Improving Local Rankings By Building Locally-Targeted Links





Blog Date

May 27, 2024


UK, Manchester

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Improving Local Rankings By Building Locally-Targeted Links

The Shifting Local SEO Landscape

It’s no secret that inbound links are a crucial factor in achieving high organic rankings on Google. However, this hasn’t always been the case within the field of local SEO. Historically, local businesses could attain good organic visibility through locally targeted content, citations, and a well-optimized Google My Business listing.

But the reliance on these signals has shifted, and significantly so. In July 2014, Google released the “Pigeon” algorithm update to improve the relevancy and accuracy of local search results. This update placed a greater emphasis on traditional ranking signals, one of which being inbound links.

Following the rollout of Pigeon, the focus for those looking to rank their locally-focused websites has become crystal clear. As Dan Leibson of Local SEO Guide notes, “link building continues to be the name of the game in terms of what I’m seeing move the needle for local businesses.”

Here at MCR SEO, we’ve also witnessed this shift firsthand. We’re now placing a heavy emphasis on acquiring links for our locally-focused clients as part of our local SEO strategies. Specifically, links from other local sources.

The Power of Locally-Relevant Links

We’ve found that even a small number of trusted, locally-focused links can make a big difference to our clients’ organic positioning. And with relevant links, they also receive the added benefit of valuable referral traffic.

But building these local links doesn’t have to be a Herculean task. There are several techniques we’ve leveraged to boost our clients’ domain authority and local rankings. Let me share a few with you.

Tapping into Your Network

One of the easiest ways to obtain a link back to your website is by simply asking people you know personally to do so. Given the fact that the real-life relationships are already there, the chances of success are high.

This could be as simple as providing a testimonial to anyone who has provided your business with a service, and checking to see if their sites contain resources or partners pages. The key is just to ask.

Leveraging Local Events

Many local businesses host or participate in local events. This in itself is a perfect opportunity to gain some online visibility and generate some locally relevant inbound links.

For example, we participated in an event hosted by Nottingham Trent University, where we offered strategic marketing support to local businesses. The event was published on the university’s website, with several links back to our domain.

Sponsoring events, particularly if they are of a high profile and industry-specific, brings many benefits – increased brand visibility/awareness, web traffic, and potential leads. And the event’s website will often link back to your business.

Engaging with Educational Institutions

As a business, we engage with local schools, colleges, and universities for many reasons including CSR activity and graduate recruitment. As a positive side effect, we’ve managed to gain online visibility through this. Our activity with these educational institutes is often covered on their websites, resulting in links back to our site.

Amplifying Your Digital PR

Digital PR is about getting your voice heard online. In practical terms, a combination of press release distribution and opportunity sourcing can lead to increased exposure for your business, and often links back to your website.

Targeting the local press with your newsworthy content is a great way to get local visibility and generate local links. As a business, we’ve built good connections with the creative industry press in the Nottingham area, meaning they are happy to share our news and celebrate our successes.

Leveraging Local Citations

Although there’s an overall shift of focus from more “traditional” Local SEO techniques, building local citations shouldn’t be overlooked. A citation doesn’t need to contain a link back to your website in order for it to be valuable, however many trusted and authoritative business directories provide that option, with the links, often “followed”.

Creating Locally-Relevant Content

This technique fits within the wider concept of creating useful assets on your website that has a chance of attracting links naturally. If done well, local businesses can create resources within their niche which the local community and related industries may find useful. This can work particularly well if your business has any specific data on the local area that can be published on your site.

Promoting Your Job Openings

If your business is recruiting and has a jobs page on the site, then promoting these openings can be a potential quick win for local link building. You’ll likely be aware of the main national job posting sites, but there are likely to be more locally focused sites who may also post your job openings.

Putting it All Together

Hopefully, this list provides you with a good starting point to get started with local link building. Although some manual techniques such as citation building can be leveraged, the best results are often obtained when businesses actively engage with the local community and capitalize on their “real-life” business efforts, by ensuring that digital opportunities are followed up on as a matter of course.

The key is to adopt a well-rounded approach. By combining techniques like local event participation, digital PR, and creating locally-relevant content, you can build a powerful local link profile that boosts your rankings and drives highly-targeted traffic to your website.

So why not start tapping into your local network, engaging with educational institutions, and amplifying your digital PR today? Your local rankings (and your bottom line) will thank you.

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