Link building for small businesses can be challenging but is a must have for local businesses doing SEO. If you plan to rank in your local area or a specific keyword, one of the keys is to gain links from the same community, city, or town you wan tot rank in. For a new small business who does not have the relationships built within the community, or even for a well established small business, it can be difficult to know who and how to reach out to local establishments to ask for links. Below you will find a list of ideas for building links to your website from other places in your local community.
1. College Websites
Many college’s are looking for local businesses to work with students to give them “real life experience” by mentoring them or giving them internships for the summer or on weekends. These companies who offered to help out the schools were often featured on the marketing department’s website and received links from the school. And as SEO’s know links from .edu websites in general pass some great SEO metrics.
Between college department websites and professor’s websites on the college’s domain, you should be able to get a few good links from working on projects with college students. It may be worth keeping in mind that most colleges give students the opportunity to create their own website on the school’s domain, so you can even ask the students who come and do an internship at your business to write a few posts about your business and what they have learned.
Most colleges also have groups who put on events who are looking for donations or sponsors that you can donate time, product, or money to. Most of these college organizations will be happy to give you a link off their website in exchange for sponsoring one of their events.
2. Sponsoring Events, Sports Teams and Charities
Some examples of ways in which companies can give back to the community are:
- High school athletics with scholarships
- Sponsoring local sports teams
- School fundraisers by donating products
- Supporting local activism groups
- Helping non-profits raise money
These businesses who supported these types of community events were listed on the organization’s website (sometimes with a link sometimes without) but they also received additional advertising by word of mouth at the events which opened up more opportunities for marketing and link building with other local organizations.
Local Link Building Tip:
Many sites will put up your logo on their site, make sure you get a link by sending over a snippet of HTML code instead of an image for them to upload. Because Google uses the alt text of images the same way they use the anchor text in links, an added benefit is that you can give yourself good alt text.
It seems like a lot of local businesses are willing to barter (trade product for advertising). If you are going to barter, do a little bit of research to uncover what kind of web presence the other person’s company has. If the person you are trading with has a site where they list partners or other local businesses, make getting a link from their site part of your trade.
4. Local Directories
While people might say directories are dead, local directories can still add value to a local business’ SEO efforts. Not only do these tend to help out quite a bit but usually there are a lot of different local directories for you to submit to. Just make sure that the directory, or page in the directory is relevant to your business (since page to page relevancy is a key factor in links).
Local Link Building Tip:
To find local directories, try searching for your city name + the kind of business you operate + directory.
5. Local Organizations
In some cases the resource pages on these local organizations websites were created before your local business had websites so there are mentions of your business but they aren’t linked. Don’t be shy about contacting these local organizations, or stopping by and letting them know you have a small business website now and that you would appreciate it if they could change the mention of your website to a link. You can even ask them if there are other organizations that they work with that would be interested in doing some bartering, or if there are events that your small business could sponsor.
You can also find more site that mention your business buy might not have linked to you (such as reviews or blog entries) by searching for your company name in quotes in Google. So simply put “your business name” in the google search box and it will bring back all pages that Google knows about that include your exact business name.
6. Local Newspapers
You are going to have a much easier time getting links from local newspapers compared to getting a link from the Chicago Tribune. In fact, many local newspapers regularly link out to the companies mentioned in their articles. A small business can get press coverage in these local papers by reaching out to a reporter that covers related events when you are doing something special like a demo day, are going to be sponsoring an event, or have a community outreach program. Newspapers are always looking for small businesses that are doing good in the community and whom they can write a uplifting story about.