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Link Building: How to Build Local Backlinks Effectively

by  David Dwyer on  09/02/2024

At Inspire Digital, we believe that every local business has the potential to shine online, stand out in their community, and attract more customers right to their doorstep.

But sometimes it can feel like a pointless endeavour when you are competing against marketing budgets double your size... 

This is where local backlinks come into the equation. 

Backlinks are more than links; they're bridges connecting your business to the wider community, helping to improve your search visibility and drive more traffic to your site. Whether you're a seasoned SEO professional, a local business owner, or a digital marketer looking to make a difference, you're in the right place. 

In this friendly guide, we'll walk you through effective local link-building strategies that are practical, easy to implement, and designed to bring real results. Let's embark on this exciting journey together, discovering how local backlinks can help your Glasgow business thrive in the digital age.

Ready to boost your online presence and connect with more customers? Read below to get the information your business needs. 

How backlinks work

What is a backlink? 

Backlinks refer to the links found on external websites that direct traffic back to a page on your own site. They're often referred to as inbound links or incoming links, since they signify visitors from other sites coming to yours. Noticed what we did there? 

The number and quality of these backlinks play a significant role in determining your local rankings on search engines like Google and Bing.

how to rank on Google with backlinks

The power of local backlinks for Glasgow businesses 

Imagine you run a cosy coffee shop in the middle of Glasgow. You've mastered the art of brewing the perfect cup of coffee, and your freshly baked pastries are the talk of the town. 

But when people try to find your store online, you're being outranked by your competition, with all the major coffee chains dominating the local search market. This is where local backlinks can help by evening the playing field.

Let's break down how they can work wonders for your Glasgow business: 

1. Connect with the Glasgow community 

Local backlinks are like digital handshakes with your fellow Glasgow businesses. When a local restaurant, a nearby art gallery, or a popular blog about Glasgow's hidden gems links to your coffee shop's website, it's a nod of approval.

It tells both Google and potential customers that you're an integral part of the Glasgow community. 

2. Boost your search engine rankings 

Google loves authenticity. When reputable Glasgow websites link to your coffee shop, Google sees it as a vote of confidence.

This can lead to improved search engine rankings, making your business more visible to Glasgow residents searching for their daily caffeine fix. 

3. Local backlinks are trust signals 

Imagine someone is new to Glasgow and searches for "best coffee in Glasgow" on Google. If your coffee shop has backlinks from local sources, it's a trust signal that can sway their decision.

They're more likely to choose your café over a generic chain because the local links convey a sense of authenticity and community connection. 

4. Creating a digital ecosystem 

Building local backlinks isn't just about gaining individual links, it's about weaving a digital ecosystem that strengthens Glasgow's local business community.

When Glasgow businesses support each other online, it fosters a collaborative spirit that benefits everyone. 

the power of backlinks for SEO

Understanding the importance of backlinks 

Are all links created equal? The answer is a resounding "no." 

It's a common misconception that all links are the same, and that simply bombarding websites and comment sections with links will catapult your site to the coveted #1 spot overnight. 

According to SEO experts, the number 1 ranking page on Google has an average of 3.8x more backlinks than pages ranking in positions 2-10. This means that Google's algorithm is far more discerning when it comes to evaluating backlinks, considering several crucial factors that determine their worth. 

So, how can you ensure your backlinks are of a high quality? 

1. Quality of the linking site 

Google doesn't see all websites the same way. A link from an obscure personal blog carries significantly less weight than a link from a reputable source. Think of it this way: a link from your neighbour's blog is like a drop in the ocean, while a link from a local newspaper, a renowned media outlet like Forbes, or an industry authority is like a tidal wave of credibility.

Conversely, links from spammy websites are not only worthless but can actually harm your online reputation. 

2. Relevance of the content 

Relevance is key. If a tea shop’s blog links to your coffee shop business, the connection seems tenuous at best. However, if you specialise in wide selection of beverages, suddenly the link makes sense. The more closely the content aligns with your business, the more valuable the link becomes.

A link from a coffee review blog, for instance, holds more relevance and value. 

3. Placement of the link 

Where the link resides on a website matters. Links buried in comment sections or other user-generated content often carry little to no value. Similarly, links tucked away in website footers, headers, or sidebars tend to be of lower value because they appear on every page of the site. In contrast, links embedded within the editorial content of a blog post are highly prized.

They are seen as organic endorsements of your business and carry more weight in the eyes of search engines. 

4. Context of the link 

Consider the context surrounding the link. For a local business, a link from a hometown newspaper holds greater significance than one from a larger, non-local entity.

Context matters because it adds depth and relevance to the link, especially when it aligns with your business's location and niche. 

Optimisng content on different devices

How to harness the power of local backlinks 

Now that we've established why local backlinks are essential for Glasgow businesses, let's briefly explore how you make them work for your business:

  • Network locally: Attend Glasgow business events, collaborate with nearby businesses, and join local business associations to build connections. 
  • Create local content: Produce content that's relevant to Glasgow residents. Whether it's Glasgow-focused blog posts, event coverage, or special offers, local content can attract local backlinks. 
  • Engage with local influencers: Connect with Glasgow-based social media influencers and bloggers who can mention and link to your business. 
  • List in local directories: Ensure your business is listed accurately in Glasgow-specific online directories and listings. 
  • Guest post locally: Contribute guest articles to Glasgow websites and blogs, establishing yourself as an expert in your field. 

Essential backlinks techniques 

Link building is a nuanced art within the realm of digital marketing. While it can be an intricate field to navigate, we're here to provide you with a solid foundation and insight into how to kickstart your journey.

We'll introduce you to essential techniques that can significantly impact your local business's online presence: 

1. Establish a strong social media presence 

Your social media profiles are more than just a place to share updates and engage with your audience. They also serve as potential sources of backlinks. When you create a profile on platforms like Facebook or Twitter, you can include your website link.

While these links are considered user-generated content and hold modest SEO value on their own, they are invaluable for brand awareness and legitimacy.

Additionally, your social media interactions may catch the attention of local editors and content creators who can link to your site. 

2. Reach out to local publications 

For local businesses, the most impactful backlinks often come from local publications rather than national or industry-specific sources. Local newspapers, magazines, and business directories can be excellent targets for outreach. To identify these opportunities, conduct Google searches using phrases like "Business spotlight," "Business feature," or "Local highlights," paired with your location as a keyword. 

Once you've identified potential publications, initiate outreach. Locate the key decision-makers, such as managing editors or section editors responsible for local business content. Follow their preferred contact methods, whether it's a contact form or direct email.

When reaching out, emphasise how your business contributes to the local community, making it an appealing feature. Personalised and targeted messages tend to yield better results. 

3. Engage with local communities 

Every locality has its online communities, whether they exist as Facebook Groups, subreddits, Nextdoor pages, or web forums. While these spaces are primarily for social and community interactions, your participation can yield benefits beyond backlinks.

Engaging with and supporting these communities builds goodwill and appreciation, which can eventually lead to mentions and backlinks from increasingly relevant publications. 

At Inspire, we specialise in local-first SEO strategies that enhance your website's relevance and search ranking organically.

Find out more about our local SEO service to see how we can help you grow in your local area!

4. Explore directory submission 

Online directories, though often of lower value, can provide backlinks and citations for your business. These directories range from general, covering various topics nationwide, to highly niche, focusing on specific industries or geographic regions.

Some directories require payment for submission, while others are free. While the links acquired from directories may not be of the highest quality, they can still introduce your business to a new audience. 

5. Pursue sponsorship opportunities 

As a local business, consider sponsoring local organizations, events, or initiatives. Whether you donate money, services, or time, these sponsorships often result in advertising and, crucially, backlinks. You might find your business featured on project websites or covered in local news, both of which can provide valuable backlinks.

Collaborating with other local businesses within a "local business alliance" can also yield mutual promotional benefits. 

6. Identify unlinked mentions and citations 

Sometimes, your business may be mentioned or cited without a corresponding link. These unlinked mentions are opportunities waiting to be harnessed. Search for instances of your citation or brand name online, identify pages without links, and contact site owners to request the addition of a link. While not all requests will be successful, any added link enhances your online presence. 

7. Explore guest posting 

Guest posting involves creating content for blogs related to your niche or industry. While initially targeting major publications may be ambitious, it's a strategy that can work at local levels and gradually build up.

Here's a concise outline of the process: 

  • Identify relevant blogs/sites that offer value to your site. 
  • Develop a pitch for a topic you can confidently write about. 
  • Pitch your idea to the publication following their submission guidelines. 
  • If accepted, create high-quality content and submit it. 

By repeating this process, you can gradually accumulate high-quality editorial backlinks to boost your local business's online authority. 

Remember that link building is an ongoing endeavour that requires patience and persistence. Start with these foundational techniques and adapt your strategy as you grow. Over time, your efforts will contribute to a robust backlink profile that enhances your local business's digital presence. 

How do backlinks work

Tips on monitoring and maintaining your local backlink profile 

Building a strong local backlink profile is a vital aspect of your SEO strategy, but the journey doesn't end once you've secured those valuable links. Effective monitoring and maintenance are equally crucial to ensure your backlink profile continues to work in your favour.

Here are some tips to help you stay on top of your local backlinks: 

  • Regularly check backlinks: Periodically review your backlinks to ensure they are active and functional. 
  • Quality check: Assess the quality of the websites linking to you and disavow low-quality or spammy backlinks. 
  • Diversify anchor text: Use a variety of anchor text, including branded terms, generic phrases, and partial match keywords to appear more natural. 
  • Monitor rankings: Keep an eye on your search engine rankings, especially for local keywords
  • Engage locally: Actively participate in local forums and community websites to uncover unlinked mentions and citations. 
  • Competitor analysis: Analyse your competitors' backlinks for insights and potential opportunities. 
  • Create fresh content: Continuously produce high-quality content, especially on local topics, to naturally attract backlinks. 
  • Collaborate with influencers: Build relationships with local influencers and encourage them to link to your website when relevant. 
  • Consider professional help: If resources allow, consider our professional SEO services for expert backlink management. 

professional help for SEO backlinks

Effortless backlink building with Inspire Digital's local SEO services 

When it comes to SEO in Glasgow, backlinks are the backbone of a strong online presence. However, you don't have to be the one to build them. While your website needs these valuable links, you can save time and energy by enlisting the expertise of Inspire Digital

Say goodbye to the complexities of learning how to build backlinks, navigating potential pitfalls, and mastering outreach techniques. Instead, let us handle it all for you. 

We're committed to delivering high-value, top-ranking backlinks that will elevate your online visibility. If you're ready to take your local business to the next level, all you have to do is get in touch with us. 

Do you have any questions about the backlink process? Feel free to reach out to us anytime. We're here to provide you with the insights and assistance you need to thrive in the digital landscape! 

Local SEO, Search Engine Optimisation
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