Increasing the domain authority of your local business website is literally the most powerful thing you can do to increase your rankings in local SEO, assuming you have already done everything else correctly.
Increasing Domain Authority in local SEO literally boils down to how many other high authority websites that are either relevant to your city or relevant to your industry link to your small business website. Helping this happen is actually easier than you might think.
In this article, I am going to break this all down step by step and walk you through exactly what you need to do to get this done. All of these are things that you can do yourself. I also recommend you read my related article, “What Factors Determine Domain Authority?“
First, before you read on, if you are new to local SEO and are unsure what Domain Authority (DA) is, I recommend reading my article “What is Domain Authority?” Then this article will make more sense to you!
Build A High-Authority Digital Footprint
Creating what I call an “authoritative digital footprint” is a very important first step to building the authority of your local business website. To learn how to do this, I recommend reading my article “How To Create An Authoritative Digital Footprint!“
What this involves is setting up and thoroughly filling out profiles on the most popular and authoritative social media and business directory websites. The best list that I have ever found of the most important of these websites to focus on is this list on BrightLocal.com.
Be sure to create profiles on all of the sites available for your country on the DoFollow list and do the same for all on the NoFollow list. The DoFollow list will do more to boost the actual DA of your website, but those on the NoFollow list add a lot of credibility to your website, so you don’t want to skip any of those, either.
And be sure to fill out everything you can on these profiles. Write an original, lengthy, keyword-rich business description to put into each of these. It can be the same description you use on all of them as long as it is originally written for this and not just text copied from your website. However, it is better to write original text for each profile, but that can be hard to do.
Upload optimized and geotagged images to these profiles. Link to as many other of your social media and business directory sites as each profile allows you to. And again, answer every question; fill everything out completely and thoroughly. The better you do this, the more they will help your site.
Acquire Relevant High Authority Backlinks
Once you have established your authoritative digital footprint, your next step is to search in both your industry as well as your city for industry-specific or city-specific websites. Links from sites like these I call relevant high-authority backlinks.
Websites with less DA that are specifically relevant to your industry or city will do more to build your local business website’s authority than any other type of backlink.
In the above image, this business directory site is only for plumbers. It focuses just on plumbing and allows no other business types on it. Since it is a directory, plumbers can create a business profile just like they would on any directory, but for a plumber, this site is a much more relevant backlink.
However, contextual backlinks are really the ones you are looking for. Contextual means in an article, the text is turned into a link that links to your website. So you want to contact any magazine websites or association websites specific to your industry and see if you can write articles for them or be interviewed by them in exchange for a mention of your business with a link to your website.
You want to do the same thing for your city. City backlinks are really helpful in Google Maps. Many cities will have local business directories, city magazine websites, etc. You want to contact them and offer the same things. Offer to be interviewed or write an article for their website in exchange for a business mention turned into a link to your website.
Do Competitor Backlink Analysis
Your third step in this process is to sign up for a month’s subscription from either Ahrefs.com or Semrush.com so that you can start looking at all of the relevant and authoritative backlinks linking to your competitor’s websites to see if you can find ones not linking to your website, that you might be able to contact and get a link from as well.
I have an article called “How To Analyze Competitor Backlinks” that will walk you through this process and teach you how to do it.
When working on building up the DA score for my local business clients, I almost always find great, relevant websites to get links from for my clients that I hadn’t been able to find searching on my own.
You obviously want to focus mostly on the backlink profiles of your competitors that are outranking you in either the Google Maps 3-pack or the regular organic section. But I usually also check out the backlink profiles of others just under them, too, because I often find opportunities there as well!
Build Some Private Blog Networks (Correctly)
It is possible to build websites that are relevant to your city or industry that can be very good, powerful backlinks. These are called “Private Blog Networks” or “PBNs”.
However, the only catch is you don’t want the search engines to know that you own or control the sites linking to your business site. If they do, the links won’t have the same power to pass authority to your business site.
You can overcome this by hosting your PBN sites on a different service than your business site and working on your PBN sites from a different IP address than you work on your local business website.
You don’t ever want to buy backlinks because you cannot control the quality of the PBNs the links are coming from. Almost without exception, if you buy backlinks from a backlink service, you will get spammy, less relevant, garbage backlinks, and you will probably end up getting your local business website penalized by Google.
If you want PBN links that can be extremely effective and powerful, build your own. If you are interested in doing this, I recommend reading my article “How To Build A PBN The Correct Way.”
I cannot stress enough that assuming you did everything else correctly in your local SEO, increasing your Domain Authority will move the needle the most in increasing your Google Maps and regular organic rankings. It is truly amazing.