Local Link Building
Prospecting is critical to the success of any local link building campaign because it lays the groundwork for everything else that follows; outreach, relationship building, mentions, and ultimately that link. As an SEO or a DIY business owner you absolutely need to have a solid process for uncovering and vetting potential opportunities when working on a local link building campaign. Here are some of the strategies we use to find link opportunities for our LocalSpark clients.
Guiding Principles When Prospecting
Not all links are created equally. But in local, a link that may seem “worthless” in a traditional link building campaign, can add considerable value to a link profile in a local campaign. Authority plays a different role when it comes to the local sphere, Domain Authority and Page Rank shouldn’t be your top metrics for qualifying a prospect either. When looking for opportunities keep in mind these important questions:
- Is the link relevant to my locality, industry or niche?
- Would a link make sense on the website?
- How can my link provide value to their audience?
Is the link relevant to my locality/industry/niche?
The beauty of local link building is that when it comes to relevancy you are looking for link opportunities from a location perspective as well as an industry perspective. Links that are relevant to your neighbourhood, city, county, and state/province are relevant and valuable.
In addition to your locale you are also looking for links that are correlated to your business, industry, niche, and product. These types of links further enhance your link profile. With local link building you can approach it from a micro to macro (narrow to broad) level and benefit across the scale. It’s really quite brilliant and there is a ton of room for creativity. In fact, the more creative you can get the better.
Would a link make sense on the website?
This is a question that should be top of mind while prospecting. Sometimes the allure of a prospect can cloud your judgement and you can end up wasting valuable time on a prospect that just isn’t the right fit. Don’t get caught up in numbers or the desire for a ton of links. Things to consider when determining if a prospect makes sense:Trolls streaming
Do they link to third party sites in any content pieces or do they only link to other posts or articles on their own site. If they never link out to third party sites that could be a good indicator it will be an aggressive uphill battle.
Follow vs no-follow: Follow is cool, but you know what’s even cooler? Any sort of large exposure to your customers, so don’t fret about follow and no-follow like it’s gospel. If it makes sense for both parties to have a link to your site, take it either way.
Are they currently contributing actively to their own site and is the quality good? If the site is stagnant when it comes to content and only posting three times a year, it may not be the right fit… Note – With regards to the above point, be sure to check out their Social channels. It is possible the site owners decided that their blog was too much work and they weren’t getting the pageviews/engagement they wanted. A lot of former bloggers go to social media and succeed there. Maybe a social campaign is more appropriate for your client than getting a link on their site?
How can my link provide value to their audience?
Knowing how your link can provide value to a website’s audience not only helps you curate a list of qualified prospects but it should ideally help with your outreach; which let’s get real, is hands down the most challenging aspect of a link building campaign.
If you can identity why your link would be an asset on a specific website, you already have an angle when outreaching. This isn’t just a, “I know my website is awesome” or “this content I wrote is so amazing, who wouldn’t want to link to it?,” kind of deal. This is genuinely identifying what value you can add.
- The link is to a resource that takes a more in-depth look at a specific topic.
- The link backs up a statement or claim.
- The link expands on a related topic or point.
- The link connects the audience to a product/service of interest.
- The link helps you better understand the post/article.
So Where Do You Start?
We start by asking our clients questions, and we highly recommend that you do the same. Whether you’re the business owner or local consultant, asking relevant questions will help you uncover existing opportunities, discover which strategies are the best fit for you (or the client), and give you laser focus when prospecting.
Questions to ask:
- What current business partnerships do you have?
- Are you an active Alumni, board of director anywhere, etc.
- Are you currently involved in the community?
- Do you donate to a specific charity?
- Does your company/team volunteer anywhere?
- What do you want to be involved with?
Having a standard set of questions to ask yourself or your client is important. We recommend you use Phil Rozek’s, Best [BLEEP]’in Local Link Questionnaire.
Our next go to is good old fashion Google searches. When getting started, completing a few searches of top keywords will help give you a better sense of what the industry/niche offers. It’s good to start broad and then refine your searches to more specific areas. Especially if you are in a very specialized industry or even smaller city or town.
Your end game is to source opportunities that are the most relevant and ideally generate the best results. This helps make the qualifying process go smoother as well. How you prospect will differ based on the type of outreach you are doing, but here are some common local link building examples and our prospecting tips/advice to help get you started.
Unlinked Brand Mentions
Take advantage of opportunities that may already exist. Have you had any press in the past? Perhaps you were interviewed by a local magazine or blog, maybe someone has published a product review, but none of these sites linked to your site.
This is a great strategy to implement at the beginning of a campaign, it can often land you some quick wins. Ideally, you are looking for the most recent and relevant opportunities. Be sure to review the website to see if they are likely to link. If you come across a post from years ago on a highly influential site, make note of it and start tracking the potential influencer(s). It’s possible that since they featured you in the past, they could be willing to do it again.
Complete branded Google searches of the company name and exclude the company website:
- “company name” -site:companywebsite.com
- “company name” AND Top Keyword -site:companywebsite.com
- “company owner/founder” -site:companywebsite.com
- “company owner/founder” AND “company name” -site: companywebsite.com
*If the company has used press releases in the past, be sure to remove these type of results from the searches by adding -press -release to any of the above searches.
Looking for unlinked brand mentions via Google searches works best for small businesses. This type of search would be a nightmare for a Big Brand with a TON of mentions and highly time consuming to sift through all the results.
Scale Your Unlinked Brand Mentions
If you’re a larger business or a small business that may have a lot of mentions or you just want to save yourself the time of sifting through the SERPs for opportunities you can utilize the Local Citation Finder (LCF) and Link Prospector (LP) tools to ease the process.
For many small businesses a large majority of their mentions and links are going to be structured citations, which are not opportunities in this case and end up congesting the SERPs when looking for link prospects.
Via: Local Link