3 Creative Link Building Techniques

Teli Adlam —  May 26, 2009

If you’ve been online for any length of time, chances are you already know you need inbound links if you want your website to be noticed by the search engines.

Some search engine specialists don’t even recommend submitting your sites manually anymore – just get links, links, and more links.

But, wait. Before you run out to the link farm nearest you, there is more to it.

The key is to get high quality inbound links. One-way links from well established sites should be your ultimate link building goal.

After setting that goal, you may realize achieving it is easier said than done. It requires effort. Often, creative effort.

People Love Freebies

Some companies pay hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars for quality links, but Adagio Teas can acquire thousands of inbound links simply by giving away a $20 tea brewer and some sample teas.

Hardly seems fair, does it?

The reason this works well for Adagio is because people like the idea of getting something for free. And if you look closely at their link rewards program, you’ll notice what else they are doing.

Think about it – what is Adagio giving away for free and how much does it really cost them? Once people sample Adagio’s products and like them, naturally, they will want more and that translates into more orders.

Adagio is building a repeat customer base and their brand at the same time they are building their inbound links. Three birds, one stone — now that’s what I call really smart marketing.

Make Someone A Winner

If you don’t happen to have a large inventory laying around, another creative way to get inbound links is to hold a contest.

People inherently want to feel like winners. Just the possibility of winning is enough to prompt most people to take action – just look at the state Lotteries.

Mike Dammann of Blog Party Network held a contest for bloggers.

At first glance, it seemed like just another way for bloggers to win $250, but if you took a closer look at the entry rules, you’d have notice that it was a very clever link building campaign.

First, make a post to your blog about BlogParty with a link back to www.BlogParty.net. [emphasis added]

Before the end of the contest, Mike may have received hundreds of quality one-way links with a cost of only $250.

If cash is in short supply, then you could offer something else that is readily available to you as the prize.

When I ordered a new cell phone, the company sent me a free Jabra Bluetooth headset that I didn’t need. Instead of letting it sit on a desk collecting dust, I could use it as a prize. (I really can’t because I promised it to my sister, but you get the idea, right?)

It helps if the prize has a high perceived value, but something as simple as a tee-shirt may also work. It depends on how much work is required to enter. More work = higher value prize.

You’re An Expert In Something

When inventory and cash are both in short supply, then give away some of your knowledge for free.

In 2006 I wrote a short , which took about two days to complete and get online.

I posted a link to it in a couple of forums that I frequent and from there, it took off. People read the ebook, found it useful, and decided to link to it with no additional effort on my part. Years later, people are still linking to it as a helpful resource.

And ebooks aren’t the only way to share your knowledge — you could just as easily create a highly informative article or how-to guide. Anything people find value in and feel can help others, there is a very good chance they will link to it.

If you’re short on inventory, money, and time – then you have a serious problem.


Nick Reese also wrote a great article on building backlinks via finding broken links.

Teli Adlam


40 responses to 3 Creative Link Building Techniques

  1. Julia – Fast Blog Finder May 27, 2009 at 5:30 am

    Thank you for a great article. I’ve been doing some SEO for our company’s website and I liked the directory submission, article submission and blog commenting most. I was using these methods very well. Now I’m thinking about using some other ways to build links and I’m glad I came across your article.

  2. Internet Marketing Success May 27, 2009 at 7:37 am

    That’s a great idea! I love your post… and would love to try that strategies 🙂

  3. Teli, what if they link directly to your download link but not download page? How to prevent this?

  4. The most you can do, kiat, is ask politely on the page that they link to the download page and not the actual download itself and make it expressly clear that the download link may change in the future. This helps.

    And if you’re holding a contest which requires a link, make sure to spell out where the link should go as part of the instructions.

    Finally, a link is a link.

    Although some people linked directly to my PDF file, I had no problems because those links lead to downloads and my book was completely branded with this site. So, when those people read it, they’ll know where to return and search engines can (and do) index PDF documents and return them in search results.

  5. Brilliant Advice. Love the Adagio approach

  6. I have been quite successful with article submitting and blog commenting. There are a lot of people in SEO who say that directory submitting might not be as powerful anymore. I have also seen people give freebies in exchange for a twitter post.

    This can all be automated with software where once you post on twitter the recommended comment and link, you automatically receive a private message. The private message has a link that takes you to the page where you get the freebie.

    I am thinking about trying it out.

  7. Link building (link popularity) is the most important thing in SEO, even more than your on-page content. This is a great post, adn as SEO changes, these creative ideas will come in handy!

  8. Well… is there any simpler way than this ? im so lazy expect more..hahaha

  9. Medical Transcription Outsourcing June 1, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    Hmm..the BlogParty example is pretty clever but what’s stopping people from removing the link to your site after the contest, especially if they didn’t win? 🙁

  10. Margarita Jackson June 2, 2009 at 4:00 am

    I have definitely learned that people love freebies…it has helped me out a lot!

  11. Sewing Machines Reviews June 6, 2009 at 8:12 am

    Thanks for sharing the great info….I have been use the always seo for our company website and I like the directory submission,Forum submission, articles submission,Bookmarking.But your 3 creative Link Building techniques is very well. This is very Important for link building.I am always use your great info……….

  12. This can all be automated with software where once you post on twitter the recommended comment and link, you automatically receive a private message. The private message has a link that takes you to the page where you get the freebie.

  13. I think the third strategy is the one that will build up your profile and credibility thus more people will trust you. If trust is built then they will be willing to trade something the expertise your are offering.

    Those three link building strategies are very useful and creative. Here’s my own experience about the second strategy, I know a person who was contacted by a website owner who was proposing of a link building job but wanted to hire the best among the best. So what he did was to make a contest among the candidate link builders and who ever made the most links for his site in 24 hours will be rewarded the position at a fair salary. It was a good strategy for the owner and i think he got this idea from your post. Very clever of him.

    Marcy of wedding planners GA

  14. Eric @ Lifelock Review June 25, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    This is a pretty good list. One thing I have been thinking about lately is how one could take advantage of word of mouth advertising for SEO purposes. I think one of the simplest ways would be to ask for your top customers to promote your site and even have a contest about who can get the top links in. This would actually be an expansion on one of your three, but this way you would be letting your top customers do the work to find other customers. Then, you could give a prize out to the winner who pulled in the most high links and also generate a fun interest topic to follow on your blog.

  15. Wow, Adagio is clever. I like your strategies alot. I feel like a sucker for using the Adagio link, but who can resist free tea?

  16. I think that paid blogging works quite well. especially if you get onto some good blogs, that understand the things you have listed. You can get some really viral results.

  17. what an interesting method to build links to your site! i know the value of backlinks to your site because i myself have seen the power of what it has done to my site when it skyrocketed from page 5 to the first page for my keyword lines three AND four!

    keep up the advice on building additional links because i’m open to learning new methods. i’m sure others out there value this information for their websites as well…

  18. Hi Teli,

    I like your ideas a lot! I write a blog – in german language – about webdesign and events around webdesign. i just started and need now to look for forums to make posts like you did with your e-book.
    i bookmark your blog and will come back very often.

    thx, uli

  19. Thank you for this article, very informative. I am a freelancer and I am working helping my employer submitting articles, forum postings, directory submission, etc to promote. I am thinking of different other ways to do my job and this is really helpful.

    Karen Davis

  20. Nice tips, guess I have overlooked quite a few ways to get links. Right now I build links manually, and that takes a lot of time. One small thing, though.. About giving people a chance to win money or something like that; for that to work you need to have quite a lot of traffic to begin with. Or am I completely wrong here?

  21. Thanks for the 3 great link building ideas. I’m going to give them a try.

  22. Personally I always try to push for viral marketing since no other link building can compete with this. Then there’s of course ton of things you can do to get a better chance of getting your post viral.

  23. I have been doing some link building too. But I find it takes up lots of time doing them . How can we solve this problem ?

  24. Stacey Valentine November 9, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    Hey this is a great article and makes some very sound recommendations. So instead of giving away cash or whatever else, I could give away game tickets or something similar!

    Thanks for the idea 🙂

  25. Kentucky Internet Marketing November 26, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    So far, for me link building is effective and can gain more traffic. It is simplest ways to promote your site and even have a contest about who can get the top links in.

  26. I love the Adagio and BlogParty examples. I think creativity is exactly what seperates the really awesome SEO’s from the ‘meh’-SEO’s. With all those bloggers out there, it’s just a matter of how creative you’re willing to be to get noticed.

  27. Jessica Tamblyn January 18, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    A link is NOT a link. I think too much link building can actually harm your rankings. I suggest only quality sites.

  28. I love the Tea example. I wonder what does Matt think about it ? They are kind of paid links, but then the perspective of hitting 3 birds actually says the other way. They are actually marketing their product to the webmaster community.

  29. This is an excellent idea, the one about Adagio teas was excellent. I’m going to use this with my new site infact. Maybe write a few reviews, a couple of “how-to’s” and also give away some stuff to gain some interest. Maybe even a few posters seen as how that’s really easy!

    Thanks guys! Mike

  30. Very practical tips on link building for it touch the human need. From what you shared, I could say that human link building is very primary. The giving of incentives and prizes are enough motivational acts to spark the interest of people around you. These gifts established rapport with humans first.

    I am still learning the ropes of link building. It’s only now that the links inside some articles make a lot of sense to me. Publishing an e-book is a very clever suggestion because you will certainly generate visits to your site.

    Thanks a lot for sharing these tips.

  31. I’m not a fan of posting to forums. Too many of them are nofollows. But holding a contest and a giveaway.. now that’s working smarter, not harder.

    I appreciate you sharing your ideas.


  32. Katrina Powell May 21, 2010 at 2:27 am

    I am one of those link builders who only post my blogs for the sake of links. As I read this article, it opened my eyes and my mind to create blogs for the benefit of my site visitors or readers. Thanks for sharing this wonderful article.. 🙂

  33. Great stuff. Thanks for the tips. I gotto start giving freebies to my visitors.

  34. Eloisa Luciano June 8, 2010 at 2:41 am

    Creative advice! Freebies are really the secret to catch up a customer in your site.

  35. I think the concept developed in this article is definately interesting. It has got my creative juices flowing. I gotta go find what works for me now and drive traffic over the roof!

  36. The article is as interesting as the idea. What everyone really needs is to think once in a while. There’s always a idea that can make life easier for us.

  37. Nice strategy method… Thank you for a great article. I am about to do some SEO for my own company’s website. Now I’m thinking about using some other ways to build links and I’m glad I came across your article. Again, thank you very much.

  38. Im glad I came across to this article. Yes, i agree that people do love freebies and this one technique really works

  39. These are really great ideas. It is so crazy how excited people get for the idea of free stuff.

  40. Yes , it is right that getting quality of back links are difficult task in short time period and I am agree with you that people love freebies , I am happy to learn new ideas from your article .