Links are a very important part of SEO. This is true both for local SEO and regular SEO. In this article we are going to start by looking at links in general and then we will look at what you should think about when building links for local SEO purposes.
What are links
Links are connections between two different website. If you click on a link on webpage A you will end up on page B. You can link to any website and every website can link to you. Most websites will be happy if you link to them as long as you run a well managed website.
Nofollow links and regular links
Some websites allow users to post content and links on their website. Many of these website chose to add the nofollow attribute to the links. The nofollow attribute tells the search engines that the nofollowed link shouldn’t be seen as an endorsement of the page it is linking to. The SEO community is divided on whether nofollow links can help your rankings or not. Many SEO think they are important to create a natural link profile even if they do not help in themselves. Links without the nofollow tag is seen as an endorsement of your page and is always to preferred over nofollowed links.
Nofollow can be used on any link that you do not want to count as an endorsement for the page your are linking to. It is good practice to nofollow all paid links and advertising.
How many links do you need?
How many links you need to get to the top of Google depends on what term you try to rank for. Some keywords are easy to rank for with just a few links. Other keywords takes thousands of links to rank for. A good example of this is many financial key words. Many sites in the financial industry have links from several thousands of other domains pointing to them. This makes it very hard to compete with these sites and makes it hard for new sites to compete in this industry. An example of this is that the top fx trading website (forex.com) has more than 3000 domains linking to it, the second site (investopedia.com) has more than 129 000 domains pointing towards the website and more than 300 domains linking to their ranking Forex page.
Not all links are equal
It is important to understand that not all links are equal. A link on one page might be worth a thousand links from other pages. Some links might even be hurting your rankings.
Generally speaking it can be said that links from high quality and well known websites are more worth than links from an unknown page. It can also be said that links from pages close to the homepage are better than links from pages that are buried deep in the navigation.
These are however only basic rules of thumb and I recommend that you learn how to analyse the value of a link from a certain page. That you learn to analyse different pages and their link profiles. Do they have a strong link profile and where do the link comes from. Do they come from blog spam or from real editorial back links. Learning to evaluate link opportunities will make you a more successful SEO.
How to build links
Some links are easy to get. An example of this is links that you get from adding your website to directories. Other links are a lot harder to get. This includes editorial links from other websites. Links that are easy to get are generally speaking of lower value than links that are harder to get. One notable exception from this rule is a few high quality web directories such as BOTW.org and local business directories.
Blog comments and forum posts can be used to build links but I generally recommend against using these types of links since they carry limited value and can cause your site to get penalized in the search engines. Your goal should be to build quality links. One quality link is worth more than 100s of blog comment links.
The easiest way to build quality links is to reach out to websites that might provide their users a better experience by linking to your site. An example of this might be s local hobby website related to the products you sell.
Another good way to build links is to produce content that is worth linking to. Content that is good enough that people are going to want to share it with others. Infographics and survey results can be a good way to achieve this.
Never be afraid to think outside of the box when you are building links. By doing something different compared to what every one else is doing you can stand out from the crowed and build a lot of back links quickly.
A handful of high quality links can often be enough to achieve top rankings for a local term.
Buying links are frowned upon by Google and against Google guidelines. The practice can none the less be a very efficient way to get a top ranking in the search engines. I do not recommend that you buy links but if you chose to do so you should make sure to only buy links from quality websites that sell a very low number of links. Avoid buying links on websites that sells links openly. These links are likely to be devalued. If you want to buy links you should try to make sure that you buy links that do not look like they are bought.
Local SEO links
The basics for local SEO is the same as for regular SEO. You should still try to get links from strong website that has good content and a strong link profile. The main difference for local SEO is that links from webpages focusing on the same geographical area will provide a bigger benefit than back links from other areas. Local links have extra value when trying rank locally.
A good way to get local links is to sponsor local events and local sport clubs. I also recommend that you reach out to other companies that aren’t direct competitors and try to get a link from their website.