Think Local to Rank Locally

One of the best places to Rank in Google is in the local maps results, which are usually shown just below the ads and just above the organic results.
If you’re interested in SEO, you’re probably already aware that 2016-17 has seen some major changes in local SEO, and one of the upshots of all these changes is that if you run your business from a single office, it is now much harder to rank in the local 3 Packs in Google in more than one locality.

The reason for this is that the biggest factor in the Google local algorithm now seems to be the location of the searcher. This means smaller less SEO savvy businesses now have a much better chance of showing in 3 packs because proximity to the searcher is something that cannot possibly be manipulated by an SEO.

FINDING LOCAL LINKS

With the location of the searcher now prominent in the algorithm, what can businesses now do to try and increase their likelihood of ranking better in the 3 pack?
One way is make sure you focus your link building efforts locally. You should always be looking to get good local links into your link profile and Google’s recent changes now mean it’s even more important than ever before.

So where do you look for good local links? One often overlooked and relatively easy resource for getting good local links is in the business directory of local councils. Local Councils are great sites to get listed in for many reasons, the first of which is that budget is not a problem, because they are usually free to list in.
They also have good domain authority because they are either on a local council’s domain or are linked to by local authorities. These local directories also usually have strong review processes in place to ensure the businesses listed in their directory are actually in their area.
Google loves Government domains. Websites on government domains are trusted by Google, so getting links to your website from these domains transfers some of that trust to your website, which is very desirable for improving your rankings.

EXAMPLE OF A GOOD LOCAL LINK

What does a good local link look like? Click here to see a perfect example. This listing comes from a council site from the City of Whitehorse, in Victoria, Australia. The Whitehorse Council not only provides a free listing on a directory page categorised by business types, it also verifies each listing and provides a separate profile page in the directory for each local business. This means you actually get two links, one from a category page where you are listed with other local businesses of your type (which is really great for relevance) and another from a single profile page, which is the link shown in the example link above.

Single profile pages like this are fantastic when you can get them because the only link out of the page is the local business listed. You may find you need to help Google find the page as these deeper pages often are not indexed by the first crawl of a website.

HOW TO FIND LINKS LIKE THIS

So how do you start looking for good local links in your area? A great place to start with is by entering a series of simple search strings into Google based on “the name of a local council + directory”. This should provide you with a list of potential council sponsored directories that you may qualify to be registered in.