Local Link Building Guide: Backlinks, Directories, & Citations Guide for SEO

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When Bill Gates said if your business is not on the web, your business will be out of business, many did not understand him. Today, we can all agree that having a strong online presence can increase your bottom line and lower your marketing costs.

However, it’s a painstaking process that requires considerable effort and a solid strategy. Whether a digital marketing specialist or a business owner, you must find a cost-effective strategy to create a strong brand presence. The most successful digital marketing strategies are backlinks and business listing directories.

But are backlinks and directory listings the same thing? Continue reading to discover the differences between a backlink and a directory listing.

What Exactly is a Backlink?

Backlinks, also referred to as inbound links, one-way links, or incoming links, are links from one web page to another. Generally, the more quality backlinks your website has, the higher you are likely to rank on search results.

Two web pages with backlink illustration

Backlinks take many different forms. It can be an image, hyperlinked text, an actual web address, a link embedded in a video, or an infographic. Regardless of the form your backlinks take, the goal remains the same.

However, backlinks are not created equal. Some can help you rank higher on SERPs, while others can hurt your ranking. Quality backlinks will help you rank higher in the SERPs. In contrast, bad backlinks add no relevance to your marketing efforts.

What Makes a Good Backlink?

One quality backlink is more powerful than thousands of bad backlinks. There is a noticeable distinction between high-quality backlinks and low-quality backlinks. Good backlinks share various traits, including:

           ✅ They come from authoritative and trustworthy sites
           ✅ They are highly relevant
           ✅ They have anchor texts that include your target keywords
           ✅ They are “dofollow” links
           ✅ They come from different websites

Are Backlinks Still Important for Local SEO?

Although search engine algorithms have experienced tremendous changes over the years, backlinks are still essential for SEO. In fact, Google has confirmed that links are the two most important ranking factors. So, you are missing out on the following benefits if you don’t have a solid link-building strategy.

Increases SERP Ranking

Backlinks can improve your off-page SEO metrics. Search engine algorithms look at the number and quality of backlinks when ranking a particular page. Web pages with high-quality backlinks tend to rank higher.

According to a recent study, a site’s overall link authority leads to higher search engine rankings. Another study also determined that the amount of high-quality backlinks a domain has determines its position on search results.

Better SEO Performance

Did you know that the first result in search results averages 3.8× more backlinks than positions 2 to 10? Simply put, top-ranking pages tend to have more quality backlinks than pages that rank below them. This means that you will start to get organic backlinks once you achieve top rankings. Consequently, your domain authority will grow and solidify your position.

Create Brand Awareness and Trust

Backlinks don’t just send more traffic from search engines. High-quality backlinks can also enhance your brand awareness and help you build trust. This usually occurs when prospective customers discover your brand on a valuable article, video, or infographic. Generally speaking, prospects will associate your brand with the topic being discussed.

Increase Referral Traffic

High-quality backlinks can also send more referral traffic to your website. Readers will be directed to your website when they click on links in blog posts, articles, infographics, or videos. You can convert the traffic into sales to increase your revenue.

What is a Directory Listing?

To understand a directory listing, you must first understand what a web directory refers to. Simply put, web directories refer to specialized websites that contain information about other websites. These platforms have a comprehensive database that allows readers to access basic information about different sites and entities.

Business details of a company

A few years ago, search engines were not so good at understanding search intent. As a result, a simple search for plumbers near me would return plumbers from different towns. Back then, local web directories and yellow pages helped consumers narrow their search based on their preferences.

Although search engine algorithms have become better at understanding search intent, web directories are still valuable for consumers and business owners. So, a directory listing is a listing that allows prospective customers to find out more about your business. Typically, a directory listing should contain your company name, address, and contact details.

Examples of a Directory Listing

If you are just getting started with directory listings, you probably don’t know where to start. That’s why we are sharing examples of the best online directory listings of the year:

  • Google My Business
  • Yelp
  • Bing Places
  • Yahoo Places
  • FourSquare
  • Manta
  • Yellow Pages
  • Best of the Web
  • AboutUs
  • Spoke
  • Blogarama
  • Facebook Pages

Are Directory Listings Still Important?

Now that you know what a business directory listing is, you are probably asking yourself whether directory listings still matter. The truth is that business directory listings have so much to offer to your business, including:

Increased Exposure

One of the significant benefits of a directory listing is that it can give your business more exposure. With increased exposure, you will likely get more website traffic. Moreover, greater exposure might increase your SERP ranking and improve brand credibility.

Cost Effective

Some business directories such as Google My Business, Yahoo Places, Bing Places, and Yelp Business Page are free. You will get free advertising and marketing when you create business listings on these platforms. When prospective clients search for related services and products online, they might see your listing and learn more about your company.

More Sales and Revenue for Your Business

A business directory listing will bring more traffic to your website. The more quality traffic you get, the higher your chances of making more sales.

Better SEO Performance

Finally, directory listings can provide a slight boost your SEO performance. The more you list your business on reputable directories, the more search engine algorithms will likely rank you higher in SERPs.

Are Directory Listings Backlinks?

When used correctly, directory listings can be a source of high-quality backlinks. Regarding backlinks, search engine algorithms value relevancy, authority, and trustworthiness. As a result, web directories might be less influential than high-quality backlinks from a trusted and authoritative site in your industry.

Even so, directory listings are still vital ranking factors. In fact, a Moz study shows that proximity is among the most important ranking factors for local businesses. However, John Mueller, Google’s webmaster trends analyst, said directory listings generally don’t help with SEO.

So, what should business owners and marketers do? Although directory listings can provide some form of backlinks, using them to build trust and bring more traffic to your website is highly advisable. This is especially true for businesses with a local presence.

Directory Listings Vs. Backlinks: Which One is Ideal For Your Business?

It’s safe to say that backlinks and directory listings are quite different. But that does not mean you can only use one, not the other. It is highly advisable to combine the two, especially for local businesses.

While backlinks can directly increase your SERP rankings, directory listings provide a valuable opportunity to increase traffic to your site and make more sales. Directory listings are also an excellent way to build credibility and brand awareness.

How to Get Started With Directory Listings?

Before getting started with directory listings, you must begin by choosing a reputable directory website. Choose a website that makes your business seem more legitimate. Additionally, put your directory listing on a site that your target audience is likely to visit. After that, create a comprehensive listing that includes your business name, contact details, address, and a link back to your website.

You can also join industry-specific directories to build more visibility for your brand. When choosing an industry-specific directory, focus on relevance, trust, and reputation. A good directory should be focused on your topics and industry.

How to Get Started With Link Building?

Now that you have created directory listings for your business, it’s time to turn your focus to link building. To leverage link building, you must determine where your backlinks will come from. Some of the most successful link-building strategies include:

  • Outreach
  • Guest posting
  • Unlinked mentions
  • Image linking
  • Social bookmarking
  • Publish rich content
  • Become a thought leader in your industry
  • Update your target audience on the news in your industry

Work With the Experts

Link building and directory listings take time, effort, and patience. Both require a well-thought-out strategy to work. Unfortunately, your business might not have the time and the resources to leverage the power of directory listings and backlinks. That’s where our digital marketing experts at JetRank come in.

Trust us to develop a solid link-building strategy that will help you increase traffic, leads, and sales, in no time. Our team is also ready to help you create a well-thought-out local SEO strategy to see your business getting more phone calls and website visits from local searches.

If you are ready to maximize your link-building and directory listing strategies, contact us today to discuss your SEO strategy with one of our experienced digital marketing experts.

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Roger Avila
Roger Avila

Roger is an SEO manager at JetRank

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