Link-Building Ideas: The ‘Definitive List’ of Link-Building Ideas for SEO

Link-building is fundamental to SEO. In this post, I am not going to explain what links are, nor why they matter. I’m going to ignore nofollow vs. dofollow, domain authority, relevance and all the technical details. I’m assuming you know that. You’re ready for “link-building.” What you need is a list of ideas. A checklist of ideas on how to build links, that you can run through looking for easy link ideas.

Reverse Engineer the Competition

Before we begin, I would always recommend taking your keyword(s), Googling them, and “reverse engineering” the link-building strategies of the competition.

  • Reverse Engineer Competitors. Input your competition into a link tool such as SEMRush, MOZ, or AHREFS.  Compare / contrast who links to them with who links to you. Solicit relevant links accordingly, and/or look for patterns in their strategy. What are they doing that you are not? How can you quickly catch up?  Use a free / paid tool such as AHREFS, MOZ, or SEMRush. Link-Building Ideas: The 'Definitive List' of Link-Building Ideas for SEO

Then Browse this List of Link-Building Ideas

  • Poll Your Ecosystem Partners. Every business lives in an ecosystem. The wedding florist lives in the wedding ecosystem; the hair transplant specialist lives in the hair loss, restoration, and cosmetic surgery ecosystem, and so on and so forth. We all know people – friends, business colleagues, employees, co-workers, family… To-do: identify who you know in your ecosystem and ask them to link to you.
  • Directories. Directories are easy for link-building. I prefer directories that charge (at least a little), so that they aren’t full of junk. You want industry-relevant directories, that let you create your own keyword-heavy listing and link outbound to your website. To-do: Google search directory {your keyword}, plus other markers such as “add url,” “link to your website.”
  • Associations. Most industries have industry associations. Identify those in your industry and join them. Identify “adjacent” industries or themes and join those. To-Do: Google search association {your keyword}.
  • Image bait. If you are a visual person, like a website designer, photographer, videographer… you can reach out to “adjacent” competitors and offer to provide “free” images with attribution. To-Do: create images, and outreach to targets who would like them.
  • Blogger bait / Review Bait. If you provide something of value like a product (e.g., dog toy, cat toy)… identify blogs in your industry and reach out to them with an offer of something “free” and in exchange they write a review on their blog with backlink. To-do: identify something free and identify potential blogger targets via Google searches like blog {your keyword}
    • Create something of value like a resource list, widget, white paper, infographic.
    • Identify people who are likely to “care” about this, and who have blogs or websites.
    • Reach out to them and pitch them on linking to your resource.
  • Ego Bait. Create a list of the “top” “x” in your industry… give out awards, and then alert the “winners” that they have now received an award. Ask them to co-promote their award status by blogging about it with a link back to you.
  • Coupon / Special Offer Bait. Create a “coupon” or “discount” for your product or service. Reach out to associations who offer “member benefits” and pitch them on including your coupon / special discount.
  • Scholarship Bait. Create a scholarship. Research *.edu sites that might link to you and alert them of your scholarship / essay opportunity. Make the name of the essay something keyword heavy. Reach out to *.edu’s (educational pages on scholarships) and ask them to link to your essay contest / scholarship.
  • Contest Bait. Create a contest with a prize. Reach out to sites that talk about contests.
  • Reviews. If you are a “local business,” Google Reviews are a type of “link” or at least a type of “off page” SEO. Create a “link solicitation strategy” starting with simply asking all “happy customers” to please write us a short, honest review. You can generate a ‘review us’ URL inside of GMB.
  • Widget Bait. Create a useful widget, such as the price of palladium in real time. Reach out to bloggers and websites that might “benefit” from including the widget / link to the widget. Here’s an example in the “Reverse Mortgage” space.
  • Resource Bait / Content Bait. Create a resource (e.g., list of free dental resources in San Francisco). Reach out to bloggers / journalists who might find it of interest, and ask them to link to it. Even better, find something that is “popular” in the resource category. Create something “better” and then ask people to link to YOU as well as (or instead of) the inferior competitive content. This is called the “Skyscraper Technique.”  For example, search “Free Dental Resources in San Francisco.”
  • NonProfits. Sponsor nonprofits and ask for link backs. Use searches on Google such as site:*.org and your keyword. Or identify directories of nonprofits and use these directories to identify nonprofits. Another example: identify Little League, sports teams and other smaller groups that have websites… and be included.
  • Be Church-Friendly. Churches and other religious institutions often have resource pages for members. Join them, and be included as a “church-friendly” resource.
  • Broken link building. Identify resource lists in your industry, especially those with broken links. Offer to be the “replacement” for that resource.
  • Guest Blogging. Have a content idea (or more than one). Identify blogs / publications in your industry that allow “guest blogging.” Pitch them.
  • HAROHelp a Reporter Out. Join this service and be ready when a journalist / blogger needs some help / content with your content (and your link).
  • Social Media Profiles – create robust social profiles on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., post content, and offer a “robust” social media activity to Google. (Yes, I know that these are largely nofollow… but still can’t hurt, and it’s easy!)
  • Unlinked Mentions. Find references to your company via Google / Google news. Reach out and ask for those mentions to include back links. For example, here’s a search for “JM Internet Group” excluding our domain.
  • Forum Bait. Identify forums in your industry. Chime in with your 2 cents and include a link back to your website.  Search Google for “Forum {keyword}”.
  • Buy Links. Go to the dark side. Identify places that “sell” links and purchase them. For example, a search such as site:*.org “link to your website” and then browse for places that sell links.
  • Podcast Bait. Have something useful like a new white paper, eBook, tool… reach out to podcasters to be interviewed, and then include in the “podcast notes” a link back to your website. There are even podcast agencies that will pitch you.
  • Reciprocal Links. Identify non-competitive sites in your ecosystem…  Reach out and say, “I’ll link to you, if you link to me.” Or, for example, a personal injury lawyer might reach out to friends / colleagues in other cities.

More Resources on Link-Building