Link building: a repetitive, boring, rejection-centric, low response rate trudge.
Sound familiar? It doesn’t have to.
Link building can be a creative, actionable endeavor, allowing you to spend your time meaningfully, not only in the generation of links, but in providing real added value to your community.
Everyone has their limit for plowing through link begs, broken link building, and guest post or infographic outreach. If you value your own time, supplementing – or even replacing entirely – your link building strategies with creative link building that adds real value can make all the difference in the world.
So What Link Opportunities Add Value and Require Creativity?
Added value link building, by definition, is any link building strategy that adds value to the web (or even the offline world!) in the process of obtaining a link. Furthermore, I would state that added value link building is based around the concept of actionability.
I definitely wouldn’t quantify sending an email asking for a link as added value link building.
A few examples of link building opportunities with an emphasis in value:
- Events – create, host, or participate
- Associations – create, host, or participate
- Clubs – create, host, or participate
- Interviews – interview and individual, a group, or grant an interview
- Start a controversial or important conversation where both views are represented
- Create a needed resource for your community
- Provide a genuine review/testimonial to an industry partner
- Start a discount/product partnership with someone relevant to your industry
- Provide unique research or a case study
- Create an updated version of an old/outdated industry resource that has received numerous high quality links
- Host a contest
- Create an industry survey
- Create a Whitepaper
- Write an eBook
- Participate in charity
- Be transparent – share internal strategies, tactics, best practices with the world
- Thought leadership – create guides, videos, slide decks
- Start a scholarship
And that’s by no means an all-inclusive list. There’s a wide variety of possibilities and opportunities, but the core concept is:
How can I give back or add value to my community, while creating an opportunity for links?
Google has said over and over again that they want websites to provide users with a rich experience. Ensuring that we’re creating true value with our link building is in line with that goal.
The Importance of Multiple Strategies
Too often when researching a new vertical I can within minutes find the core tactics used within: link begging, guest posting, infographics, directories – even article marketing and reciprocal links.
True, I’m fairly experienced in these matters. But still. If I can find it, you can bet Google can as well.
Link building shouldn’t be a single strategy built to scale. Every link building campaign needs multiple elements with a focus on creating relevant, authoritative, quality backlinks in an organic manner.
It doesn’t take thousands of links to rank a site. I’ve seen over and over again the power of a handful of relevant and organic links directed at a quality site.
Google’s algorithmic penalties (Penguin and Panda) center on pattern detection. If you’re abusing one link building strategy and pushing it to scale (and thus dropping quality for quantity), you’re doing it wrong, creating a nice big internet footprint for Google to follow.
The goal should always be a handful of high quality links at a time through diverse strategies.
So while activities such as link begging, broken link building, infographics and guest posting are great core link building activities, it’s important to be sure you’re using diverse and unique means of building quality links. More importantly, that you’re not spammy any single tactic – please, please don’t do that.
Be unique, creative, and ask yourself – what does your company or website have to offer? Those natural resources unique to your company should be fully utilized for successful link building.
Customization and Creativity
Link building requires customization and creativity. True, you can build links simply by using the same old tired strategy – but you’ll probably regret it. Not only because Google might catch on, but because building links in such a manner is boring, and the reward isn’t nearly as great as creating true value.
In my experience there’s nothing like securing links using a new or unique strategy. Seeing links come in based upon valuable work you’ve done – that should be the goal. So don’t limit yourself to a single strategy. Be willing and able to be adaptable, agile, and creative. Seize advantages when and where you can.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the best link building tool in the world is the human brain.
Jon Ball is VP of Business Development for Page One Power, and is skilled in developing highly effective link building strategies for clients worldwide. A professional portrait photographer in a past life, he still passionately pursues photography as a hobby.