Basic Link Development for Local Businesses

in Link Development,Local Search,SEO

This morning, I had an interesting conversation regarding local SEO and I thought that I would post my thoughts.  In my experience, SEO for local business is much easier than SEO for broad, commercial terms.  In the case of commercial terms, you might have thousands of websites to compete with.  In the case of local search, you probably have very few real competitors.  This means that the barrier to entry is much lower for local businesses, especially for those in smaller cities and towns.

I’m going to assume that you have optimized your site/content to reflect your target locale; cityname + target terms in <title> elements, cityname + target terms + variants in meta description, etc.  So the main focus of this article will be on link acquisition; how to acquire high-quality, one-way inbound links for your local business website.

As with any businesses endeavor, competitive intelligence ought to be your starting point.  Without knowing what you are up against, you have no basis on which to develop a meaningful link development strategy.  It’s no secret that link development is the cornerstone of SEO, so your goal at this point is to deconstruct the link profiles of your competitors.

To get started, you’ll need a list of local terms you want to rank for.  After you have compiled your list, go to Google, Yahoo and MSN and perform searches for each of them.  Grab the url’s for the first 30 sites ranking at each of the search engines for your target terms.  Then you’ll want to run those url’s through Yahoo Site Explorer to determine which sites are linking to your competitors.  Now go out and find a way to get links from those same sites!

Admittedly, this is an extremely simplified process.  There’s a lot of other things to consider when building quality links, but this should help the beginners out there get started.  I’ll be sure to do a follow-up post sometime in the near future with some more advanced tactics.  So until then…

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