Free Local Link Building and Blog Article Ideas Strategy
Today I am going to show you my favorite small business and local link building strategy AND come up with blog articles that people already want to post to. This is only one strategy you can employ. If you want a few other strategies to use take a look at this post to learn a few more. This strategy works perfectly as a local business backlink building strategy and for any small business. You might be wondering, “Hey, how do you know that people will want to post to these articles already if you haven’t written them yet?” No I do not have a crystal ball that tells me these ideas, it is actually much more simple than going to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The reason is that people are already linking to them. Today I am going to show you how to find broken links that are pointing to your local competitors blogs for FREE!. That’s right, I am giving you a free way to take over your local competitors links and come up with article ideas that people want to read. I am going to walk you through the entire backlink building strategy by taking you step by step through the process I use for this site. Let’s dive right in!
- Download some Free ToolsI like getting powerful tools for free and I’m sure you like freebies too (that’s why you are reading this freebie tip). My favorite tool for this is SEO Powersuite’s SEO Spyglass. This is a great tool that helps you spy on your competitors and it has a free version for to play with before you decide whether you want to get the full version. I would highly recommend getting the full version because there are a lot more features within the full version that are highly useful and easy to use, but for this strategy you can do a little extra leg work and use the free version only. That’s it for downloading tools, SEO Spyglass can do everything we will need for this.
- Find your local competitors. This is pretty straight forward and simple. All you need to do is go to Google and search your type of business and the local market. In this example I am expanding my local digital marketing services in Round Rock TX. So would type in my business type “digital marketing” and then the local area that I want to find competitors in, “Round Rock TX.” You should obviously type in what you are and where you want to target. If you run a landscaping service in Atlanta Georgia your search would be “landscaping in Atlanta Georgia”.
Easy, right? So now I usually open up an excel or other spreadsheet program and start putting in the name and URL’s of the company’s that come up in that search that are ranking above my website.
This is just a quick easy way to keep track of your competitors for the next few steps. Now I have a list of my direct competitors in this geographic area to start targeting. Step two of this local link building strategy complete! Let’s move on to the super technical stuff, just kidding it’s super easy.
- Find Competitors backlinks with SEO SpyglassSEO Spyglass couldn’t be any easier to use for this backlink building strategy. Well, it could be a little easier but that would require purchasing the full software. But hey, for free you can’t beat it. Go ahead and launch the software, should look something like this:
- Now, here’s where making that excel spreadsheet comes in handy. Type in the first local competitors URL. Once the program is done running you now have a list of all the backlinks for your local competitor! This list is what we are going to use to start finding broken links and rebuild them.
- Find The Broken BacklinksNow it would be really helpful to be able to export this list to an excel file and filter out all the links to only be able to see the 404 error pages (broken links) but since we are using the free version it won’t allow us to do that, but there is another very simple strategy to find these broken links. Test them! You can click the links right in SEO Spyglass and go tot he web page to see if it is up or not. I would suggest expanding the “Linked Page” column in SEO Spyglass to show the full URL of where the backlink points to. This will help you decide where to start.
- Which Backlinks are Probably BrokenAt This point you have a list of backlinks and the “Linked Page” column expanded we are going to start testing the backlinks. If a backlink is pointing to your local competitions homepage it is probably not going to be a broken link since most people keep their homepage up (uh duh). So what we want to look for are the links that are pointing to random articles on their blog. These are more likely to be broken if a competitor hasn’t been keeping up with their blog or have made changes in the past. The way you find these links is in the “Linked Page” column you expanded earlier. In the example I am working I organized all the links by title so all the links with a longer title will be at the top.
All of these are links back to my competitors blog and guess what, turns out they are ALL broken links! Now I got lucky and this probably won’t happen for you, but you will likely find a few that are broken. I bet you can guess what my next blog posts will be about! Now let’s get to the part where you get free article ideas that people are linking to.
- Find Your Free Article Ideas and Write themSo you have found broken links to your competitors website. What do you do with them? You go to the Backlink Page in SEO Spyglass and read the article that is pointing to the broken link and find where your broken link is. You can find the broken link quickly by searching the page for the anchor text found in SEO Spyglass. Just hit the Ctrl key and the F key on your keyboard at the same time and a Find box should pop up for that web page. Type in the anchor text and it will take you to where that link is in the article.
Read the article around the link and see what the context is and why they were pointed back to your competitors blog. You can also use the “Linked Page” URL in SEO Spyglass to see what the broken link article was originally about. Now write the article that covers what your competitors article used to be about. Be sure to include the points that the website in the “Backlink Page” was pointing to so it can still be relevant to the post. After you have written the article post it to your blog.
- Get your Free BacklinksYour great article isn’t going to help you build backlinks on it’s own if no one knows it’s even there. Here is where you reach out to the webmaster that runs the website in the “Backlink Page” in SEO Spyglass. You can use a script to help with this process and there is no better script than the one that Brian Dean has put together at Backlinko.com. If you are new to this blog than you will quickly realize how much I respect and trust Brian Dean as I seem to link to his posts constantly. What can I say, the guy knows his stuff. Here is the gist of his script and I highly, highly, highly recommend checking out his blog for more link building ideas. Here is the script he suggests:
Subject: Problem with [Their Site’s Name]
Are you still updating your site?
I was searching for content on [Topic] when I came across your excellent page: [Page Title or URL].
However, I noticed a few links didn’t seem to be working:
[URLs of broken links]
Also, I recently published [Brief Content Pitch]. It may make a good replacement for the [Point Out a Specific Broken Link].
Either way, I hope this helped you out ?
Now that you have your free article ideas and how to direct backlinks away from your local competitors sites for free what are you waiting for? Go! Go build those links and write those articles! For a complete guide to local SEO you can check out this article that covers several more topics for getting you ranking above your local competitors. If you want more tips like these sign up for our monthly newsletter below. If you just don’t want to take the time to complete this strategy get in touch with us on our contact page and we will implement this strategy, and a few others that we can’t give out for free (hey I can’t give away all my secrets!) to get you ranking above your local competitors and reach out to your local audience to generate leads for you, getting them buying from you, and keep them coming back.