How important are backlinks for Local seo, compared to business listings or directories

Forum White Hat SEO How important are backlinks for Local seo, compared to business listings or directories

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    Need some light shed on something.

    So in my city with a population of about 5,5 million. For example gardening. The top ranking site has no quality backlinks. Tons of exact match anchor text. All the links are from one single business directory. So they have like 200 different listings from this directoy using exact match anchor text,

    I didn’t think business directories would have much of an impact outside of GMB.

    Another example, if you search up Miami Dental implants, the top websites links are just a bunch of business listings. Tons of listings for dental implants for suburbs in Miami.

    Am I missing something about onsite seo that I should be more aware of?

    I’m still pretty new to seo so explanations are hugely appreciated.


    Links are important to SEO, citations are important to Local SEO.

    Do both and you’ll be in a winning position.


    A citation or directory is a backlink. Why would it not be a backlink? Does the directory not contain a link back to the business?


    As someone suggested – links are good for SEO, directories are good for Local SEO. Do both & you win. Likely, with a bit of info SEO you can get yourself more relecant TOF traffic & get links as well.

    The Miami dentists example you gave – It seems like you’re overlooking an important factor – namely, user intent and CTR. Regardless of how many links you build, how great your content is and so on, if Google sees that the majority of users want to see a list of dentists in Miami when they search for that (and not a single dentist website), you probably won’t rank in the top consistently.

    Now, ranking for something like “best dentist in miami” or “cheap dentist in miami” or a more specific long tail could actually bring you success because:

    a) even if users want to see listings, there probably isn’t a ton of statistically significant data Google can use (based on search volume, it’s probably the case for many local places) so it will fall back to other ranking factors.


    b) the competition will naturally be lower (a directory ranking for “miami dentist” & “cheap miami dentist” with 2 different pages is in slightly dangerous waters in terms of cannibalization & duplicate content).

    In all honesty, regardless of what any SEO tool says, I’m betting everything that this is a much much more competitive keyword where the SERP requires more analysis and reasoning to determing why it looks as it does than just “links”.

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