7 Uncommon and Powerful Link Building Techniques

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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.

Pratik Dholakiya

Pratik Dholakiya

Co-Founder at E2M
Pratik Dholakiya is the Co-Founder of E2M, a digital marketing agency and Preceptist.com, an executive branding & content marketing agency. Pratik has been featured on... Read Full Bio
Pratik Dholakiya
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  • Patrick Williams

    These are great techniques. It is important to come up with quality and fresh content. Hiring a really quality blogger to post quest posts on authoritative sites, can go along way when trying to grow your rankings.

    • Pratik Dholakiya

      Hey Patrick, I’m glad you liked all the techniques. Yes, quality blogger will also help you to get the word out for your website and grow some audience as well.

  • Luca

    Do you consider yahoo answers to be a valuable source of links?

    • Pratik Dholakiya

      In some niches yes, it is still valuable source of links, I know they would provide you nofollow backlinks but it is possible that your citation may get picked up by someone else and could get a link from a totally fresh platform. It has many benefits if done right and smartly.

  • Mick Lehr

    Interesting mix of link bait and other techniques.

    • Pratik Dholakiya

      Thanks for your comment Mick, I’m glad you liked the article.

  • Laust Kehlet

    This is really great stuff. Some of the linkbuilding and traffic techniques like Yahoo Q&A are really effective imo – both in link building terms and on traffic – especially if you are dealing with relative hard competitive keywords in extremely valuable niches with low traffic…. A lot of the others I really got to test for myself – thanks for a great blog!

    • Pratik Dholakiya

      Great, try them out and let me know if you need my help in any way.

  • CoffyGroup

    Thank you for putting this great list together, Pratik. It also helps to relearn all these and incorporate new techniques for link building. Probably another technique to explore is directory listings. You can optimize and build authorship in this effort as well as get reviews.

    • Pratik Dholakiya

      Yes that’s right. Listing your website in the business directories can also help. I’ll be writing more about it in my next post.

  • Webmark SEO

    Interesting stuff, specially the Y! Answers and Quora portion. I’ll try that approach, even though the amount of trolling going on there can be hard to deal with!

    Have you had luck getting the chance to interview an influencer? I’m not entirely sure how open they are to that, I guess I’ll also have to give it a try!

    • Pratik Dholakiya

      Yes I have been fortunate enough to interview an Influencer, I shall share that post with you very soon. It should go live in next a few days.

  • Annie

    Good trick with e-books. 2, 3 &5 are familiar.
    6. is a great idea. Now 7, Quora is new to me but Yahoo Answers can be extremely time consuming.
    My best bet is to ask my artist friend nicely and get a few good pics.

    • Webmark SEO

      I’ve been thinking of getting a good camera instead of asking friends. I’m not an artist, but I’m sure I can make some good eye-catching shots! Anything could help!

  • arun garg

    Excellent pratik, all link building tips you mention are solid legitimate techniques which people generally overlooked and just concentrate on web directories, article directories . I think the first two tips are just awesome

    • Pratik Dholakiya

      Thanks for your comment Anurag, I’m glad you liked the article. – As you said, I also see many folks continuing with general directories as well as article directories which are of no use now.

  • Seo Yönetimi

    Great unorthodox methods.Thanks Mr.Pratik Dholakiya

    • Pratik Dholakiya

      You’re welcome. Hope this will help you a bit.

  • jason

    I have not tried quora yet but will try it. Yahoo answers does prove some extra traffic.

    Thanks for the tips

    • Pratik Dholakiya

      Great, try it out and let me know how it works for you.

  • Santanu

    Superb ideas of link building. I think by commenting in dofollow blog i s also another option. Kindly correct me if I am wrong.

    • Pratik Dholakiya

      Even though if you will do commenting on dofollow blogs it will be considered as a spam if you will use keywords instead of any name. If you will do commenting using your name then i think that won’t harm you. But I can’t say that will help you a lot.

  • Susan Woodard

    Excellent article. I knew about some of these methods, but never thought about working with influencers and subscribing to press release sites. I’m going to implement some of these methods and see what happens. Thanks!

    • Pratik Dholakiya

      That’s great. Try them out and let me know how it works for you.

  • Matt @ High On SEO

    I think the key isn’t even so much that you have 5-7 new tools in the toolbox so much as when you think of new ways, create a list. Build a list of ALL the linkbuilding methods you can think of, then when you’re bored of the “same old same old” you can hit up the list for new ideas.

    (Yes, these 7 are going on my list.)

    • Pratik Dholakiya

      That’s a good idea Matt. I guess building a list of link building activities will be handy and you won’t require to think of what should be performed next when you’re stuck up with all you know at the moment when you are working. I should work on this. Thanks for the tip.

  • Zed

    Great article! Especially love the idea of having an influential person to use in content – especially interviews. A brilliant way to help endorse your company, get exclusive content and draw in traffic.

  • Vijendra

    nice post helpfull for blogger’s

  • Abigail Lim

    I would like to ask if postings in various online directories considered as undesirable, at least in the long term? Though they do bring in traffic quick enough to the main website. But will using the same web content in these online advertisement directories penalize the main website, post panda/penguin era?

  • Vincenza

    Nice article. Link building is all about creativity. I totally like number 1 and 3.

    My very first comment on SEJ, btw 🙂

  • Sef Cruz

    Because of the Google Algorithms and other unethical link building techniques of other SEO guys, the common ones that we have been practicing are no longer that effective the way as they used to be. So thinking of other strategies different from before could work but some tests may required. 🙂

    Thanks for the advice!

  • Scott

    I’m always looking for ideas on my new site and these hit the nail on the head. Another method I’m working on to build reputation and links is screencasting awesome how-to videos for topics people are searching for (mine quora as your example). Thanks for the post!

  • jitendra

    I always searched for some uncommon or unheard techniques in SEO. Finally I found something unique will be helpful for SEO campaign. I am working in SEO , now I will apply these techniques . I am totally fed up with old techniques like blog & forum commenting. So this will be ray of hope & success.

  • Anders Petersen

    I think you mentioned a lot of useful things/strategies. Though I think a theme like “local linkbuilding” should have been including. Today it is more important than ever that your backlinks are from local domains (and not somewhere in India),