5 crafty outside the box link-building tricks & tips

The following is from Distilled

1) Ensure you pick up all pages that mention your site but don’t link to you.

I’m going to let you in on a secret here…. Not everyone on the internet links to external websites, and when they blog about your site or mention your site they may not link to you. That’s right, some people don’t know how to, some people don’t feel the need to, some people haven’t even thought about it and some people are just plain lazy. This means that if you can find these people that talk about (but don’t link to) your site then contact them, ask them to simply add a link to your site where they have mentioned it and hey presto, you have a nice relevant and topical link! Getting these links is like taking candy from a baby and in some cases you can even get decent anchor text.

So how do you go about finding these pages which mention you but don’t link to you? The manual way is to run searches such as:





Don’t forget to run these searches in Google, Yahoo, MSN and Technorati (and anywhere else with a search function!). Just remember that often the top results will all link to you anyway (especially with the full url searches) so be sure to crawl all the way through the results.

You can also set up some automation to automatically find new pages/blog posts about your company. Google Alerts is one way, I prefer our Reputation Monitor which is a tool for monitoring your online reputation but has some interesting applications as a link building tool.

2) Gain links from people trying to hot-link your images.

If you run a site of any size or any worth then you will almost certainly have plenty of images on your site which people will want to steal, borrow, pilfer or just blog about. Patrick Altoft has written a fantastic script which allows you to gain links from anyone who is looking to use your images. Go read the post here. Just try it for yourself, click the link then right click the image at the top!

Note: This script doesn’t prevent people hot-linking images, in fact it actively encourages it but makes sure that people give you a link back at the same time. For sites with many images, and in particular sites with striking images it’s a must to install this script

Patrick recommends only showing this script to people who come via Google images, I think it depends on what kind of site you’re running. You could probably build an entire site around image optimisation and using this script to generate back-links. Read more about image optimisation from Caydel.

3) Keep your friends close, your enemies closer.

This tip comes courtesy of SEOmoz. The idea is very simple and plays on people’s ego’s. In a nutshell, the sites which already rank for your target key phrases are the holy-grail of links, but it can often be difficult to get links from them since you are by definition in competition with them (in the SERPs at least!). So how about creating a competition, or award and handing it out to the top ranking sites in your sector? Everyone loves awards and the chances are that people will then link back to the source of the awards. If you want to get a bit more crafty about this you can even host the awards on a separate domain, to make it look like you’re not affiliated with it then simply 301 the domain back to your site at a later date.

Matt was the first one to publicly announce this trick in one of the whiteboard Friday’s but it’s clearly been something SEOmoz have been doing for a while… Case in point? Which built over 100,000 backlinks. Wow!

4) Flamebait – like linkbait only flame grilled.

This one is slightly more left-field than the others and I wouldn’t recommend doing this unless you were sure what you’re doing and also don’t mind a bit of a word-fight! The basic premise? Find a way to get sued. Working on the any PR is good PR (and equivalently, any links are good links) Andy Beal blogs about the subject in more depth here. The holy-grail for this tactic is to get sued by a company who no-one likes, that way you can get the social media crowd on your side! Other, slightly less dangerous, ways of doing this are to just be controversial or get threatened by someone who doesn’t understand the internet.

Aaron Wall also mentions this tactic briefly here. Number 63 on the list.

5) Keep it funny schmuck.

I’ll leave you on a high note with a little bit of humour. Next time someone famous in your industry makes a big announcement spend 30 mins with your favourite photo-manipulation software (mine’s the gimp) and come up with (something funny) .

Note that to make this work you need to ensure that the you don’t offend the original poster (unless you’re looking for a fight, see point 4) and to keep it light-hearted. Spread the word about your post and as the original announcement grows, so does word of your amusing pictures. The ideal candidate for this is a blogger who likes to have a chuckle – aiming this at someone serious probably wouldn’t have as much of an impact (that’s why we picked Rand! 🙂

Well that’s all folks – happy link hunting. If this gets a good response you never know, I might be invited back to post again! Either way, if you liked what you read then you can read more from me and the Distilled guys over on our blog.

11 Places to Find Free Images Online and Make Your Content More Linkable

  1. Flickr.com allows you to share, store, search, and sort your photos. There are always plenty of images available for you to use. Flickr is free, though you will have to register if you want to upload and edit your own images. The photographers establish the terms, so read the permissions carefully. If you use someone else’s Flickr image, it’s always in good taste to link back to its source.
  2. Bigfoto.com offers pictures from around the world, including America, Asia, Europe, Africa, and Pacific. Each main category has subcategories, for instance “aviation,” which allows you to choose from pictures in a certain theme.
  3. Fotogenika.net has photos for free download for personal, educational, and nonprofit use. However, you cannot use them commercially, sell them, or claim authorship. The site is well organized, and it includes categories such as architecture, animals, people, and textures.
  4. FreeDigitalPhotos.net has over 2000 free images that you can use in commercial and noncommercial work. You are not allowed to sell, redistribute, or claim these images as your own. You can browse by category or search for exactly what you need.
  5. FreePhotosBank.com allows users to have non-exclusive, non-transferable license to images. You can search for photos, see which photos are the most popular, and which ones have the highest ratings or the most downloads.
  6. FreeMediaGoo.com has a large collection of images, audio, textures, and other visual mediums that you can use for free with some restrictions. You do not even have to credit the images. The site also features some amazing digital images if you are looking for something different.
  7. MorgueFile.com offers stock photographs in high resolution digital. With over 55,000 images, divided into several categories, they are sure to have something you can use. The thumbnails are small, but your search results display quickly, and the photos are of top quality.
  8. PhotoRogue.com offers a different concept. If you cannot find what you need, you can send a request. The service is free and uses volunteer photographers. If you like, you can also sign up for an RSS feed that will let you know when new images become available.
  9. SXC.hu offers high quality images taken around the world by amateur photographers. If you have an interest in photography, you can even submit your own pictures. There are various searching options and over 100,000 images. The photographers establish the terms, so read the fine print, but most pictures can be reused immediately.
  10. Picsearch.com is another option for those who are not sure exactly what they are seeking. Picseach is a search engine that crawls the web and indexes images. However, make sure that you see the site’s licensing terms or contact the copyright holder before you download pictures. You can edit your search by animation, color, or size to find exactly what you need.

  11. OpenStockPhotography.org As of October 2007, the Wikimedia Commons, a central media archive operated by the Wikimedia Foundation, contains about 1,986,590 files* uploaded by over 30,000 registered users. Each of these files is available under a free content license or in the public domain; there are no restrictions of use beyond those relating to use of official insignia. Licenses which limit commercial use are considered non-free.
    All images listed at Open Stock Photography come from Wikimedia Commons and as such “can be used by anyone, for any purpose[1]

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AdSense-Deluxe WordPress Plugin

WordPress PlugIn


AdSense-Deluxe Plugin Download & Version:

Selectively embed Google AdSense and Yahoo! Publisher Network ads in your WordPress posts.


  • Use simple HTML comments for embedding AdSense or Yahoo! Publisher Network ads in a WordPress post
  • Choose from any number of ad styles and format on a post-by-post basis
  • Globally change ad styles
  • Selectively disable display of individual ad styles or all ads
  • Integrated AdSense Preview tool (a sandbox) for seeing what ads will appear on a given page. (Stand-alone AdSense SandBox Tool also available)
  • All settings configured through WordPress Options interface (no knowledge of plugins or PHP required)
  • Easily test different ad formats and color styles across (all, or) a range of blog posts.
  • (Optionally) Apply CSS formatting to the AdSense code.
  • Does not display live ads when editing a page, instead placeholders are shown.
  • Ads are EXCLUDED from RSS feeds — even if you have full-text feeds enabled. (new in v0.3)
  • Preview your ad blocks from the AdSense-Deluxe options page (in case you forget what the ad style looks like), and ads can be clicked without penalty since they use a test account.
  • Support for wp-tiger-admin plugin’s CSS in post/page editor QuickTags

AdSense-Deluxe Advantages and Uses

  • Switching all AdSense ads to a new color scheme across the entire site
  • Trying out image ads instead of textual ads
  • Testing alternate AdSense formats
  • Disabling a class of AdSense ads, or even all ads
  • Including common formatting for AdSense ad blocks (less typing)
  • Testing alternate ad placements for higher click-thru rates
  • Controlling ads within your WP template files.


After installation (described later and in the plugin distribution’s readme file) click on the WordPress Admin “Options” link, then select “Adsense” on the sub menu to get to the settings interface. Copy your AdSense code from Google and paste it into the form on the Options page and give it a name. If it’s the style you’ll use most often, just name it “default”. Now you can edit an existing post in your WordPress blog by adding either <!–adsense–> to use whatever you select as your default AdSense format, or by referencing the name you defined, such as <!–adsense#default–>. Now view your post after saving the changes. You should see AdSense ads wherever you inserted the HTML comment.

You can wrap inline CSS styles around your AdSense blocks, or place any other html or strings around, before or after the AdSense JavaScript. For example:

<div style=”display:block;float:left;padding:5px;”>

<script type=”text/javascript”><!–
google_ad_client = “pub-555555”;
google_ad_width = 468;
google_ad_height = 60;


[New in v0.5] To insert any of your defined ad units within template files, you can call a PHP plugin function with the name of the ad unit you want displayed. The syntax is as follows:

<?php adsense_deluxe_ads('my_AdBlock_name'); ?>

However, it’s strongly recommended that you always confirm that the function is available to keep from generating PHP errors or breaking your page display, using the following syntax:

<?php if(function_exists('ad_unit_name')) :
adsense_deluxe_ads('my_ad_unit'); endif; ?>

When you use this new feature it enables the plugin to track the total number of AdSense units displayed on a page and avoid inserting more than the maximum of three units allowed by Google. Sadly, this tracking isn’t completely refined yet and the following example illustrates the issue I still have to code for: Assume you have a single ad unit in a template file, but three ad units in a single post. The plugin tracks the ads displayed for the template and increments the counter by 1. However, replacements are done en masse in a single post, thus the page will now have four ad units displaying (the last of which is going to be blank since Google will not display more than three). The internal counter is now at 4, and if other posts appear on the page they will NOT have any substitutions performed. At some point in the future I will have to rewrite the code to stop doing mass replacements, but for now this is more efficient.


» Requires WordPress 1.5+ (including WP 2.0)
» Installed like most all WordPress plugins, just copy the adsense-deluxe.php file into wp-content/plugins
» See the ReadMe.txt file included with the download (before you email me for support!).