What you will learn in this post:
- Why and how to audit your site’s backlink profile
- How to identify and leverage opportunities for local link building
- The importance of community outreach for improved link equity and local SEO
Your website’s local and organic search rankings depend on a number of factors, but backlinks remain one of the most powerful search engine optimization (SEO) signals of them all. In fact, Moz’s 2018 Local Search Ranking report lists backlinks as the second strongest local ranking factor (behind Google My Business) and the top organic ranking factor.
If you are a local online marketing strategist for a multi-location brand, you need to focus on local link building. The more links you receive from authoritative sources that direct back to your web pages, the higher your brand will rank in local and organic searches. These backlinks can also have a tremendous SEO impact in the hyperlocal space.
But how exactly can you safely obtain more backlinks? And, just as importantly, how can you exercise some control over which sources link to your brand?
Audit Your Backlink Profile
Broadly speaking, the more backlinks you gather, the more local search success you will have. That said, quality still trumps quantity. Not all backlinks are ideal. In fact, depending on where they come from, some backlinks may harm both your SEO and your brand reputation.
The best way to mitigate bad backlinks and keep tabs on all your good ones is to audit your backlink profile with a reputable tool. Here are some resources Rio SEO recommends:
Each of these tools will help you determine your domain authority and compare it to your competition’s. Additionally, they can locate spam backlinks, empowering you to disavow such links as quickly as possible.
Look for Existing Backlink Opportunities
If you are struggling to obtain backlinks, take a step back and consider some potential opportunities for local link building: Is your breadcrumb navigation properly optimized? Does your site contain broken internal links? Is your website using 302 temporary backlinks when you should be using 301 permanent backlinks? Is your main website properly linking to your locator pages? Do you have partners that just mention your brand with no backlink?
These all indicate prime opportunities for increasing your backlink count and further optimizing your online presence. For instance, if your own website is not properly linking to your own relevant pages, address this issue before seeking backlinks from other sources. Or, if your brand is mentioned by a number of partner websites but not directly linked, ask if they will include a link to your website. Once your own house is in order and you have solidified your relationships, you can continue your link building outreach campaign.
Reach Out to Your Community
There are different levels to “local.” Cities and towns vary in size and activity, and smaller communities exist within them, too, such as school networks and niche interest groups. Your online presence should be optimized for the various communities of which you are a part (i.e. citywide vs. hyperlocal). For each of these levels, look into outreach programs to obtain relevant backlinks and boost your local SEO.
For hyperlocal visibility, you should connect with community-based websites such as your local chamber of commerce. This connection can open doors for further networking and community event opportunities. You might also reach out to relevant local publications (both online and print) and inquire about being a guest contributor or landing an interview feature, etc. Hosting or sponsoring local events are other great local marketing strategies that can boost both your physical and online presence in the community.
Linking it All Together
Optimizing your brand’s web presence for local search requires a multi-faceted approach, such as managing your Google My Business local landing pages, maintaining your social media profiles, and producing engaging, quality content. But your website needs an extra push. It is worth the time and effort to perform a backlink audit and search for opportunities for local link building and better link equity.