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5 Local Link Building Strategies for Search Engine Optimization

local link building for search optimization

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

If you want to boost your business’s visibility in local search results, there’s no getting around local link building. That’s because local SEO marketing efforts that don’t account for local backlinks are akin to getting an elephant to ride a tricycle blindfolded: not impossible, but a stunningly difficult task nevertheless. The question is: how do you obtain links from other websites relevant to your local area? This article reveals five strategies that can aid local link-building for search engine optimization.

What Is Local Linking?

Local link building (or local linking) is an SEO strategy. It involves acquiring inbound links (a.k.a, backlinks) from local sites to build your website’s backlink profile. 

This SEO strategy differs from traditional link-building strategies in one key area: rather than seeking backlink opportunities from authoritative websites, you approach relevant websites that are relevant to your local audience. Think local businesses like yours, local online business directories, and region-specific news websites. That said, as will be revealed in later sections of the article, local linking has some overlap with SaaS link-building strategies.

Your business needs local backlinks for several reasons.

The most obvious one is that local backlinks are one of hundreds of SEO ranking factors search engines use to determine your website’s search ranking. In Google’s own words, they speak to your website’s content quality.

When you have many high-quality backlinks pointing to your website, search engines like Google will view it as trustworthy. They’ll rank it higher than sites with fewer or no incoming links, giving your website more organic traffic and exposing your business to more potential customers.

Also, local links help you get more visibility for your brand organically. Almost 50% of consumers use Google to look for local information. That means, the chances those local websites carrying your backlinks will appear in SERPs are high. That’s a lot of exposure for your brand you don’t need to pay for. 

Finally, local links offer targeted referral traffic compared to external links from authoritative sites with global reach. Building links from websites that are relevant to your local area exposes your business to customers who live within that vicinity. In return for your efforts, you receive relevant traffic with a higher likelihood of converting into paying customers.

So, we know local links are important. The question is, how do you perform local link building for SEO? Below are five local link-building strategies you can implement:

1. Leverage Local Directories and Citations

Here’s an effective way to ensure local link building for search optimization: leverage local directories and citations.

Citations are simply business listings in local business directory sites. They provide link-building opportunities because online directories typically include links to the websites of businesses they’ve listed: 


The above image is a perfect example. This Yellow Pages Horizon Graphics listing page has a “Visit Website” text anchor that links back to the graphic design company’s website. 

When building citations, the aim is to have your business’s information, particularly your business’s NAP (name, address, and phone number) published on as many online sources as possible. You can either do this manually or use a submission and management service like Yext. 

Taking the manual approach to citation building entails visiting the directories and checking whether your business is listed. You can check whether the information is accurate if you see your business in a directory. Most directories provide an option for claiming your listing, which you can use to change inaccurate information. 

However, if you don’t find your business in a directory, you can submit your business’s NAP details by once again claiming your listing. In most cases, that involves inputting your business information into a form on the website. Many directories let you do it free of charge.

There are plenty of free local business directories to build citations on. Some notable mentions are:

  • Google Business Profile (also get a Google My Business page)
  • Yelp
  • Yellow Pages
  • NextDoor
  • Trip Advisor; and
  • Better Business Bureau

You can also conduct area-specific searches to find citation-building opportunities in directories related to your city. Enter your city’s name next to the search terms “directory” or listings, as in the image below:


You should get a list of city-specific directories in the search results.

Lost links–also known as dead links–are previously existing links that are now broken. Here are some reasons for this phenomenon:

  • the domain name for the web page the link points to could have changed or elapsed
  • the web page the link was pointing to could’ve been deleted during a website redesign

You don’t want lost links on your website and on other sites that cite you. They can hurt your website’s link profile. Plus, acquiring backlinks from other websites isn’t easy. If those backlinks are dead links, all your efforts to secure them will have been in vain since you won’t reap SEO benefits anyway. Thus, it’s best to reclaim dead links, including your broken local links, as quickly and frequently as possible. 

Use a free SEO tool like Dead Link Checker to scan your website for broken links:


Then go to each page on your site with broken links and update or fix those URLs.

Now it’s time to look for your dead external backlinks. You can again use Dead Link Checker or paid tools like Ahrefs Site Explorer to scan other websites. Once you have a list of your broken backlinks,  contact the website owners and give them your updated links.

One last thing: don’t confuse reclaiming lost backlinks with claiming unlinked mentions. The two aren’t the same. Claiming unlinked brand mentions involves acquiring fresh backlinks, whereas reclaiming lost backlinks involves fixing existing backlinks that have been broken.

3. Collaborate with Local Influencers and Partners

Collaborating with local influencers and business partners is another effective method of local link-building for search optimization.

This link-building method is straightforward: you contact locally influential bloggers and other businesses for link-building opportunities. Collaborations like guest posts and online reviews will earn your website backlinks. 

To find local influencers in your vicinity, consider using a service like Collabstr. 


Your business must share the same target audience and values with the influencer for link opportunities like this to work. The influencer may want to know that exposing your business to their audience won’t hurt their reputation. On your end, you’ll need to choose influencers whose audiences will be interested in the products or services you offer.

The same goes with local partners. You’ll need to research potential businesses and make sure your audiences align. You could use an email lookup tool to find their contact details and contact them with your pitch.

4. Participate in Local Events and Sponsorships

Participating in local events and sponsorships could also earn you backlinks from locally relevant sites. You could give your business much-needed exposure to these site owners who can link to you.

Search for upcoming events in your area online and inquire into whether you can participate as a sponsor. 

Use Google’s advanced search operator “allintext:” with the word “event”, followed by your city’s name and the current year to refine your search. The search engine should return links to websites with articles that announce upcoming events, as in the image below:


If you’re able to participate as a sponsor, the event organizers should be willing to link back to your business’ website when they mention you on their site as an event sponsor.

Alternatively, you could sponsor entities that are participating in the events you find. A handful of the potential beneficiaries of your sponsorship dollars include local sports teams and art groups. As part of your sponsorship conditions, you could ask these entities to link back to your website when they announce the sponsorship.

Whether you choose to participate in events or sponsor entities, one fact remains constant: the entities you sponsor must align with your business’s values and audience. It’ll be challenging to get relevant referral traffic from those local backlinks otherwise.

5. Local PR 

Finally, consider conducting local PR to aid your link-building efforts. You can perform local PR in several ways. You could launch your events to build relationships with the community and boost your brand reputation for local media coverage. Some events you can host to generate positive PR include:

  • workshops
  • contests
  • job fairs
  • lectures

Another way is to send press releases to local media organizations about company-related developments–the launch of your newest product, for example—so they can publish these on their sites. 

You could do both–organize local events and write press releases–at the same time, too. For instance, if some local media failed to cover your event, you could send them a press release about that event so they can still write about it. If you don’t have the time to write, consider using generative AI when drafting your press releases and PR pitch emails.

Whichever strategy you choose, you can still secure relevant local backlinks with their articles.

To make this strategy work, you’ll need to conduct outreach to media outlets in your area. The entities you contact must report on business news in your area:


As the image above shows, local news outlets like the Albuquerque Journal have dedicated business news sections on their websites. 

Many outlets (like KSAT in the image below) encourage unsolicited news tips and coverage requests:


You can email these local media houses about your upcoming event for coverage or your press release. If you’re short on time or resources, consider partnering with a PR services provider. Their established connections and expertise can greatly enhance your link-building efforts. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Yes, it is. Since backlinks are a ranking signal that can help your website’s visibility, they’re worth acquiring.

What Is the Difference Between Local SEO and SEO?

The main difference is scale. With traditional SEO, you’re aiming to improve your website’s visibility on a national or global scale. In contrast, your local SEO efforts aim to provide visibility in local search for a particular geographical location.

What Are Three Things Involved in Local SEO?

Three tasks you must do for local SEO are NAP citation building, keyword research for local search terms, and Google My Business profile optimization.

In Closing

Local link building can help you obtain backlinks from websites that are relevant to your local audience. With this strategy, you can set your business up for local SEO success.

How do you do local link building for search optimization? Here are some tactics:

  • leverage local directories and citations
  • reclaim lost backlinks
  • collaborate with local influencers and partners
  • participate in local events and sponsorships
  • use local PR to get backlinks from media outlets

Follow these local link-building strategies for search optimization and you’ll surely reap excellent results.

Joe Troyer

Joe Troyer is the Founder of Review Grower. He is leading expert in all things Internet Marketing: Pay Per Click Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Google Business, Reputation Management, Landing Page Conversion, and Call Tracking.

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