44 Local Link Building Queries for Citation Prospecting and Opportunity Analysis
Local SEOs engaged in a link and citation building campaign - especially if you've already covered the basics (including the new Local Citation Finder) - need a quick and easy way to find more citation and link opportunities in your targeted locations. The added benefit of thorough, systematic citation prospecting prior to acquisition is that Local SEOs will know how to prioritize efforts and assign resources based on the existing opportunities.
What You'll Need for Local Link Opportunity Prospecting and Analysis
There's only a few things you'll need besides your brain, a computer and an internet connection. Here's what you'll need to get started...
- Market Defining Keywords (MDKWs): Highest-level keywords that define your market or industry - these are rarely keywords that you target. MDKW definition.
- Geo-Local Keywords (GKWs): These are the keywords or, "footprints," that will help to ensure that you're discovering citation opportunities most-likely to impact your local rankings. These can be (State), (City), (Neighborhood) and in some queries (Zip Code).
- The Local Link and Citation Opportunity Analysis Worksheet
- Alternately, the Local Link Citation Worksheet v2 (now with 100% more Concatenation for efficiency thanks to from David Wolf at Inbis.us, an Orlando internet marketing agency.)
- Your favorite search engine.
- The analysis recommendations at the end of this article.
44 Queries and 14 Common Local Link and Citation Opportunity Types
Each of the 14 query groupings below targets a semi-consistent (for SE USA, at any event) citation or link building opportunity type we've identified. It's possible that you may have to substitute or alter words slightly depending on the geo-location you're targeting. Further, your existing linkable assets or the geo-specific opportunities in your market may enable you to pursue link opportunities not on this list.
Here's a definition of MDKWs (Market Defining Keywords), which you'll need for the queries.
1) 5 Queries for Local Directories
Local directories have a relatively low barrier of entry, and it's often the case that you can, with a few submissions, get your site listed in the major local directories for your market. We still recommend poking around for local directories that aren't fed by the major data suppliers, especially since your competitors probably didn't know or care to look.
- (State) Directory
- (State) (MDKW) Directory
- (City) Directory
- (Zipcode) Directory
- (Neighborhood) Directory
2) 3 Queries for Hyper-Local Sites
Some areas are blessed with hyper-local blogs and information sites. Many neighborhoods, for example, have websites that keep the neighbors informed of break ins, ice cream socials and other events of note. Some neighborhoods (or neighborhood groupings) have their own newspaper coverage. If these kinds of sites exist, then it's time for you to put your link building cap on and think about how to earn citations from them.
- (Neighborhood) (City) News (note: city may not be applicable... it depends on the uniqueness of the neighborhood name)
- (Neighborhood) Blog
- (Neighborhood) (MDKW)
3) 3 Queries for Local Coupon Sites
If local coupon sites exist in your market - especially if they're homegrown and not national plays - then you should strongly consider offering coupons (so long as the sites provide some sort of citation of course). These queries should help you determine if these kinds of sites exist in your market.
- (City) Coupon
- (City) (MDKW) Coupon
- (City) Coupon Blog
4) 3 Queries for Local Events Listing Sites
Local events earn links. Not only are there local events directories (from national plays on down to the homegrown...), but newspapers commonly have events submission pages. Further - and this is not represented in the queries below - events can earn links from local association and group sites as well.
- (City) Events
- (City) (MDKW) Events
- Submit (City) Event
5) 3 Queries for Local Groups and Associations
What kinds of groups and associations have formed around the interests to which your business caters? How can you engage with these groups in such a way that they decide to mention your business on their website? These queries will help you determine whether or not such opportunities exist in your market.
- (City) (MDKW) Group
- (City) (MDKW) Association
- (City) (MDKW) Meeting
6) 3 Queries for Local Chambers of Commerce
Find them. Join them. It's an investment, but if you actually engage locally it could be a very important investment. Also, though this isn't represented in a query, my suspicion is that getting into your local BBB could generate some important citations.
- (City) Chamber of Commerce
- (State) Chamber of Commerce
- (Zip Code) Chamber of Commerce
7) 3 Queries for Local 3rd Party Review Sites
Off-site and off-listing reviews on 3rd party sites can potentially increase your citations. Here are some queries that should help you to find both the national-level and homegrown review sites.
- (State) (MDKW) Reviews
- (City) (MDKW) Reviews
- (Neighborhood) (MDKW) Reviews
8) 3 Queries for Local News Sites
Is your business press-worthy? Why not? Check your market for targeted news publications (and run a few quick site: searches on your competitors' business name) to determine whether this could be a valuable approach for you.
- (City) News
- (City) (MDKW) News
- (Neighborhood) News
9) 3 Queries for Local Resource Pages and Guides
Many cities have visitor-oriented resource guides, as well as neighborhood-oriented recommendations for property owners. These sorts of citations can really drive business! Check for these kinds of pages with these queries.
- "Guide to" (city) (MDKW)
- (Neighborhood) (MDKW) Recommendations
- (Neighborhood) Resources (MDKW)
10) 3 Queries for Local Charities
Do you have cash, services or goods you can donate? Check around your local market for charaties that publish donor thank you pages. These could provide an opportunity for a citation.
- Thank* "our donors" (Zip Code)
- "in kind donations" thank* (City)
- "in kind donors" thank* (City)
11) 3 Queries for Local Sponsorship Opportunities
It's likely that your local sports teams, theater troupes, museums, music events, etcetera seek sponsorships in order to fund their events. Some of these organizations will publish thank you pages. Find those pages and you may have found some good opportunities in your market.
- (City) "our sponsors"
- (City) Thank* "to our sponsors"
- Thank* "to our sponsors" (Zip Code)
12) 3 Queries for Local Blogs
Like local news sites, local blogs may exist in your market that could provide a source for citations... so long as you've worked to make yourself "citable." These queries will help you determine whether or not you should gear up for local-blogger engagement.
- (State) (MDKW) Blogs
- (City) (MDKW) Blogs
- (Neighborhood) Blogs
13) 3 Queries for Local Twitter Users
While local twitter users may not provide direct citations, they are worth identifying and establishing relationships with... especially in light of sites that aggregate tweets based on location. The connection to direct citation building is indirect, but could prove to be valuable. It's worth a peek at any event!
- (City) Twitter Users
- (Neighborhood) Twitter Users
- (City) "follow us on twitter"
14) 3 Queries for Local Sites Soliciting Photos and Videos
Last, and most likely least, we suggest checking for local sites that accept photo and video uploads. This opportunity type only works if you've got a camera and some way to align pictures of your business with photographs that local publishers will want to post to their site. There's also expert speculation involving citation impact through geotagging + business citation tagging on the major photo and video sites, so as long as you've got your camera out you might as well see if anyone else wants your pictures or videos.
- (City) photo upload
- (City) "upload a photo"
- (City) (MDKW) "upload a video"
Analyzing Your Market's Local Link and Citation Building Opportunities
The above queries will reveal local citation prospects that you can go out and acquire to improve your local rankings. You can also use these queries for analyzing the citation opportunities in your local market. Here's some thinking and guidance on analyzing and assessing your market using the Local Link Opportunity Analysis worksheet. For each query, and query grouping, you're analyzing the following metrics...
The number of definite opportunities in the top 10: This is a very, very rough measure of the density of a particular opportunity in your market. If there's 6 definite opportunities for a given query (6 different, valuable local directories for example) then this is a great sign that there could be more if you dig a bit deeper. By counting the opportunities for each query, then adding them all together for a query group you're getting a great idea of the depth of citation opportunity in a given market.
The total results from your search engine of choice: If you're getting both high number of definite opportunities AND a high number of total results, then this is an indicator that you'll find quite a few more definite opportunities.
The average of opportunity sites' hostname PR, MozRank or ACRank: This gives you a sense of the weight or value that the potentially-linking or citing site could convey upon yours. This metric is a bit less important, according to my sources, than geo-weight or value.
Ideally, you're able to assign citation opportunities to the person in your organization who's "closest" to them... In other words, if you have an event planner then that person should be the one submitting to the local events directories to help market the event. Also, if you have a blogger then he or she should know about the local bloggers in your market and consider engaging with them, possibly in the form of group interviews. If it's just you, the lonely local SEO who's also the CEO and chief bottle washer then consider concentrating solely on the directories. They're faster and easier.
Lastly, a warning. You should not design campaigns purely by the metrics! You know your organization or client and you know what types of opportunities make the most sense based on your linkable assets. If there's no way your barber shop is going to host or sponsor an event then you should just skip that opportunity type.
More Sources for Local Citation Prospects
- The Local Citation Finder a tool based on Phone Number Co-Citation Analysis for Local Link Builders
- One Dead Simple Tactic for Better Rankings in Google Local (competitor "More about this place" results)
- List of Local Directories and Business Data Sites You Should Be In