5 Link-building tips for local businesses

An increasing number of local business owners understand that they need search engine optimization (SEO) to succeed online. And it doesn’t take much research about SEO to figure out that the success of any SEO campaign depends upon its link-building strategy.

The challenge of link-building is that it is a long-term process that requires both manpower and financial resources. Since most small, local businesses have limited marketing budgets, they must develop ongoing link-building campaigns that require a minimal investment. Here are 5 link-building tips that small, local businesses can use to propel their websites to the top of the search engines.

1. Get Listed in local directories

Although directory links are nowhere near as valuable as they used to be in SEO, they still dominate local rankings. The first place to start looking for links is on local directories. To find these local directories, search for your city’s name plus terms like “business directory,” “web directory,” and “local business links.” Big-name local business directories where you can have your business listed include Yelp, Google Places, YellowPages.com, and MerchantCircle. Other websites where you can get your company’s site listed include the local Chamber of Commerce website, business association websites, and company directories, like Manta.com.

2. Offer Online Coupons

Offer online coupons on local deals websites, so you can get featured on those sites and generate tons of traffic and links. In addition to getting a link from the deals site, you’re also likely to attract links from users of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, which will give your site even more link juice.

3. Distribute Online Press Releases

Whenever anything press-worthy is going on in your business, such as the launch of new products and services, a new hire, or a big project, announce the news to the local company by writing and distributing a press release. Email the press release to local media outlets and groups who might be interested in the news, so you can earn additional links.

4. Submit Content to Local and National Blogs

Find relevant blogs at both the local and national level and submit guest posts to them that include a link back to your website. Your time may be better spent writing and submitting content to other blogs rather than maintaining your own blog because of the valuable links you can build doing the former.

5. Organize Contests

Organize a contest with a prize for the winner at least once a year, so you can spread the word about your business and attract a slew of links from bloggers and social media users. Don’t give a prize away that’s irrelevant to your business, however. For the best results, give away your own products or services as prizes, so you aren’t just attracting freebie-seekers who have absolutely no interest in your business.

The effort you put into link-building will pay off in a big way, but it could take as long as 6-12 months to see the fruits of your labor. As long as you set some time aside each month to write, network, distribute content, and strategize, your site is sure to accumulate valuable links and achieve greater search engine visibility.

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