An SEO’s job can get monotonous when ideas run dry. Submit a guest post here, a press release there. Email bloggers and hope they respond. Draft up an article and try to get influencers on board. These techniques can offer reliable and sustainable results, but it’s the big ideas, the uncommon approaches, that are the real game changers.
Here are seven techniques you’ve probably never heard of before. They will bring you success if you use them wisely. Hopefully, they will also get the creative juices flowing, so that you can come up with your own uncommon techniques.
1. Free or Cheap eBooks
Have a linkbait idea you are particularly proud of, but aren’t quite sure how to reach a big enough audience? An eBook could be the solution. There’s a pretty decent amount of articles out there on how to use eBooks to monetize a site that already has exposure, but eBooks can actually be just as effective as a method of gaining exposure in the first place.
The thing to realize about marketplaces like Amazon and Barnes&Noble is that they aren’t nearly as saturated as the Google search results. Your high-traffic search term might have been eaten up by impossible competition in Google, but there might not even be a book with that particular title. Get an eBook listed in these marketplaces for a low price (or free), and make it good enough to get four- or five-star ratings, and you can expect a decent readership to develop rather quickly.
Get your website on the cover and in the pages of the book, and links will almost certainly follow.
Amazon and Barnes&Noble don’t allow you to price your book below $0.99 through their native interfaces, but if you distribute through SmashWords you can get your book listed for free if you want to.
If you don’t think you have what it takes to write an eBook, keep in mind that a free or cheap eBook could be as long as five blog posts, or even shorter, without too many complaints.
2. Hire Established Bloggers
If you think hiring an established author is outside of your budget, think again. There’s no need to put them on your payroll. Without a product of their own to sell, even somewhat high-profile bloggers aren’t exactly rolling in cash. Try reaching out to a few bloggers with a freelance opportunity and see what they’re willing to work for. You might be surprised.
It’s pretty natural for a blogger to link to an article that they wrote for you, especially if you didn’t ask them to write anything they might consider damaging to their integrity (probably best to avoid product reviews). Just doing this once in a month can be a great source of solid links from genuine influencers.
3. Interview an Influencer
You might not be able to interview Brad Pitt or the President, but if don’t think you can get an interview with somebody noteworthy, you’re selling yourself short. Heavy twitter users, book authors, and bloggers love exposure just as much as you do. Offer to interview them and many of them will respond positively.
Certainly, many of them will think your blog is below them, but many of them will not. These influencers are only promoting themselves by linking to the interview afterward, so it’s not too difficult to pull this off if you know how to ask.
4. Commission an Artist or Photographer
Once again, if you think this is outside of your budget, you are mistaken. Artists and photographers are just as hungry for freelance work as bloggers, and you can easily pay them fairly without draining your budget. There is an incredible amount of talent out there, and most of it is underpaid.
Check out Flickr and DeviantArt for talent, find the ones with a blog of their own and a decent amount of traffic, and put them to work. As with bloggers, give them work they can feel proud of, that doesn’t sacrifice their integrity. If they are proud enough of the work, it shouldn’t be too difficult to convince them to feature the work on their own blog.
5. Offer Free Work for an Influencer
Hopefully, it’s clear that you shouldn’t simply offer a product or service to an influencer and ask for a link in return. However, offering to provide them with a service that they need can be a great way to launch an online relationship that can be leveraged to build links down the road. Whatever product or service you produce, there is almost certainly a type of blogger who would be happy to receive it for free.
6. Be the First to Break a Story to an Influencer
Established bloggers and tweeters love being the first to announce a breaking story. A good way to establish a relationship with an influencer is to let them know about an important story before they say anything about it. Being in front of a good story, instead of behind it, is something that they will thank you for and remember.
Clearly, if you are sitting on insider information that people will find irresistible, you’ll probably do best by simply posting the information on your own blog and contacting your network to let them know. If, on the other hand, it’s a piece of news from an established source that simply hasn’t hit the twitter-sphere and blogosphere yet, it’s worth it to reach out to influencers with the information instead.
A good way to stay on top of information like this is to subscribe to press release sites and other “raw data” sources that report on information before it hits the New York Times or the rest of the Web.
7. Mine Quora and Yahoo Answers
Check out the top questions on Q&A sites like these and look for questions that you can answer better. Write a blog post on the subject and compile as much helpful information as you can, presenting it in a comprehensive, appealing, and easy-to-navigate format.
After posting the article, summarize your answer in a response on Quora and reference your blog post in the process. If the answer does well and is seen by enough people, it will be a steady source of traffic and links for the new article.
Innovative link building techniques may not be as predictable as tried and true methods, so they shouldn’t necessarily replace them entirely, but they are what separates you from the competition and allows your site to prosper on the Web and in the search results.
Can you think of other uncommon but powerful link building tactics? Don’t forget to pass this along if you thought it was helpful.
Subscribe to SEJ
Get our weekly newsletter from SEJ's Founder Loren Baker about the latest news in the industry!