Love for Lists
- Build a "101 list". These get Dugg all the time, and often become "authority documents". People can't resist linking to these.
- Create 10 easy tips to help you articles. Again, these are exceptionally easy to link to.
- Create extensive resource lists for a specific topic (see Mr Ploppy for inspiration).
- Create a list of the top 10 myths for a specific category.
- Create a list of gurus/experts. If you impress the people listed well enough, or find a way to make your project look somewhat official, the gurus may end up linking to your site or saying thanks. (Sometimes flattery is the easiest way to strike up a good relationship with an "authority".)
Developing Authority & Being Easy to Link At
- Make your content easy to understand so many people can understand and spread your message. (It's an accessibility thing.)
- Put some effort in to minimize grammatical or spelling errors, especially if you need authoritative people like librarians to link to your site.
PPC as a Link Building Tool
- Buy relevant traffic with a pay per click campaign. Relevant traffic will get your site more visitors and brand exposure. When people come to your site, regardless of the channel in which they found it, there is a possibility that they will link to you.
News & Syndication
- Syndicate an article at EzineArticles, GoArticles, iSnare, etc. The great thing about good article sites is that their article pages actually rank highly and send highly qualified traffic.
- Submit an article to industry news site. Have an SEO site? Write an article and submit to WebProNews. Have a site about BLANK? Submit to BLANKinformationalsite.com.
- Syndicate a press release. Take the time to make it GOOD (compelling, newsworthy). Email it to some handpicked journalists and bloggers. Personalize the email message. For good measure, submit it to PRWeb, PRLeap, etc.
- Track who picks up your articles or press releases. Offer them exclusive news or content.
- Trade articles with other webmasters.
- Email a few friends when you have important relevant news asking them for their feedback and/or if they would mind referencing it if they find your information useful.
- Write about, and link to, companies with "in the news" pages. They link back to stories and blog posts which cover their developments. This is obviously easiest if you have a news section or blog. Do a Google search for [your industry + "in the news"].
- Perform surveys and studies that make people feel important. If you can make other people feel important they will help do your marketing for you for free. Salary.com did a study on how underpaid mothers were, and they got many high quality links.
Directories, Meme Trackers & Social Bookmarking
- This tip is an oldie but goodie: submit your site to DMOZ and other directories that allow free submissions.
- Submit your site to paid directories. Another oldie. Just remember that quality matters.
- Create your own topical directory about your field of interest. Obviously link to your own site, deeplinking to important content where possible. Of course, if you make it into a truly useful resource, it will attract links on its own.
- Tag related sites on sites like Del.icio.us. If people find the sites you tag to be interesting, emotionally engaging, or timely they may follow the trail back to your site.
- If you create something that is of great quality make sure you ask a few friends to tag it for you. If your site gets on the front page of Digg or on the Del.icio.us popular list, hundreds more bloggers will see your site, and potentially link to it.
- Look at meme trackers to see what ideas are spreading. If you write about popular spreading ideas with plenty of original content (and link to some of the original resources), your site may get listed as a source on the meme tracker site.
- Join the Better Business Bureau.
- Get a link from your local chamber of commerce.
- Submit your link to relevant city and state governmental resources. (Easier in some countries than in others.)
- List your site at the local library's Web site.
- See if your manufacturers or retailers or other business partners might be willing to link your site.
- Develop business relationships with non-competing businesses in the same field. Leverage these relationships online and off, by recommending each other via links and distributing each other's business cards.
- Launch an affiliate program. Most of the links you pick up will not have SEO value, but the added exposure will almost always lead to additional "normal" links.
Easy Free Links
- Depending on your category and offer, you will find Craigslist to be a cheap or free classified service.
- It is pretty easy to ask or answer questions on Yahoo! Answers and provide links to relevant resources.
- It is pretty easy to ask or answer questions on Google Groups and provide links to relevant resources.
- If you run a fairly reputable company, create a page about it in the Wikipedia or in topic specific wikis. If it is hard to list your site directly, try to add links to other pages that link to your site.
- It takes about 15 minutes to set up a topical Squidoo page, which you can use to look like an industry expert. Link to expert documents and popular useful tools in your fields, and also create a link back to your site.
- Submit a story to Digg that links to an article on your site. You can also submit other content and have some of its link authority flow back to your profile page.
- If you publish an RSS feed and your content is useful and regularly updated, some people will syndicate your RSS content (and some of those will provide links… unfortunately, some will not).
- Most forums allow members to leave signature links or personal profile links. If you make quality contributions some people will follow these links and potentially read your site, link at your site, and/or buy your products.
Have a Big Heart for Reviews
- Most brands are not well established online, so if your site has much authority, your review related content often ranks well.
- Review relevant products on Amazon.com. We have seen this draw in direct customer enquiries and secondary links.
- Create product lists on Amazon.com that review top products and also mention your background (LINK!).
- Review related sites on Alexa to draw in related traffic streams.
- Review products and services on shopping search engines like ePinions to help build your authority.
- If you buy a product or service you really like and are good at leaving testimonials, many of those turn into links. Two testimonial writing tips — make them believable, and be specific where possible.
Blogs & the Blogosphere
- Start a blog. Not just for the sake of having one. Post regularly and post great content. Good execution is what gets the links.
- Link to other blogs from your blog. Outbound links are one of the cheapest forms of marketing available. Many bloggers also track who is linking to them or where their traffic comes from, so linking to them is an easy way to get noticed by some of them.
- Comment on other blogs. Most of these comments will not provide much direct search engine value, but if your comments are useful, insightful, and relevant they can drive direct traffic. They also help make the other bloggers become aware of you, and they may start reading your blog and/or linking to it.
- Technorati tag pages rank well in Yahoo! and MSN, and to a lesser extent in Google. Even if your blog is fairly new you can have your posts featured on the Technorati tag pages by tagging your posts with relevant tags.
- If you create a blog make sure you list it in a few of the best blog directories.
Design as a Linking Element
- Web 2.0-ify your site. People love to link to anything with AJAX. Even in the narrowest of niches, there is some kind of useful functionality you can build with AJAX.
- Validate and 508 your site. This (indirect) method makes your site more trustworthy and linkable, especially from governmental sites or design-oriented communities. There are even a few authoritative directories of standards-compliant sites.
- Order a beautiful CSS redesign. A nice design can get links from sites like CSS Vault.
- Hire a publicist. Good old fashioned 'PR' (not PageRank) can still work wonders. Andy Hagans now offers a link baiting publicity service.
- Hire a consultant. Yes, you can outsource link building. Just make sure to go with someone good. We recommend WeBuildPages, Debra Mastaler and, ahem, Andy Hagans.
- Swap some links. What?! Did we really just recommend reciprocal link building? Yes, on a small scale, and with relevant partners that will send you traffic. Stay away from the link trading hubs and networks.
- In case you didn't get the memo — when swapping links, try to get links from within the content of relevant content pages. Do not try to get links from pages that list hundreds of off topic link partners. Only seek link exchanges that you would consider pursuing even if search engines did not exist. Instead of thinking just about your topic when exchanging links, think about demographic audience sets.
Buying Sites, Renting Links & Advertisements
- Rent some high quality links from a broker. Text Link Ads is the most reputable firm in this niche.
- Rent some high quality links directly from Web sites. Sometimes the most powerful rented links come direct from sites not actively renting links.
- Become a sponsor. All sorts of charities, contests, and conferences link to their sponsors. This can be a great way to gain visibility, links, and a warm feeling in your heart.
- Sell items on eBay and offer to donate the profits to a charity. Many charities will link both to the eBay auction and to your site.
- Many search algorithms seem biased toward older established sites. It may be faster to buy an old site with a strong link profile, and link it to your own site, than to try to start building authority links from scratch.
Use the Courts (Proceed with Caution)
- Sue Google.
- Get sued by a company people hate. When Aaron was sued by Traffic Power, he got hundreds or thousands of links, including links from sites like Wired and The Wall Street Journal.
Freebies & Giveaways
- Hold a contest. Contests make great link bait. A few-hundred-dollar prize can result in thousands of dollars worth of editorial quality links. Enough said.
- Build a tool collection. Original and useful tools (and collections of tools) get a lot of link love. What do you think ranking for "mortgage calculator" is worth?
- Create and release open source site design templates for content management systems like Wordpress. Don't forget the "Designed by example.com" bit in the footer!
- Offer free samples in exchange for feedback.
- Release a Firefox extension. Make sure you have a download and/or support page on your site which people can link to.
Conferences & Social Interaction
- It is easy to take pictures of important events and tell narratives about why they are important. Pictures of (drunk?) "celebrities" in your industry make great link bait.
- Leverage new real world relationships into linking relationships. If you go to SEO related conferences, people like Tim Mayer, Matt Cutts, and Danny Sullivan are readily accessible. Similarly, in other industries, people who would normally seem inaccessible are exceptionally accessible at trade conferences. It is much easier to seem "real" in person. Once you create social relationships in person, it is easy to extend that onto the web.
- Engaging, useful, and interesting interviews are an easy way to create original content. And they spread like wildfire.