7 Advanced Link Building Strategies for a Competitive Edge

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We all know it’s not worth our time to build sub-par links anymore. It’s time to get innovative with our link building tactics. We previously shared a few lesser-known link building techniques and post panda/penguin era link acquisition strategies here, but we are of the opinion that you can’t have too many.

Advance linking

So, here are a few more techniques that will help you push the envelope and approach link building with the mindset of a serious marketer:

1. Coin a Phrase and Set Up Alerts

The idea behind this strategy is to invent a new buzzword, try and get it to catch on, and then capture links as a result. Since not everybody who uses the phrase is going to send a link your way, you can set up Google Alerts to capture mentions of the phrase. If it’s clear front context that they’re talking about the buzzword you coined, this can be a great opportunity to build a link.

Now, if your site doesn’t quite have the exposure to get a buzzword out there, this might seem like a pointless exercise in futility. However, all it takes is $50 to get your article in front of 1,000 people on StumbleUpon.

If your campaign is targeted toward the right people, and the phrase is catchy enough, this could well be enough to start getting the phrase in use by many in the online community.

2. Produce a Resource and Set Up Alerts

Similarly, you can put together a video, white paper, or infographic, set up Google Alerts on the topic, and start contacting people. Any time a question about the topic comes up online, this is an opportunity to answer their question with a link to your resource. This is a great option because the answer is completely on-topic.

If you use this tactic, be sure to be as helpful as possible. The resource itself should be tremendously helpful, of course, but if it doesn’t answer every aspect of the question, make sure you address those directly in your comments, emails, etc. Don’t make it feel like a sales pitch, offer a genuinely useful answer.

3. Update Somebody Else’s Content

You know those pieces of content that seem to just keep on giving? This is the content that you want to keep investing in with updates, corrections, etc. to keep it relevant. It’s common practice to revisit your best content, keep promoting it, and keep improving it.

But fixing up your old content can be also be a chore, and that’s where you come in. Instead of submitting a guest post, why not contact a blogger with an interesting fact or update that will help keep one of their top posts fresh and interesting?

Try doing a search for some of the more broad terms related to your keywords, and visiting some of the blog posts you come across. Focus on the ones that already seem to have massive appeal. Read through, and catch yourself if you start thinking this reminds me of…

As soon as that happens, get in touch and let them in a surprising piece of information that’s relevant to the article. This can be a great opportunity to earn a link.

4. Customize a Widget

You might not be a coding master with the ability to put together a master widget that everybody’s going to want to download. However, odds are pretty good you have the coding or design skills necessary to customize a widget so that it fits a site’s branding and appearance.

Try seeking out blogs in your niche, or peripheral niches, that use widgets you recognize. Give the widget a tweak so that it fits the site better, place a link, and offer the new take on the widget to the blogger. This is especially powerful for popular blogging topics that aren’t centered around the tech industry.

That said, be ethical, and make sure the blogger is aware of the link back to your site. There’s no reason to hide this. As long as you understand how to work with people amicably it shouldn’t be a problem.

5. Buy Display Ads

Carson Ward from Distilled recently ran an experiment where the purchased ads as a method of building links. He discovered that, by far, the most effective ads were display ads. (AdWords ads, on the other hand, were the worst.)

With display ads, it’s possible to target sites where bloggers and site owners are most likely to lurk. This way, you can put your site in front of the audience that has the most impact on links and online influence. You only need to pay when the visitors actually click on the ads, and each visit from this type of visitor is much more likely to result in a link than a visit from the search engines.

Many SEOs are averse to spending money on ads because they generally only produce short term benefits, but if you can use ads to build links this objection doesn’t make sense anymore. The only question you should be asking is whether your time is better invested in paying for ads or outreach (or some combination of both).

6. Work with Experts

There’s no reason to produce content in a vacuum. In fact, most of the best content is the result of collaboration. Involve experts in the creation, fact-checking, and refinement of your content before it goes live. The more experts you work with, the more opportunities you have for additional links.

Don’t try to scale this too much. The more people you try to involve, the less commitment you can get from each of them, especially if you are automating your outreach. Instead, customize your outreach emails and be clear about why you are contacting them. Don’t ask for too much from them, and make it clear that they will be getting something out of the exchange as well.

7. Get In Business Directories

Most “link” directories are useless (though exceptions like DMOZ and AllTop are worth your time). However, getting added to relevant business directories is certainly a worthwhile effort, since these links are from reputable organizations and are a good sign of trust. These kinds of links can come from:

  • The Better Business Bureau
  • The Chamber of Commerce
  • Your local library
  • Other relevant city and state government resources
  • Accrediting organizations
  • Business memberships

Focus on links from reputable business lists that people actually use and care about. Avoid directories that exist simply to provide links for search engine authority, since these are the least likely to offer any real search engine authority.

Can you think of additional alternatives? If you can, pass them along, and if you liked this, be sure to pass it along as well.

Photo credits: Chromosome Linkages – courtesy © Guido Vrola – Fotolia.com

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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  • Hi Pratik,

    Like your previous articles, this is also awesome . It shows that you know what will work for link building in future !

  • Carson Ward

    Hi Pratik,

    I just want to point out that my little test study had a few limitations. Mostly, I was running the test all to the same page at the same time – it’s impossible for me to know where linkers found my page. I reached out to them to learn more, but the response/remembrance rate wasn’t great. We are left to speculate based on user metrics.

    I’m also a big fan of #3 in its several forms. Thanks for the mention and the post!

    • Hi Carson,

      I understand that. I thought to include about your case study as I found it interesting and something new that I should share with more people. Trying new things will always have pros and cons and we can consider it as a part of that.

      Sincerely, Pratik

  • I really like the ideas of going through and helping someone update their work and getting into some reputable directories. I know that when I see a link on some sort of official page, I generally assume that it is reputable. Also, getting credit for helping someone update a topic also makes you look like you’re on point in your area of focus too. Although, it would be pretty great if you could coin the next big buzzword or hashtag phrase!

    • That’s right Mark, if you find any post that has great content and it’s not an authority/official page, then also trying to help them improve the content and getting credit would be helpful.

  • Link building is not easy today because of google penguin. It is very important to build links naturally, it will help your website to grow on search engine. So always make effective and natural looking links. Thank you Pratik for sharing advanced link building strategies.

  • Hi, Pratik, you definitely have a different insight on things. I am particularly interested in buying display ads. I think that is a great opportunity for more exposure. My favorite service is BuySellAds mainly because there you can also buy tweets and increase your social media exposure.

    • Hi Monica,

      Thanks for commenting. I don’t think buying tweets would help you to increase social media exposure. Did you find it helpful? –

  • Loved the first one about creating a buzzword. We wrote something related to this topic recently – 7 Super Smart Strategies to Acquiring High Quality Backlinks (for free!) – You can find the blog post here – http://bit.ly/UQdjxi

  • I think a lot of site owners shoot for #6 straight out of the gate and are then surprised when it doesn’t work. You need to build a good foundation of content on your own before you can ask an industry expert to do something with you. You need to prove yourself a little bit to your industry leaders if you want them to take a serious look at your request for collaboration.

    • Absolutely Nick, without having insightful and interesting content/information there’s no chance to get success of working with an expert or even to hear back from them. You need to work hard.

  • Nice tips.Will try to implement what you suggested.Link building itself is evolving and has a rhythm of its own.More innovation needs to arrive in this scene. This article is certainly one towards it.

    • Thanks for your comment and I’m glad to hear you found this helpful.

  • Nice tips. I could stand to use alerts more for a few side-projects.

    It’s also worth adding that truly niche website directories and article directories (especially the online equivalent of trade publications) can be great link sources.

  • I cannot agree more on the website and article directories, because It would be difficult to measure which article & website directory is good to go ahead with as you never know how much junk is there. So it’s better to focus on other advanced activities.

  • Nice tips Pratik.

    Can I ask your opinion on submitting to link directories that have high Google PR scores? I’ve found a few that score high in Alexa as well and they seems genuine enough. I.e. Non paid submissions.

    Many thanks,

    • If I have understood it correctly then you mean listing your website in high PR directory sites right? – If so, I won’t recommend it unless the directory website is high authority. Because there’s no value of directory links that doesn’t have any kind of authority. Probably you need to think beyond PR and Alexa rank while building links.

      • Thanks Pratik,

        Yes that’s exactly what I meant. But apart from PR and Alexa how is it possible to gauge authority? Apologies if I am totally missing something…

  • Adverts to create links? Needs more flesh here really. I take it you do not mean use the ads as links themselves. That is a no no. They must be no follow. If I was advertising on a blog they would be giving me a guest post for the link anyway. Once you are a customer you have much more power than a mere blogger lol. As for creating links through the traffic, then yes, that is why, long term, advertising is a better bet for many keywords than “seo”.

  • Thanks for this, very useful for planning out many activities for a team to work on whilst building links in a wide variety of niches. No recommendations for Q&A sites anymore?

  • Paul Buckley

    Advertise to create link? What I am I missing , it seems that meta data has now almost disappeared.

  • Avi

    Hi Pratik,

    Thanks for the wonderful post! I think I’m a bit late to post here, donno you’ll check it out or not, but would still like to ask you a question.
    I’m working on a german website (linkbuilding), is it necessary that I should just target German language website to build my links? and yes I’m using basic strategies like Profile links, Local citation, Directory submission, what more strategies should I work on? and yes 1 more thing, I donno German Language.
    I would really be pleased to hear from you!