Link Building Methods

Links are the core of your search engine optimization campaign. Quality, authority and trust-building links are tough to get. Here we outline 35 methods you can use to attract links to your website.

Why Links?

Links are essential and natural connectors of the web. It’s fairly easy for search engines to analyze links and judge the quality of a website based on the quality and quantity of its incoming links. Unlike on-page factors, links are harder to manipulate.

Users abandoned former search leaders AltaVista, Excite, AllTheWeb, Hotbot and others because they could not maintain spam free indexes and return useful websites. It’s harder to manipulate links and easier for search engines to keep their results spam free and relevant. Links will stay at the core of search algorithms, so it’s important to learn how to get them.

Authority links – These are links from highly important websites. Those are the sites you see on top of search results for the most competitive keywords in your industry. Authority websites also include university and college domains, and government and library sites.

Trust Factor – Search engines don’t trust all links. In fact Google discounts many links due to lack of algorithmic trust in the domain or link type (positioned on a generic link page, link scheme, etc). 

  1. Join your local chamber of commerce and get a .gov trust link from their website.

  2. Network with local colleges and universities. Get to know professors. If you have enough valuable information you can get a link from an .edu page.

  3. Join the Better Business Bureau. It’s a good idea to do so even if you aren’t after links. Customers want to see proof of ethics before they open their wallets.

  4. Talk to your business partners, manufacturers, distributors and affiliates. See if you can get a link from their website.

  5. Submit your website to local, city and government resources. If you offer useful pages, webmasters will link.


The Classics


  1. Submit your website to free directories like DMOZ. Quality is KEY.

  2. Submit to paid directories like Yahoo Directory and Business.com. Quality is key again.

  3. Submit to social bookmarking sites like del.icio.us, reddit.com, Furl and others. Bookmark other websites on your own. If your build up useful collections, users may check your profile and follow a link to your site. There might be a webmaster or blogger who will link.

  4. Submit to social news sites like Digg, Newswine, Stumble Upon and others. Make sure your content is on a non-commercial domain since Digg fans bury commercial sites, even with quality content. Digg is famous for their bury brigades who bury anything with hints of SEO, marketing or hype. Commercial domains never survive.

    If your story goes viral on Digg, it will get visibility from bloggers and site owners who can give you incoming links. You can go back and plug a link to your commercial domain once the story is off the Digg homepage and once you gain some incoming links.

  1. Buy links. Google declared war against paid links, but smart link buying still works. Try to get links from content pages, as opposed to generic link lists. Content that surrounds a link is as valuable as the anchor text of the link. Stay away from link schemes. A reasonable proposition to a quality website works best.

  2. Rent links from link brokers. Make sure to stay away from shady brokers and use trusted names: Text Link Ads, Text Link Brokers, Patrick Gavin. (no affiliation)

  3. Buy websites. If you have a big a project, big client or deep pockets you can purchase quality websites for around $10,000 – $20,000 per site. Use domain power to pass pagerank to your site.

  4. Sponsor a charity – they will link back to you. Make a donation to a charity, sometimes they link back to donors. Plus… you’ll feel good :-) .

  5. Search engines trust old, established domains with quality link profiles. It’s usually easier to purchase an old domain for a couple thousand dollars than to build a trust profile from the ground up. Search GoDaddy.com.

On-site Link Building

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. – Google Corporate Mission

There must be a good reason for Google to show your website on the first page of search results to achieve its corporate mission.

To get to the first page of search results, other webmasters must link to you, and they need a good reason as well. So the saying goes: “Content is King.” With content as your king, it’s easier to get the Queen – links (or many “Queens,” since we men are like that).

  1. Build a site with plenty of quality content. Quality content (as much as we hate that phrase) is still the king. Look at seochat.com, seomoz.org and seobook.com. More than half of their existing search visibility is due to quality content and voluntary links from other webmasters. Of course there’s plenty of SEO, but because those sites entice webmasters to voluntarily link to the content, those links helped them build strong brands and made them leaders in their fields on search engines.

  2. Make a sexy design. A cool web 2.0 look with extreme features can entice links on its own.

  1. Create lists of the best material on your topic. This will cause people to bookmark your page and possibly link to it. Lists include 101s (any number), best resources, best tools, best pictures, best websites, best blog posts, best experts, best whatever, top myths, worst whatever, and more. 

  2. Find out what webmasters want. Contact webmasters and learn what they think the Internet lacks in the field. Create it and email them back with notification (and a possible request for a link). Most people are good-hearted, so they’ll give you the link.

  3. Did you find something new? Are you sure no one knows about it? Create a page on that topic and mail it to authorities in your field. If it’s worth what you think it is, you’ll get links from networks.

  4. News — fresh, updated news get links as a rule. Posting news needs a commitment and a 24 hour watch for stories across the web. The web is HUGE and you can’t be awake 24 hours a day. Keeping track of news needs at least two people to monitor and post stories. So plan well before tackling the news niche.

    Sometimes you can stumble into a hot story before everyone else does. Reaction is KEY. Be swift and email all news sites and authorities in your field; links will follow.

  1. Entertain people. With everyone so busy nowadays, we don’t smile much. An article that can make people smile will get you some back links.

  2. Create controversy. Challenge views, propose new ideas. Putting pen to   paper lights more fire than matches ever will. – Malcolm Forbes.

    Check George’s Orwell’s Politics and the English Language to see how to challenge world views.

Blogosphere and Social Networks as Link Building

  1. Get a blog. But don’t have one just for the sake of having one. Share your insight. Use it to discuss industry events, knowledge and developments with fellow industry professionals. Head out to Technorati, learn who top bloggers are in your field and network with them. An insightful comment on their post, a suggestion or new idea will entice them to check your blog. They may subscribe and link to some of your good posts in the future. A referral from an industry authority is gold to your profile.

  2. Comment on other blogs. People love attention and as you give it, you will receive it, sometimes in the form of back links.

  3. If you know a lot about a sub-topic of your industry, create a blog about it. In SEO we have blogs on search patents, link building, keyword research and even robots.txt – all part of SEO, but focused on a specific sub-topic.

  4. Get some social media accounts like FaceBook, Twitter, Friendster and LinkedIn. As you pay attention to others, they will pay attention to you. Eventually they will follow a trail to your website and possibly link.

  5. Link to other blogs. Content management systems provide link trackbacks, so whenever someone links, blog owners are instantly notified. Even authority figures check their trackbacks to see what others say about them. They also use it as a brand management measure.

  1. Network with industry peers in your local area. Get to know them. Social interaction has link potential.

  2. Get out to trade shows, conferences and industry gatherings. Network there as well, it’s good for your link profile :-) .

  3. Put a URL sticker on your car. This won’t get you links, but might send some quality referrals.

  4. Seduce a librarian. Try to get a link from a library site. Seduce a university professor. Get a link from an .edu domain. (Okay, not literally seduce, but you know what we mean). 

  5. Put your URL on pens, T-shirts, pencil sharpeners, caps, cups and other promotional merchandise. Some web owners might see it, visit and link!

  6. Put a URL on the roof of your house. Google Earth users will see a website address on your roof and who knows… maybe link to you!

Content Quality Guidelines – Who Wants to Know About Your “Streamlined Web-enabled Vortals"?

  • Write with readers in mind. Make your stuff easy to understand. General guidelines: keep sentences to a maximum of 20 words. Mix long and short sentences. Break the pace with occasional 30-40 word sentences and follow it up with five words to create unpredictability. Bump.

  • Don’t use jargon unless your write for an audience that gets it.

  • Do not make grammatical errors. There are no excuses here. If you can’t afford Microsoft Office, get Open Office or Firefox for free with built-in spell checkers. And don’t underestimate the value of having another person go over your work, especially if they have a better command of the language. 

  • Make a detailed About Us page. Let readers know who you are. Put your awards and achievements (related to the field) in the open. Lack of authority is your biggest adversary. It is overcome with persistence in quality and referrals from existing industry authorities.

Now go get some links!

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