For small businesses, being recognized by the chamber of commerce or local news as one of the best local businesses or “best of” in your town is high praise. It takes fantastic customer service, lots of four and five-star reviews, and a little smart marketing to get the word out about your business and gain this kind of recognition. If you’re already nailing customer service and getting plenty of reviews, you might want to give local link building a try.

What is link building?

Link building is the act of getting credible websites to hyperlink to your website to boost your site’s search ranking. At its core, it simply means getting other websites to hyperlink to your website. A hyperlink (more casually referred to as a link) helps users navigate to your website from other sites. This could be a link to your website in a company blog post or about us article, newspaper article, or even a marketing video. When search engine bots (like Google) crawl the web and assess your website’s search engine ranking, they notice reputable websites that are linking to other websites (like yours!). If your website gets a link from a reputable website with a lot of authority online, the search engine will also see your website as more credible and authoritative, which helps boost your search ranking.

When marketers with search engine optimization (SEO) knowledge first learned about link building, they tried to cheat the system and boost their rank quickly by getting lots of links pointing to their website with keyword stuffing and bad linking. But search engine bots quickly discovered ways to prevent people from cheating the system and filtered out the inauthentic link builders. Here at storEDGE, we’re pretty nerdy. We love all things web marketing and SEO. Since authentic link building is a smart SEO practice, so we use it all the time to help our clients rank for important keywords in their area.

What are local links?

First, it’s important to understand the difference between local and organic search results. When your storage business ranks highly in organic search, it shows up as one of the first organic (unpaid, not an ad) search results. Watch for JOCO Self Storage to appear in the examples below:

Organic search result for “self storage in Lenexa, KS.”

Organic search results for self storage in Lenexa, KS.

When your storage business ranks highly in local search, it shows up near the top of the “three-pack” for local results near the user:

Local search result for “self storage in Lenexa, KS.”

Local search results for self storage in Lenexa, KS.

As you can see, organic search results and local search results are very different. Local search results are very valuable, and Google gives them a lot of authority because more and more users are using queries like “self storage near me” and “self storage in Lenexa” to find storage businesses in their area.

The difference between regular link building and local link building? Local link building is the act of getting credible local websites and businesses to link to your local facility page to boost your website’s overall search ranking. For example, for a storage business with multiple facility locations in different towns, it’s important to get local links that point to the facility page that corresponds to that town. For the JOCO Self Storage example, this would mean getting links from other websites and businesses are local to the Lenexa, KS area to link to the JOCO Self Storage facility page in Lenexa, KS, rather than just the Beyond Self Storage brand website, which features storage locations around the country.

So, how important is local link building? Very. According to a recent webinar by local search SEO specialists, over half of all local search ranking factors are related to local links. You can check out the full webinar below for an in-depth look at local link building. (Jump to 30:13 for great tips and ideas for local sponsorships!)

Video by Local Search Association

How do I start local link building?

Local link building is strongly related to PR for your business. You’ll need to get involved in your community and reach out to local businesses in your area to start building local links back to your storage website. Here are some great ways to get started building local links:

  • Make sure all local publications and websites that already mention your business in articles or business profiles are linking to your website. (If they mention you without a link, just shoot them an email, say thanks for the mention, and ask them to link to your website!)

  • Use Google search to find local events that your storage business can sponsor. Search for “our sponsors” in your city name to find opportunities to sponsor local little league teams, girl scouts, churches, animal rescues, and more! Local nonprofit groups are a great opportunity for positive PR and local link building for your business.

Even one link back to your website can be really powerful in search ranking, so even if you only get a couple links out of your link building efforts, it can make a significant difference for your storage business. Always ask for local links to be linked directly to the local facility page of your website - the zip code and map information on that page is ideal for local search.

If you want to track the lead traffic from your local links, you can add a UTM (short for Urchin Tracking Module) tracking code to your URL before sending your link over to the local website, nonprofit group, or event sponsorship opportunity. UTM codes allow you to track how much lead traffic your website is getting from each link via Google Analytics.

Some of the best local link opportunities include local associations, schools, nonprofits, museums, music festivals, and government entities. Google typically gives high authority to these kinds of helpful local groups and websites. By finding the right sponsorships or opportunities to get involved in your community, you’ll be able to boost your local search ranking and help out your neighbors. It’s a win-win!

Thanks for reading! If you liked this blog post, you may also like: Link building & self storage, DIY or Don't: When to call in the pros for your self storage marketing, and How voice search will change local SEO.