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If Google is going to give your website a high rank, you need to convince it that your website is relevant and useful. Getting links to your site from authority websites is one of the best SEO tactics there is. But if you’re a small, local business, how can you ever hope to compete with big, national authorities in your niche, authorities that have thousands more links than you ever will? And how could you ever get a big, significant company like that you link to such a small business like yours?

Believe it or not, it’s much easier for local businesses to get authority links than you might think. If you want to build authority links for your website, you need to broaden your definition of “authority.” There are plenty of realistic opportunities for even the smallest local business to build good links.

Identify Local Authorities
To begin with, you need to identify local authority sites. Just because a website isn’t relevant to a large and widespread group of people, it doesn’t mean it’s not an authority to the people who are interested. Start off with some of the most obvious local authorities: Local newspapers, radio stations, or TV stations; local public or private schools and universities; local charities; local city websites and Chamber of Commerce websites; local business or professional organizations; and local businesses. Seek out all relevant websites, because they are excellent opportunities for your site to earn an authority link.

Searching for Authorities
Brainstorming alone isn’t likely to lead you to all of the authorities in your area, and you don’t want to miss any other important sites. Start performing targeted searches. Use keywords and phrases related to your website and add (+) qualifiers like your zip code, city name, county, or region, and see what else comes up. Try many combinations of keywords, local qualifiers, and other potential keywords like “events,” “organization,” “school,” and “blog.”

Authority Blogs
There’s a lot more to be said about that final potential keyword mentioned: blog. Blogs can be excellent authority websites if they are frequently updated with quality content, and if, most importantly, they have readers who engage, interact, share on social media, and return regularly. Whether you know about them or not, there could be some very significant bloggers in your area who focus on local issues and events. Once you’ve found them, try one of the easiest – and oftentimes most effective – methods of getting an authority link: ask for it. Local bloggers, and other local sites, may be much obliged to help out a fellow local with a link.
Local Content

If asking authority websites for a link doesn’t always work out, you can certainly earn them by making your website as valuable to the local community as possible. Begin your own blog, for example. Write content that is related to your niche, but also expand your content to include local events, news, issues, and people. With quality, local content, your website can become a local authority all on its own.

Finally, networking with fellow businesspeople and potential customers is another way to potentially score some authority links. Networking – offline, most importantly – and talking with other local business owners and professionals will give you all the traditional benefits of networking (new contacts, referrals, etc.), and it will also expand your reach in the local community so that your business and website are more likely to be included or mentioned by others.  

This article on keyword strategy and the advancement of SEO principles was prepared by Mey Lau in cooperation with SEOMap.