Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Link Building Strategies – The Complete List By Mughal

Basic

These are the most basic strategies in the book. Everyone can build links with these strategies, no matter what industry you’re in.

Create an RSS feed

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: Design, development
Link Value: High
If your blog is run on any of the popular Content Management Systems, you'll already have an RSS feed. If you don't, create one. If you do, burn it at Feedburner.com so you can get statistics on your subscribers.
For link building, it's simple. There are sites out there that will scrape your content (stealing it without permission). When they do, make sure you get a link back by 1) including links to other pages on your site in your posts and 2) installing the RSS footer plugin for WordPress (adds a link to your blog after every post).

Interlink

Time: 4-8 weeks
Dependencies: Development
Link Value: High
You have pages and posts on your website, so make the most of them. Internal links are HUGE for link building because you can control everything about them, from the location on the page to the anchor text.
This is something that most people overlook, and I advise you to please not! Make sure to steer your content in the direction of other posts or pages so you can link to them.
Also, if you have multiple sites, interlinking is a must (unless they're completely irrelevant and unrelated).

Resources/Links pages

Time: 2-4 weeks
Dependencies: Marketing, design, development
Link Value: Moderate-High
Other webmasters have created links or resource pages, and these are legitimate opportunities to get links. If the links on that page are relevant, you've got a chance.
Unfortunately, it's not as easy as just asking for a link. I'll go into specific strategies below that help you get webmasters liking you before you ask, because doing that greatly increases your chances of getting a link.

Profile links

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Moderate
If you sign up to become a member for a site, you'll get a link in your profile. Well, not every site. Some sites will allow quality links in your profile, while others won't. Some are in the middle, such as Twitter, which gives nofollow links (links that don't pass link juice).
Example: CrunchBase. Sign up here.

Ask people you know for a link

Time: 1-2 weeks, ongoing
Dependencies: None
Link Value: High
Whether it's your friends, relatives, employees, colleagues, business partners, clients, or anyone else, ask them for a link. Someone you know has a website or blog, so take advantage.

Make it easy to link to you

Time: 12+ weeks, ongoing
Dependencies: None
Link Value: High
If you want people to link to you, make it easy for them.Create HTML ready snippets that people can plug right into their content to link to you, because some linkers in your community might not be too web savvy. I suggest either creating a "Link to Us" page or by using a little javascript to generate the HTML at the end of each article or post.
Note: this might not be the best option based on the community you're located in. Are you in the cement niche? Then this is perfect. Are you talking about Internet related business? Then this might not be your best bet, because the majority of your audience probably already knows how to link.

Research competitors

Time: 3-4 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: High
A large chunk of my time finding links is by looking through my competitor's link profiles. Essentially, you're piggy backing off of their success. While some links are unobtainable (i.e. a random mention in a news post), others can be diamonds in the rough (a high quality niche directory).
I suggest using SEOmoz’s Open Site Explorer for this. Plugin your competitors and export their backlinks to a CSV. Do this for all of your competitors so you can get all of their links in one place – Excel. Then you can sort them by various link metrics to find the best opportunities.

Link out

Time: 4-8 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Moderate-High
Linking out is huge. Don't be a link hoard; you're going to create content, so use it to gain favor with other people.I'll go more into depth below with specific strategies on linking out.

Submission-Based

There are many places across the web where you can build links through submissions, whether it’s submitting your site, a piece of content, or anything else.

Article directories

Time: 12+ weeks, ongoing
Dependencies: Content
Link Value: Low-Moderate
You can submit your articles & blog posts to article syndication sites. Although they don't pass much value, they're still worth submitting at least a couple articles to. In return, you'll get a link or two in your author bio, depending on the site.
Example: Ezinearticles.com. Sign up here.

Web 2.0 submission

Time: 2-4 weeks
Dependencies: Content
Link Value: Moderate
Web 2.0 sites are similar to article directories, but instead, you can add images, video, and other interactive features to your content. These usually pass more value than article directories, but it depends on the authority of the site.
Example: Squidoo.com. Sign up here.

Press release submission

Time: 12+ weeks, ongoing
Dependencies: Content, PR
Link Value: Low-Moderate
By submitting a press release to distribution sites or specific syndication sites, you can build links if you add one or two into the body of the release. Some options are paid, while others are free.
Example: PRWeb.com. Sign up here. Packages start at $89.

Infographic submissions

Time: 12+ weeks, ongoing
Dependencies: Design
Link Value: Moderate
If you've created an infographic, you can easily submit them to infographic directories or blogs. Paddy Moogan put together this awesome list of 27 of them.
Example: CoolInfographics.com. Suggest one here.

Company directory submissions

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: Marketing
Link Value: Moderate-High
Just like general web directories, you can submit your site to general company directories. You really don't even need an actual company; you only need a website.
Examples: HotFrog, Manta.

Video submissions

Time: 12+ weeks, ongoing
Dependencies: Marketing, video production
Link Value: Moderate
If you have video content, make sure you're getting links from all that hard work. The best list is here. Just as a heads up, some sites only provide nofollow links, and they're usually in the description.
If you're looking to submit videos on a large scale, consider checking out OneLoad. It's a paid service, but it can save you some serious time.
Example: Vimeo. Sign up here.

Niche specific directories

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: High
As opposed to general web directories, niche specific directories only accept sites that meet a certain topic criteria. For example, one directory might only accept sites about arts & crafts. Some of these directories are free, while others are paid.Example: Business.com, a directory for business websites. Submit here. Cost is $299/year.

User rating reviews

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Low
Submit user ratings and build links at the same time. Once again, Peter Attia created an awesome list of submission sites for this topic.
Example: Epinions. Sign up here.

Web cam directories

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Low
If you set up a Webcam, you can get a few high quality links, such as the PR7 directory listed below.If you're wondering where to set it up, don't worry; it doesn't have to be Times Square. I've seen a few of highway roads set up right outside of their offices (pretty lame, right?). You can do something similar. If you want, set it up some place awesome, because it could attract links on its own.
Example: Earthcam.com. Submit here.

Logo design directories

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Low
Most of you have logos for your website or company, so get a few links in return for them.
Example: TheLogoMix.com. Info to submit here.

Free web directories

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Low
There are hundreds of free web directories to submit your site to. The only qualification you need is to have an active website. Because these links are so easy to get, though, they don't pass much value. Still, there are a few free general directory links that pass both link juice and trust.
Example: Website Launchpad. Submit here.

Non-English directories

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Low
If you've created multiple versions of your site in different languages, you can get links for it. Here's a great listof German directories.
Example: Hello Dir (Italian). Choose category, then submit.

RSS directories

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Low-Moderate
If you have an RSS feed, you can submit it to RSS directories. There are hundreds. Here's a fantastic list(scroll down) of RSS directories to start out.Although these links won't be directly to your content, they'll pass link juice to your RSS feed which links to any content you linked to in your posts.Example: www.Feedage.com. Submit here (create an account first).

1-800 Directories

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Low-Moderate
Have a toll free 1-800 number? Get a few links in return. If you don't have one, you can get one for $10/month at Grasshopper.
Example: InternetTollFree.com. Info to submit here.

Blog directories

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Moderate
If you have a blog, you can submit it to various blog directories. Like all other directories, some pass value, while others are crap.
Example: AllTop.com. Find a relevant category, then sign up to submit.

Podcast directories

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Moderate
If you have a podcast, you can snag a few free, easy links by submitting to podcast directories.
Example: PodcastDirectory.com. Submit here.

Iphone app directories

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Moderate
If you have an Iphone app, you can get a few easy links. Or, if you want, you can create one to get these links. An easy one to create is an app that just acts as a mobile RSS reader (this app from the SPI blog is a great example of this).
Example: Appolicious. Sign up to submit here.

EBook directories

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Moderate
If you've already written a few eBooks, or if you plan to, there are a solid amount of eBook directories you can get links from.
Example: E-BooksDirectory.com. Submit here.

Web app directories

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Moderate
If you have an online tool or application, you can get links for it. If you're thinking about creating one, know that it can also be used to attract links (link bait). We'll go more into that below.
Example: Go 2 Web 20. Hit "Suggest an App" to submit.

Widget directories

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Moderate
Although the majority of widget directories you come across don't outright give you a link, you can still do some serious link building with them. If you make sure there's a link somewhere in your widget, you can get it in front of large audiences with these directories, and in doing so, some will embed them (thus, you earn a few links).
Example: GadgetsDirectory.Blogspot.com. Submit here.

Paid directories

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Moderate
Some directories cost money in order to be accepted into their listings. Once again, while some of these can pass legitimate value, others pass little and aren't worth your time or money.
Example: The Yahoo Directory. Submit here.

Multimedia/Document submissions

Time: 3-4 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Moderate
If you have any PDFs, PowerPoint Presentations, word documents, or any other documents, you can submit them to these sites and get a link in return. You have to put the links in your documents, such as in the first slide of a PowerPoint or in the text of a PDF.
Examples: SlideShare, Scribd, and Issuu.
Note: Although you can get a profile link from each, I'm still not 100% positive Google counts these links. I'm 99% sure Scribd's links are, but I know these are nofollow. Also, Slideshare's & Scribd's profile links are nofollow.

CSS/HTML5 galleries

Time: 3-4 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Moderate
There are loads of CSS galleries you can submit to if you did a great job designing your website or blog. There are also a few HTML5 showcases that you can get links from too.
I suggest forking out $20 to have your site submitted to 100 of them. Don't worry; it's quality manual submissions, not software.

Theme/Template directories

Time: 3-4 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Moderate
Designing WordPress themes or website templates can be a great way to net a few fantastic links from directories. Also, you can host the download page on your site, and if it's decent, you'll get a few links from design blogs.
If it's a WordPress theme, you can submit to the WordPress.org theme directory, which will get you a couple of high quality nofollow links (not to mention a ton of free exposure).
Example: free-css.com (website templates). Here's the submission information.
Note: Remember to include credit links in the templates or themes, because sometimes that's the only way you'll get a link back (they'll link to a demo page, not the creator's site). Popular page locations of links include the footer & the sidebar.

Content-Based

You can use your content to get links. Most of these strategies don’t necessarily attract links (which we go into below), but they can if the content is good enough.

Guest posting

Time: 12+ weeks, ongoing
Dependencies: Content
Link Value: High
Bloggers, just like me, sometimes have trouble cranking out content on a regular basis. That's where you can help. Pitch bloggers to ask if you could guest blog, because if they say yes, you can get a few links from the post, and if the blog is popular, you can drive traffic too.
Here's a fantastic guide on the entire guest blogging process.
If you want, use sites like Blogger Link Up and My Blog Guest to connect with bloggers who need content. It's scalable, but the bloggers you get in touch with aren't usually very authoritative (they're mostly mid-level bloggers).

Trade articles

Time: 12+ weeks, ongoing
Dependencies: Content
Link Value: High
Just like guest posting, you can get links in return for your content, but why not just trade? You both get content on each other's site, links, and visitors from an entirely different community.
If you or the other has a significantly more popular blog, see if the less significant one can do something extra in return. A good example is buying the other $10-15 worth of StumbleUpon paid traffic.

Educational content

Time: 12+ weeks, ongoing
Dependencies: Content
Link Value: High
If you're trying to get links from colleges, create content targeted at them that you can use during outreach. Trust me, there's usually something you know that you could write an entire tutorial on that would interest college webmasters.
Pro tip: Seek out pages on .edu websites that feature similar content, then do any of the strategies I list further down on this list that get you on the webmaster's good side.

Green content

Time: 2-4 weeks
Dependencies: Content
Link Value: High
Just like educational content, create something that targets a specific community. In this case, environmentalists. They've got hoards of link juice just waiting to be tapped into.
Simply outreaching to green bloggers and letting them know about your content usually does the trick. If the content is good enough, and if it's a complete conversation (i.e. a huge infographic on the environmental impact of drift nets), they'll usually dedicate an entire post to it.
Pro tip: As stated above, an infographic or something similar would work great, because all they have to do is embed it. If there's any community willing to embed an infographic that's relevant & worth sharing, it's the green community.

Images

Time: 12+ weeks, ongoing
Dependencies: Design
Link Value: Moderate
Something so frequently overlooked is the use of images for links. Bloggers just like me struggle to find relevant images to our content, so why not take advantage? When people use your images you'll get an attribution link in return (that's if they're honest).A great idea is to always have a camera with you whenever you're at an industry event. Imagine if you took 100 pictures at PubCon of all the different speakers and published them on a certain portion of your site.
Pro tip: hotlink your images. Make it easy for publishers to copy & paste HTML code right into their posts. This not only makes it easier to use your images, but it also makes it much more likely you'll get a link from each.

Free charts/graphs

Time: 12+ weeks, ongoing
Dependencies: Design
Link Value: Moderate-High
If you've got a few tidbits of data lying around, make them into charts and graphs. SEOmoz did a fantastic job of this. Just like images, you'll get attribution links.

Writing testimonials

Time: 3-4 weeks
Dependencies: Marketing, customer service
Link Value: Moderate-High
This one is HUGE. Right now, list any services or products you've bought recently. As long as it's not a product or service from a massive company (i.e. Walmart), there's a good chance you can get a link in exchange for a testimonial.
For example, this testimonial page has a Page Authority of 82. The best part – it only cost the customers a few sentences about that specific service.

Get interviewed

Time: 12+ weeks, ongoing
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Moderate-High
Just like you should interview others, seize opportunities to be interviewed, no matter how small the audience is. The 5-600 words that take you 15-20 minutes can turn into a few highly authoritative contextual links.

Contribute to crowdsourced posts

Time: 2-6 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Moderate
Just like with interviews, if someone reaches out to you to participate in a crowdsourced post, make sure you contribute. The questions usually don't take more than 5-10 minutes of your time, and you'll get a decent link or two from it.

Link Attraction

Outreach & submissions only go so far. Sometimes you have to let your content attract links naturally to get the results you want.
If you create content that naturally attracts links, it not only saves you time getting them manually, but it also increases engagement on your blog (if it’s worth linking to, it’s usually worth reading). This is where your content & link building strategies meet.

Egobait

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: Content
Link Value: High
It's a fact of life: people like to look good. If you're featured as one of the top bloggers in your niche, you're probably going to spread the word.
By appealing to the egos of people, companies, and communities, they'll help spread the word about your content. For example, this post I wrote appealed to some of the authorities in the SEO industry who all helped me spread the word.

Contrary hook

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: Content
Link Value: Moderate-High
If there's controversy in your industry, or if someone has one particular view on a topic, don't be afraid to write up a post on the opposing view. If you do it quick enough, and if the majority agree with you, you could attract links from your supporters like there's no tomorrow.
A great example is what Rand Fishkin said in response to this post, which attracted over 800 links from 140+ root domains.

Live blogging

Time: 1-2 weeks, ongoing
Dependencies: Content
Link Value: High
If you're at an industry event, blog about everything that's taking place. If you're the only one, you'll get loads of links. If you're not, you'll still get A LOT of attention.
I know it's Wired, so it's a little unfair, but hopefully you can learn how it's done from this example (451 links from 140 root domains in 3 months).
Also, check out this fantastic guide on live blogging.

Event Recaps

Time: 1-2 weeks, ongoing
Dependencies: Content
Link Value: High
Along the same lines as Live Blogging, writing recaps of events can help secure some additional links simply using the notes you're already taking. There is always a surge of content that comes out after a conference talking about ways to apply the strategies you learned, so getting your notes out there gives people a resource to reference as they’re writing this content. Make sure you promote these recaps using the conference hashtag so that it gets in front of the conference audience.
A great example of this is John Doherty’s recap of LinkLove last year (55 links from 8 root domains).

Event Resources

Time: 1-2 weeks, ongoing
Dependencies: Content
Link Value: High
Sticking with events, providing the event audience with some resource to help improve their experience is another quality way to generate links. For example, Mack Fogelson put together a cheat sheet for MozCon last year that acquired 18 links from 6 domains, but more importantly I’m sure it helped with initiate or reinforce relationships with other industry veterans/speakers.

How to's and tutorials

Time: 2-4 weeks
Dependencies: Content
Link Value: High
Whether it's a tool, DIY project, or anything else, showing people exactly how to do something is extremely helpful.
This RSS tutorial attracted 8,000+ links from over 600 root domains.

Glossary of terms

Time: 2-4 weeks
Dependencies: Content
Link Value: High
Newbies in your industry probably don't know all the jargon you and other bloggers are using. Do them a favor and create a glossary of industry terms and acronyms.
Here's a fantastic glossary of internet terms that landed 2,600+ links from over 1,200 root domains (imagine if you made an updated version!).

White papers

Time: 2-4 weeks
Dependencies: Content
Link Value: Moderate
You might be thinking research & white papers are the same, but they're not. Someone writing a research paper doesn't know what the outcome will be; someone writing a white paper has a clear understanding of the objectives and intended results from the beginning.
For example, you could outline an entire sector of an industry from top to bottom.
This one outlined the company and its services and got over 300 links from 100+ root domains. If a boring one like this could get links, imagine what you could do with more exciting content!

Quizzes/Tests

Time: 2-4 weeks
Dependencies: Content
Link Value: Moderate-High
Testing your reader's knowledge and letting them share their results with their friends is always a great idea.
OKCupid does a fantastic job with this. Their 2008 politics test attracted 1,600+ links from over 500 root domains.

Research papers

Time: 4-8 weeks
Dependencies: Content
Link Value: Moderate-High
Going all out and diving deep into a subject is a great way to establish yourself as an industry leader. It's also a great way to attract a few links. If you make any major discoveries, you'll get at least a few citations from scholarly and news websites.
This one, which attracted 7,600+ links from 1,500+ root domains, might look a little familiar.

Timely/Seasonal content

Time: 8-12 weeks
Dependencies: Content
Link Value: High
Creating the right content at the right time can get you a ton of attention. Creating an infographic on the statistics behind this year's super bowl the day after the event is a perfect example.
The same goes for seasonal content. Whether it's Valentine's Day, Christmas, or Halloween, you can create holiday themed content that can get a ton of attention over a short period of time (and every year after). Although yet another infographic, this is a great example.

Case studies

Time: 8-12 weeks
Dependencies: Content
Link Value: Moderate-High
Everyone loves a good case study. Real results with real numbers can instantly catch people's attention. If you offer a product or service, this is a no-brainer. If you give out advice, find someone who's used it successfully.
Although this particular case study didn't attract more than 200 links, it's still a great example of what one should look like.

Humor

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: Content, design, development
Link Value: Moderate
Creating a parody, spoof, or industry jokes list is a great way to loosen up your readers. People love sharing things they can laugh at.
The Onion, a fake news network, is built on humor. This story in particular attracted 4,400+ links from 1,200 root domains. No, you're not a major site like The Onion, but making a similarly funny industry news story is something worth thinking about.

Printable resources

Time: 2-4 weeks
Dependencies: Content, design, development
Link Value: Moderate-High
People like hard copies of useful guides. By creating a printable resource with an awesome design, you can almost guarantee a few links will come your way.
Check out this case study (see what I did there?) about how Brian Flores created a printable HTML5 cheat sheet that got shared by the Google Developers G+ page.

Stories

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: Content, marketing
Link Value: High
People love a good personal story. Whether it's crazy, funny, or embarrassing, this is yet another way to strike at your reader's emotion.
James Chartrand managed to attract over 1,000 links from nearly 300 root domains with this interesting one.

Covering News first

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: Content, marketing
Link Value: High
This one's tough, but remember to always keep it in mind. If you see someone talking about a new developing story, and no one has covered it yet, start mashing on your keyboard at lightning speed.
A good way to do this is by making sure all of the news sources are in your RSS feed reader. For example, if I wanted to cover the latest development of search engines, the Google, Yahoo, and Bing blogs would all be in my reader.

Infographics

Time: 4-8 weeks, ongoing
Dependencies: Design
Link Value: High
People love data, but sometimes it's hard to digest. Creating an infographic on it is a popular way to change that. Not only will it naturally attract links, but you'll also get other bloggers embedding it, which means even more links! Not to mention you have control over the anchor text of the embed code.
Here's a fantastic case study on an infographic that not only netted a ton of links, but also some serious traffic and social traction.

Web tools

Time: 8-12 weeks
Dependencies: Design, development
Link Value: High
Creating free online tools, like calculators, is a fantastic way to attract links. They don't even have to be complex. If it could save me five minutes, then I'll probably use & share it.
A fantastic example of a simple, yet effective free online tool is this one by Solo SEO. I can't count how many times I've seen SEO bloggers such as myself link to it. It's netted almost 500 links from almost 200 root domains.

Interactive

Time: 8-12 weeks
Dependencies: Development
Link Value: Moderate
The next big thing in linkbait is interactive content. The reason: because it's flat out cool and few people are doing it.
A great example is what Thomson.co.uk did with this.

Infoanimations

Time: 8-12 weeks
Dependencies: Development
Link Value: Moderate-High
Instead of creating an infographic, why not create a video that displays the same information? It's a lot different than what most are doing, and trust me, that's a good thing. The best part is that it works the same way as infographics; the video can be embedded and can act as a post by itself.
Here's a great example, and here's where I got the idea.

Review something new

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: Marketing
Link Value: Moderate-High
Just like with news, if you're the first to review something, and if it's awesome, your review will get tons of attention.
You can also use this to gain favor with the creators of the product or service you're creating. For example, I reviewed Domain Hunter Plus, a new link checker, and not only did I get a few links to the review, but the creator of the tool worked out a deal with me by linking to the review & my home page from the tool's home page, which is now a PageRank 5.

Utilize National Days & Events

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: Marketing, design, development
Link Value: High
Whether it’s a national day, week, month, or event, they can all be used to build links. You could create your own, or you could help promote an existing one. If this sounds like something you think you could do, check out this entire post (Update: link currently not working) on the subject. Props to Will O’Hara on taking this idea and really expanding on it.

Drawings

Time: 2-4 weeks
Dependencies: Marketing, design, development
Link Value: High
Using drawings to appeal to emotion can work great if it strikes the right tone with your audience.Here's a good example that attracted 15,000+ links from over 350 root domains.
I have to give credit to Neil Patel for this strategy & the next one.

Data/Research

Time: 4-8 weeks, ongoing
Dependencies: None
Link Value: High
By collecting data on just about anything, you can attract links. Why? Because, like lists, people absolutely love data. One reason is because they like to make conclusions from it that support their arguments.
Take it one step further. Release it as straight data, then release it again that makes it visually appealing with any of the strategies below.
Pro tip: If your data supports a side of an argument (i.e. nature vs. nurture debate), reach out to those that it would support. People love telling the world how right they are.

Update old content

Time: 2-4 weeks
Dependencies: Content
Link Value: Moderate-High
If information is out date, do webmasters a favor and help update it for them. If you're in a rapidly changing industry such as SEO, look for articles & posts written a few years back that still get traffic (i.e. rank high for a decent keyword). This is because if many people no longer see the content, the webmaster probably won't care enough to have it updated.
Here's a great example. Danny Sullivan even states in the article that he needs to update it! If I knew Danny better, I'd outreach to him with newly updated content, and ask if he could replace it (he'd probably be more than likely to). Unfortunately he's not exactly easy to get in touch with, but in most cases for you, this shouldn't be a problem.
Remember, when you do update the content, make sure you add a link to you in it. We are building links, aren't we?

Dead content recreation

Time: 2-4 weeks
Dependencies: Content
Link Value: Moderate-High
Take broken links one step further by recreating the content found at those URLs, then outreaching to not only that specific linking site, but also other sites linking to that broken URL.
For this, use Archive.org to find what content used to be found at that URL.

Logo/Graphic/Web design

Time: 8-12 weeks
Dependencies: Design
Link Value: Moderate
A decent website usually has some sort of logo, graphic, and web design. If you have any experience with any of these, reach out to webmasters and ask if they'd like any of the above services free at no cost.
Sometimes it doesn't have to be a major website makeover. Michael Kovis has helped me make a few CSS tweaks in the past, something that I've been very, very thankful of. Casey Kluver helped me with a bit of javascript that went into making this very post!
If you don't know design, you can get someone on Fiverr to create a logo for 5 bucks. No, it's not going to be amazing, but it'll get the job done.

Give them hosting

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: Development
Link Value: Moderate
Every webmaster has to fork out a few bucks (or more) a month for hosting. Why not help them out by either providing hosting or paying for it? For those who have a server, this shouldn't cost you a penny. A great thing to ask for would be a link in their blogroll.

Broken links

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: High
Out of all the strategies listed, this is my favorite. The scalability of finding broken links is crazy awesome. In a nutshell, you'll be finding pages that could potentially link to you, looking for broken links on the page, and if there are any, you'll let the webmaster know and ask if the broken link could be replaced with a link to you.
You can get really creative with broken links. It's by no means a narrow, straightforward strategy.
Here's a great guide on the entire process.

Finding malware

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Moderate-High
Chris Dyson pointed this one out. Use ScrapeBox to find sites with malware, then reach out to webmasters, let them know, and ask for a link.
Remember: don't go to their site! You might get a virus. Use a whois lookup to find contact info.

Fight Viagra Hackers

Time: 2-4 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Moderate-High
There’s a huge issue on the Internet that I didn’t realize could be used to build links until recently. Hackers (most notably trying to get links with anchors like “buy cheap viagra”) are infiltrating blogs, college sites, and regular html websites in order to get the links they want. A lot of times, the webmasters of these sites have no idea it’s happening. Here’s an awesome case study on using that to help you build links. And yes, creative would be an understatement.

Social

By no means are social media and link building two disconnected parts of your web marketing strategy. Here are a couple of ways to build links using social media sites.

Twitter

Time: 1-2 weeks, ongoing
Dependencies: None
Link Value: High
If you've got a Twitter account, then you've got 15 easy links in the bag.
Outside of those, there are numerous ways to build links with Twitter. Instead of listing them all here, just watch this video.

Social bookmarking

Time: 1-2 weeks, ongoing
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Low-Moderate
Sites like Delicious, Digg, and Pinterest offer a bit of link equity through social bookmarks. Because they're so easy to abuse, they don't have much value, but if you're looking to get the ball rolling in the beginning, think about bookmarking all of your posts and pages.
The only ones you should really be using are these 10, Pinterest, and niche specific ones (i.e. Inbound.org for inbound marketing).

Create Useful Things

If you build it, they will come. There are numerous things you can create that webmasters can embed on their site. In return, of course, you’ll get links.
Some of these things will also naturally attract links to the page you’re offering on them, so they work both ways.
Note: Web tools aren’t listed here because they aren’t something webmasters can physically put on their site.

Icon sets

Time: 2-4 weeks
Dependencies: Design
Link Value: Moderate-High
They're easy to create, and if they catch on, you'll get a ton of design blogs linking to you.
You don't have to know design to create an icon set & get links to it. Hire someone (on oDesk for example) to create a set for your blog. Then give away the set for free in a new blog post for anyone who wants it, and of course, notify design blogs about your free giveaway (they love free giveaways!).

Badges

Time: 3-4 weeks
Dependencies: Design
Link Value: High
Creating badges, such as the ones for the TopRank BIGLIST, work great if you're giving out awards.
On the other hand, you can create a badge like this for anyone, and not just an exclusive group.
Obviously, make sure you get a link from the badge. If they're sitewide, then congratz!

WordPress themes

Time: 4-8 weeks
Dependencies: Design, development
Link Value: High
If you're thinking about designing WordPress themes, know this: the links you get have little value, and that to gain any real value, the anchor text needs not to be spammy (i.e. exact match) and the theme needs to be used by sites with relevant content.
For example, if you're a sports blog, create a sports theme.
If you're OK with this, here's the best guide on the Web for utilizing WordPress Themes for links.

Drupal Themes

Time: 4-8 weeks
Dependencies: Design, development
Link Value: High
Just like WordPress themes, Drupal themes can be developed to build links exponentially.
If you've ever looked into theme development, you know most people are focused on WordPress. Use this to your advantage. Develop a Drupal theme because you'll have far less competition. The official Drupal theme directory includes only 955 themes as I'm writing this.

Widgets

Time: 4-8 weeks
Dependencies: Design, development
Link Value: High
By creating embeddable widgets, webmasters can place them on their site, and if you coded it correctly, you can easily get a link back.

Plugins & extensions

Time: 2-4 weeks
Dependencies: Development
Link Value: High
CMS plugins & extensions, like those for WordPress & Joomla, can get you a few links.
For example, in the Sharebar plugin, the default setting includes a link on the bottom of the floating bar. It can be disabled, but some people don't bother, thus giving the developers a link.

Toolbars

Time: 2-4 weeks
Dependencies: Development
Link Value: High
Here's a great example of a toolbar that Webmasters can place on their site (with a link in the toolbar, of course).
Alternatively, you could create a browser toolbar, such as the SEO toolbar from SEObook.

Paid Strategies

If you have a little room in your budget, then consider some of the below paid strategies. Google is against paid links, but there are some out there that are acceptable, such as the ones listed below.

Paid reviews

Time: 2-6 weeks
Dependencies: Customer service
Link Value: Low
If you've got a product or service you want reviewed on a blog, you can pay for one. By using sites like sponsoredreviews.com, ReviewMe.com, and PayperPost.com, you can pay for blogger reviews. Of course, they'll link to you in the review.

Pay authorities to embed your badges

Time: 2-4 weeks
Dependencies: Financial
Link Value: Moderate
It's a paid link that cannot be detected, it increases brand awareness & trust, and best of all, it can be used to get natural embeds.
For example, if I get one of the two bloggers in the industry to embed a badge of "Featured in Top 10 X Blogs in 2012", and I outreach to a few mid level bloggers that I also included (exactly for this reason), they'd be more than happy to embed it, because if the big time blogger did, they'd be honored to.
Honestly, if you're going to pay for a sitewide, this is the way to go. There are so many added bonuses.
Note: If you go for spammy anchor text, and not branded or partial, it could send spam signals, so don't play around there.

Leverage Existing Opportunities

Chances are there are links out there that are already yours that you just haven’t gotten yet. For example, if someone uses your content, you should be able to get a link back. Here are a few existing opportunities for you to snag a link or two.

Asking customers

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: Customer service
Link Value: Moderate-High
If someone just bought something from you, then this is the perfect time to ask for a link if they have any influence online. Ask them to write a review of your product or service, and then offer to help promote it to spread the word. It's a win-win!

Brand mentions

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Moderate-High
If your brand gets mentioned, then make sure you ask for a link. For example, if someone mentioned "Point Blank SEO" on their blog, I might ask if they could include a link so the reader would know where Point Blank SEO is located on the Web.
You can easily set up free alerts to find who's talking about your brand.

Associations/organizations you're a part of

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Moderate-High
If you're a part of an association or organization, chances are they have a website. If they do, find out if they link out to their members. Get included if they do.

Link re-purposing

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Moderate-High
If you've got too many links with generic or branded anchor text, reach out to those webmasters and ask if they could alter the anchor text to either exact or partial match. I myself haven't tried this, but Cleo Kirkland told me he's gotten a ton of success with this strategy.

Reclaiming Twitter links

Time: 1-2 weeks, ongoing
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Low
People will sometimes link to your Twitter account, so take advantage. Do what I did here by going to the Twitter widget page, then ask webmasters to link to your Twitter page on your site rather than directly to Twitter.

Previous linkers

Time: 1-2 weeks, ongoing
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Moderate-High
If someone has linked to you in the past, chances are they might be willing to in the future. Get to know them, and make sure they're up to date with your content, because that only leads to more links.
I like using Linkstant to instantly see who's linked to me. I always make sure to stop by and leave a thank you comment.

Miscellaneous

There are a lot of fantastic strategies that don’t quite fit in one specific category, so here is a miscellaneous group you should check out.

Set up free blogs

Time: 2-4 weeks
Dependencies: Content
Link Value: Low
Setting up free blogs for others is fantastic, because doing it might be complex for others, but easy for you. Make sure you get a link from their blogroll in return.

Get your own Wikipedia page

Time: 8-12 weeks
Dependencies: Content
Link Value: Moderate
As opposed to contributing, having a Wikipedia page about you or your company is something to look into if you've already built up authority. If you're well known, this is a great option & a huge way to build trust.
Make sure you're not the one writing it; have someone else write it, because it needs to be as unbiased as possible.

Reverse engineering assets

Time: 2-6 weeks
Dependencies: Content, design
Link Value: High
By finding assets that have worked in the past for competitors, such as awards & infographics, you can steal their success with little work. Basically, you're taking advantage of them not keeping up with the times.
It's a lot to explain, so here's a great guide to reverse link building.

Non-college job/intern postings (get picked up by job boards)

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: HR
Link Value: Low-Moderate
Job & intern postings outside of colleges can be a huge win. When one major job site, such as Monster.com, picks up your postings, it gets distributed to a ton of others. Most of the links don't last long (until the vacancy is filled), but some do stick.

Offline marketing

Time: 4-8 weeks, ongoing
Dependencies: Marketing
Link Value: Low-Moderate
Whether it's meeting your customers, handing out business cards, or even putting a sticker of your URL on your car, getting the word out away from your computer can help increase brand awareness, traffic, and in the end, links.

Affiliate program

Time: 12+ weeks, ongoing
Dependencies: Marketing, development
Link Value: Low-Moderate
It's a strategy past its prime, but by starting an affiliate program, you can not only get links through affiliate links, but you can also get links to the affiliate program page itself (affiliate bloggers will link out if they like it).

Video embeds

Time: 2-6 weeks
Dependencies: Marketing, development
Link Value: Moderate
By including links in the embed code of videos, and reaching out to bloggers to host them (i.e. as part of an upcoming post), you can get a link for each embed.

Guest books

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Low
Some outdated sites still offer guest books you can sign in. If you come across one, include a link.

Expired Blogspot blogs

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Low-Moderate
This is a little something I came up with myself. Some blogspot blogs become expired and allow anyone to register it, so by finding these blogs that have a few links pointing to it, you can gain control, put up some content, and link back to your site.
For example, I picked up this PR3 blog (Update April 2013: Google has taken it down) and added a link back to Point Blank SEO. I did this awhile go, and I agree that it's a little grey hat. I wouldn't do it again, but it's something I thought I should at least mention.
The easiest way to find them is to do is to check for broken links on pages that link out to a ton of blogs. This could be blogrolls, links pages, or blog directories. If a link is broken, and if it's to a blogspot blog, check to make sure you can register it. Most you can't. If you can, then go to OSE and check out its link profile to see if it's worth registering.

Linker outreach

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Low-Moderate
Find people on delicious or other social sharing sites that have saved similar content to yours, outreach to them letting them know about your content (i.e. an upcoming infographic), and let them do the rest; they'll share it or link to it if they like it.
I have to give credit to this post by Jason Acidre for this strategy.

Relevant reciprocal links

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Moderate
Yep, I included it. If you're going to exchange (reciprocate) links with a website, don't do it as if you're living in 1998. Make sure they're the most relevant, trustworthy websites you've ever come across. If they're not, don't do it.

Second tier link building

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Moderate
Building links to pages that link to you can be awesome if you do it right. You not only can pass more juice back to your site, but you can also use it for reputation management and to drive sales.
Pro tip: Do second tier link building to trustworthy sites linking to you, such as a guest post on a highly authoritative blog. For example, if you're utilizing broken links, asking for the replacement link to be to a highly trustworthy site over a link to you will get you accepted a lot more often than if you asked for a link to you.
This is because the site is more trustworthy (webmaster more willing to link) and because you're not asking for a link to the domain that hosts your email (i.e. jcooper@pointblankseo[dot]com asking for a link to pointblankseo.com), meaning it looks more natural in the eyes of the webmaster.

Google Alerts

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Moderate
Google Alerts is one of the best, free prospecting tools on the Web. What better way to get prospects than from Google themselves?
Here's a fantastic guide written by Ross Hudgens on using this tool.

Abandoned domains (auctions too)

Time: 2-4 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: High
Finding and taking over abandoned domains is definitely a strategy on the black hat side if you're doing something like a 301 or using its expired content outside of the site.
One strategy is to find abandoned domains that have link equity, then use archive.org to repopulate the content on some of the pages that got the most links. Obviously, include a few links in the content back to you.
I recommend using Domain Hunter Plus and Godaddy auctions for finding them in the first place.

Buy existing domains

Time: 2-4 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: High
Finding existing domains for sale through Flippa is great if you're looking to build up a few link assets. It's costly, but nonetheless, it's a strategy.

Join associations/organizations, both local & niche specific

Time: 2-4 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Moderate-High
Groups, organizations, and associations, both local and niche specific, sometimes offer links to their members.

Networking

Time: 8-12 weeks
Dependencies: None
Link Value: Moderate
Use some of the relationships you've built to create a network of similar non-competing blogs. Link out to them, and ask for them to do the same. A good number to have in your network is 5; it's not too much, but it's not too little.
For example, make sure everyone links out to each different blog in the network once a month. Heck, make it once a week.
It's like reciprocal linking, but way better, because the links are relevant, contextual, and natural in Google's eyes.

Help A Reporter Out (HARO)

Time: 1-2 weeks
Dependencies: PR
Link Value: Low-Moderate
HARO, or Help A Reporter Out, connects journalists with bloggers & industry experts. By becoming a source, you can get big time links from news sites.

PR Outreach

Time: 3-4 weeks
Dependencies: PR
Link Value: High
Good ole' fashioned PR outreach is always a great idea if you're buzzworthy. If you're not up for hiring a PR company for this, make sure you research who you're pitching, and make sure to keep it short and to the point.
If you do it right, you'll build up a relationship with the person you're pitching long before you pitch them. This will also result in you being able to tap into that relationship multiple times, and not for just a one-off pitch.
Tom Critchlow gave an awesome tip in this video – take things one-step further. If you write something up for a news publication, ask if you could regularly contribute by creating a weekly column. If they say yes, then you've just landed yourself a fantastic long-term link opportunity.

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