Link building for local offers some unique opportunities for small to medium-sized businesses.
In addition to link building, these tips can help you build your brand and establish trust with members of your community.
Here are 10 tips you can start using today:
Related Article: Local Online Marketing Strategies That Your Business Should Be Doing
1. Be Controversial, Stand for Something
You simply can’t agree with everyone all of the time. If you try to, you’re going to be boring and no one will read what you write. Try creating some controversy. A good controversial story can help your company stay top of mind with your clients.
Image via PETA
In order to make this happen, you need to:
- Find an idea or topic about which people are passionate. Look for issues that your customers will be familiar with and try to polarize them a certain way.
- Add content to your website to support this polarizing cause. Don’t forget this must be your best content and include incredible graphics and information that people will want to share.
- Make sure your content can easily be shared from your website by adding social media buttons.
- Pitch this content to local media.
- Post the content to your followers on social media.
- Consider using content distribution services, like Outbrain, to increase the exposure to your audience.
2. Local Directories and Review Sites
Local directories are a smart and easy way to get backlinks. The key is to make sure the directory really is local and that they have a focus on your niche. These links will typically be easy to get and are often worth the time.
Some possible options for local directories include:
- Your local Chamber of Commerce
- Local newspapers
- City and county directories
Review sites are another potential method of link building.
Image via BBB
Here are a few places to get reviews:
- Angie’s list
- Merchant Circle
Tips to get positive reviews
When you need quality reviews, sometimes the simplest method is to ask for them. You can start with your family and friends that have used your services or your products and ask them to write a review. Sometimes these people will be your biggest fans as well as loyal customers. You can ask them to leave a review about some of the great advantages of using your products or services.
If you have been in business for a long time, you know who your loyal customers are. Ask them for reviews, too.
Your vendors can also be a good source of reviews. While they may not be customers, they can help talk about what it’s like to work with your company. It’s important that they are honest and not pretend to be a customer.
3. Give Testimonials
Giving a testimonial to a business helps give their brand legitimacy. Frequently, companies that give testimonials will also provide a backlink.
Some opportunities to give testimonials include:
- Cleaning services
4. Find Local Influencers and Create Valuable Relationships
Finding the local influencers and establishing relationships with them can sometimes be a difficult process, but well worth the effort. You can get these from your competitor’s website, niche publications, government web sites and local news media.
While you can do the initial research online, the key is to interact with the person off-line. Once you find the right person to talk to, you can make a list of their conferences and organizations. You can then attend these events and make a point of speaking with them in person and exchanging contact information. Once you have introduced yourself, continue to build your relationship.
5. Sponsor Meetup Groups
Go to Meetup.com and sponsor a local event for your target audience. For example, if you run an automotive repair shop, you could sponsor a local Meetup for people that are interested in performance cars. This will give you a great opportunity to help the community and build your brand with potential customers.
You will need to comply with the group owner’s terms for your sponsorship. However, you will want to include in their directory your business name, logo, and link to be shown for the Meetup. You can also offer a discount to any potential customers.
Related Article: Why You Should Be Recruiting Technical Talent at User Groups
6. Create a Contest
Hosting a contest or giveaway is another way to encourage your participants to link back to your site. When you set up your contest or giveaway, you create a post that gives them a link that you can use back to your site.
Image via Eggo
The key is to promote these contests and giveaways in the right places so that your target audience will be aware of the offer. One option is to talk to the local community websites and let them know you’re doing a giveaway.
In the example above, the winner got $5,000. While you may not want to make your prize this big, it can be a great way to get other companies to participate.
7. Become the Preferred Vendor
Has your company provided an excellent product or service for years? If so, why not ask if you can get a preferred vendor link on their website? This shows their customers that they trust your company enough to add it to their list.
To do this, find companies that have products or services that are complementary to your own. These companies will frequently put you on a preferred vendor’s page and the listing will typically include a link.
8. Become a Local Sponsor
Sponsoring local events can build your brand recognition and help your community at the same time. You may also be able to get a link or logo on their sponsorship page.
Some opportunities for local sponsorships include:
- local conferences and trade shows
- sporting events
- fairs and festivals
9. Local Scholarships
Offering a scholarship to a local college can be a great way to get a powerful .edu (education) link from the school. You can also work with the college to get discounts for employees who want to go back to school. It’s a good idea to research whether or not the college provides backlinks for sponsors before making a decision.
10. Going Green
Is your company greener than a group of Prius owners on Earth Day? If your company follows green energy standards and you help the environment, why not get a link for it? Many local business directories will help promote green businesses; you just need to reach out and make them aware.
Image via Green America
In order to find these directories, you can search for phrases like “green business directories.” Once you find a few options, you want to make sure that the directory is human-edited and high quality. You can then ask to be included in the directory. Be prepared to justify just how green your company is.
Related Article: Earth Day Aspirations: Saving Money While Saving the Environment
You can easily see how local link building can help you not only get links but also build your brand in the process. Sometimes the key is to get out from behind your computer and meet your community.
Take the time to get to know your customers, especially the ones that can help you in your link building process. Don’t forget your vendors can also be another great source of reviews and backlinks because you become a trusted partner that helps to guarantee their success.