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5 Creative Link Building Techniques

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5 Creative Link Building Techniques

We can’t compare link building to Michaelangelo’s “The creation of Adam” painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, but in the right hand and with the right information, it can become an art. You’ve searched for link types and link building techniques and you keep stumbling over the same keywords “web directories”, “guest blogging” or the vague concept of creating “engaging content”.

There are a lot of bystanders in this niche, who are fine with their plain old strategies of obtaining links because they work. But because you’re not the type of person who believes in the expression “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it”, and because you’re always striving to be the best, you’re always on the look out for creative and functional ways to get links. This list of link types was written for you!

1. Ego Baiting

This is one you should tread lightly on, but if you’re new in the industry and you want to enter in conversation with influencers, one great way would be to appeal to their ego one way or another ( fluff it or threaten it ). It’s not an approach for everybody, as it requires a certain delicacy when dealing with other people’s ego, so you’ll need to be very subtle.

Ego BaitingPhoto credit

While you can probably already see the benefits, I’m going to break it down so you’ll better understand how you could benefit from ego baiting:

  • It gets you seen. As I’ve already mentioned, it’s pretty hard to get known in a certain line of business and it’s even harder to network and create relationships. This is a great way to get under the skin of influencers and connect with a lot of people interested in the same domain.
  • The content created by you has a bigger reach. Once you get to reach influencers and get them involved, there may be a snowball effect on the articles that you write. On their own, articles may get lots of shares and coverage on the internet, if they are interesting and useful. By using ego bait, you’re going to increase the reach just because the ones that had their ego stroked will make their best to spread the content in which they were involved.

But again: Be careful! This tactic can backfire if not done carefully.

So how can one try to ego bait influencers to get involved?

Create articles in which you write about the top performers in your domain with links pointing to their sites. It’s a very magnetic ego bait, as people tend to pay attention to mentions and may comment on your article or refer your article on social networks. This strategy is one of the classic ways to ego bait.

Another strategy would be to look for a lot of known people from your area of interest and try to get them involved into writing their opinions on a matter. Your job would be to tend pull everything together, and you end up with a team effort in promoting the article.

One small but very important and effective fact would be to mention people directly in comments or articles. As specific as possible, the better. Instead of “I liked how the dude from X writes stuff” you could formulate it like “I like how Brian from X spoke about X topic.”

2. Refurbishing Infographics Tactic

The fact that something isn’t created by you doesn’t mean you can’t use it to build something better, as long as you add value and it’s relevant to the viewers. On a similar note, you can use old and outdated infographics to your advantage. Search for quality infographics created for your niche and use that structure to re-create them, but with updated information.

The sites that formerly linked to the old infographic should be contacted and informed of the improved content, which gives you the opportunity for you to ask if they are interested in updating their link to point to the new one.

To find the sites that link to those infographics, you should use of a reputable backlink checker to extract all the referring domains that are pointing to it.

Backlink Check for InfographicScreenshot taken 22/03/2014 of (I am the founder of cognitiveSEO)

As we’ve seen lately, any visual content created, and especially infographics, are enjoying a lot of attention. With this form of creative link development you’ll get a lot of links easily by leveraging other successful campaigns that worked for others in your niche.

3. Outdated Content

Outdated Content

The expression “another man’s junk is another man’s treasure” is very real in this context. For those webmasters who are smart, links that point to inactive or deleted pages are a treasure chest. You can identify outdated content in your niche and build similar or better content on your site. Next, you should contact the site owner and ask him if he would be interested in redirecting the link to your page, which has the same content (but better and actively maintained). Don’t focus too much on those pages that only have a few links. The more backlinks it has, your chances at being successful are going to grow.

4. Answer Questions Online

All businesses need to build customer personas. Understand your customers and see where they are hanging out online. They will surely “gather” in groups in forums and blogs. You should track these sites and help out by answering questions and honestly trying to be helpful without being spammy or salesy. Your time investment will pay off when you become an authority on those sites and people know you (and hopefully occasionally start linking to your site that has additional useful content).

5. Refresh Competitor Evergreen Content

The word evergreen was mainly popularized by editors to explain the concept of stories or articles that were constantly of interest to the readers. But the evergreen concept exists in every domain, for example look at the “Queen – The show must go on” song in the music industry. That song is perpetually relevant to people.

In order to create evergreen content for your niche, you should search for this type of content and identify, for example, guides that were already built and are successful ( maybe have links ) and build better guides both visually and informative.  The purpose of this kind of content is audiences can use it for large periods of time. But as years pass by, the content inevitably becomes less and less relevant, even though it’s still gaining readers’ attention.

These types of articles should have natural traction, but you can also ask people linking to the other guides to link to you, as your content is better and fresher. This way you get more links and traction and you get to provide the community great content.

Never stop looking for more!

Curiosity can fuel a lot of powerful link building strategies. You may never know what will work and you should never rely on your already known techniques. One of the worst things you can do is to enter in the comfort zone – the search engines are always evolving and adapting.

Link building may seem a very straightforward process, but with a little creativity you can become very innovative with your strategies. First, start with the information you’ve read in this article and try implementing these five link types. As you get more comfortable creating links you may start to search for even more creative ways to increase the number of incoming visitors and the site’s ranking in search engines.

Have you thought of a creative way to obtain links lately ?


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Razvan Gavrilas

Razvan is the Founder and Chief Architect of cognitiveSEO, an SEO Toolset focused on in-depth analysis of ranking signals. His ... [Read full bio]

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