How to Build Links and Good Karma

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I have a lot of faith in karma. I believe when you do good things, good things happen to you. I have such a strong faith in this philosophy that I practice it as much as I can in my business. So when it comes time to promote a site I look for ways that I can help others along the way. Here are 5 solid link-building tactics that not only build outstanding links, but they also help your community!

Community Cleanup

  • Cost: Less than $100
  • Link prospect: Potentially dozens from multiple domains
  • Materials needed: Trash bags, volunteers, lots of media attention

This strategy involves a bit more work, but it has the potential to attract many high-quality links.

Essentially, you want to organize a community activity that attracts local media attention. For example, a community cleanup. You could coordinate with other local businesses to clean a section of highway, a park or a neighborhood. Several weeks before the event, announce your plans and partners on your site or blog. Do what you can to get your business partners to link to the announcement. The more local businesses that get involved, the more coverage you’re likely to get. Then, pitch your announcement directly to local reporters.

Point reporters to your announcement page’s full URL in the hopes that they will publicize the address. Then, during or immediately after your event, announce online the time and place for your next cleanup. Make sure reporters and your partners get that full URL, too.

Pro Bono Services to Nonprofits

  • Cost: Less than $100
  • Link prospect: Potentially dozens from a single domain
  • Materials needed: Basic web design skills

If you run a web-design or Internet-marketing agency you can provide basic pro bono services to nonprofits in return for a back link. This tactic is becoming easier and easier as the WordPress community continues to grow.

With WordPress, you can easily start a site for under $100 that nonprofits can manage on their own. You can request a back link be put in the footer or in their About page. Either way, make sure you emphasize your donation. Stay away from words such as “sponsor” or ‘paid for by”. This keeps your link clear of conflicts of interest or any confusion about sponsored or paid links.

Guest Posting on Newbie Web Sites

  • Cost: Free
  • Link prospect: Usually 2 or 3 on the same page
  • Materials needed: Good ideas

Guest posting has become one of the most popular link-building tactics in SEO. However, most people focus on finding the venues that will yield the most visibility. This is the best move for people who want to build strong, authoritative links relatively.

However, there are advantages to posting on newer sites, which typically get very little traffic. For beginner webmeisters, this strategy can help develop a following and promote the author’s site. The trick here is to find a beginner blog that you want to help promote. After your guest post and link are published, you can further help that site and yourself by promoting your post through social media and beyond.

Content That Cares

  • Cost: Free
  • Link prospect: Depends on the content and how you promote it
  • Materials needed: Time for research and content promotion

This strategy is right on track with the “content is king” mantra. Basically, what we want to do here is build content that provides unique and helpful information to a community.

An example might be an infographic containing all local emergency numbers. Give a permalink to your fire and police departments, and encourage them to share it with others in the community. I live on the southeastern Atlantic Coast, so I might create an interactive map using Google Maps so that people can track hurricanes. The idea here is to provide an invaluable resource for the community that attracts links.

Sponsor a Club Or Organization

  • Cost: Depends, but usually over $500
  • Link prospect: Usually one link, but most of the time from either a .edu or longstanding .org
  • Materials needed: The ability to write a check and ask for a link

This tactic originally came from the fine folks at SEER Interactive. SEER advises that you sponsor a club or organization that might be willing to provide a back link. This can be an excellent opportunity to grab some links from a .edu or other nonprofit that has been around for a long time.

While you are thinking about the tactics above, be creative with the methods you use. Have fun. And make sure that your good deeds aren’t done half-hearted. You have to commit to following through and building solid trust along with your links.

Joe Hall

Joe Hall

Joe Hall is a bona-fide web head, code poet, marketer, writer, and the man behind Contact Plugin and the infamous 22 Media LLC. Follow Joe... Read Full Bio
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  • Awesome post. Always looking for creative ways to build those links!

  • Hi Joe – some great ideas here. This type of “link attraction” is often overlooked by link builders. Probably because it takes time and planning, but the reward can far outweigh the typical link building methods.

  • Killer post Joe! I love simple, practical & creative ideas like this 🙂

  • I love guest posting its just superb way to drive new visitors to your place. Great post, thanks a lot Joe!

  • Nice job Joe. Getting some links from local or national media would be great. As well as just helping folks out and having good word of mouth. The non-link linking stuff.

    Thank you.


  • I like the guest post, it is free and it bring lots of link juice. Thank for great idea.

  • You may call it link building. I call it community building. It’s rare to find someone advocating giving back to those who are just starting out.

  • I love the pro bono website work and constantly offer to help out with different organizations. Often they just dont know what they dont know and a little help goes a long way in educating them on opportunities to use the web. From PTA to kids baseball teams, there are so many opportunities to help out – with our without a link back (but of course I appreciate the link!)

    The community clean up is another great idea – thanks Joe. I will be pursing this one…

  • Some interesting – outside the box- ideas here. A lot of people understand guest posting, but I agree trying to get that spot on high profile, highly relevant, sites can often be very difficult and take a lot of effort and patience. The other benefit to targeting newer sites first, is it gives you practice; practice thinking of topics, of communicating with blog owners and finding out what their readers want, practice writing. All of this will go a long way helping you break the ice with those tougher sites to establish relationships with.

  • Any links from major news sites would be extremely valuable even if they don’t link to you using any target keywords.

  • Guest Posting on Newbie Web Sites and Content That Cares are great! It’s free but can help your community nice.

  • Joe, this is a really original approach to link building. I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of the traditional link exchanges and spammy auto WordPress comments that seem to be prevalent these days. Your ideas can REALLY work! Thanks!

  • Great post Joe, i like the news site idea. All great tactics.

  • Great ideas Joe!

    As someone that is just starting out in the SEO area, I’m always looking for ideas to get those all important first few links to start driving traffic to my site. I’ve considered the pro-bono idea, but struggle somewhat with how to draw the line on how much to offer. I’m getting into this on a part time basis, so I wouldn’t want to open the floodgates and find myself having to turn away clients.

    Thanks for the great tips! They’ll prove to be useful, I’m sure.

  • Great post! The analogy is so simple and effective.

  • Great post! Thanks for the info! 🙂

  • Good post and very creative ideas!
    You are amazing Joe!