customize accordingly.

Respona personal templates

After having created our email template, we get our email sequence as shown below:

Step 1 of the sequence

Author’s Note: In case you wish to include follow-up emails, they will appear in your email sequence, right under your initial email.

Have a look at the email we’re planning to send our prospects:

Some love for (organization)'s (topic) article

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]

Here’s how the email template we crafted looks:

Final email template

As you can see, the tool also autogrades our email in terms of subject length, word count, and whether there are any questions or spam words included.

Reply estimator

This is extremely important as it allows us to make all necessary changes in order to create an email with high chances of getting a response.

Moving to the contact automation step

After we make sure that our subject line and email body look as they should, we can jump right into finding contact information for our prospects.

Step #3: Find contact information for your prospects

Finding contact information for our prospects, like their business name, phone number, email addresses, etc., might sound like a challenging or even impossible thing to do.

However, we believe that the moves one needs to make are pretty straightforward and easy to follow.

First up, we need to do our automation setup.

This basically means that we want to give Respona additional information in relation to the kind of prospects we need contact information for.

Since we’re mainly focusing on finding a local piece of content from local URLs, we’re asking Respona to only assign opportunities to author’s of URLs if they’re actually working for the company associated with the URL.

The reason for this is simple.

In case of a guest post, it wouldn’t make sense to approach its author directly if they’re not actually associated with the local URL we want to get a link from.

Automation setup 1

Similarly, and since we’re interested in the URL, we tell Respona that in cases where there’s no author assigned, we’d like it to also assign opportunities to people who work for the company that’s associated with the article domain.

Automation setup 2

To make sure we’ll get contact information for people that can help us with our local link building query, we can also give Respona extra information in relation to the position and seniority we want the people we’re reaching out to to hold.

Defining the target recipient

When that’s done…

Finished automation setup

…we can review our automation setup.

As we can see, we’ve selected ten opportunities for which we need to spend an estimated twenty Respona credits and six minutes.

We click on the Run button in the button right corner.

Running the automation

Below, we can see the results of the automation.

More specifically, there are nine out of ten opportunities that have been successfully assigned and it looks like we’ve only spent fourteen Respona credits.

Completed automation

Given the small number of opportunities we’ve selected for our local link building campaign, we want to make sure that we make the most of it.

That’s why we’re focusing on the one opportunity that has been left unassigned.

Assigned contact information

You shouldn’t think that an unassigned opportunity is a lost one.

On the contrary, there are a few things we can do to make sure our opportunity gets a contact person.

First of all, we can do a Domain-level Contacts search.

Domain level contacts button

This basically means that we’ll be looking for contacts that are found in relation to a specific domain that has been left unassigned.

Have a look:

Get contact button

We’ve got a person who’s a sales manager and is associated with the domain we’re interested in.

After we’ve clicked on the Get Contact button that’s highlighted above, we get a number of different email addresses.

Author’s Note: We’ve blurred out the email addresses of our prospects for privacy reasons.

Found email addresses

Along with the email addresses, we also get a LinkedIn icon close to the contact’s name.

This way, we can reach out to them prior to launching our campaign and connect with them, thus maximizing our chances of establishing a relationship with them and getting an answer in terms of our local link building campaign.

Our opportunities have now been assigned.

Assigned email and LinkedIn profile

An alternative way to do much the same thing would be to add a contact manually.

Add Contact Manually button

That’s extremely easy to do, although it means that you probably already have at least someone’s name.

Email verification tool

You can add all sorts of contact and professional information you might know for them in the fields below, and create a contact which can then be assigned an opportunity.

Manual contact addition

We’ve now successfully got ten – out of ten! – assigned opportunities.

Opportunities with contact information

Since we’re done assigning contact people to our local link building opportunities, we can move on.

This takes us to our final step of the process.

Step #4: Reach out to your prospects and manage communications

The final step is to reach out to your prospects by launching your local link building campaign.

In order to do so, we need to make sure that we personalize our email for each of our prospects so we don’t sound spammy.

Author’s Tip: Personalization increases your chances of getting a reply and making sure your email won’t end up to spam or trash. 

Personalized pitch

When it comes to personalizing your emails, you need to choose an outreach tool that will make the whole process easier for you.

Making the process easier might mean that you can access excerpts for the author’s blog posts in order to demonstrate that you’ve done your research and you’re appreciating their work.

Pasting article summary snippet

You can do that by simply pasting an excerpt into your email.

not personalized opportunities

We keep on doing that until all of our opportunities are personalized.

When that’s done, we’re ready to launch our campaign with confidence!

Launching the local link building campaign

How?

Well, by clicking on the Launch Campaign button!

Let’s wrap our guide up and also give answers to some of your most frequently asked questions.  

Now Over to You

That was it.

Creating and launching your own local link building campaign might feel like a challenging process, but with the right tool it’ll be a creative and fun one that fully captures your brand as a whole.

In this guide, we’ve thoroughly talked about what is local link building and why it’s important for businesses to get local backlinks.

We’ve shown you examples of local link building strategies and also gave you a full tour of an effective local link building campaign.

If you’re interested in testing it yourself, don’t hesitate to request a demo and take the first step in starting your own local link building efforts that will make your company grow locally.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

We understand that local link building is a quite interesting topic, especially given all the benefits it can bring to businesses.

If you’ve got more questions running through your mind, read the answers that follow.

There are a number of easy things you can do to find local backlinks:

  • Create great content and reach out to local websites to ask that they link back to your website
  • Connect with local press and local businesses
  • Sponsor local events
  • Offer scholarships for local university students

Paid link building can cost quite a lot of money and it’s against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

The best way to acquire links is to focus on getting organic links through organic link building.

Definitely, yes. The reason for that is that Google’s algorithm might have changed over the years but links remain one of its most important SEO ranking factors.  

Local link building is the process of building links with location-specific sites and communities.

Organic link building is about building inbound links that add value to the content naturally, through what’s called passive link building.

Link building is a process that can help a business to rank higher on the SERPs.

Q6. What is local SEO?

Local search engine optimization (SEO) is an SEO tactic that helps businesses acquire visibility in terms of the local  search results on the search engines.

There are many great link building softwares out there.

However, Respona is the only one that takes the guessing out of link building by introducing a new approach to how you can find, qualify, and reach out to link prospects.

Farzad Rashidi
Farzad Rashidi
Farzad Rashidi is the co-founder of Respona, the all-in-one digital PR and link-building software that combines personalization with productivity. He also runs the marketing efforts at Visme, where he helped the company gain over 8 million users and pass 2M monthly organic traffic. Since then, he’s been helping other companies achieve the same success via Respona.

Read Similar Posts

Get notified of
our next content

No spam, no BS, unsubscribe at any time.