Link building for Local SEO

How often do you do build links for Local SEO?

  • Never

    Votes: 2 15.4%
  • Occasionally, but not at first

    Votes: 1 7.7%
  • Only in extremely competitive markets and industries

    Votes: 2 15.4%
  • Frequently

    Votes: 6 46.2%
  • Always

    Votes: 2 15.4%

  • Total voters
    13

sodomojo

Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2012
Messages
52
What are your thoughts? How often do you do it?

Just wondering if some of the experts could share their knowledge?

Is there certain times when you know you'll have to do backlinking? Say when there is 1000 exact searches per month? Or certain markets usually need it, but others don't?
 

Phil Rozek

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
1,522
I generally don't do any link-building for clients. I've found that it's only worth it in highly competitive big-city markets. But there are other schools of thought on this; that's just my approach.
 

sodomojo

Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2012
Messages
52
Such as Houston Personal Injury Attorney, something like that?

Do you go based on # of searches per month, or a combination of that and your feel for the competitiveness?
 

Phil Rozek

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
1,522
Yeah, that would be an example of where I'd say one would want links.

For me, the relative competitiveness is mostly a matter of "feel" - and of just getting a sense of the level of competition from the client. Search volume would be part of that, though.
 

sodomojo

Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2012
Messages
52
Yeah, that would be an example of where I'd say one would want links.

For me, the relative competitiveness is mostly a matter of "feel" - and of just getting a sense of the level of competition from the client. Search volume would be part of that, though.
Thank You. I am coming from the school of 'link building' as one of my mentors has long been a believer in that even for Local SEO.

Then becoming more active on here and taking Linda's Google + Local training, and soon to take her Local SEO training, I am beginning to see that it perhaps isn't as important as I previously thought.
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,440
I generally don't do any link-building for clients. I've found that it's only worth it in highly competitive big-city markets. But there are other schools of thought on this; that's just my approach.
As you know I'm with Phil on this. I never do links and always can get clients ranking high just (except for uber high competition markets) with really solid onsite Local SEO and a few special white hat techniques hardly anyone else knows or is using. (Kinda like if you were the 1st to discover KWs in title tags and H1 help, you'd keep it under your hat - but now everyone knows those tricks so it's not as big of an advantage).

I'm also with Phil in that it's a gut feel thing. What I would do in high competition markets is just explain what I do. Tell them it will help and they need the on-site done right anyway. But then honestly explain that since their marketing is so competitive they may need extra help like link building which I don't provide.
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
114
My answer to this would be a question - how do you define "link building"? If by link building you mean getting low quality links from web directories and affiliate sites, created for the sole purpose of producing links to your main site, "tiered" linking strategies, social bookmarking, etc. - then NO, you don't need this neither in local SEO, nor in any kind of SEO. And while it might potentially work for the time being, what will happen when it stops working (because it, sooner or later, will)? What will happen if in 6 months your client comes and tells you "I am not getting any calls anymore, the traffic to my site is almost 0, what happened?"

If by "link building" you mean creating high quality, unique and useful content (not just in written form, but in the form of photos, infographics, videos, guides, whitepapers, etc) and then promote this content across the web via social media and PR, then YES, you might not necessarily need this in low- to mid-competitive local search niches, but in most niches in the cities of more than 250,000 people, this might prove useful. Here is a great article on the topic:

The Best Link Building For Local SEO -- None!
 

Russ

Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2012
Messages
18
Let's face it, pretty much anything we do "off site" is an attempt to manipulate the search results. The question is how and what you are doing it.

I don't really link build off site. I find that having the clients web site properly structured and optimized goes a LONG WAY in the rankings.
 

Laustin1878

Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2012
Messages
419
*Disclaimer* I'm not an expert. It behooves me how many different schools of thought there are on link building, on a whole. I converse with several SEO's who's bread & butter are building links. They are getting more creative in obtaining links but many people are shifting towards the unique content, including Google.

Russ makes a good point about any offsite seo can be viewed as an attempt to manipulate. In theory, all seo is to manipulate the results isn't it? I think "manipulate" is subjective and what one thinks is manipulating, another thinks it's seo.

I've been researching local blog sites to see if I can leverage them to create more of a geographical tie to a business. I am trying to build relationships and see how much influence links on a local level impact organic results in Google. I'm sure there is a lot of data available but I am trying it for myself. So in short, I do practice link building for local seo. I would love to find a way to be successful and reduce my workload so I'm eager to read more responses.
 

Dave

Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2012
Messages
255
I do link building for sites. I was doing it around 2003/2004. I do it today. I'm surprised to Chris Silver-Smith's article because he goes way back and had to do link building in the past.

Clearly the link building world has changed dramatically. On top of that Google maps is significantly reliant on both on page and citation building efforts.

Regardless, if you look at competitive areas and/or areas with an above the pac local business and/or a PAC #1 ranking and/or both....that is a clear indication that link building to get above the PAC works.

It drives TONS of relative traffic. It works. We've been there. Additionally the top of the PAC is often or usually controlled by merged rankings reliant on both Local Efforts/On Page efforts and link building efforts.

Having said all that link building today is tremendously different from that in the past. It is night and day.

Google is wiping out the benefits from cheap and easy link building methods that worked years ago. In fact it penalizes a lot of them. Because some of those cheap easy link building methods are now being penalized some of my sites have suffered. On the other hand, the same sites with crappy directory links galore and anchor text that causes penalties also have some very strong links. Its a mixed bag. But as I remove the penalty causing crappy links the good ones shine through to help.

Realistically its difficult to gain links for small businesses for a great myriad of reasons. The business or industry could be mundane. Nobody will link to you. If you write about your industry for local folks, it might not drive links. On the other hand if you are in an industry and right great technical stuff, locals might not give a hoot...but if you get that blog/writings seen by experts who do give links...you can get links.

If you are going to address an expert world with your writings wherein there are link "givers" you may have to write and interact for months or a year to grab their attention and then have them read your blog and be willing to share it and your links to their readers.

Its not easy.

...and that is just one reason.

Mostly today I look for out of the box creative stuff that might have a big effect. Its not easy.

Were I to do this for clients it would cost a lot. Its a big effort that is of a different rhythm than building strength on your pages and through citations.
 

Laustin1878

Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2012
Messages
419
Thank you for the detailed response Dave. You touched on a lot of things that are very relevant today with Google. Penguin updates are going hard after poor backlinks, duplicate content and even sites/pages with thin content. It's definitely a night and day change in terms of link building tactics. What worked last year isn't working today, on the whole.

There are still some shady tactics that are working and link sellers are still finding ways to disguise these types of links. On your own dime for experimental purposes, it may be worth it. On a clients dime, it's a big roll of the dice in my opinion unless you are an expert. The game has certainly changed and I still think there are decent opportunities out there to acquire links for a local campaign. Bloggers are your best bet and I've seen that it takes more of a relationship to acquire such links where it used to be fairly simple to get a sitewide blog link.

As of late, I have started shifting gears to more content generated efforts as it seems to have the best potential for reward. Like Dave said, it's not spinning content that yields results anymore. It's quality, uniqueness and engaging. Still, at the end of the day, your content needs to appeal to your readers. The days of writing for search engines are long gone. I think this makes the game easier for experts to succeed and bumps the seo's out of the drivers seat a little. You still need seo though and I think it's anything but dead or even dying.

Again Dave, thank you for your insights.
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,777
All link building is manipulative in nature. Google wants you to leave the internet alone when it comes to links. This is evident in their recent judgment on even guest posting. You just need to decide which side of the fence you are on.

My personal opinion is that you look at the long term value of any strategy. What that is based on for me is whether it is sustainable and will there ever be any negative repercussions. If there will be, I stay away from it because I don't want that weighing on my conscious if their website goes bust. You have to face the fact that as an SEO, you have a lot of power. Companies have to cope with demand. SEO is so powerful that the volume of clients you bring in will change how they do business. New processes to handle the new client load, new employees, increase in vendors or vendor supply, etc. If the website goes bust because of something you did, you have now created a huge headache that is going to affect many different lives. Not just the business owner but their employees and vendors as well.

Is this strategy viable long term. That's the question you ask.

When it comes to whether you should build links or not, for me it's a resounding yes. There are many long tail keywords that local results aren't going to show up for. Many times, long tail keywords make up more of the searches for my clients than high volume keywords do. Quantity over quality in this case.

You also need to look at your goals. The goal for our company is always a #1 listing. We may not get it but we're going to shoot for it. If I move you to #1 I have quintupled your ROI. There are tons of different eye map studies out there but they one I usually use is 42% and 8%. 42% of people click on the #1 listing, 8% click on the second. If I can move you from 8% to 42%, how does that affect your ROI?

Quintupled.

Links are important. You can get by without them but if you're practicing a holistic SEO strategy, in my opinion, they can't be ignored.
 

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