Link building, backlinking, or harvesting inbound links is an SEO practice where you harvest links from influential websites back to your small business website. The link to your site from that external website is called a backlink. According to the digital marketing experts at MOZ, “Backlinks are especially valuable for SEO because they represent a ‘vote of confidence’ from one site to another.”
When another website backlinks to your company website, this tells search engines like Google that they vouch for your content. Therefore, if a number of other websites link to your website, or especially to specific content pages, Google judges your content as worthwhile and ranks it accordingly. Therefore, link building is a worthwhile practice of off-site SEO, especially for small businesses.
Here are a few link building practices that work well for small businesses.

Support Local Organizations

Community sponsorships are great ways to connect with local organizations and earn links to your company website. Research what organizations exist in your area that relate to your industry in some way. Do they host fundraising events? Are their major industry leaders in the area that support charitable events? Support some of these events and earn links in exchange for your support.
Also think about supporting local schools and universities. Any group or organization that needs sponsors is a potential backlink candidate. Support things that your customers care about, and things that align with your company values.

Connect with Local Influencers

There are likely some influencers in your local area who write or podcast about topics relevant to consumers. Their following expects them to provide constant content. Help them find helpful content that is relevant to their audience and related to your industry. Simply sending them ideas isn’t enough, however. You need to build a relationship first.
Follow these local influencers on social media and subscribe to their blog, broadcast, or podcast. Comment on and share their pieces when you find them interesting, especially when it relates to your industry. Seek to build a genuine relationship. Over time, this can translate into natural mentions in their work.
Pay attention to what they write about, and discover an area where it would make sense for them to include you. If your industry is finance, propose sharing with them your company’s top tips for getting a tax refund or finding tax breaks. The key is to share something of real value for their audience. Help them share value, and they’ll want to help you with a backlink to your website.

Fund a Scholarship

College or high school sponsorships are an excellent way to earn quality .edu backlinks. The idea is to create a scholarship for college or high school students that is relevant to your small business. If your industry is advertising/marketing, ask students to write an essay response hypothesizing the future of advertising. Then, connect with the financial aid offices at local schools and ask them to share it with their students.
Of course, this will cost some capital, but it’s a great way to help students while link building with quality educational institutions. I recommend choosing a local school with a major department relating to your industry for the best results. After choosing the winner, run a press release for additional coverage and potential backlinks.

Claim Unlinked Mentions

This link building tactic is simple. It may surprise you to learn how often your small business is mentioned online, but without a corresponding link. Find out by setting up a free Google Alert for brand name and Internet domain name. You may also want to set up an alert for your name.
Whenever a website mentions you without including a link, reach out. This is a friendly audience who already thought you were worth mentioning to their followers. It’s only natural for them to include a link to your site, so their readers can learn more about you.
What are some other ways you have gone about link building for your small business? Share your successful methods in the comments below for the benefit of our readers!

About the Author: Donna Amos

I believe you can achieve anything you truly want to achieve. “It might sound trite, but time and time again, I’ve seen it happen with my clients. They overcome the fear of exposing themselves to the possibility of failure to creating profitable exciting businesses. My clients do great work, and sometimes it only takes someone else believing in them to give them the confidence to step out and take the chance.”