If you have a local business, or a business with some local aspect, then you can incorporate local link building opportunities into your SEO strategy. This can help you gain more variety in your backlinks as well as get exposure with your geo-targeted audience. The following are various local link building opportunities you can pursue for your business website.

Local Review Sites

If you’re not interested in the reputation management benefits of local review sites, then you will be interested in the link building opportunities they have to offer. Most sites will allow you to have a link to your website along with your business listing, but only if you create or claim your listing.

When it comes to SEO value, however, you may not be looking at the holy grail of anchor text and dofollow. Here’s what you will get on the following popular local review sites.

  • Links from Yelp are redirected.
  • Links from Merchant Circle are dofollow. Anchor text is the domain URL without the http://.
  • Links from Yellow Pages are nofollow.
  • Links from Urbanspoon (for restaurants) are dofollow with “Website” as the anchor text.
  • Links from Yellowbook are nofollow.

Regardless of the direct SEO value, having your website listed in local review sites counts as citations which can help you rank well in local search results. So if you can take advantage of these sites, be sure to do so.

You can see how they work together in the above Local Search Ecosystem graphic by David Mihm. You can also find more places to get listed by your business type or by your business location.

As you create or claim your local profiles, be sure to complete them with at least the basics. You’ll want to add your address, phone number, a blurb about your business, and at least one photo if not more. If you want to expedite the process, you can try services like Universal Business Listing – they will submit your business listing to the important local review sites for you and maintain those listings with continued membership.

Local Directories

If you don’t list yourself in any other local networks, be sure to at least get listed by creating a local page profile on Google+ (formerly Google Places), Yahoo Local, and Bing Local.

Once you’ve covered these local search directories, then you can branch out into discovering additional local directories to get listed in. One way to discover them is to find a local business in your industry that ranks well in local search and use the backlink reporting tool to see what local directories they are listed in.

You’ll get a quick glance of what directories they have links from, what locations they are listed in, and which ones offer dofollow links along with their overall domain authority.

Also note that some mainstream directories have local listings. Directory Journal, for example, has a map on the homepage that allows you to navigate to regional listings.

You can find more directories on Directory Critic which allows you to sort by paid, free, PageRank, and other criteria. You can find localized directories under the Niche Directory Lists section.

When you’re submitting your website to non-localized directories, you can add the local element to your submission by using local anchor text (if allowed) such as New York Dentist instead of just Dentist. As always, remember to vary your anchor text across the links you build.

Local Partners

Are there businesses in your region that are in the same industry, but not competitors? Are there business owners in other industries that you network with at local events? If so, consider making them your partners – link partners, of course.

Suggest that both link back to each other on a page from your websites named partners, local resources, or similar. Make sure the businesses have good websites and do not link out to miscellaneous links – only other local businesses. Think of it as a high quality, very relevant local link exchange.

One way to make the link offer more appealing? Pitch it as a way for both of your businesses to send each other referral business. Maybe add a bonus such as offering the other business’s customers discounts for your business’s products or services.

Local Broken Links

Broken link building can be very effective on a local level. The strategy (in a nutshell) involves finding websites that are no longer live, finding links to them, and suggesting that the webmaster replaces the dead links with a link to your website.

There are lots of ways to find broken links. When it comes to finding broken local links, you can analyze pages with lots of local links using a broken link checker like Check My Links for Chrome or Link Checker for Firefox. Another way to do it is by searching Yelp for closed businesses in your industry using the following search query.

site:www.yelp.com intitle:closed intitle:city industry

You’ll likely find several closed businesses similar to yours. Lookup their websites and if they are no longer active, check the backlinks to those websites to see if you can get the webmasters to update their links from the broken one to yours.

Do you utilize local link building opportunities? Please share your tips in the comments!