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:

http://www.sitename.com

www.sitename.com

“sitename.com”

“sitename”

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.

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