10 Ways to Build Links Without Content
There are many myths about content.
There are even more regarding link building.
I don’t even want to think how many there are about the two combined.
After all, content and link building go closely together. And for a reason. Content based links are easier to build and valued by Google (if done well, of course.)
But if you’ve been closely watching the developments within the SEO industry, I am sure you’ve noticed that many strategies have recently been under the search engine’s scrutiny.
Needless to say, a lot of them were based on content.
And no, I am not trying to scare you from using content for links, that would be stupid. Content is and will be the best asset in link building. From time to time however, you might want to use other techniques, even if only to diverse a link profile.
Here are few worth considering.
Broken Link Building
The concept behind broken link building is quite simple. You need to find dead links that point to sites similar to yours, reach out to the webmaster of the site a broken link is on, inform them about it and suggest your resource (which you could create specifically for this strategy) as a suitable replacement.
Broken link building is an extremely popular strategy right now. And thanks to applications like Garret French’s Broken Link Finder, many aspects of it can be automated.
Check out this post to find out more about the technique and how to launch your first campaign.
Every now and then, someone mentions your customer’s brand or product online. Sometime they link to their site, other times they don’t. By monitoring the web for those mentions (tip: use software like Mention for that) you can spot mentions without a link and reach out to their authors, asking for one.
Jon Ball wrote a great tutorial on finding web mentions. Go check it out, it’s worth it.
HARO (Help a Reported Out) is a resource that connects reporters with people who have the information, quotes and sources they are looking for. It offers companies a chance to gain publicity with a very little effort on their part.
By signing up for the service you can receive daily alerts whenever a reporter is looking for a source in your field. To avail of it, all you have to do is to respond following their requirements. If a reporter feels it’s something they want to include, they will interview you for the piece and include a reference (plus, you guessed it, a link).
Here’s a tutorial on using HARO to build links.
Contests have been a powerful marketing tool since, well … forever. If done well, they can help a company increase their brand awareness, insight into target market, boost sales (or traffic) and, build links too.
Contests go viral and people have a natural tendency to write and post about interesting contests. This is especially true for bloggers for whom contents make for interesting information they can share with their followers.
I wrote a detailed guide on using contests to build links here.
Offering reviews or testimonials to other websites is not a scalable, true. It can however help build few good quality links to kick start your campaign.
It is also very simple to do: provide a company you work with or whose products you use with a testimonial or a review. Chances are that they post it on their site, along with a link back to you to show credibility of the source.
Webinars / Events
Webinars and other online events are a highly engaging for your audience. But thats not all, they can generate a lot of buzz around your brand, be it on social media or blogs. Many bloggers will be happy to announce your upcoming webinar and link to it from their site. With a clever outreach a single webinar (or any other online event at that) could generate a decent number of backlinks.
Donations are another simple way to build links. All you have to do is look for charities that list their donors on the site and make a donation in the name of your client to gain a link back from their site.
Similarly, many art organisations, theatres or galleries will list their donors on their (very high authority) domains and making a donation to them is a surefire way to generate good quality links.
The only downside is that building links this way will require a budget that can guarantee few donations substantial enough to guarantee a mention on the site.
Offering Pro-Bono Services
If you can’t afford to donate money to a charity, consider offering your services instead. Many charity and local community organisations need help but they can’t afford to hire someone to do it for them.
They will happily mention anyone who contributed their time and resources to them, linking to those companies in the process.
Having an expert status opens many possibilities for build links. One of them is giving interviews. Reach out to your media connections asking if they could interview your client. If they do, big chances are they will also post the interview online with a reference link back to your client’s site.
Sites like http://www.justgiving.com/ allow you to set up a page for your fundraising campaign, create a profile and… include a do follow link to your site. Find a cause you’d like to support, set up a campaign and promote it. Not only you’ll get a good link but also help someone in need.
Creative commons image by Peter Gerdes / Flickr