Google has emphasized that links to your website are among the very short-list of influencing factors that determine your site’s ranking. As Google increasingly focuses on local results, it’s essential for every business to prioritize link building as a core component of their digital marketing strategy.
Charlottesville Local Link Building: A Quick Overview
Local link building is one of the most valuable investments of your time, effort, and budget. Quality backlinks significantly influence your SERP and position in Google maps. Google’s algorithm favors websites with various strong (read: non-spammy) backlinks from authoritative local sites. These are displayed first before websites with fewer/weaker backlinks.
Link building is the process of acquiring links (backlinks) from other websites that direct back to your site.
Local link building is the process of getting backlinks from websites in your local area, Charlottesville in this case. Think local news sites, community pages, and nearby businesses.
Bottom line: more backlinks equal more eyes on your site and (ideally) more interested paying customers. Not all links are created equal: understanding the dos-and-don’ts of local link building will prevent wasted time and low-quality links, and ensure you only collect backlinks that drive relevant traffic to your site.
Best Practices for Local Backlinks
Link building strategy has evolved to prioritize quality over quantity. Google actively penalizes businesses that use black-and-gray hat techniques promoted by shadier marketers. In 2020, businesses succeed by focusing on sustained success and building a quality reputation online and off. It is acceptable — and encouraged! — to implement a proactive local link building and SEO strategy, but it’s crucial to use ethical approaches.
Businesses can experiment with a mix of proven techniques to customize a link building strategy that achieves their specific goals. Here are some of the best, Google-approved, tactics for successful local link building.
Content: “content is king” still rings true when it comes to SEO. Your Charlottesville link building strategy should absolutely include developing high-quality, shareable content. Establishing yourself as an expert in your field and creating top-notch content is an outstanding way to build up your website and encourage local backlinks.
Content strategy steps:
- Determine a budget and what type of content you’re equipped to create. Examples include how-to videos, white-papers, and infographics.
- Decide who will be responsible for creating the content. In-house vs. hiring a contractor.
- Set a publication schedule and stick to it.
- Outreach. Research companies within your vertical and community sites, connect, share content, and ask for backlinks.
Investing in quality pieces people actually want to read and share is key. Great content capitalizes on your niche and offers value, think expert tips, or entertainment. When your content is interesting and useful, you may get local backlinks without even having to ask. One of the most effective ways to share content/ask for backlinks is via a short personal email that gives context and describes the provided value.
Tip: mention and link other local businesses in your content when applicable. This provides a talking point and chance for reciprocation when you reach out.
Relationship Building: business networking is an age-old practice that continues to be supremely relevant in our digital age. When it comes to local link building, establishing and nurturing your professional relationships is a powerful way to bring your offline relationships online. Create an inventory of your local industry connections and use this list as a starting point to reach out via phone, email, or in-person. Sharing content to and from your network is a great way to establish respectable backlinks. The same rules of networking etiquette apply: no spamming, and offer mutually beneficial opportunities.
Community Participation: getting involved in local events benefits your business on-and-offline. Participating in sponsorships for local sports teams, hosting or promoting events, and working with non-profits promotes your brand in public and generally comes with a quality backlink from the team, event, or organization website. Local news sites are another great resource for backlinks. Connect with local journalists by creating a press release or submitting an article. Finally, local influencers (generally bloggers) may be an option. A relevant “micro-influencer” with reach in your target audience can potentially be a promotional partner.
- Moz Link Explorerand AhRefs Backlinks checker: analyze competitors’ websites, including where their backlinks are coming from. Reach out to the best-quality websites.
- HARO: this journalist database can help you find local, industry-specific journalists to connect with.
- NAP aka Name, Address, Phone: add your information to online directories and social profiles, especially Google My Business. This is important to your organic search ranking. Note: consistency is key.
Ultimately, what works when attempting to build links to your Charlottesville small business is an approach that focuses on establishing an authentic online reputation, building reciprocal connections, a killer content strategy, systematic outreach, and capitalizing on opportunities within your community.