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Are you stuck in a rut with your link building programme? I'm in a sharing mood today so I thought I'd lift the lid on a selection of creative link building tactics I’ve been having success with...

I've yet to speak to any serious SEO that wouldn't want a little more 'link love' to power a specific keyword position, a section of a site or a domain's overall authority. So take a dash of customer insight, a pinch of target media knowledge, add a sprinkling of creative process and wash it down with some slick idea pitching, and the holy grail of editorial links can be yours (along with the natural search boost that comes with them).

Here’s a taste..

1. Interactive Video Content

Blog and specialist site owners love good editorial video content, so the fashion blogger community were going to love an interactive fashion show.

The creation of a digital catwalk meant that anyone that could not attend the event could watch the show from a virtual front row, while the ’hotspot’ element allowed viewers to click on any piece of clothing that catches their eye and instantly find out more information about the item.

Interative Fashion Show

(Watch the interactive cat walk video)

2. Badge Schemes

A "badge" scheme involves the creation and promotion of a graphic link that third party sites are encouraged or incentivised to embed. This is a fantastic tactic to tap into advocates of your brand for the benefit of your natural search campaign.

But why would people but a badge on their site?

  • They are massive fans of your brand. They want other people to know this. For example, here is a badge scheme we're promoting to customers of a water cooler supplier we work with:

Aquaid Banner

  • They are members of a group\club that you've created. Membership rules require the utilisation of the badge on the site. For example, a sportswear company offer free items of kit for running clubs for their members to test. In return for the kit the "official kit reviews" provide valuable independent reviews for the website as well as a link from the badge.

Sports Shoes Official Kit Reviewer

  • They want to show off. For example, when we were fortunate enough to get a nomination from Econsultancy last year we were more than happy to place this badge on our site. 

econsultancy innovation award

3. Feature Pitches


This involves developing exclusive content to a media partner. This is a tactic more traditionally associated with good old fashioned PR. However, as a link development tactic it's just as much (or I'd argue even more) value than the equivalent ad value that is often used to show ROI on this type of work.

To get a feature your story has to be super relevant to readers, be of high interest and be exclusive to your media target. The more exciting the collateral you can offer, the better your chances are off securing coverage.

You'll also need to know exactly who to speak to in order to pitch your idea. You'll want to know who looks after the online editorial as these people are often different to their offline counterparts. Rather than scrambling around to find the right contacts mercifully there are excellent media contact databases like www.gorkana.com that do the hard work for you.

You might even find services like www.responsesource.com useful.  Sign up and you'll get requests directly from journalists for you to contribute to a feature. This might be an expert comment, images, a case study etc. 

A feature pitch of "Dressing for the Recession" captured The Telegraph's imagination and they sent a journalist to interview our bespoke tailor client, giving them the chance to show off their expertise and showcase their suits. And…er… get a link from the Telegraph with some favourable anchor text.

Telegraph Dress in a Recession

SEOs: make friends with your PR Team, they are your best friends.

I think SEO is about to enter a creative era and shed the directory submissions and advertorial image of bygone link building days. It would be great to discuss these and any other examples the community would like to share.

Gary Preston

Published 1 June, 2010 by Gary Preston

Gary Preston is strategy director at search marketing agency Propellernet and a contributor to for Econsultancy.

1 more post from this author

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Bill Bean

Bill Bean, Account Manager at Deep Ripples Inc

Thanks for the badge idea. Gave me an immediate idea for a client.

Bill

over 6 years ago

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Marc Cornelius

Gary, A great post and spot on when you talk about the potential for PR and SEO techniques to cross over. As well as feature-led pitching, search-optimised (but thoroughly newsy and readable) press releases, photo sharing and video sharing are just some of the ways that PR can bring very effective and complementary firepower to SEO campaigns. The secret ingredient is PR's ability to tap into what is newsworthy, topical and thus worth sharing. We would like to see much closer collaboration between SEO and PR pros become the norm. Marc

over 6 years ago

David Reilly

David Reilly, Digital Strategy Consultant at Econsultancy Guest Access TRAININGSmall Business Multi-user

Great post Garry, lots of practical ideas, David

over 6 years ago

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Rahman Mehraby

When I talked to an owner of a franchized business and explained that if I took a certain course, they, I would be able to use their logo on my site. He asked me, "Why don't you start something and give people a logo of yours to display on their sites?"

Now, the badge idea is suggested by you Garry. Thanks for reminding me at such a good time. I think it just triggers an innovative idea that has already started and needs to be developed by this badge!

over 6 years ago

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Winmark Business

I love the badge idea.  It's a tried and true method that has gotten overshadowed by social media, social bookmarking and blogging.  Thanks for the reminder!

over 6 years ago

Gary Preston

Gary Preston, Strategy Director at Propellernet

Thanks for the positive comments. I'm glad you found the 3 examples useful. Marc - I couldn't agree more. The relationship between SEO and PR shouldn't be seen as an afterthought. As an industry I think the challenge is that when you put the words SEO + PR together most people (from both search and PR backgrounds) immediately think of optimising press releases for online distribution. This limited perception isn't aided by SEO\PR agencies packaging "optimising press releases" as a fully fledged online PR service. I believe things get really interesting when you deploy online PR campaigns with a specific revenue prioritised SEO objective in mind....

over 6 years ago

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Sean Drake

Great Post...

What are some companies that allow you to make that type of video for site.

I searched for that link to but couldn't find anything.

Best,

Sean Drake

over 6 years ago

Gary Preston

Gary Preston, Strategy Director at Propellernet

Hey Sean, The tool that allowed us to create an "interative layer" in the example above can be found here: http://www.linkto.tv/ Cheers Gary

over 6 years ago

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Jay Broughton

We conduct our own SEO but are looking to partner with a local SEO company but I feel more confident in talking to them now after reading these latest ideas.  Thanks

about 6 years ago

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