How to Boost Your Local and Organic Rankings

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Looking for ways to get higher rankings in the search engines? Build a good portfolio of high quality and authority backlinks. A good portfolio of backlinks* is hugely important in search engine marketing, for local and organic SEO. Even with the barrage of zoo animals Google has thrown our way that hasn’t changed for years, and it’s unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. What has changed however, is how we get links, whether that’s building them, requesting them, earning them, or even buying them. Building a “naturally looking” link portfolio is the key and high authority links are in high demand for SEOs, local businesses & big brands alike. The more authority a link has the more “juice” you’ll get.  Obviously a link pointing from a site like wikipedia will give you more juice than a link from your colleague’s website which has no authority in Google’s eyes.

So how do local SEOs build links in 2016?

BrightLocal, a local seo tool provider recently polled 388 of their users to find out which link building tactics are most commonly used.  And here is the result:

link tactics Results Marketing San Francisco Bay Area

What are citations?

A citation is nothing more than a company name, address, phone, and URL listed in any of the many online directories such as Yellowpages, Smartpages, Yelp, Citysearch, etc.

A whopping 76% of respondents use citation building or directory listings as a link building tactic. This confirms that many Local SEOs recognise the importance of citation building, while 90% of those experts rated accurate citations as critical or very important to local search ranking.

Getting listed in top industry or local directories is not only important for link building and ranking, but it’s gives you trifecta benefit for your efforts.


In addition to getting backlinks to your website or web pages, you will also gain

  • More visibility: People also search for products or service providers from within directories, not just from the Google or Bing website.
  • Google and Bing will display directory listings to searchers as well. So you can in effect be found several times on page on of Google or Bing.

Content Marketing

Content Marketing was named second.  58% of survey respondents as one of their link building tactics. It still is a popular and evergreen tactic, allowing for the best longevity effect. Good quality content is the key however, not garbage content like we used to see in days gone past. In fact the best link-earners are those evergreen content pieces that can be of use long-term. It’s also beneficial to revive, update and upgrade existing content with new comments, graphics, etc. – as mentioned in this post on Search Engine Journal.

Guest Blogging

Used by 21% of Local SEOs, is a perfectly acceptable practice but only when you’re contributing high-quality content to authoritative & relevant websites.

Press releases

Are also a valid link building tool. A well written, keyword optimized press release that gets attention from a journalist not only offers a great opportunity to gain strong media coverage, but also plentiful traffic to your website and links.

Local Events

Local groups or organizations bring that genuine ‘hyper-local’ authority. This form of link building was chosen by only 7%. Similar to citation building, links from local authorities, associations, groups & community events such as meet-ups can really help to move the needle when it comes to local ranking.

Other Forms of Link Building Mentioned

In the poll also revealed a number of other link building options, as shown here.

  • Video syndication (testimonials / how to’s)
  • Google News inclusions
  • RSS syndication
  • Allintext searches
  • PBNs (Private Blog Networks)

How many links do you need for a new local business?

This will depend on many factors such as local and industry competition, domain age, current health & state of link profile, etc. A good rule of thumb is 20-40 within the first 6 month and then see where you rank and keep building from there, keeping in mind Google does not update local search as frequently as organic search.

Quantity vs Quality?

Can you have too many high quality links? No. Can you have too many low quality links? Yes.  For some industries it will be easy to build high authority build links for, and for some it can be tricky. The higher quality links are usually those that take more time & effort to earn.

Building a link portfolio is definitely worth the time and effort.  If you are lacking the time, consider hiring a professional to do it for you.  It will be a good investment for your business.

Wishing you much success in your online endeavors,


Birgit Rickert
Results Marketing

*backlink is your URL posted on another site pointing back to your website or webpage

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