Anyone who works in search engine optimization for a living will tell you that getting high quality backlinks is probably the most challenging and time consuming part of executing an SEO strategy.

It’s really the only part of optimizing websites for search that is out of the control of an SEO specialist.

With on-page SEO you are able to fix technical issues with your website or web server, whether you’re experiencing a slow page load or you have a bunch of critical errors showing on SEO reports, all those can be fixed relatively easy. It’s the off-page SEO that can be the most frustrating and time consuming part of the job (although page speed can be annoying to fix!).

The Traditional Way to Get “High Quality” Backlinks

Capturing high quality backlinks relies on another party adding a link back to your website from their directory or website. So part of your SEO strategy is to perform link building using an outreach program that includes:

  1. Guest blog posts – asking if you can write a blog post about your topic on someone else’s blog. Problem > you need them to say “yes” and to post your article after its written (and not remove any links you’ve strategically placed in the blog post)
  2. Broken link building – You find target websites and look for broken links then reach out to inform the webmaster about the broken links AND ask for a link back to your website. PROBLEM> you need them to respond to your email and add your link to their website.
  3. Links to a local business site – again you need to add value to another local business by providing something in return for the link, such as a tool of some kind.
  4. Blog commenting – This is just annoying if it’s not relevant to the article you are commenting on.
  5. PR – Press releases are great to include links back to your website except you normally have to pay for them and you have to write the actual press release.

COVID19 to the “Backlinks for SEO” Rescue

So you might be asking how does COVID19 have anything to do with high quality backlinks from local websites?

Since the Corona virus hit and businesses closed across the country we have seen a bunch of changes with business listings. Things like “temporarily closed” or “telemedicine appointments available” have shown up on Google My Business listings. Some businesses even experienced Google’s AI automatically updating their GMB listings.

In my never ending search to find places to acquire high quality backlinks I’ve found that COVID19 and the closing of businesses has created much confusion on what and when businesses are open.

Local news sites, television, radio and even some podcasts are providing information about businesses that are open or those that are in the process of re-opening. These sites sometimes have a directory available where you can list your company information including a link back to your business.

So how do you find these sites?

Start with a Google search of course

I used the search phrase “List of businesses open + city name” in my case I searched “list of businesses open Tampa”

This took me to a results from a bunch of local news coverage and in that coverage I found one of the news websites that has a directory where you can add your business. I only checked a few before finding one accepting business listings.

high quality backlinks

The “COVID19 Open For Business” submission form I found allows you to add:

  • Business name
  • Address
  • Phone
  • Hours
  • Website
  • Location on a map
  • And business description

You may also be asked to provide your contact information so the publisher can verify you’re a real person and part of the company you are submitting.

Building backlinks for SEO is not an easy task and usually means relying on another individual that you probably do not know to do some work for you. That is a tall ask, especially considering how busy everyone is with their daily workloads. COVID19 brought us many “not so good” changes to our lives and professions, but for SEO specialists COVID19 made finding local backlinks a lot easier if you know where to look.

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