The 10 Step Local Link Building Cheat Sheet to Boost Rankings in 2020

Let’s just face it. Building the ties is not enjoyable. Anyone in local marketing will tell you how important it is to build back-links, include internal links in your content, and use links of second level.

On top of this, you have to know the difference between nofollow and dofollow links, make sure your citations on third party directories are up to date and accurate and keep your social signals in good shape as well.

And let’s not forget about the importance of monitoring for broken links on your site.

Yup. Link building can be a royal pain in the you-know-what.

But since 93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine, it’s a necessary evil.

In fact, link building could very well be the single most important aspect of your SEO strategy.

The good news is, you don’t have to dig through mountains of data to figure out which local link building techniques are the best and how to implement them in the most efficient, effective way.

We’ve actually done the legwork for you and compiled a 10 step “cheat sheet” for your reference. Ready? Here we go!

1. Conduct your own research and publish the data.

You may already have noticed that we often connect back to relevant data to support our posts. It not only demonstrates that we have done sufficient work and that our material is accurate, but it also provides our readers additional tools that they can consider useful.

If you’re having trouble getting people to link to your content, sharing data is a great way to gain some more traction. But rather than using someone else’s data, conducting your own study and generating your own statistics can be much more effective.

Much as we do with our own content, other content marketers can reference data that you have in your specific industry to be important, appropriate and meaningful. The type of data you generate will of course depend on the industry or niche you are in.

If you don’t have a large enough audience to produce meaningful results, writing and publishing case studies could be the next best thing. Rather than focusing on a large pool of people, a case study focuses on one customer or business in great detail.

2. Create infographics.

Another great way to get more backlinks and social shares is by creating infographics. People love visual content, which is why infographics have become such a powerful and effective medium for content marketers.

The good news is, you don’t even have to use all your own data. You can compile a list of relevant statistics and include them in a visual representation of the information you’re trying to convey and then simply reference your sources at the bottom.

Which news is even better? There are a ton of tools available online that allow you to create beautiful, professional-looking infographics that you can post to attract traffic and backlinks on your website. Canva, for example, provides a great free online infographic builder that is easy to use and that delivers stellar results.

Just remember to include an embed code as well as social share buttons to make it easy for people to share your content on their social networks and republish on their own blogs.

3. Post consistently on social media.

For both your domain authority and search engine ranking social signals are very relevant. The more backlinks you get from popular social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, the higher your ranking value on Google would be.

To accomplish this, you need to make sure your social accounts are up to date and active, and that your content is generating shares.

The key here is the shareability of your content, which means you need to focus on publishing content on social networks that is likely to get attention and encourage engagement from your audience. A promo video with a boring sales pitch isn’t going to do it. Something funny or entertaining, on the other hand, probably will.

Think about the type of content that you share on social media and look around at what others in your network are sharing. Then, try to generate similar content for your own company.

4. Join relevant online directories.

In local search the directories of third parties play an important role. Such sites not only have useful backlinks to your website, but they also seem to rank high on their own in the SERPs, meaning you’ll get more bang for your buck, so to speak.

Take the popular review site Yelp for example. It’s one of the largest third party directories in the B2C world and consistently ranks at or near the top of the local search engine results.

Of course, there are plenty of other directories that are similar but may be more niche-oriented. For instance, we did a quick Google search of “top digital marketing agencies,” and the top two organic results were from a third party review site called Clutch and a directory called Digital Agency Network.

The trick is to find out which directories are a good match for your company and concentrate on those. Bear in mind that certain third-party directories charge a fee for their listings, but considering the value of the backlinks and the subsequent ranking boost you’ll get in return, the cost might well be worth it.

5. Get familiar with the difference between nofollow and nofollow links.

Before you spend any time building backlinks, it’s important that you understand what dofollow and nofollow links are and the difference between the two.

Dofollow links are backlinks that help you build authority and climb up the search engine rankings.

Nofollow links, on the other hand, essentially tell Google not to give the linked URL any additional link juice.

Some websites use the former and some use the latter. Obviously, you want to target dofollow links. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean nofollow links are entirely worthless, because they still ultimately have the potential to send traffic to your website. In fact, on the right website, nofollow links can still generate valuable leads and conversion opportunities.

To make things easier, Google Chrome offers a convenient extension that will show you right off the bat which websites use nofollow links. With the extension installed, hyperlinks boxed with red dots will indicate nofollow links while links without visual cues are dofollow.

6. Always use relevant anchor text.

If you’re using terms like “click here” as your anchor text, you’re making a huge mistake that is likely impacting your website’s local search ranking. Why?

Because Google places almost the same amount of weight on anchor text as it does the fact that you’re generating backlinks to begin with.

To put it plainly, Google needs to get a better understanding of what your website is about. By maintaining consistency between keywords used on your web and keywords that you use in your anchor text, you’ll give Google more details for better ranking of SERPs.

7. Fix any broken links.

When a website has broken links (i.e. URLs that no longer lead to either an internal or external resource) it can have a negative impact on your SEO. This is because Google’s web crawlers – aka Googlebots – go from link to link, gathering and collecting data about each page. Broken links cause a disruption in this process.

Broken links can happen for a number of reasons. For instance, web pages that have been deleted and/or replaced with newer content can result in a broken backlink to the original page.

To avoid this, you’ll want to routinely check for both broken links on your own website as well as any broken backlinks that exist on external websites. You can use the Chrome Broken Link Checker extension to look for these discrepancies.

When you find broken links on your own site, take the appropriate steps to fix them. If you locate broken backlinks on external sites, you can either do a 301 redirect or reach out to the publisher and ask them to replace the broken link with the right one.

8. Participate in guest blogging.

You may have heard a rumor that guest blogging is no longer considered a viable technique for link building. While there have been plenty of changes to how guest blogging impacts SEO, the fact remains that it is still a highly effective tool for generating backlinks – provided, of course, that the content you’re producing is relevant, of high quality and that the links you’re using add value.

That being said, the act of blogging isn’t really the hard part. It’s getting those guest blogs published on high authority, relevant websites that’s the real challenge.

While there’s no magic formula to pitching a guest blog to an editor, there is a format that you can follow that should help you get some traction. That format is as follows:

  • Show that you’re a human by introducing yourself and drawing a connection between yourself and the publisher/editor.
  • Complement them on their existing content.
  • Explain why you’re pitching, what your topic idea is and, most importantly, how it would benefit their audience.

If you need some inspiration, check out this list of more than 30 guest post outreach scripts.

9. Leverage testimonials.

Writing testimonials for other websites is one of the easiest yet surprisingly underused ways for generating backlinks. How? Well, most testimonials include information about the person writing them, including (you guessed it) a hyperlink.

Google wants to get a better picture of what your website is all about, to put it simply. By maintaining consistency between keywords that are used on your site and keywords that you use in your anchor document, you’ll give Google more information to rank SERPs higher.

Simple? Yes. Effective? Even more so.

10. Keep track of brand mentions that aren’t linked back to your website.

Oftentimes, when someone else mentions your company, product or service online, they don’t link back to your website. But just because they didn’t doesn’t mean they won’t. In many cases, it’s simply an oversight.

When you come across these unlinked mentions, just reach out to the editor and politely request that they include a link to your website. Most people will gladly do so.

To see where people might be talking about your brand online try Social Mention’s free search tool.

The 10 Step Local Link Building Cheat Sheet to Boost Rankings in 2020