What metrics should we focus on for local link building?
- Linking Root Domain
Don’t focus on overall link numbers, but rather increasing the number of linking root domains. Yes, your industry can be competitive, but by targeting and going really deep on relevance (both topical and geographical) you can outrank some pages that have more linking root domains.
For local link prospecting you can pretty much ignore Domain Authority (DA) and focus on relevance instead by identifying relevant prospects, both topically and geographically.
What about nofollow links? For local link prospecting, don’t exclude nofollow. A lot of link builders won’t put a site on their prospecting list because they know they don’t provide follow links. HUGE MISTAKE.
If you acquire local links, even with no-follows, they do have an impact overall and they do something else: generate customers and leads.
Anchor Text – For local link prospecting, don’t obsess over anchor text. Where you can get it, great, but don’t stress about it overall. Brand and “junk” anchors are fine. Don’t remove a prospect from your list just because you can’t optimize anchor text.
Scale – For local link prospecting, you can’t scale and you don’t need to scale. Think hyper-local, geographic and topical relevance.You don’t need to be getting thousands of links in the local context in order to beat competitors.
Must Link – For local link prospecting, don’t ignore linkless citations. If you can get the link get it, but don’t dismiss sites simply because they have a no link policy.
$$$ > Traffic > Rankings – Your links can generate revenue, customers, leads, sales, and traffic. Money and traffic beat rankings every time.
Target Audience Local Link Building
Build out your target audience persona, prospect link targets like you would buy media. This will help you build out a list of sites where your customers will actually go.
Think about this in the context of local awareness, interest, and consideration. Local news and events are the money makers. Start building relationships with journalists, go in and comment where you can, get active in your community. Whether you’re speaking, participating, or sponsoring a local event, link these topically-relevant local events. They can really move the dial from a link building standpoint.
Local Directories (both industry and geographic specific) – Make sure your information is accurate.
Who: Demographics + Psychographics
Where you can find patterns in terms of age, socioeconomics, etc. – what keeps those people up at night – think about this, as it will tell you where these audiences spend their time online and what sites they are looking at.
What Are They Searching Locally?
Go super hyper-local: neighbourhood, specific areas, and streets. If you’re focused on super hyper-local areas, that’s where you’ll see bang for your buck within the radius of the search area for your business location.
What Ranks Locally?
The best indicator of whether Google thinks something is relevant or popular is if Google ranks it themselves. Find the different sites that rank locally and put them on your prospect list. The most relevant type of link you could get would be from a competitor that does the exact same thing as your business. Obviously they aren’t going to want to link to you. But think about tangential businesses, what about other businesses that don’t compete with you?
Dive deeper into the results, go beyond the first page and you will start to find options.
Best Local Link Building Tool: Google
Use advanced search operators such as inurl and intitle to prospect for links. For example:
[something your target audience might also search for] + inttitle:[hyper-local geo-modifier]
For the hyper-local modifier, you want to go deep like the neighbourhood or street.
Second Best Local Link Building Tool: Maps
Put your own business address in and start to look at all the different businesses around your physical location. The proximity of getting local links from businesses that are in your own area makes a big difference. Ideally they are also topically relevant. For example, a Personal Injury Lawyer can get links from rehabilitation businesses or ancillary services clients might be using locally.
Leverage Google Maps by using your own address, zooming in and looking around. Think about:
- Who are the businesses around me?
- How could I work with them to get a link?
- What are my options and what are the businesses that could link to me?
Hyper-Local Content Marketing For Links
- Topically relevant content.
- Scholarships in the traditional sense may be dead, but if it’s local across the target audience, topic, and local to your area that can be a solid win.
- Guest Post can be powerful if it’s a real local blogger, locally and topically relevant.
When you focus only on Domain Authority for your local link building campaigns, you’re going to end up missing out on opportunities that are both topically and locally relevant, which are both way more important and stronger signals/factors when it comes to earning links as a local business.
Pro Prospecting Tip: Doing your prospecting through Google – Gyi loves to use the MozBar (a Chrome/FireFox extension) that allows you to export all the Search Results into a CSV. If you tack on a little parameter &num=100 to the URL after you run the search, you can get all 100 search results exported in a spreadsheet and work through that, rather than drilling through the results.
Local link building is a grind – embrace the suck!
Re-framing is critical and will help you during all your link building campaigns. If you hold yourself accountable for topical and local relevance, the list isn’t as long as you think. It’s not about going out and trying to get 100s of linking root domains, it’s about trying to get like 25 solid ones. Spend the time getting to know the business or site you’re trying to go after. From an email outreach standpoint, if you’re cold emailing you’re not going to get a lot of traction, take the time to develop rapport with the business to get more positive and engaged responses to your outreach.
In local you don’t need the volume, you need to be relationship-focused and locally-focused.