(Last Updated: October 24th, 2017)

The importance of link building isn’t going away any time soon.

Just look at the correlation data from moz, ahrefs, and backlinko. Beyond that, I have built links to specific pages and have seen those pages rise in the serps with my very own eyes. S,o I am a believer even if correlation doesn’t equal causation.

You need to be building links for Local Businesses.

The local pack algorithm is tied to the organic algorithm which makes Link Building one of the few tactics that can help you rank higher organically, and in maps. While many people focus only on citations, reviews, or content, you can get a double benefit with links pointing to your local landing page.


Here’s a slidedeck on Local Link Building for you.




Now for the Ultimate list of Local Link Building Tactics. Please Enjoy.

Local Sponsorships

1 Hour


Medium – High Authority

Do you sponsor a little league team, conference series, high school sports teams, charities, plays, races, etc? Most of these local organizations have a website and get news coverage leading to higher authority local websites. Instead of asking for a plaque that ends up on a dusty shelf, ask for a link instead.

You can also find local sponsorship opportunities by using custom searches like:

inurl:sponsors “City name”
intitle:sponsors “City name”
intext:sponsors “City name”

Competitive Intelligence Link Building

2 Hours

1,000 – 2,000 +

Low – Medium Authority

When gleaning through competitor backlinks, the key is to find link building opportunities from good quality, high PageRank (PR3+) websites. Here’s a great way to expedite the process.

Login to Cognitive SEO and put the competitor’s homepage in the Instant Backlink Explorer tool. Download the competitor’s latest links, and export that list and open in Excel. Copy that list of links and paste in this tool: http://www.bulkpagerank.com/ to get PageRanks for up to 500 links at a time. Export to CSV and sort by PageRank and start analyzing the sites, looking for ways to build links from them to your client’s site. Be cautious of comment links, forum links and spammy directories and only build links there if it’s related to the client’s industry, if the site has good authority aka < than client’s authority, and remember that branded anchor texts are safest.

Alumni links

1 Hour

50 – 100 +

Medium – High Authority

Are you a success story? Your alma mater may have a place in their website to feature something like that. Or, they might have an alumni directory where you can gain a .edu link to your business. Make those student loans worth a little more by leveraging your alma mater for links.

Protip: If your institution does not allow links to commercial sites or businesses, then go for a link to one of your high authority social profiles or citations.

Brand Mentions

1 Hour

50 – 2,000 +

High Authority

One of the easiest ways to get links from news sites is to find instances where they have mentioned you or your brand in an article, and ask for a link. Reach out to the writer and ask them to make the minor adjustment of linking the text “branded term” to your site. But be careful throwing a word like “attribution” around with reporters/editors, and remember they do not have to link to you, even if it’s a direct quote.

Moz’s Fresh Web Explorer and Google News are good places to start looking for brand mentions to chase.

Local Scholarship

4 – 6 Weeks

2,000 – 4,000 +

Medium – High Authority

Local scholarships, when done correctly, can result in valuable .edu backlinks and increased brand awareness. The idea is to organize a scholarship opportunity specifically for local high schools or colleges with clear parameters and eligibility requirements. This is motivating for scholarship coordinators who want to see that it’s a unique opportunity and that their students have a good chance of earning some money. Make the extra effort of identifying local centers of influence who might find interest in the scholarship and share it with their audiences. This could be local bloggers, English teachers, student organizations and more.

Note: We have found that “No” responses have been increasing over the past 3 years so make sure your scholarship is unique and impactful.

Local Infographic

2 – 4 Weeks

2,000 – 3,000 +

Medium Authority

When your infographic is finished, start finding targets. They can either be local or national depending on the nature of the information in the infographic. You can seek out centers of influence in social media channels, relevant personal blogs or organizations that might find an interest in the information. For example, an infographic about the cheapest bicycle rental in a city could be interesting to bicycle rental businesses, blogs about city life and/or biking, subscribers to the city Subreddit, various city organizations, etc. The most important part of an infographic campaign is how you plan to promote it or leverage it for links. The outreach strategy should help determine what the infographic is about, what specific information is presented and even how it’s designed.

Some additional things to try:

  • Publish it on infographic submission sites.
  • If it’s newsworthy, you can promote it via TheHoth Press (just make sure you nofollow the links).
  • Write a post about the infographic and how it relates to another industry that you write about frequently, and publish it on a blog you already have a relationship with.
  • Reach out to someone you’ve had success with before.

Google Consumer Insights Surveys

3 – 4 Weeks

3,000 – 5,000

Medium Authority

Being able to collect and present trustworthy information is critical. Consumer Insights allows anyone to collect data on a local or national level at a pretty reasonable price. Turnaround is 1-2 weeks and with the right setup, you’ll end up with trustworthy data with a high confidence interval. Did I mention newsworthiness? Your survey responses can be made into a visualization, press release or glowing linkable asset like an interactive map or display to gain links. Typically a single question survey runs $1500-2000 depending on how many responses you need. Price goes up the more questions you ask.

Press Release to local stations – Writing Contest

2 – 4 Weeks

2,000 – 3,000

Medium Authority

Do you want to connect with local high schools and earn some authoritative .edu links? Writing contests provide you the opportunity to connect with the local community, earn valuable backlinks and increase brand awareness. Effective local outreach is key and it is important to promote the winning essay and award. Must create a page on your site explaining the writing contest (rules, eligibility, timeline, award, etc.).

Local Blog Promotion

2 Hours

50 – 200

Medium Authority

Find local centers of influence like Subreddits, city pages, discussion forums, etc where your target audience is likely to be and promote your best blog posts there. The more hyper local and relevant the content is, the more traffic you’ll draw to your site. For example, a blog post about 10 types of New Jersey shade trees that can save you money might pick up some good traction on the New Jersey subreddit. If it the information isn’t useful, you’re wasting time. If you come across as advertorial, you’ll be slashed by moderator and called out by users. Tread carefully.

Social Bookmarks

1 Week


Low Authority

The purpose of SBM links is to build Page Authority on pages with little to no PA to the vicinity of PA 13-20. These links are meant to supplement other link building and serve a specific purpose of increasing rankings for niche terms in low competition markets. Not to be used as a stand alone strategy. Probably best to avoid building SBM links to the homepage, and to not over do it site-wide. Getting social bookmark links is not a tough job. Once you have a list of social bookmarking sites you can go through each one and create an account. Once your account has been created, add a new page and fill out the appropriate information about your website like web page address, category, etc. Once the information is filled out and correct, add the new page and you are done. An example of a popular social bookmarking site is StumbleUpon.

Pro tip: Social bookmark links are designed to give a boost to brand new or internal pages with little to no authority. They should be used sparingly.

Unstructured Citations

1 – 3 Weeks

500 – 1,000 +

Low – Medium Authority

Unstructured Citations allow you to enforce the NAP of your client while receiving a link. These listings are usually quick to build and, are a great supplement to the main citation aggregators.. There are several free directories that you can build and, of course paid directories adjust your budget accordingly.

Other things to consider:

  • Use Searches such as; Camden, NJ Business Directory, Free Business Listings in Billings, MT.
  • Search for Local Classified ads


Comment Links

5 Hours


Low Authority

Do you have a page with informative content? Or perhaps you just have a page that needs more exposure. Comment links are a quick and viable way to acquire links. Most blogs and local news sites allow comments on their links. By adding to the conversation in the comment section you can use your link as a means to to give readers more information on the post topic. If sign up is required to leave a comment, sign in via Facebook and your link should appear hyperlinked. If no sign up is required, you can link your signature in most cases. Use sparingly.

Other things to consider:

  • Create a different Email account for commenting to avoid negative backlash.
  • Try taking a user point of view with your links; not claiming the website as your own (seems less spammy that way)
  • Comment linking is moderated and can prove to be risky.

Screenshot 2016-02-17 13.51.01

Facebook Ads

3 – 4 Weeks


Low – Medium Authority

Many times companies create awesome content but struggle getting it in front of their audience. This is a great way to target your market. Facebook ads lets you zone in on all those people you’re wanting to notice you. This is a great way to build brand awareness and boost Facebook likes, not to mention your blog posts linger around on Facebook even after you stop paying for the ads. When they gain ground like this it’s more likely they will get a link mention. For example: http://www.pointepestcontrol.net/10-crazy-bug-bites-that-will-make-your-skin-crawl/
We posted the above blog in May, this month we still had 162 views of that page.

As mentioned above, this is a great way to build brand awareness and traffic to your site, but link earning isn’t guaranteed, thus being low-medium quality for link building tactic.

Facebook Like Drive

10 Hours


Low – Medium Authority

Facebook Like Drives are a great way to get a backlink from a local charity with high authority. Find a local (relevant) charity and the idea is to pledge money for every “Like” your Facebook page gets within an allotted time. It’s best to put a maximum amount to protect yourself like “up to $500.” You can run the campaign for 30 days and promote it as much as you like in order to get more Likes. Be sure to tag the charity’s Facebook page when you announce it on your own page to draw the attention of the charity organization’s audience. The final piece of the puzzle is to get a link from the charity organizations site. You can do this by writing an announcement for their blog or simply asking them to link to it on something like a “Media” page.


4 – 12 Weeks +

1,000 – 3,000 +

Medium – High Authority

Ebooks are a great way to build authority on a topic, pick up a few links and/or create a newsletter/mailing list. Often, companies already have enough content they can utilize for this to get a good jump start without even having to write. Then it’s just a matter of filling out the missing chapters.

Here’s 8 easy steps to utilizing an ebook on your website:

    • Build out a strategy around a topic that information can be provided to alleviate a pain point for a specific group of people (e.g. chiropractors wanting to gain more clients who’ve been injured in an auto accident, people who’ve been injured in a certain type of accident, etc.)
    • Outline the chapters for the book & how much budget you want to allocate to the content. The key here is to plan each chapter out as a stand alone blog post that can later be compiled into the ebook. This way, you’re expanding your website content and getting extra benefit out of that content after it’s already in use. (Content could also be compiled from onsite and offsite blogs, etc.).
    • Schedule out writing the content for whatever length of time necessary.
    • Start writing & posting content
    • Once all content is complete, design the cover & Table of Contents & compile it.
    • It’s a good idea to attribute a call tracking number to all CTA’s in the book so you will know if any direct leads are generated by it.
    • There’s a number of sites that will list free ebooks (such as https://openlibrary.org) as well as organizations that are focused on the topic of your book. Go find them & let ’em know about your resource…and/or, list it on Amazon & charge a small fee for it. (Bonus: you can multiple get high DA, dofollow links in your author profile through author updates. E.g. http://www.amazon.com/Daniel-L.-Buckfire/e/B0042AH9U8/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1)
    • Do a press release and/or blog posts covering the release of the resource.
      Rinse & Repeat.

You can use the resource as a way to capture potential leads by giving it away only after the user has given you their name & email and opted into a mailing list or newsletter. You can then nurture that lead & build rapport until they convert into a client.

Free Resources & Reverse Image Links

4 – 8 Weeks

500 – 1,000

Low – Medium Authority

Having good website imagery is a need common to every industry. Industry related images can be uploaded to places like wikimedia commons & other places that users can download images for free. Just make sure to ask for attribution as a requirement when you upload.

After you’ve uploaded some images & given a little time for these to be found on the sites you’ve uploaded to, do Google image searches to find where your images are being used & ask for attribution through a link if they haven’t yet given it. Or outreach to places that would be likely to use the media (schools & non-competing companies).

The great thing about them being picked up naturally is you have the right to demand the attribution you set at the free image sites but if the site isn’t something you even want linking back, you can just leave it alone. (Note: asking nicely before “demanding” is recommended & usually adequate to get the job done.)

Local Guide

4 – 6 Weeks

500 – 1,000

Low – Medium Authority

Every town has things to do. How much will depend on size but there’s always something that can can be compiled into a local guide. If your area is big enough, you may need to focus on a certain type of event for your guide. Such as outdoor concerts, all the family christmas events, etc. This will be more of a local traffic & brand awareness play than links but if you do a good job, you may land a few links as well. Once you’ve compiled a nice resource, it may attract links naturally but you can also reach out to the places hosting the events you are referencing & ask for a link to your resource which you’ve included them in. Pair this with a little bit of localized paid facebook advertising & you’ll have some great traffic & social signals coming to your site.

Example: http://www.buildidaho.com/home/boise_idaho/boise_christmas_and_holiday_activities/

Local Internships

1 – 2 Weeks

1,000 – 3,000

High Authority

Wanting an Intern? Interested in possibly having an intern in the future if the right candidate applies? This is a great opportunity to get some high authority links from local universities. All you need to do is add an internship opportunity page to your website and start reaching out to local universities. The nice thing about this is that there are full-time employees in charge of getting information like internship opportunities into the hands of their students. So the response rate is generally excellent. However, many universities use softwares or databases to post their internship opportunities. This is not ideal. Generally, the only way to access that information is if you are a student. A better option would be to find if they have an external internship board of some kind. Several universities do. These are gold. You will have better luck contacting advisors over specific departments than a general university advisor. In less than 10 hours I was able to reach out to most large universities in the state/area and their different departments for my different internship opportunities.

(hint: the Communications departments are generally the most helpful)

Build a Tool

8 – 12 Weeks +

2,000 – 5,000

Low – Medium Authority

Come up with an idea for a tool that can do something cool or display interesting data in a visually appealing format. This could be anything from a traffic tool that shows historical accident data or a tool that displays information on what pests are most problematic at different times of the year. Then outreach to audiences that would find this type of information useful. You should even be able to gain some wiki links. The downside is, if you don’t have a programmer on staff, this can get expensive very quickly as there will be considerable amount of time & effort that goes into the programming to make it work.

Local Discounts

8 – 12 Weeks +

200 – 1,000

Medium – High Authority

Offer a discount on rates or services to a specific group of people. Student & military discounts are common but you can get creative & offer discounts to other groups as well. One way to find places that are already listing discounts is by doing searches such as: City inurl:employee, discount. So you might look for “Austin inurl:employee, discount” or “Austin inurl:discounts, list” & find opportunities like these:

  • http://www.apsu.edu/sga/student-discounts
  • http://www.austinasianchamber.org/member-discounts
  • http://www.austinisd.org/edquality/employee-recognition/discounts
  • http://www.collegepackinglist.com/college-discounts-cheatsheet.html

where you can list your business as a provider of these discounts & gain a link back to your site.

Provide Testimonials

8 – 12 Weeks +

200 – 1,000

Low – Medium Authority

Every business has other local businesses that they’ve done business with in the past. (That’s a lot of business for one sentence.) Examples of these companies are: cleaner companies, construction companies, painters, contractors, grounds maintenance, etc. The idea here is to reach out to these companies & offer to give them a great testimonial in exchange for a link back to your site. The testimonial could be given to them to post on their site or you can even create a page on your own site with these testimonials. Then all they have to do is link to that page. This is a great way to establish rapport & goodwill with other local businesses (beyond just gaining a link). Who knows, they may even send new business your way to return the favor.

Job Posting Websites

2 – 6 Weeks

Cost of job posting sites and new hires

Low – Medium Authority

At some point it’s likely you are going to need to hire someone for longer than an internship & you’re going to need to post the job listing to find applicants. Creating a page on your website listing the job requirements is a great way to get links back in your job postings. Linking back to the about page is also beneficial for applicants.

There’s a number of job posting sites out there like Monster, Indeed, SimplyHired, Craigslist, CareerBuilder, etc. Many of which you will gain a link from in the job post (if desired). You may just decide you want to keep a job post up indefinitely in case the perfect candidate comes around (which will also maintain the link). Beyond the big job posting sites, often you can find local-centric sites that may have pages dedicated to local events, jobs, etc. which will allow for a post & also gain you a link.

Industry Specific Local Directories

1 Week

1,500 – 3,000

Low – High Authority

Local and niche citations are both important as they let Google know what you do and where you’re located. Citations are a key component of the ranking algorithm, so you need to make sure when adding new local/niche citations that your NAP information is exactly as is it is on your Google+ listing.

Local citations work in a way that they can help Google locate your business based off the amount of local citations or mentions that are showing the correct NAP information. The more local links Google sees, the more it’s going to associate your business and it’s services with that specific location. The best way I found doing this is searching for the town + “business directory” or “business listings” or “business directories” or “free business listings”. You can also put the city name at the end to see if you get different results. I also do the same type of search for the county of that city and also all of the cities in that county. That way I know I’m hitting up all local directories to be listed in.

Niche citations are a bit more important as those sites tend to have more medium-high authoritative sites (Avvo, SuperLawyers, HG), they let search engines like Google know what types of services you offer and finally they can show up either in the 1st Organic slot or somewhere on page 1 of Google search results. These can be found on our Master Link Building Sheet under free legal directories.

Local Crowdsourcing Posts

1 – 2 Weeks

50 – 200 +

Medium Authority

Every community has local influencers, groups of people that are well known, have specific opinions on important topics, and have a certain pull in community decisions. Getting these people to share their opinions and ideas is usually very easy and straightforward.

Get a group of local influencers together, ask them their opinions on something happening in the community. Put together their responses in a well written piece on your site and ask them to share and post your content to their social channels. This is something that could easily be done on a regular basis.

Quality: Free Wifi Directories

3 – 4 Hours

50 – 200 +

Medium Authority

Does your office already have wifi capabilities setup for your staff to use? Why not offer free wifi to others within range? Many sites already exist that list out businesses offering free wifi. They then link directly back to the businesses website.

Below is a quick list of sites you can already start utilizing:

Local Interviews

4 – 5 Hours

50 – 500

Medium – High Authority

Every community has local famous, interesting or well known people. People look up to them, talk about them, follow their social accounts and even gossip about them. This can be used to your advantage.

Work with people in the community that have local sites or local blogs that could use fresh content. Some of the local important people may even have sites and blogs of their own.

Interview these important community members. Do a write up of your interview and offer the content to other sites. You can produce the content and already have the link embedded so all they have to do is copy and paste.

Google Custom Maps

1 Hour

50 – 250

Low – Medium Authority

Google has their custom map tool that allows anyone to create maps of any local landmarks they want. This can come in handy for local communities.

How can you take advantage of this tool? Put together a custom maps of things in your community. It can be anything like hospital locations, schools, parks, libraries etc.

It can also be very focused on specific topics like animals for example: animal hospitals, vets, pet friendly stores, pet friendly parks, or greenbelts. You could also do a map for local events like concerts, sporting event, races, art exhibits etc.

Once the map is created post it on a page and outreach to local sites for people to link to it. People or sites interested in the subject of the map would be a good starting place.

Here is a link to the Google Custom Maps tool. https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/?hl=en_US&app=mp

Reverse Infographic

4 – 8 Weeks

200 – 1,000

Low – Medium Authority

Find local inforgraphics and turn them into non image based content for indexing and outreach. Basically reverse engineer the content into a text post, expand it, and reach out to the places that linked to it with updated info. A simple search for “City + Infographics” will turn up quite a few good resources in major metros which can be converted into interesting blog posts. You may even want to combine them to create a more comprehensive resource.

For smaller areas, you’ll probably need to get more creative with your data sources. A simple image search for “city, state + data” will usually return a few data sources such as: average home listing prices, weather & temperature. However, you should also be able to find demographical data on crime rates, transportation, average income levels, etc. There’s usually plenty of information (with a little research) to create a post from.

Wiki Links

4 Weeks – Forever

200 +

Medium – High Authority

If you have peer reviewed articles, reports or other credible document on your site, there may be an opportunity to cite yourself on a high authority Wiki page. If it doesn’t add real value or provide more in-depth information to the page, it will most likely be removed by moderators.

You’ll want this:

{{cite web | url=URL |title=TITLE | publisher=PUBLISHER | date=PUBLISHING DATE | accessdate=ACCESS DATE}}

Build a local interest website

4 Weeks – Indefinately

2,000 – 10,000 +

Low – Medium Authority

This can be anything from small website up to a huge project. You can do something like this: http://thisisboise.com if you want to try to cover everything going on in your area but you’ll need a full-time staff to accomplish it if you are located in a major metro. Instead, a more manageable effort is to narrow the focus in relation to the size of your town. The smaller the town, the more you may be able to cover as there will be less going on. The larger the city, the more you may need to narrow the focus (depending on your budget). This could be anything from a hyperlocal news site, sports coverage nightlife, etc. If you make a good resource, you should gain natural links & traffic from your area once people begin to find it (if you build it, they will come). Localized Facebook ads can help speed awareness up.

Local Events

4 – 8 Weeks

50 – 5,000 +

Medium – High Authority

Hosting local events is a great way to build your brand. Anything from workshops to speaking events. These are good ways to get people to know more about you in the community and a great opportunity to get links back to your site.

Getting links from local events is beneficial because the links are:

  • Geo-Specific
  • Somewhat easily attainable
  • Can include NAP information
  • Diverse

Moz did a great write-up of exactly how to execute local events. Check out their guide here: https://moz.com/blog/the-complete-guide-to-link-building-with-local-events

Mike Ramsey

Author Mike Ramsey

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