How To Build SEO BackLinks For Small, Local Businesses

How To Build SEO BackLinks For Small, Local Businesses

Here’s one of my biggest pieces of advice for small business owners doing their own marketing: learn local link building.

And, I’ll be honest, I often get groans at that.

I can’t blame them, though. I know it sounds like link building for local SEO is this big, abstract thing, is hard to do, and is not something you want to spend your Friday morning working on.

But just trust me. There’s a reason nearly 50% of SEOers spent more than 25% of their marketing budgets on building links in 2016: it works.

What Is Link Building?

The first part of tackling the giant is peeking behind the intimidating exterior and taking it for what it is. Let’s tackle link building first by getting on the same page about exactly what we’re talking about here. says it perfectly:

Link building is the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own.”

Which means if you didn’t create the link yourself on your own website—if you had a friend from another website put a link to your website on one of their own web pages—at its purest form, that’s link building.

It’s really that simple. It’s not necessarily always easy to do, but it is simple.

Why Link Building for Small Business?

Basically, having lots of inbound links to your website from other websites bodes well for your search engine rankings. Any link in any other place other than your own website that points back to your site is just good for business.

Truth is, link building for small business has been a huge factor in the SEO world for over 10 years now and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Search engines love sites with lots of inbound links because it shows the site has authority around the web.

And since search engines love backlinks (or “inbound links”, which are the result of link building), we have to learn to love them too.

6 Simple Link Building Techniques For Small Business

The great news for beginners in local link building is that there are a jillion tactics out there for you to choose from, ranging from basic to extremely expert-level-back-linker complicated. We’re going to dive in to the worst and most intimidating first.

Just kidding, that’d be awful. Let’s start with 6 simple ways you can start building links yourself this week. No sobbing in frustration necessary.

Local Partnerships

Forming a local partnership for link building is essentially like saying, “Hey, neighbor. Did you know backlinks are a thing? How about you build some of my links into your site and I’ll build some of your links into mine.”

And you both win. (Which is why I don’t recommend trying this with direct competitors—best to stick with relevant businesses that aren’t trying to rank higher than you in the same SERPs.)

There are genuine and classy ways to do this, like:

  • Becoming a recommended resource for a local business
    • e. If you’re a local home builder, you can partner up with a local paint company and recommend each other’s services
Food and Beverage Connections SEO

The Food and Beverage Connections site gets super generous with backlinking by having a whole section on recommended partners.

  • Trade blog posts writing gigs with a local business
    • so you’ll both have an opportunity to write something in a new venue that’ll send readers back to your own website
    • which is technically guest posting, and we’ll get more into that below
  • Trade testimonials with business partners and make sure the testimonial gets a link back to your site
    • did you get contract work done recently by a local business?
    • have you ever used caterers/photographers?
    • what about your landlord, janitorial/landscaping staff, or suppliers?
    • get in touch with these folks and leave reviews of their services

My favorite thing about this one: it’s essentially local networking in disguise.

Local Scholarships & Discounts

Get involved with the community by dishing out some dough for good causes.

Find out if there are any local bargain curating publications/websites and ask the publisher to feature your discount to its readers.

That’s one site (or a handful of sites) down. Where else can we spread the word about these discounts and sales?

If it’s a student or alumni discount, try .edu sites. If it’s a military discount, try .gov sites. Get in touch with these webmasters and let them know you’ve got a bargain their readers should know about.

Same goes for scholarships—if you can shell out even a couple hundred dollars for local young adults and their education, do it. Local news about the scholarship and links to the scholarship application means loads and loads of backlinks.

Scholarship SEO Link Building

There are tons of websites like these that collect scholarship info for students. The more you can submit your scholarship to, the better.

Event Sponsorships

Kind of like the discount and scholarship thing, only what we’re promoting here is an actual event.

How about a 5k? Or a free class? You don’t even have to throw your own event—you can volunteer to help at someone else’s. As long as you get a link on the event’s webpage and links on local news sites, you’re golden.

Contests & Giveaways

Though it doesn’t have to be anything huge and expensive, the bigger and more exciting the prize, the better.

Host a contest or giveaway and incentivize social shares by giving users one contest entry per share. Marketing app Gleam makes this super easy.

Gleam Contest For SEO

Here’s a Gleam demo giveaway. You get to choose what incentives you’ll offer in exchange for raffle entries, so be sure to include lots of options that’ll result in backlinks.

Let local news outlets know about your contest or giveaway and encourage shares by participants and you’ll got tons of backlinks and buzz in the process.

Content Creation

Content marketing is just overall good marketing practice, but it’s also a huge deal for link building.

Here’s how it works. You create content, say, a blog post on the top 5 local attractions in your city. Write a genuinely helpful resource like this that people will use and share and you’ve got backlinks from readers spreading the word on your post.

That’s just one example of the kind of content you can offer—a balanced mixture of local-specific content and industry-related content is ideal. And if you can also score guest posting gigs on other people’s sites writing the same kind of content? Even better.

Not sure what to write about or where to even begin finding blog post ideas? Try the skyscraper technique.

SEO Writer Connecticut

Here’s what my byline on my blog post for looks like. See the link that says “Web Services CT”, which directs readers to my own SEO consulting site? Backlink gold.

Newsworthy Buzz

Are you the first business in your town to use a certain marketing technique? Or do you have a hot take on a local issue, or something you’d like to help spread awareness about? Has your company help changed the life of a local for the better?

Coming at your business from a newsworthy angle is a bit more advanced—but very lucrative—link building tactic. Find out what’s going on in your community right now and brainstorm how you can help, participate, or stand out.

What’s your company’s role in this issue or event? That’s where you’ll find your link building gold—getting online news outlets to pick up your story because it tells an actual story and isn’t just an advertisement.

Link Building Isn’t Going Anywhere

Link building for local SEO still is—and might very well always be—a key piece in effective SEO campaigning. It takes time, yes. And it is work, for sure.

But the great thing about link building? Compounded returns. Most of the time, backlinks are permanent, so the more you accumulate, the better return you’ll get in the form of search engine rankings over time.

So start now. Just start somewhere. Pick any one of these 6 strategies and build them into your schedule this week. The SERPs will reward you for it.

About Tim Dugan

Detail-oriented and self-motivated Digital Marketing Specialist with a vast array of SEO and Digital/Internet Marketing experience. I have a genuine passion and personal goal to assist each and every client I work with by creating a significant web presence and ultimately, increasing sales. I understand that Digital Marketing, specifically Search Engine Optimization, is an ever-changing environment and in order to be successful one must stay abreast on the latest search engine trends. Implementing a properly calibrated and effective Digital Marketing campaign can transform one’s bottom line tremendously.


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