First, some prefacing which I believe will help give important context to my question.
All of our clients' sites (150+ of them) have a few things in common:
- They're all in the same field.
- They're local businesses.
- Lead gen sites only, with no e-commerce.
- In part because of these things, they tend to be very low monthly traffic. I would wager that for any of them above 1,000 hits a month (which is very few of them), the great majority of their hits will be non-local, non-leads. Since we're lead-gen only, this traffic is very low priority to us.
- Our clients use templated websites and content. Duplicate? Yes; however we've done some testing and have found that we don't lose traffic as a result of this. We suspect it's because the sites' focuses are so heavily localized.
This industry has some major players in the medical field who tend to produce popular content for queries at the top of the conversion funnel; we don't try to compete with these and instead focus almost entirely on bottom-of-the-funnel traffic.
Here's my question: What are some best practices for link building in a situation like this? Ordinarily, the general strategy might include generating great quality content, building a network with high authority sites, etc. However this seems to go out the window when we're looking at trying to do this for 150+ sites.
Our standard approach is to work with local partners and affiliates to build a network. We've had some success with this, although it has some lower, finite limitations than a more global business would have.