Link building doesn’t have to be a monotonous affair.
Yes, the basics of whitehat link building have been defined.
However, you can do more than create quality content and wait for it to go viral.
Apply some creativity to it, and you’ll find fresh ways to earn backlinks.
I’ve got 8 of those for you.
Let’s dive right in.
Creative Link Building Strategies
These link building strategies focus on partnerships, creating different types of content, and making the most of the content you’ve already created.
- Get featured in industry roundups
- Partner with freelance writers
- Create content for a niche audience
- Donate to local charities and sports clubs
- Create unique graphics for the web
- Claim unattributed graphics
- Add internal links to high-traffic content
- Streamline guest post prospecting
Get Featured in Industry Roundups
Getting your link on niche roundup posts is an inventive way to enhance your link profile.
Apart from the SEO benefits, these posts get shared a lot too.
According to this Backlinko study, List posts get an average of 218% more shares than “how-to” posts and 203% more shares than infographics.
To find roundup posts in your industry, perform a simple Google search. Some scripts you can copy:
- Best + [Your Industry] tools
- [Name of competitor] + alternatives
Have a great product or service? Let editors know about it.
Give them a nudge by sending a short and personalised pitch.
Another method that works is searching for broken links within these roundup posts.
You can scale plus automate this process by using a tool like Ahrefs Broken Link Checker.
If a big roundup or resource post has been published for 2+ years, chances are a link or two no longer work.
Go ahead and email the editor. They’ll be glad to remove a broken link and if your site, brand or blog post is the right fit, you’ll get a link.
Partner with Freelance Writers
Freelance writers are valuable partners in any content-focused link building strategy.
They help to create the content that people link to.
Asides from contracting writers to create a nice article for you, you can also partner with them in a different way.
Contribute a useful comment, real example, graphic, or video to a piece of content the writer is working on.
If your contribution makes it to the final draft, you may be rewarded with a link.
I use and recommend two ways to get a hold of these writers.
Manual outreach. Do this with a quick but personalised email or LinkedIn DM.
Or, the more effective way: sign up as a source on Help A B2B Writer. They send you emails or ‘source requests’ asking for your take on topics in your area of expertise.
Whichever way you choose, focus on building relationships with these writers as opposed to a one-off arrangement.
This way, you come top-of-mind as a contributor for more content projects.
According to Amra Beganovich, a marketing agency founder and advisor to Top Influencer Marketing Agency —
"Partnering with influencers to build authority is one of the less well-known but extremely effective link building strategies.
Many influencers serve as freelance writers through their own blogs or as contributors to some of the top publications. Brands can partner with influencers and receive a review and/or links in exchange for a brand product or service."
Create Content for a Niche Audience
If you have a less established profile, it would be a bit difficult to get links from sites with a high Domain Authority.
The way out is creating content that is targeted to a small-sized audience.
Smaller niches have fewer people creating content for them. The competition less than broad niches.
Think longtail and Bottom Of Funnel keywords.
a company that sells clothing for different body sizes could create content for plus size women
a project management app could create content targeting freelancers
You would then reach out to websites within that category—where that audience could be browsing—and ask them to share.
Here’s an example email from Buzzstream. Outreach to an editor of a niche publication.
If there is a large pool of niche sites, that’s a huge plus.
Concentrate on creating one awesome piece of content. Then scale up a large outreach campaign for that one piece.
Donate to Local Charities and Sport Clubs
Non-profits, Charities, Sports, and Activity Clubs are great sites to get a link from.
To do this successfully, reach out to an organization that is related to your brand.
For example, a bottled water company could link to a charity that provides clean water to disadvantaged communities.
This is a tricky strategy because Google doesn’t want you paying money for links.
So with making donations, be sure not to ask for a link.
It’s either they give you without asking or they don’t.
Some more things to watch out for:
- Make sure that donors get a link back. The best deal is if you get a text, “do follow” homepage link. That ensures we get both maximum SEO benefit and potentially direct referral traffic.
- Assess from the authority/traffic potential of the site if it's worth the donation. It could vary from £20 to £2,000. Something on the low end is probably worth it, especially if it’s a yearly rate.
You may as well test and see how it goes. Something on the high end, or if it’s a monthly rate, would need to be something particularly good or relevant. If it's local and you rely on local traffic, it could be well worth it.
- Don’t mistake this for those “non-profits” who allow spammy sites to game Google, with donator links.
- Not every organization will take your donation, and that’s fine. They may have a policy where the sponsor has to be related to their organization in some logical way.
Making donations to local charities is a great way to build links. It allows you to kill two birds with one stone. You support a good cause, you get a good link.
Where this comes in especially useful is for localized traffic. So if you have a business that benefit from having traffic coming from the local area, this is a great way to make that happen.
Create & Promote Graphics for the Web
To build links, create graphs, illustrations, charts and infographics that are worth sharing.
You can either hand them over to guest posting sites or publish in your own website.
If you submit your graphic to an external site, you have to take in extra care to stand out from competition.
To get your graphics picked, ensure that they:
- are well-made. Either by a professional or with Canva premium.
- contain valuable information.
- visually represent complex and straightforward data.
- follow the guidelines for submissions the site owners have set out.
You can also publish on your own website. Not as a single graphic, but as part of a blog post. It can be 300 words or 1000 words.
The main purpose of this blog post is to boost organic visibility. Include keywords you want your graphic to be found for and format your piece for search.
All done? Not yet.
Time to get those graphics seen by the right people.
How to promote your graphics
There are two ways I do this.
- One way is to share your chart, illustration or Infographic on social media. LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Facebook are good platforms. Keep in mind that B2B graphics are better suited for LinkedIn and business-related Facebook groups. If your graphic is B2C or in the lifestyle niche, Pinterest would be perfect.
- Another way is manual outreach. Search for posts that cover the main topic of your graphic. Reach out to the site editor or content manager. Share your graphic with them, citing a particular blog post that it could blend in with. If they like your graphic and think it fits, they’ll be more than happy to include it and link back to you as the source.
Claim Unattributed Graphics
If you already create and distribute graphics, chances are someone is using them without linking back.
Or, they’re linking back but not in the way that improves your SEO.
Make sure the links you are getting are to the page the graphic was uploaded on and not the “image source” as these have no positive effect on page rank.
Don’t be too bothered though. It may be an oversight on their side. Or a plain lack of know-how. Whatever the intentions may be, you can always set up an outreach to claim those links.
Step 1: Do a reverse Google search
Step 2: Filter through the results to check which sites might be using your graphic without proper attribution
Step 3: Decide which sites you would like to get a link from among them. Record this information.
Step 4: Reach out to the editor, site owner, or content manager. (Use Hunter.io to find their email.) Let them know that they’re using your visual asset without crediting you as the owner. But, it’s going to be a quick fix. They should link back to you. Mentioning your original post as the source.
Hopefully, they update their content and you get a link.
Add internal links to high-traffic content
Identifying link opportunities on already published articles is an easy way to boost your SEO.
But not every live blog post necessarily needs a link review.
To find those blogs that do need some new internal or external links, use Moz’s Link Explorer to find your top linked pages.
Those blogs that drive the most traffic are sweet spots for relevant inbound links.
The logic is—if a lot of people read that piece of content, then they are likely to click on links as well. This helps with increasing your dwell time.
Your rankings improve. More people come across your content. You get more shares and backlinks.
Here is an example of a blogger who implemented an Internal Linking strategy on his blog on the 24th of December 2021.
As shown below, his backlinks and organic traffic have been growing significantly since then.
Source: Google Search Console
Streamline Guest Post Prospecting
Contributing content to other sites is a popular link building strategy. To get started, you’ve got to figure out the sites you would like to have your link on.
The general process is to compile a list of keyword phrases. Go through each one, add your business niche to it, sort through and pick out just the right sites from the results.
Examples of keyword strings include:
Keyword + “Become a contributor”
Keyword + “Write for us”
Keyword + “Guest post guidelines”
Keyword + “Submit an article”
Keyword + “Contributor guidelines”
You could automate some elements of this with BuzzStream. BuzzStream speeds up the research process. It helps you curate a prospect list, and automatically gather website and social metrics.
Yet, after several bookmarks and jottings, you begin to lose track of sites and their vitals. The best way to streamline and keep everything in check is Google Sheets.
Create a new spreadsheet and record information like:
Name of the website editor/owner
Their direct email address
Which content of yours is related
The link type you are trying to go for
Any extra notes/guidelines
This simple sheet will make the job of scouting eligible sites much easier. So you can focus on creating fantastic content that gets accepted by editors.
Get Those Backlinks
Indeed, Inbound links from high-profile sites aren’t easy to get.
But with a time-tested strategy, creativity, and repeated execution, you have a good shot at success.
Remember: Your link building strategy should be wholesome and made to fit the complexities of your brand.