Are you tired of building links the old school way? You know, the methods that require you to send out emails to thousands of webmasters begging for links. Don’t get me wrong, they still work well, but they get boring after a while.
So what other ways can you build links?
Well, there are a handful of creative strategies out there. Here are 11 fun ways you can build links without burning yourself out :
Strategy #1: April fools
April fools is coming up soon, so why don’t you leverage it to build links. You shouldn’t do an April fools joke that’s obvious, instead you should take a page out of TechCrunch’s book and follow their strategy.
They wrote a blog post on March 31st a few years ago on Richard Rosenblatt’s yacht, which was called “The AdSense”. A lot of people believed the post was real and over 600 people tweeted about it and some even linked to it.
The key to creating a good April fools joke is to make it realistic. Do something the day before April 1st and go above and beyond to make it seem realistic. TechCrunch got Rosenblatt to record his voice talking about the post, which made it seem more realistic.
If you want your April fools idea to build links, it has to be good. You can’t do something mediocre.
Strategy #2: Interview experts
One of the easiest ways to build links is to interview experts. If you email someone on how great they are and how you want to interview them, it’s rare that they will say no.
I myself get asked to do around 4 interviews each week and I never say no. I’ve also emailed dozens of other people to interview them and it’s also rare that they say no… this even worked when my blog wasn’t popular.
So how do you build links when you interview an expert? Well most experts have a website, so once you interview them you can ask them to share it with their readers or even tweet and post it on Facebook.
I’ve found that over 90% of the time people will at least share the interview on Twitter and Facebook and over 40% of the time people will link to it from their website. One trick to boosting your link percentage chance is to look and see if people have a press page before you ask them for an interview. If they have one, the chance of them linking to your interview is over 95%.
Strategy #3: Infographics
This is my favorite method of building links, as I love making complex data easy to understand. Mint used this strategy heavily in their early days, in which they made complex financial data easy to understand through beautiful graphics.
So what’s the key to generating links from your infographics? Well you first need to have an embed code at the bottom of each infographic so people can link back and secondly you should follow the promotion strategies in this blog post.
Strategy #4: Quizzes
You may know Matt Inman as the guy behind the Oatmeal, but most of us SEOs know him as the master of quizzes. He got his start at SEOmoz in the early days and then the started getting into link creation through linkbait.
He ranked Mingle2 for all of the online dating terms by creating viral quizzes such as: how many 5 year olds can you take in a fight. He then took that same strategy and got a payday loan site ranked for all of the payday loan related keywords.
Matt currently has quizzes on The Oatmeal and you should consider replicating the strategy if you want to build thousand of links. Just be careful as both his dating site and payday loan site got dinged by Google, but you shouldn’t have that problem if you follow these rules though:
- The quiz needs to be related to your website – don’t try to create a quiz about fighting 5 year olds if you run a dating website.
- Don’t use rich anchor text – at the end of each quiz is an embeddable badge that shows off your score, that badge shouldn’t contain rich anchor text. The anchor text should be the name of the quiz.
- Link to your quiz page – don’t have the badges link to your homepage, they should link back to the quiz.
Strategy #5: Personalized videos
Do you remember Elf Yourself? JibJab created that campaign for OfficeMax and hundreds of thousands of people Elf’d themselves. In which they uploaded a picture of their face and JibJab created an Elf video out of it.
At the end of the video, you were given a link that you can share with others or post on your blog.
According to Open Site Explorer, Elf Yourself has over 10,000 links. Not too shabby for a Christmas promotional video.
If you can come up with a creative video concept that allows people to personalize the video, you can leverage it to build links. People love sharing funny personalized videos.
Strategy #6: Sponsor an event
One of the simplest ways to build links is to sponsor an event. Conference sites list out each and every single sponsor and in most cases they link back to their sponsors.
This may not seem like a fun idea or creative link building strategy, but just think about this… you’ll be able to go to the conference.
If you work in the corporate world you may get a bit tired of working in the office, so it will be a nice for you to get a break by attending a conference. Plus, you’ll get a link out of it.
When getting links from conference sites, keep in mind that they maybe taken down in the future, which means you will have to continue to sponsor the event each year. The cost can quickly add up if you are a small company, but it’s fun to go to conferences.
Strategy #7: Sponsor a non-profit
I love the non-profit world because it’s a great way for you to give back to the rest of the world. If you sponsor a non-profit in many cases you can get a link back.
When I used to own KISSinsights we used to give away our product for free to non-profits and they would link back to us. We came up with this concept when a non-profit asked us for a free account in exchange for press on their blog.
The beautiful part about this strategy is that it doesn’t require an exchange of cash. You can volunteer your time, your products, or even services for a link. Whatever it maybe, I’ve found that non-profits are open to almost anything as they don’t have a big spending budget.
Strategy #8: Take some pictures
There are always people looking for images, especially high quality stock photography images. I myself don’t mind paying for images, but it can get expensive really fast.
If you have a really good digital camera, such as an SLR, you can go out there and take high quality photos of anything related to your industry. Then pop them up on a page on your website and let people know that they are royalty free images. Just make it a requirement that people need to link back to you if they decide to use any of your images.
The cool part about this strategy is that you are going to get highly relevant links, as people in your industry are most likely to use them.
Strategy #9: Scholarships
Ross Hudgens is an SEO that’s known for building tons of high quality EDU links. And he is doing so without spending much money… so how does he do it?
Well he creates scholarships related to your company. It’s a great way for you to give back and get links at the same time. For example, if you are a marketing agency, you could create a digital marketing scholarship in which you give 1 student $1000 a year.
Once Ross creates the scholarship, such as a marketing one, he would notify all colleges that have a marketing department about the scholarship. The end result is hundreds of EDU links as colleges will put it on their website to notify students.
The one thing you have to do if you want to create a scholarship is make it a “real one”. SEOs are trying to create them just to build links. Make sure it is legitimate; you have to give money away each year, and if possible try to help the winner of the scholarship out. For example, if I created a marketing scholarship, I would give away money and even provide the winner with a paid internship.
Strategy #10: Get press
The side effect of getting press is that you’ll build more links to your website. It’s rare that a site like Forbes would write about your company and then not link to it.
That’s just not user friendly, which is why reporters always link to you when they cover you or your company. If you want to build links, why not get press for your business or your entrepreneurial success?
I myself just hire PR agencies like PRserve in which they run a pay per performance model. If they get you press, you pay. If not, you don’t pay a dime.
Strategy #11: Give away swag
Some people love free stuff. It doesn’t matter if it is expensive or cheap stuff, people love getting gifts. One person who talks about all of the free stuff he gets is Shoemoney.
Every Friday he takes a picture of him wearing a new t-shirt that someone gave him. He then blogs about the shirt and links back to the company who gave him the shirt.
Get creative and start giving bloggers swag. From shirts to hats, to items, to anything else that is related to your brand, just start giving things away. Not only will bloggers love you, but they will start blogging about your company and linking back to your website.
The possibilities of link building are endless. You can build links in many different ways, you just have to be creative. What I’ve learned over the years is the best link builders are the creative ones.
Just look at Matt Inman, no one would have thought that he would rank a site for online dating, but he was able to do it in a matter of months because of how he built links.
All you have to do is think outside the box as the list above is just scrapping the surface. What other creative ways are you building links?