One of the biggest challenges in any local SEO effort is building backlinks. These are instances where websites outside of your target site, and typically outside your control entirely, point links in their content toward your site. In the early days of the internet, almost any amount of backlinking was considered good. The big search giants, however, have slowly begun punishing and rewarding behaviors that are a little more complex. This can leave site operators wondering what to do.
Link Quality and Relevance
Google’s indexing system monitors the vast majority of websites that are present on the internet. At the most abstract level, Googlebot, the indexing system the company utilizes, simply follows links from site to site to see who is linking to whom. Unfortunately, unscrupulous actors learned early on that this system could be gamed. Website owners created vast networks of sites that simply linked to each other in order to boost their ranks, a strategy where basically a rising tide was intended to lift all ships.
The quality of these links, however, was dubious. It was not unusual, for example, for a gardening site to link to a coding, simply to get a backlink. Google has responded to these moves by evaluating the relevance and quality of links.
At the level of local SEO, this means analyzing the expected relevance and relationships of links. If for example, a company based in Miami were to link to the website of a company based in India, that might be flagged. That in itself is unlikely to incur a penalty, but the link is significantly more likely to be ignored.
It’s hard to prevent bad inbound links to your site, and there are black hat SEOs who deliberately build poisoned link networks purely to attack the ranking of sites by making them look bad. Fortunately, Google offers tools that allow webmasters to check for these bad links and swear them off. This requires constant monitoring, and it can be advantageous to ask for the support of professional.
Site owners should focus on building their own content. It’s easy to get good links by building a social media presence and linking back to your own site. Quality content will also drive natural links. With a focused effort, it is possible to gain good links and drive traffic to your site.