Link building has changed a lot over the years. After a pretty brutal crackdown by Google related to linking practices it became clear that a new, more narrow practice was needed to continue taking advantage of this very relevant part of marketing strategy. Thankfully we still have avenues that don’t violate any terms of service, or even press the boundaries of what is and isn’t acceptable.
Acquiring local links is one fantastic way to do so. This is perfect for small businesses in particular that are wanting to increase their visibility on both a local and more expanded scale. But how do you do that? Here are nine ways.
Invite a Community Writer
In any city there will be local, independent publications that are aimed at the local community. They do editorials, comment on city news and do reviews. It is the last that you want to go for. Invite one of the review writers from these publications out for a sample of what you have to offer, on the house. If you are a restaurant for example offer them a comped meal for them and a guest. If you sell a product offer one to them for free.
If you own a retail store ask them to come by and check it out and offer them a free item of their choice to test the wares. Generally these publications are both online and in print, so you will be getting the word out along with a followable link from the digital source.
Sponsor a Local Podcast
Podcasts are becoming more popular than ever, and often locals will have their own. You can get in on the fun by sponsoring them. If you don’t have enough money for a sponsorship, try something a little more simple. Give them some free goods.
Send over some food from your kitchens. Give them some discounts or free items. Ask them to try your service. You will get a link on their website, a mention on any social media, and perhaps a vocal mention on their show. Here are lots of local podcasts to get an idea.
Get Listed in High-Quality Local Directories
And I don’t mean in thosounds of them. Local directories are still being used by people trying to discover more places to visit and more companies to check out. To evaluate if being listed is worth it, check the directories traffic. If your links are going to be clicked, these are good links. A couple of examples:
Here are more worthy directories listed here.
Write For Locals, But Aim For National Attention
Local pieces are picked up by national news agencies all the time. They are originally meant for these small communities, but others outside of it take interest because of the issues that arise as a result.
This is often referred to as "controversy baiting", as the easiest way is to use controversy to get a large local paper’s eye, where it then moves onto a national publication. This is done more readily with online posts, as there isn’t as much of a space consideration that makes human interest stories easy to cut.
Download a checklist here to get your local blog popular within your area and beyond.
Create Some Videos
There was a local pizza parlour that was trying to attract more attention, as they were in a strip mall with no visibility to the busy street in front of it and had a limited ad budget. Their solution was to create a video campaign for YouTube and their social media pages.
They told local high schoolers that they could get a free pizza for shooting and uploading a silly video with a link back to their website. It was a massive success, led to thousands of new social media likes and a ton of links that brought direct traffic.
Win a Local Contest
The Chamber of Commerce does annual contests in a number of categories open only to local businesses. Some local papers, television stations and blogs also have these competitions.
You can do a seach and find anything that is nearby that you can nominate your business for. Winning one of these contests is great for high quality links from authoritative sources.
Offer Your Business as a Meetup Space
Have you ever heard of Meetup.com? It is a very popular meetup website that allows people to create their own groups and host get-togethers in any possible category.
You can go through and find meetups already established and offer your business as a place where they can have these meetups. It is a great way to get people into your shop and also gives links through Meetup and social media.
Host Weekly Events
You don’t have to house other people’s events. You can create your own. A nearby cafe has several events every week that caters to its main audience (those involved in the geek subculture).
Holding your own events is great for posting on Meetup.com, CraigsList, social media sites and newspaper boards where others are looking for something to do.
Get Local Influencer Aware Of Your Brand
There are plenty of influencers who are around you. They have highly active social media pages, regularly comment on Yelp and other review sites and have blogs. You can get in touch with them and build a relationship, letting them promote the brand for you.
Do you have any other ideas on how you can build links as a local business? Let us know in the comments!