Local Link Building: How To Do It RIGHT?

Since the pandemic, consumer behaviors have changed. Now, more than ever, they (consumers) depend (98%) on the internet to research businesses — out of curiosity or before making a purchase.

local consumer survey review 2023

So, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is crucial for all — small businesses and corporations.

But there is yet another piece of information that you’d find interesting:

According to Google’s Consumer Journey, local-based search has increased.

For specifics,  “available near me,” “now near me,” and “along my route” searches increased by 100%, 200%, and 1000%, respectively.

And so?

Optimizing your business for search engines is brilliant. But doing it for local search (local SEO) is more profitable.

Take a clue from Google. Why do you think Google started GBP (Google Business Profile)?

Why do you think GBP ranks higher in search results than blog posts and landing pages?

google search for personl injury lawyers

It’s simple. Google is cashing out on the prevalence of local-based searches. You should follow suit.

Bottom line:

You should not only care about local link building. Prioritize it — build the right and quality local links to your business.

This article will explain the latter part (the building part) in detail. Let’s delve in already!

Add Your Business To Authoritative Directories

While the focus is on “authoritative directories,” you must also feature where other businesses in your area are: the “local directories.”

So, below is your first assignment.

  • Type “[your city] business directory” on Google
  • Follow through with the suggestions
  • The chances are that you won’t find a straightforward way to add a listing. In that case, contact the owner of the directory.
google search for business directory

Pro tip:

Never pay to get listed on any directory unless it’s a high-traffic and valuable listing. Also, remember that directory links are not worth much.

So, value all that before paying for any listing.

After the local directories, aim for the big shots. Examples of the latter are:

  • Data Axle
  • Localeze
  • Foursquare
  • Google My Business
  • Bing
  • Apple Maps
  • Facebook
  • Yelp
  • Yellowpages
  • Dunn & Bradstreet
  • TomTom

Another form of citation you can explore is “local tourist board.” What if your business is not tourism-related?

Local tourism boards have listings for businesses too.

Do Barnacle SEO

Coined by Will Scott of Search Influence, barnacle SEO means attaching your business to a high-traffic site to benefit from the latter’s link juice.

FYI, barnacle SEO is another form of local citation. The only difference is that you’re getting listed on directories already ranking for your money keywords.

So, how do you get the so-called high-traffic sites?

  • Type your money keywords on Google’s search bar
  • Check the results
  • Don’t bother to target competitors. They’d hardly feature you on their sites.
google search for las vegas personal injury lawyers

Often, you’ll find aggregator directories (like in the picture). Add your business to the listing too.

Focus On Locally-relevant Content

As far as local SEO is concerned, locally-relevant content performs better. And that makes sense.

Look at this example.

Let’s say you’re the prospect looking for a restaurant in Las Vegas. Which of the topics below will interest you:

  • How to choose the best restaurants, or
  • How to choose the best restaurants in Las Vegas [+ the top 5]

You’ll likely pick option 2. Why?

Option 2 is targeted to your search intentions. Plus, it includes a list of places you can visit.

That same logic works for your audience too. No one will waste time on generic content when there is a location-specific alternative.

Nevertheless, we’re not discarding the generic yet valuable content ideas. They are guest posting opportunities. And they get the most traffic generally.

However, for the sake of local SEO, mix your content up. For your GBP (or GMB) posts, make them locally relevant.

Here are a few ideas you can start with:

  • Linkable assets
    • An interactive map of the local attractions in your business city
    • A statistics page about local events and businesses
  • An ultimate guide about the local people, food, and tourism opportunities

Moving away from the fundamentals, let’s discuss getting link juice from external sources.

Guest Posting

Now, you’ve mastered writing on your site. Extend your mastery to other websites. However, be specific and intentional about where to write.

For starters, don’t guest post on sites where you will only be mentioned but without a backlink. It doesn’t work for your local SEO aims.

More importantly, don’t waste on generic blogs with zero relevance to your business and area of expertise. You’ll hardly convert their audience.

So, what should you do?

  • Target local presses in your area that publish original stories and link back to the contributor.
  • Spice up your guest posts. Don’t make them just how-tos. Discuss newsworthy and historical events.

Be The Source To Local Reporters

Regardless of what you might have heard, media outlets and PR sites are BIG actors in SEO. Local media, in particular, have an enviable fan base of ardent followers that span decades and generations.

Such a fanbase will come in handy for your business. So, tap into it.


You probably know the top publications in your local area. Reach out to them with unique and original stories. That way, your business can get featured in papers.

Pro tip:

Niche down the media to feature to fast-track your chances of a feature. Use Google to round up all the local media in your city. Then, pick the ones most related to your business. 

Aside from direct contact with local media, you can use services such as HARO. Create an account as a “source” and supply reporters with newsworthy stories.

Read more: How To Build HARO Links

The chances are that you already know who your competitors are. If you don’t, a simple Google search will reveal them. Or you could use Ahrefs Site Explorer and check competing domains.

By now, you should have a list of the competitors in your local area. Afterward, follow the below instructions:

  • Go to Ahrefs Link Intersect
  • Type in your site and competitors
  • The tool will show you websites that link to your competitors’ sites but not yours
local link building ahrefs link intersect tool
  • Now, target the said sites

Mere targeting your competitors’ backlink sources won’t yield results. Offer them value first.

For example, check if any of the said site links are broken. Point the owners’ attention to the broken links and offer a replacement page.

Further reading: How To Do Competitors Backlink Analysis

Influencer Marketing

Unless your competitors are actively building links, you’ll soon run out of sources to go after. Unfortunately, that’s often the case with local SEO — businesses have capped budgets for link building.

What’s the way out?

Think partnering!

Find local actors in your area — they could be podcasters, bloggers, bloggers, or social media influencers.

For better results, find influencers with overlapping interests. Pitch a unique idea to them and get FREE links and exposure.

The BEST part: influencers actively seek experts on their podcasts and interviews. They want to leverage the opportunity to grow their audience. So, it’s a win-win!

What if the influencer turns you down?

The chances of being rejected are slim. However, the top influencers might request payment.

Pro tip:

If you must pay, do so for influencers with huge following and engagement. For that, your ROI will be significant.

As you did with competitors’ backlinks, look at your site. Find your broken links.

What if you don’t have broken links?

If you had redesigned your website severally, you might have lost some links to the previous design.

Either way, check and confirm.

Here’s how to go about that:

  • Go to Ahrefs Site Explorer
  • Enter your URL
  • Look to the left tab and select “best by links.”
  • Lastly, filter the search by “404 not found.”

Employ Guerrilla Marketing Tactics

So far, you have employed conventional link building tactics. It is time to try unconventional methods — guerilla tactics.

Now, note that guerrilla marketing tactics can be expensive. But you won’t target such.

Start small with ideas like the below:

  • Creating graffiti on POPULAR, high-traffic roads in your local area
  • Engaging small mobs in the busiest junction in your city
  • Sponsoring a local event — best if the event is somewhat related to your niche
  • Holding contests in forums

You might be wondering: how will you convert the events to backlinks?

  • Send the report of the events as a press release to local PRs.
  • Media outlets will pick up the news if it goes viral and link back to your site.

Target Unlinked Brand Mentions

By now, you should be a well-known brand that other businesses want to associate with. In essence, you’ll get links with little to no effort.

At the same time, some businesses or blogs will only mention your brand and not link back to your site. Reach out to these sets of people.


  • Go to Google Alerts
  • Set up an alert for your business
  • Then, monitor if your mentions are linked
  • If the mentions are unlinked, reach out to the “author.” Thank them for the post, and subtly request a backlink.

Fix Your NAPs

Gathering citations is AWESOME. But are the listings accurate and consistent?

If not, you would be wasting your local link building efforts.

Go over your citations again. Ensure your name, address, and phone number are accurate and consistent.

Don’t Focus On Metrics Like DA

You’ll hardly see websites with high DA (70+) in local SEO. So, don’t focus on such metrics.

Instead, prioritize the site’s position on search results and organic traffic.

Build A Top-notch Inter Linking

Without a top-notch internal link system, your link juice won’t flow to the RIGHT pages (your money pages).

So, re-check your processes. Ensure your backlinks point to the pages on your site that matter.

Reaching the zenith with only local link building is not sustainable. Sustain the efforts with other SEO strategies.

Learn the said strategies on our blog!