Article marketing, social bookmarks, forum signatures… are the standard link building techniques becoming boring? Has your site stalled in the search rankings? Looking for more diversity in your link building efforts?
I want to show you 5 (and a half) diversified strategies. My “secret weapons” that you are probably not using on a regular basis. These strategies might take some work, but I assure you, they can give you thousands of backlinks and the diversity that you need to boost your rankings.
Technique #1: Build Something Other People Want
This technique is truly powerful. It is my favorite way to build backlinks. The premise is simple. You create something other people want to use on their site and give it to them for free – with your link embedded.
Let’s take this scenario, for example. You hire someone on ODesk to build a simple, but usable, WordPress theme for $250. In the footer, you add “Created By: Your Site”. Then, you send this theme out to all the WP theme directories, post on forums, etc. Imagine just 100 people install this theme and each build 50 pages on their blog. You have built 5,000 quality backlinks for $.05 each.
You could apply the same principle with a nice industry-specific widget that bloggers in your industry might want. The opportunities in this area are limitless and you should be capitalizing on them.
Note: for those worried about sponsored links and/or spammy practices, this is fundamentally different. You are promoting your own site through something you created. The search engines can’t ding you for attributing your own work.
Technique #2: “Borrow” From Your Competition
I read about this strategy years ago and it’s so brilliantly simple. The idea is that you see who is linking to your competition and then find out how you can get a link from them too. The crazy thing about this is how incredibly well it works. The logic makes sense: if they are already linking to the competition, they have every reason to link to you as well.
To do this, you go to Google and type in: “url.com” -site:url.com. This gives you a search for every instance that url.com is mentioned on the web, minus all the pages from url.com itself. Leaving you with a clean list of all the pages that reference your competition.
Visit these sites, see how they linked to your competitor and find out how they can do the same for you. I have found dozens of quality, out-of-the-box link sources using this method.
Technique #3: Sponsor a Contest
Most people know about this technique, but few use it. If you have a blog or content site, contests are a sure-fire way to get tons of quality backlinks from around the web. The best strategy is to give away something that everyone wants, and require that each entrant write something (on their blog, Twitter, etc.) letting others know about the contest. This could give you hundreds of valuable links and make your site go viral.
Variation: Say your site is a web design service with no blog. What then? If you tried to run a contest directly on your site, it would probably fizzle out. Instead, find a blog that is relevant to your industry, and sponsor a contest on their site. Offer to give away one free design to the grand prize winner. The blog will be happy to give this opportunity to their readers, and just like on your site, it will give you viral buzz and backlinks (plus a link from the blog holding the contest).
This might cost you $100-200 but with the links, and the extra press, it will be well worth the cost.
Technique #4: Become an Official Authority
If you take a quick look at a random selection of blogs, many of them display badges that say something like “Ranked #12 in the Personal Finance Top 50”. They are proud to be ranked, and it shows their visitors that they have some authority in their industry. How can you take advantage of this?
There is one method that I have used and it works really well. It might seem impossible at first, but it’s so much easier than it sounds. Here is how it goes in 3 steps:
1. Add a new area of your site with a listing of the top 50 (or 100) resources/sites/blogs in your industry. Call it the “My Industry 50.” You can choose to rank them based on any criteria you like: size, your personal rating, etc.
2. Then, make a fancy, prestigious badge (linking back to your site). NOTE: If the badge is an image, be sure to include a link title attribute with your anchor text.
3. Send each of the top 50 winners a congratulations email with their badge that they can proudly display.
You will get at least 20% to display the badge site-wide: thousands of easy backlinks and extra exposure. Take this seriously, though. Don’t just add a bunch of sites haphazardly. This strategy will only work if you put the time and effort into building a quality resource of the top sites.
Technique #5: Write an Ebook Guide
Quick Case Study: The founder of CopyBlogger did something that we should all take notice of. He built a new site called AuthorityRules.com, which is a short marketing course that can be read online or downloaded as an eBook – with NO name or email required. The result was that the guide got an insane amount of links, plenty of buzz, and delivered thousands of new visitors to his main site.
Here is the method I suggest: Create a short, useful guide on your topic. Add this to a new area on your main site. Make an eBook version downloadable for free. Be sure to include easy social/share/link features. Post the eBook to sites like Scribd and other eBook directories (more backlinks). Promote this guide everywhere else you can. Watch the links and traffic roll in.
A Step Further: Do a press release about the guide you created above. Press releases are great ways to get backlinks, but most of the time, it’s hard to find something “press worthy.” This guide is your excuse.
Technique #5.5 Build Better Internal Links
Since this technique is not about building external links, I only counted it as 1/2 a point. There are many reasons why a site might rank highly. As we all know, rankings are built from an entire matrix of factors. However, take something like EzineArticles for example. They have an awesome internal linking structure and, as a result, this helps their overall rankings. Spend some time learning how sites like Ezine handle their internal links and begin to adopt a more SEO-friendly linking structure for your site. It will make a difference.
My hope is that this post will get your juices flowing, and that you will be able to come up with even more out of the box link building strategies. I am a big believer in link diversity. Search engines get more-than-a-little suspicious with 2,000 article backlinks and nothing from any other type of sites (major red flag!).
Begin this week to implement one of the strategies above. Do it, do it right, and move on to the others. Regardless of what you do, please diversify your search rankings beyond articles, social bookmarks and forum signatures. Your search rankings will thank me.
This is a guest post by Andrew Olson. Learn how you can “Make Money While You Sleep” with ZZZ Profits: Andrew’s Free 12-Week Internet Marketing Course. Contact us if you want to guest post on this blog. (Image credit: lover_boy11234)