Building links for local businesses often requires a different strategy from traditional link building. Columnist Greg Gifford offers actionable tips that you can put to use right now.
The conference season has kicked in already, and I’ve been overwhelmed with how many businesses have been asking for more local link building tips. I wrote a post here last spring about local links, but it was more focused on sharing the importance of local links. This time, I’m here with actual down and dirty tips.
As I mentioned before, traditional link builders only target links from sites with high Domain Authority (DA). They’re cautious of Penguin, and they want as much link juice as possible. With Local SEO, I often find that we’re taking the opposite approach.
Many times, I prefer a link from a site with low DA, as long as it’s a local website. Heck, we even actively target nofollow links (That sigh you just heard was all the traditional link builders freaking out). Even with low authority and nofollow, a link from a local site carries a ton of local relevancy.
Don’t forget: When you’re building links, it’s not only about the inbound link for SEO value. If you get quality links on local sites, they’re links that humans will actually click on. Those local links will bring you more traffic, and they’ll increase your brand’s visibility.
So without further ado, let’s jump into a few local link building tips that will work for any business vertical:
1. Alumni Or Military Discounts
Offer a discount to alumni from a few local universities. Once you’ve got a page on your site explaining the discount, it’s usually quick and easy to reach out to local alumni groups and get added to their sites. Military discounts work well, too, but these typically require a bit more outreach and follow-up to get links.
2. Local Meetups
Local meetups are an untapped gold mine for local links. Head over to Meetup.com and check out the active groups in your area. Look for groups that are related to your business first, then branch out to other local groups. First, you’ll want to go after groups that are looking for a location for their meetings. Offer up your place of business, and BOOM! You’ve got an easy local link.
If you can’t find anyone looking for a place to meet, look for groups that are seeking sponsors. For $50–$100 a month, you could sponsor the refreshments at one of the meetups, and BOOM! You’ve got another easy local link.
3. Host A Community Event
Throw a party and invite the entire city — it’s that easy! Check out what your local auto dealers do on holidays (They’re always throwing great local events).
Whether it’s a 4th of July cookout or an Easter egg hunt for the kiddos, if you host an event that’s open to the community, it’s really easy to get links (and social mentions).
4. Create A Local Resource Page
Whenever I talk about local resource pages, people think I’m talking about trading links with local businesses. That’s not what we’re doing here. With a local resource page, you’re sharing information with outsiders about something in the area that you’re passionate about.
If you’re a connoisseur of smoked meats, share a list of the best barbecue joints in your city. If you love to spend time outdoors with your kids, publish a list of the best activities in town for children. If it’s useful information about your area, other sites will link to you.
5. Local Awards
Nearly every city has some sort of local business awards. They might be vertical-specific, or crowd favorites, or they might even be related to community service.
Do some research and find out what local awards your business might be eligible for, and get yourself nominated. The results are nearly always published online, which means the winners typically get links.
6. Take Advantage Of Relationships You’ve Built
Unless you’ve just opened, your business has been a part of the local community for a while. You’ve built relationships with other local businesses, so take advantage of those relationships and mine them for links.
Think about other businesses that are similar to yours or that support your own — or even businesses in unrelated verticals whose owners you’re simply friends with. Since you already know the owners, it’s typically incredibly easy to get those links.
7. Local Figures
An interview with a local figure is another easy way to get some great local links. Think about the relationships you already have. Do you play golf with someone on the city council? Do you go to church with the mayor?
If you’re not directly connected with a local figure, maybe one of your close friends knows someone — or maybe a local figure is a regular customer. Network a bit, and set up an interview with the person. Once it’s published, you’ll be primed to get some juicy local links.
8. Local Directories
You should be hitting your local directories for citations anyway, but they’re also a great source for local links.
Most every city has its own small directories, so do a quick Google search, find them, and get your business listed.
9. Local Blogs
Find local bloggers and start to network — once you’ve built a relationship with them, it won’t be hard to get them to write about your business and include a link.
10. Sponsor A Little League Team
This one’s our go-to pro tip for local link building. For a few hundred bucks, you can sponsor a local Little League team (or any sport, for that matter).
It’s a feel-good warm and fuzzy that makes your business look great to the community, but it also gets you a really great link from a hyper-local website.
Now, go forth and build some awesome local links!