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Why Link Building Matters in Local SEO

The following is a guest blog post contributed by Ardor SEO, an SEO firm founded by Austrailian entrepreneur Kris Reid.

The hair salon that did my hair uses the products from a certain reseller for nearly ten years. Shampoos, hairsprays, lotions, conditioners and colors are so good, that they even got their poster on the salon’s wall, while hairdressers wear t-shirts with the company’s logo.

How is this related to link Building?

Let’s put it this way. One business owner was extremely satisfied with a certain product, and he decided to recommend it to his customers. In return, he gets to buy the items at a discount price and becomes well-known in the industry.

Google’s most important ranking factor to date, links, works on the same principle. It relies heavily on examining the inbound and the outbound links on websites to determine your place and authority in the niche.

The Importance of Linkbuilding in SEO

Search engines use links for two major reasons:

  1. For finding new pages on the web
  2. For knowing if the site has importance in the field so it can rank higher

When Google inspects a page through a process called crawling, it indexes the content and compares it to other pages. If there’s a high-quality text, it’s easier to decide whether it will rank for the keywords they used in it.

Keywords are only a fraction of what Google takes into consideration. Your website’s anchor text and the links from external sites connected to your industry are being examined as well.

Once the authoritative websites link back to you, the interconnections become stronger and help you rank well in the SERPs (search engine result pages).

The link metric is what made Google stand out among others search engines because the way recommendations work stays the same. I wouldn’t have recommended my favorite hair salon to a friend if I didn’t think they’re on top of their game.

Since the salon is located in the city we live in, we can call it local. If you’re a business owner, local means that you’ll have to reach to the audience that is physically present near your place of business.

Local SEO Linkbuilding Essentials

Reaching the customers near you is where local SEO comes into the picture. Local links look just like regular links, except they come from the same city, the same neighborhood, etc.

To rank high in the local search, you’ll have to create a powerful link profile. Sadly, it will take longer than any other SEO tactic, but it will be much more valuable than simply doing a keyword research and adding keywords on your page.

Local market domination is sometimes quite tricky since you have less authoritative businesses you can link to. But there are a few tricks you can use to get a super link profile with a little bit of effort.

  • Citation Building – A mention of your company on a website, which frequently includes a link to your site.
  • Organizing Contests – When it comes to local promotion on social media, giveaways or contests is an excellent tactic to get people recommend your brand.
  • Getting In the News – If you have a controversial or funny story to tell or even a project connected to your business, go ahead and pitch it to local news sites.
  • Calling the Local Businesses You Collaborated With to Get Testimonials/Interviews – The existing relationships you have with the businesses near you can build your link profile; all you have to do is to mention them on your site or dedicate a whole page to them.
  • Hosting Events – In case you don’t have a range of local sites you can link to, hosting an event can bring local businesses together. Later you can use this event to make a new page on your website and promote others, regardless of their niche.

As mentioned earlier, Google has the final word. It manipulates search results to show the users what it thinks is important for them. Lastly, it will filter the sites with bad links from the result pages.

How to Differentiate Good and Bad Links

Bad links are something you should avoid when making a link profile. Why?

They can harm your reputation, lower your ranking in the SERPs, and eventually, you can lose the-once-loyal customer base.

The types of links you should aim for, according to Eric Enge from Stonetemple, are:

  1. Links that will drive direct referral traffic
  2. Links that build visibility with your target audience for your brand
  3. Links that build your reputation

What About Nofollow Links?

Nofollow links have the «nofollow» attribute. This attribute suggests Google not to rank this URL.

These are commonly used in blog comments, Yahoo! Answers, or forum posts. Why?

Because anyone can make a forum post with a link to their page. Luckily, most forums add an automatic nofollow attribute in every link so these sites can’t rank higher for blog comments and such.

So, nofollow links won’t make your organic search ranking better, but a user will often click on the link, regardless of its metadata.

Link Building and Authority Recap

Link Building is the most important SEO activity and matters in local SEO as well. Good links will help you climb the SERPs, become an authority in the industry, and give you a steady influx of customers.

To rank well locally, you’ll have to have a powerful local link profile. You can build it with the help of citations, contests, or testimonials, among other tactics. Small business owners can make a local link profile and have bigger authority in their niche if they invest little time and effort.

However, if you’re new to SEO, it’s best to hire experts who will do the ugly work for you. In this way, you’re not taking the risk of falling down the SERPs.