5 Sources of Links for Local Businesses

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Need more tightly relevant links? Go local! Here are 5 tips for you to get inspired!

1. College Websites

Many college’s are looking local businesses to work with students in order to give them “real life experience”. When I was in school, I had the opportunity to work with several local businesses and do a variety of marketing projects for them. These companies were featured on the marketing department’s website and received links from the school.

Local links

Between college department websites and professor’s websites on the college’s domain, you should be able to get a few good links from working on projects with college students. It may be worth keeping in mind that most colleges give students the opportunity to create their own website on the school’s domain – You may want to look into doing something like have students beta test a new badge or widget as part of your project.

2. Sponsoring Events and Charities

I think just about all of the local businesses that I have worked with give back to their community in some way. Usually this is by sponsoring local events or charities.

Some examples of ways that these companies have given back to the community are supporting:

  • High school athletics
  • School fundraisers/auctions
  • Local activism groups
  • Non Profits

While they have supported these events or groups and were listed on the organization’s website, it wasn’t uncommon to find that the mention of the site didn’t link to the site.

PRO Tip:

Many sites will put up your image, make sure you get a link by sending over a snippet of HTML code instead of an image for them to upload. An added benefit is that you can give yourself good alt text.

3. Bartering

It seems like a lot of local businesses are willing to barter. If you are going to barter, do a little bit of research to see what kind of web presence the other person’s company has. If the person you are trading with has a site where they list partners or other local businesses, make getting a link from their site part of your trade.


4. Local Directories and Organizations

While people might say directories are dead, local directories can still add value to a local business’ SEO efforts. Not only do these tend to help out quite a bit but usually there are a lot of different local directories for you to submit to. A good example of this is the Seattle restaurant directory at  Seattle Dining. To find local directories, try searching for your city name + the kind of business you operate + directory.

Additionally, there are a lot of local activity groups, that link to related businesses. A really good example of this are cycling groups – they tend to link to not only their supports but also local bike shops.

In some cases these resource pages were created before some of the businesses had websites so there are mentions of your business but they aren’t linked to while their competitors or other local businesses are.

Find more links by looking for other sites that mention your company but don’t link to you (such as reviews or blog entries) by searching for your company name in quotes.

5. Local Newspapers

You are going to have a much easier time getting links from local newspapers compared to getting a link from the New York Times. In fact, many local newspapers regularly link out to the companies mentioned in their articles.

Get press coverage in these local papers (and a link) by reaching out to a reporter that covers related events when you are doing something special like a demo day or have a community outreach event.

Geoff Kenyon
Geoff Kenyon is a veteran online marketer and focuses on driving traffic to increase revenue and grow businesses. With experience in-house and agency side, he... Read Full Bio
Geoff Kenyon
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  • James

     Great ideas. I already try to get links from local sites and directories, but local newspaper sites – that hadn’t come to my mind. Thanks for giving me the idea.

    • Bill Gaines

      James, I know exactly what you mean.  The local newspaper could be a key unexplored niche, and one that small businesses really need to put a lot more time and effort into exploring.  Thanks for the great article Geoff.

    • SEO Bolton

      As a noob to seo this has been a really helpful article.


  • David Burdon


    you’re right to bring attention to this area. For every business with a national catchment there are dozens that operate within a local catchment only. They forget how much business that’s almost on their front door. In this particular case links may also help to build better better relationships with commercial neighbours.

  • John Conner

    We offer group travel planners a chance to book their event online. Once they book it, we provide an online reservation link to our site. We ask the client to post the link on their website so their people can book directly. Not only does the process make it easier on the client, it also gets us a link…

  • Linkbuildr

    I know this sometimes makes me sound crazy, but I still see relevant local link exchanges working quite well across the board. Mixing in a dozen on a really content heavy local resource page seems to do alright. Just don’t target anchor text and make it useful!

  • SEO Best Tips

    Local sites and search engine business ads are great, Google places and such are mandatory.  I’m going to take a more detailed look at what my local newspapers can provide, I have used them before for a local sales company.  But not for links,,yet..

  • Gwyneth Hanssen

    Well local directories are great but your listing can take a month before getting approved unless you’re willing to pay for some amount. In addition, I’ve done this before, targeting local bloggers and email them for link exchange may also help.

  • Wyatt Fisk

    Interesting opportunities here… I will definitely have to look into the “marketing” departments at some of my local universities, CCs, and trade schools! We’ve posted job listings on school job boards before but have not been super lucky getting links from such places – just good interns! 🙂 Thanks for the tips and ideas –

  • Newyork web design usa

    Getting business through 5 sources of links for local businesses must be great and usable.

  • eurostar deals

    Interesting  Information for Generating Qualitative Links!! Local Listing is quite useful approach for getting some quality traffic from these sites!!

  • Blog Services

    The sources that are on the list are good basis for any local business. Much better if they are also related to your niche.

    • SEO Bolton

      That links very useful for local comments.

  • Anonymous

    Really like the local college idea!