Starting to Build Links? Two Things to Do First

Things to Do First When Building Links
Things to Do First When Building Links

Link building is the process of getting other websites to link back to your website. These backlinks let search engines know that other sites find your information useful and trustworthy. Basically, backlinks mean other websites believe your website content is worth sharing and provides value to their readers.

The trust that is implied with a simple backlink is a small but powerful indicator to search engines that they can trust your website as well. Search engines crawl pages to analyze content and website structure, including backlinks, so they can decide if a page is of sufficient quality to be ranked high for relevant keywords.

National and global websites need high authority domains to link back to their website – the more, the better. But local businesses benefit more from local link building done with the intention to show search engines their relevance for specific localities.

To compete in local search, small businesses will find an easier path to ranking and a higher return on their investment using local SEO tactics. With a smaller pool of competitors in your local area, you can rank faster and gain increased visibility for your business by getting in the local 3-pack. The local 3-pack and the top of search engine results pages are where local customers focus their attention when looking to visit and buy from businesses in their area.

But, before you start your link building campaigns, there are two things you should do:

Get Your Local Citations Before You Start Link Building

Citations are online mentions of your business on local business directories, on websites and apps, and on social platforms and networks. Building your business’s local citations and correcting the information where you are currently listed will help you get started link building.

Citations are useful because they offer the ability to place your NAP more places online and usually let you put a link back to your website, which gives you more backlinks from established local sources. Getting your citations listed and consistent will also get you in the habit of getting your business online in as many places as possible.

Local niche citations in industry-specific directories are important ranking factors because they identify for Google the industry in which you operate, and thus, increase your chances of popping up in their search results when somebody conducts a niche-related query.

Search for local online directories by using queries such as “city+business listing” or “city+business directory.” Or try “city+industry listing” or “city+industry directory” to find niche-specific local listings.

To be clear, citations and link building are not the same thing, but they have a lot in common. Both appear on third-party sites, work as online references for your business, and can affect your ranking. But where citations must include your name, address, and phone number, backlinks don’t require your NAP to work for your business. Also, a link must be clickable and redirect users to your website, whereas citations don’t have to link back to help rank your business.

Create the Content Local Websites Want to Link To

Your local business website must include webpages with content worth linking to. This could be your homepage, but it’s more relevant and more effective when there are unique resources such as blog posts or tools that local businesses would want to share with their website users.

If you have website content that is link-worthy already, you’re ready to go. But most will need to create resources explicitly designed to earn backlinks. When you start with something of value to link to that people find useful and want to share, link building gets a whole lot simpler.

With super useful information on your website, there is an opportunity to get natural editorial links. These are the best because you didn’t have to put in the effort of researching, contacting, and asking for links. But most backlinks will come from manual outreach link building. That means contacting website owners and bloggers and asking them to link to your website (because of that super useful information you have).

Rank Higher in Search with Local Link Building

When it comes down to optimizing your website to rank high for search engines, backlinks can be the difference between ranking somewhere on page one or two and ranking in the number one spot. Make an effort to gain backlinks for a local business so you can rank higher in search and expose your business to new customers.

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