Translating your business' value, voice and personality into cyberspace can present hurdles when it comes to promoting your business online, but people often forget the thing that helps drive business both online and in real life: community. Online marketing isn't merely a way to promote your goods and services. It's a place to engage in further conversation with people around you considering doing business with you. It's a way to get yourself heard, get involved with local initiatives, advertise what you may have to offer, and connect with that which matters most: people. By being more deeply involved in your community, you'll help your reputation, your online presence and your business. And the best ways to get started is by practicing local search engine optimization (SEO), and more specifically, local link building.
What Is Link Building?
Link building is a practice used in the SEO world that identifies ways to increase the number of inbound links to your website from other websites. The reason this is so important: when search engines recognize that numerous and reputable websites repeatedly link to a certain page, that search engine will 'see' that page as a credible, relevant and desired web page with useful information. This, in turn, makes that page, and your site, more reputable in the eyes of the search engines, making your page more likely to show up first in search engine results pages (SERPs).
For instance, let's say you run a hypothetical tapas restaurant in Chicago called On Tapas The World. You fill your website with valuable, credible and desirable information that customers and other people enjoy reading, and other authoritative sites link to your page as an information source. Because search engines see so many people utilizing you as an information source, your website will then be seen as more authoritative and valuable, thus improving your page's rankings in Google, Bing, Yahoo!, etc.
So, What Is "Local" Link Building?
Well, local link building is exactly what it sounds like: link building, but targeted to a strictly local level. There is one key difference between local and national link building, which will be discussed momentarily, but right now it's important to explain its significance and how it affects businesses.
Local link building is an essential practice, especially when it comes to brick-and-mortar stores.
The main reason why local link building is important is this: you can optimize your website to have the most pertinent information in the world, sure. But the fact remains that On Tapas The World in Chicago is going to see Chicagoland customers on a daily basis; who is more likely to search "tapas restaurant Chicago" or similar keywords? It's not people in Dallas or Denver or wherever else. It's hungry Chicagoans looking for a tasty local meal. And that's why discoverability on a local level is so important.
So, how do you start your local link building campaign?
Connecting with Community: The Beginning of Local Link Building
There are many ways to begin a local link building campaign. But before you begin, there's one key factor, mentioned previously, to keep in mind: in national link building, the quality of the sites that link back to you matters more than the quantity. 15 spammy, low-tier backlinks are not nearly as valuable as 15 highly authoritative backlinks from large news organizations or other reputable sources. However, when it comes to local link building, the authority of the sites that provide the backlinks does not matter. What matters is their proximity to your business.
The more links you have from organizations in your vicinity, the better.
Here are some great ways to get the ball rolling:
Practice Local SEO to Connect with Your Community
All in all, the goal of local SEO and local link building is to connect with community. It's more about developing real-world relationships in a tight-knit community and gearing your web content accordingly -- it's something that large, nationwide companies might not understand as well. By building trust among the community most likely to support your business and seeking out those local backlinks, your reputation in the real world AND online will start to improve, making you more discoverable in the future.
Are you currently investing time and resources into fostering connections within your community? We’d love to hear about it. You can also get in touch with our team if you have any questions about local SEO strategies.