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When we consult with our clients, much of our advice is specialized for that client and their industry. However, there are two things that we work on with each and every client no matter what their industry. Reviews and link building.
Reviews we’ve covered in the past here, and I’m sure will continue to cover again and again, because of their importance for local businesses.
Link building we haven’t discussed on this blog in awhile. We touched on it ages ago in our post, “Creating a link building culture”, but we thought it was high time to bring up the topic again.

First off, what is link building and why is it important?

Link building is the process of getting other websites to link back to yours. Those links are valuable because they send signals to search engines to discover your website as well as add importance to your website based on how many other websites are “talking” about yours. The more links to a website the more “authority” the search engine will give that site, and thus a higher placement in the rankings. While there is still so much more that goes into search rankings, link indicators is a big factor. It is also one of the most challenging ones to implement.
Back in the day, SEO firms would buy SAPE links or create a series of blog networks for the sole purpose of link building for their clients. Google caught on and shut that down. Hundreds upon thousands of websites lost their rankings practically overnight.  Now, the best link building strategy will seek out relevant links from important websites. What does that look like for a local business? I’m so glad you asked!

Types of links for Local Businesses

There are many types of links you can find, but again, try to find the most relevant websites to your business to build a relationship with. Because really, that’s what you are doing, building relationships.

“Obtaining valuable, future-proof backlinks requires human interaction and that means being prepared to offer something of value.” – @AndrewDennis 

From the Moz blog article, “11 Ways for Local Businesses to Get Links”, they break down the three factors you should consider when seeking out link opportunities:
  1. Links that will drive direct referral traffic
  2. Links that build visibility with your target audience for your brand
  3. Links that build your reputation
Keep these three points in mind when seeking out links.
Here are some examples of linking opportunities that may be a good fit for your business:

The media 

Is your company doing anything newsworthy? Try creating a press release and sending it out to local news papers or online publishings relevant to your industry.

Reviews from bloggers

Try to connect with the top bloggers your industry. Offer them a discount or a free product or service if they write an honest post about your company.

Sponsor a local sports team

Lots of city leagues need sponsors to help cover the cost of uniforms and supplies. Many of these organizations have websites that list their sponsoring companies. (Plus, you may even get your business name on their uniforms! How’s that for low-tech advertising?!)

Sponsor a meet up group has meet up groups for just about every interest under the sun! Sponsoring could be financial or even just offering up a location for meet ups to happen.

Donate to or sponsor a local event 

5Ks and marathons accept lots of sponsors to help pull off large scale events. Is there one that you think you’d see more of your clients at than the others? Pick that one and sponsor it!

Offer discounts to select groups

Organizations like the Vegetarians of Washington offer a membership discount program for their members. Offering a discount to groups such as this can gain you an excellent link.
Remember, asking for a link from a website is great, but think of how you are building a relationship as well as how you are providing value to the other company or website.
What are other ways you can think of to ask for links back to your website? Tell us below!