17 min read

Local Link Building Strategies for SEO in 2024

Dmytro Sokhach, CEO of Admix Global
Local Link Building

Local link building is all about acquiring backlinks from websites within your geographic area. Think area-specific news sites, blogs, or directories. These sites might not be giants, but their links are still essential for your SEO.

Why? Because they boost your visibility right where your clients are!

Now, imagine your business topping local search results. Sounds great, isn’t it?

That’s the power of local backlinks.

Today I'll show you how to master local link building. We'll cover the basics, the best strategies, and learn how to avoid common pitfalls.

Let’s get your local link building on track.

What Is Local Link Building in SEO?

So local link building is a process of building backlinks from websites right in your backyard. Being locally linked boosts your SEO, pushing you up in search results where it really counts. 

That’s why it matters. A lot.

What's the big deal here? It's simple:

According to LocaliQ, 97% of people find out about local businesses online more than anywhere else. And remember, local and organic searches are huge—accounting for 69% of digital traffic, as On The Map suggests.

So, what does this mean for you?

Local SEO isn't just about being seen—it’s about leading the pack in your community.

Here's the deal: you don't need tons of links, just the right ones. A few strategic local backlinks can dramatically elevate your rankings. That’s not just good for visibility; it translates directly to sales.

Ever wondered how many backlinks you really need to dominate local searches?

A quick tool for listing opportunities like Ahref’s Keyword Explorer or Semrush’s Listing Management can tell you just that. But here's the twist: you might need fewer links than you think to make a real impact.

Stick with me, and I’ll show you how to snag those top spots 😉

Which Industries Benefit Most from Local Link Building?

Still wondering if geo-targeted link building is right for your business?

If you're grounded in a physical location, this strategy is just what you need. Think about it: lawyers, dentists, movers, car rentals—essentially any service with an office can gain massive from local SEO backlinks.

Why focus locally?

Because local backlinks place your brand smack-dab in the middle of your target market.

example of local keywords

Thus, using tools like Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer, businesses uncover a startling truth: you don't need a mountain of links to rank well locally.

example of car rental nyc keywords

A look at the SERP overview reveals that top-ranking sites often have fewer than 150 referring domains.

What does this mean for you?

Even a modest backlink profile can propel you to the top, especially in local arenas.

another example of local keywords

Think local directories are outdated? Think again.

According to BrightLocal, 91% of consumers admit that reviews from local branches influence their overall view of major brands to some extent.

Bottom line?

Link building for local SEO is crucial, not optional.

Ready to boost your local standing and win more clients? Concentrate on building local backlinks to establish your dominance in the market. At Editorial.Link, we offer expert link-building services that you can rely on!

Why Local Link Building Is Important?

As someone deeply immersed in SEO, I've seen firsthand the game-changing impact of local link building. But you there might be wondering why these local backlinks are so crucial.

When local sites in your area link back to you, they're sending clear signals to search engines about your relevance in the community. It's like your local community giving you a nod of approval, which really helps your reputation in local search results.

In the latest survey conducted by Whitespark, 44 local SEO experts weighed in on the most crucial factors for ranking in Google's local search results, both in the local pack and organic listings.

Here's a table with the most interesting points to consider:

CategoryTop FactorsScoreNoteworthy Insights
Google Business ProfilePrimary GBP Category193The importance of GBP signals has seen a decrease.
Local Pack/Finder RankingKeywords in GBP Business Title, Proximity of Address to Point of Search181, 176Proximity importance has increased, likely due to the Vicinity update.
Local Organic RankingDedicated Page for Each Service, Internal Linking Across Entire Website163, 149The creation of dedicated pages and strong internal linking are crucial for SEO.
Review SignalsSustained Influx of Reviews Over Time143A consistent flow of reviews is more beneficial than bursts of many reviews at once.
Link SignalsQuantity of Inbound Links to GBP Landing Page from Locally-Relevant Domains137The local relevance of links is now more significant than general domain authority.
Behavioral SignalsClick-through Rate128There is a notable shift towards behavioral signals indicating user engagement as a key ranking factor.
Conversion FactorsHigh Numerical Google Ratings, Mobile-friendly/Responsive Website177, 149High Google ratings and responsive design are crucial for improving conversions.
Negative FactorsIncorrect Primary Category, Presence of Other Profiles in the Same Category at the Same Address176, 142Incorrect category selection can significantly harm rankings.
Suspension Risk FactorsThe address is a PO Box, UPS Mail Store, Virtual Office, or Other False Address167Using incorrect address information is a major risk for GBP suspension.
Local SEO MythsGeo-tagged Photos, Keywords in GBP Description2, 11These are believed to have minimal impact on rankings, debunking common misconceptions.

So what does this tell you? Below are a few important things to keep in mind:

  • Local SEO leans on the strength of your backlinks from nearby sources. You can’t compromise on a top-notch link profile. This means snagging links from domains within your community that boost both your relevance and authority for local searches;
  • Your website’s internal linking needs to be tight. A smart internal linking strategy makes your local pages easier to find and more attractive to both users and search engines;
  • Don’t skimp on content quality, either. For local SEO, the content on your service pages should be peppered with local keywords that connect directly to your area. This enhances the user experience, pulling in an audience that’s right on your doorstep;
  • Keep your Google Business Profile sharp. Make sure your category listings are spot-on and your business titles are packed with the right keywords, all while staying within Google’s rules. Every detail plays a part in pushing you up the local search ladder.

These pointers highlight the need for a thoughtful, strategic approach to local SEO. It’s about becoming a well-known and trusted figure in your local scene.

Now, according to this Forbes’ article, let's talk about stats:

  • Did you know that 57% of local searches happen on mobile devices and tablets? With so many people searching on the go, your website needs to be mobile-friendly and tailored to local audiences to capture their attention;
  • Moreover, according to the same resource, 50% of smartphone users visit a store within a day of their local search. That's right—half of them! If you want to turn online searches into offline sales, local search optimization is non-negotiable;
  • Additionally, 4 out of 5 people rely on search engines to meet their local needs. That's a whopping 80%! To make sure your business pops up when they search, claim your Google Business Profile, list your business in local directories, and sprinkle your content with local keywords;
  • Lastly, 18% of local searches lead to a purchase within 24 hours. So if you want to capitalize on those ready-to-buy customers, fine-tune your local SEO game ASAP.

By weaving a web of connections with strategic link-building and content optimization, you can establish yourself as the go-to authority in your area.

Now, let’s discuss how you can make the most of those local backlinks.

How to Find Local Backlinks

The process isn't so different from securing non-local backlinks, yet it has its unique local twists.

So, where do you start? I say, begin with competitor backlinks.

Competitor Research

Wondering how your competitors are acing the SEO game in your niche?

1) It starts with digging into their backlink profiles.

See, analyzing where their links come from reveals tactics that work. But here's the catch: don't just copy them.

Beating them at their own game requires more than mimicry—it demands a smarter, custom strategy focusing on high-quality domains.

2) Proceed to identify your competitors.

Tools like Ahrefs’ Organic Competitors report are perfect for this initial step.

using organic competitors to identify

3) Dive deeper with Ahrefs’ Link Intersect tool.

This tool will help you spot where your competitors’ backlinks intersect with opportunities you might be missing. Perhaps, certain directory entries they’re listed in but you’re not.

use link inersect by ahrefs

A comprehensive look at their backlinks can be achieved through the Backlinks report. This analysis helps you understand the diversity of their strategies, whether they’re leveraging HARO, securing interviews, developing linkable assets, or fixing broken links.

Use these insights to inspire rather than imitate:

  • Find related domains in their link categories to target; 
  • Aim to build a unique backlink profile that stands out.

Use what you learn from your competitors' strategies to shape a clever, tailored link-building plan. Go beyond copying others and incorporate fresh ideas with strategic planning to significantly boost your SEO game.

Create a Link-Building Plan

Now, how exactly do you turn these insights into action?

Create a solid link-building plan!

  • Set clear objectives and pair them with powerful strategies. This way, you’ll know you're not just taking random shots. Start with a technical SEO audit to optimize your site—aim for quicker load times, cleaner URLs, and smoother navigation;
  • Select link-building methods that align with your goals. Namely, enhance your plan with engaging content, such as infographics or original research. Thinking about your budget? Estimate it based on the types and quantity of links you need;
  • Focus on a balanced mix of dofollow and nofollow links. Ensure high domain authority, relevance, and clever use of anchor text. Strategize to dominate!

Local Link-Building Tactics

Next, I'll guide you through the effective tactics you should use to secure the best backlinks for local SEO.

Local Link-Building Tactics

Explore the top local directories and websites

These might not be the strongest links, but they’re easy to snag and they lay a good foundation. Look beyond the big names like Yelp, Google Business Profile, Yellow Pages, and Foursquare; niche directories specific to your area are real gems.

example of local directories for dentist

For instance, dentists should focus on niche directories tailored to their field. Thus, registering your practice on sites such as the American Dental Association (ADA), eLocal Dentists, and Smile Guide can significantly boost your community-focused link-building efforts.

If you’re in the legal industry, make sure to register on sites like SuperLawyers.com, Avvo.com, Nolo.com, Justia.com, FindLaw.com, HG.org, and Lawyers.com.

These directories are invaluable for enhancing your visibility and credibility within the local community.

💡Pro-tip: Keep an eye on news sites and community blogs. Make connections with local newspapers and magazines. Yes, they have strict standards, but landing a backlink from them can be a game-changer for your site’s visibility.

Write local guest posts

Think about it: you know your business inside out. Why keep all that knowledge to yourself when it could benefit your community and enhance your online presence?

Start by listing local publications that welcome guest writers, from community newsletters to major local newspapers.

Craft a pitch that introduces fresh, valuable content tailored just for their readers.

For example, if you own a distillery, sharing the backstory of a popular local brew could capture the interest of food and lifestyle magazines in your area.

By the way, here’s a great example:

example of local guest post

The global brand ambassador for Woodford Reserve, a bourbon made in Versailles, Kentucky, penned an intriguing piece on the origins of the classic old-fashioned cocktail for a London food magazine.

article also included a link to the distillery's website

💡A quick tip, though: not all publishers will link back to your website. If a backlink is critical for you, make sure to check the publication’s policy before you submit your piece.

Partner with local bloggers

Bloggers are constantly scouting for unique and engaging content around them. And that's where you come in.

How do you start?


Search for bloggers in your local area or your industry by Googling keywords like "[Your area] bloggers" or "[Your industry] blog."

Search for bloggers in your local area

Go beyond a regular search and visit social media—places like Instagram and Twitter are great for finding active bloggers.

Go beyond a regular search and visit social media

Once you find them, it’s time to connect.

Shoot them a message that does more than just introduce your business—show them the perks they get too. Perhaps it's a special deal, a first look at a new product, or a VIP pass to a local event. Make it irresistible!

💡A quick tip: some bloggers might charge for a post or a link, often called 'sponsored posts' or 'niche edits.' This is pretty standard, so consider the SEO boost and extra traffic they might bring when thinking about the price.

Try local forums

I'm not a big fan of forum links, as they're not what they used to be. However, when it comes to local SEO, forums can actually be quite useful + you might even get some referral traffic ;).

Forum link building can become a great way to draw more attention to your site and strengthen your ties with the community.

Say you're a divorce lawyer in Los Angeles wanting to make connections in your neighborhood.

Here's a smart way to use forums to your benefit:

1) Start with a quick Google search. Try looking up "Los Angeles divorce lawyer forum" or dive into broader community forums where locals gather.

Start with a quick Google search of local forums

You might find that forums related to local sports teams are surprisingly active, too.

2) Once you find some forums, the key is to blend in smoothly.

You don't want to be the person who's just spamming links everywhere. Nope. A lot of forums allow you to include a link in your bio or signature—this is a subtle way to get that backlink without stepping on any toes 😉

3) Also, if you're chiming in on a discussion, make sure your link is genuinely useful and relevant.

When locals seeking services stumble upon your helpful posts, you start building a reputation as a trusted local expert. So, in this case, such links can really boost your local SEO game.

Sponsor a local event or organization

Sponsoring a local organization can become a solid strategy for building backlinks. Let me walk you through how it works.

When you sponsor a neighborhood sports team, group, or event with a website, they often show their appreciation by linking back to your site. This link is a powerful connector back to your business that boosts your local SEO by increasing your visibility and credibility.

For example, suppose you manage a company specializing in high-quality honey products and decide to sponsor a local food festival in New York.

Sponsoring a local organization or event

Once you’re a sponsor, your company’s logo and a link to your website will likely be featured on the festival’s website.

It's a win-win: you get the exposure, and they get your support.

choose sponsorships wisely

The trick is to choose sponsorships wisely. Opt for events or organizations that align with your business values and those that are likely to attract your target audience.

Create a linkable asset

Creating linkable assets—sounds technical, right? But it's just about making content that naturally draws links.

You can make a local guide, a map, a calendar, or a list. Whatever you choose, make it so good that others can't help but share it.

For instance, Napa Valley Maps can be a perfect example of link magnets. Take at least their Winery Visitor Map:

example of local linkable asset

It lays out all the local wineries, showing who needs a reservation and who doesn't, making it super handy for anyone planning a wine tour. Its practicality earns it plenty of backlinks, ramping up its visibility and SEO impact.

This type of content is useful, shareable, and best of all, it connects directly with your business.

And what do you do once you've crafted this killer content?

That’s right. You get the word out!

Share it with local bloggers, on social media, and maybe even email it to a few local businesses who might benefit from being featured.

It's all about promotion—getting as many eyes on it as possible.

Press releases and local media

Got an event? Broadcast it with a press release. Local publishers love unique local stories—they could be your ticket to a fresh backlink.

If you have something exciting to share, local media are always on the hunt for gripping stories right from their backyard—this could be your chance to shine and snag some quality backlinks!

Suppose you own a landscaping business and decide to plant trees at neighborhood schools for Arbor Day. That’s not just kind—it’s a story worth telling!

Here’s what you can do:

  • Whip up a press release that outlines your plans, motives, and the expected impact;
  • Once the PR is sharp and ready, shoot it over to local news outlets (both online and in print). The key is to keep it relevant;

A neighborhood business journal might dig into how your project fosters community growth, while a lifestyle magazine could highlight its environmental benefits.

local press release

What's next?

If an outlet picks up your story, they'll probably link back to your site in their coverage. This strengthens your local SEO by linking from a respected source.

link back to your site in their coverage

Remember, the more compelling and pertinent your story, the better the odds it gets picked up and shared (maybe even by multiple publications!).

Bonus Local Link Building Tips

  • Get Personal: When you reach out for links, be clear about how both sides benefit. Whether you’re sharing local insights or sweet deals, make sure they understand their gain too;
  • Become a Trusted Source: Offer your expertise for stories. Use platforms like HARO or direct outreach to show you’re the expert they need. This not only builds credibility but can also secure you quality backlinks;
  • Monitor Unlinked Mentions: Set up Google Alerts for your business name. If you’re mentioned without a link, just ask for it. It’s an easy win 😉
  • Offer Testimonials: A good word for another neighborhood business can get you a backlink from their site. It’s all about give and take;
  • Stay on your toes: SEO changes all the time, so keep evaluating what’s working and adjust as needed to keep your rankings strong.

Tip: Don’t forget that it’s all about quality over quantity. A few solid backlinks from trusted local sites can rocket you to the top of search results, while a bunch of weaker links might not help much at all.

Final Thoughts

All in all, local link building is all about securing backlinks from nearby sites and getting your business to shine exactly where it matters most.

Whether you run a dental clinic or a bike rental near the park, if your business serves local clients, this strategy is tailor-made for you.

Geo-targeted link building sends a strong signal to search engines, boosting your spot in local search results.

Here’s a recap of the main steps to follow:

  • Set clear goals and ensure your tactics are aimed at securing quality links, not just increasing quantity;
  • Start with local business directories, then ramp it up by crafting irresistible content—think insightful guest posts or comprehensive guides;
  • Engage with local bloggers or dive into discussions on forums. Forge meaningful connections;
  • Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing right, then adapt and enhance your own strategies.

Feeling overwhelmed yet?

Consider partnering with the pros at Editorial.Link. Specializing in ethical, effective white-hat local link-building strategies, we can help streamline your efforts for optimal impact.

Reach out and let’s get started on transforming your local SEO and making a lasting impression in your community!

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