Posted May 28, 2008 2:00 pm by with 30 comments

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By Paweł Szulencki

Inbound links are one of the most important factors that determine your websites worth in the eyes of search engines. The more quality inbound links you have pointing to your website the higher you get in SERP’s. The more inbound links the higher your PageRank is. But how to make people to link naturally to your website?

Tip #1: Organize a contest.

Contests make a great link bait. Couple of hundred of dollars prize can result in thousands of dollars worth of traffic, inbound links and interest to the organizing body.

Me, by writing this and you, by reading this, are the best examples for that kind of link bait strategy. This article was written for the SEM Scholarship contest. The Marketing Pilgrim (the organizer) gets new quality content to their website, attract new users, get lots of new traffic to their website and promote the SEM industry. Us, the contestants, get the chance to win the grand prize ($10 000), become noticed among the industry specialists and improve our skills. It’s a Win/Win situation. So go ahead and hold a contest in your own industry. You won’t regret it.

Tip #2: Give out something for free.

Everyone loves to get something for free. And if its high quality, valuable and with no strings attached it becomes irresistible to people. They want to spread it, share it with others and they want to link back to it.

For example, if you are in SEM/SEO business design a tool valuable to the community and give it out for free. You may check how many SEO focused websites give out free tools. Almost all of them.

Make it clear to everyone who created the tool, include your websites address and let people insert it easily to their own websites. That way you are helping other people, gaining new users and inbound links to your website.

Another example: create a beautiful web design for one of popular open source CMS systems and spread it free of charge. Put the “Designed by” in the footer and place your design on appropriate websites.

Remember: if you give something valuable to people, the community will give back to you.

Tip #3: Make a “101 list”.

Build a “101 list” about the subject you are most familiar with. It may be a list of 101 most common mistakes when buying a car (if you are in car industry), a 101 places on Earth you should visit before you die (if you are in travel business) or any other list you may think of. Such lists get searched all the time and may become documents with high authority.

Make a hint list with hidden tips and tricks about certain topic. If you are an expert in construction business make a list of 10 things you need to ask a construction company before you hire them or 10 tips on how to repair a computer infected with viruses if you are in computer security business. Tips & tricks are very useful to people and they are glad to link back to such sites to help other people that might have the same problems as they have.

Create a top 10 myths list about your industry. People love to read them and respond to them really well. You may bust some myths about your industry helping yourself by educating people and become cited in various sources with link to your site.

Tip #4: Submit articles to news sites.

Write an interesting article on some subject and submit it to the high traffic news sites. Articles get spread really fast on Internet, especially if it’s interesting. Insert your websites address and its short description. You may be surprised where your articles land and where people are coming from to your site.

Exchange topic related articles with other webmasters and publish them on your website. You can also ask guru/experts in your field to write guest articles to your site. You will gain authority to your site and you may become more trusted in your industry.

If you create a valuable and revealing article and it will become popular, people will start linking to it as a resource in their own articles passing their link juice to your website.

Tip #5: Sponsor non-profit organizations.

Sponsor an event for charity organization, design and build their new website with your link on the bottom or simply draw a cheque. Most non-profit organizations have a site with list of sponsors. You may also equip their office in new computers or furniture. They will show their appreciation for your gesture by linking to your site or mentioning about your business in any form. Anyhow, you market your website and gain a link back.

Gaining a link from .org domain is highly valuable for your company as search engines treat them as an authority websites, so your site should get higher ranks.

Tip #6: Community websites.

Write on various forums dedicated to your business, gain trust and help other users. Don’t actively promote your website, don’t say how good your company is or how amazing your products are. People will sense the marketing language and they will not interact with you. On contrary, help genuinely to solve their problems and don’t mention your website all the time.

Set up the signature in your forum profile at most. And don’t ask for anything right after you register on the forum. Instead answer several questions, gain respect from forum users and later ask them questions you may have. That way they will trust you and you may gain potentially much more links to your website.

Tip #7: Think.

Open your mind for new ideas. There are countless number of opportunities to gain inbound links to your website. You just need to think of them. Even if they sound impossible or stupid at first you should pursue to try different methods of getting links to your site. Diversify your efforts, be creative, help the community, be helpful and resourceful and you will see positive effects of your hard work.

Good luck in your link building campaigns. Please let me know of other methods you use in order to gain new links to your website.

This is an entry to Marketing Pilgrim’s 3rd Annual SEM Scholarship contest.

  • I agree, the contest idea is a great way to boost traffic. Good job, Andy. I will have to do that on one of my sites one day.

    Mike Morabito’s last blog post..Killer Quotes that could’ve been Creativity Killers

  • Mike, it’s the “one day” thing that keeps us all from doing it.

    Nice tips Pawel – another good strategy is to write testimonials for companies and hope for a power link on their homepage. I think your best tip however is #7, nothing is a “one size fits all” solution to building inbound links.

  • Jayson, I agree the “one day” factor is the killer.

    In my case I think I need to learn how do some more things (like web design and possibly programming) before I can launch some of the killer domains that I own into fully fledged businesses. Basically I would like to be the only employee of those companies that I would start (like Andy is with Trackur)and then not worry about funding. Does that make sense?

    Mike Morabito’s last blog post..Killer Quotes that could’ve been Creativity Killers

  • Suggestion: shouldn’t the #1 way to get people to link to your blog would be to offer good quality unique content? Just wondering… 🙂

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  • Thank you for the aricle. Nice link building tips. Some of them were new to me. I mostly like the Tip #7. There are many opportunities to get links indeed. One just needs to sit and think and the ideas will come absolutely.

    Julia – Fast Blog Finder’s last blog post..How You Can Double Your Link Building Efforts

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  • Tried #1 lately and it worked well, however making a contest alone will not bring in any new readers – you still have to promote the contest.

    Sidenote: this list could have been easily expanded to fit #3, just makie it a 101 list in, say, 5 installments.

  • @Jayson: That’s a good idea too, to write testimonials, reviews, opinions on different websites about products/services and do something positive that way and gain inbound links at the same time. Look how easy it is to post on Yahoo! answers. You can answer real people questions, provide them with your knowledge and you gain reputation, trust and possibly new clients.
    A contest is really good way to get inbound links and interest on the Internet. Even if the prize is not high people are still interested in participation. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an online contest. It can be a contest in a restaurant, a newspaper or local radio station. You can promote your company/business and gain new clients/visitors interested to see the contest. And as Dark Side mentioned, “you still have to promote the contest”. I agree.
    @Mike Morabito: it’s not the question if it makes sense, if you can make it happen it will make sense. You need to try. That’s my opinion. If you won’t try you won’t know.
    @S.Hamel: Yes, of course good quality content is the most important to get links. If a website is poor in content, nobody will like to link to it. And that’s the eternal truth of SEO. But my article is about other ways of gaining links that also work well.
    @Julia – Fast Blog Finder: Yes, the ideas are absolutely everywhere. You just need to think of them. Every industry/website is different and may acquire new links in different way. Not everything works well for everyone. What works for me, doesn’t necessarily have to work for you.
    Thanks for all the comments so far. Let me know any more suggestions you may have, other ideas for link building campaigns.

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  • Doggiegreen

    Speaking of testimonials for websites. My boyfriend just came across an interest business search engine called Planetbuzz com.

    Apparently businesses can advertise for FREE and update their own ads!!! Can this be true? He says it is.

  • @Doggiegreen: Well, i don’t know the Planetbuzz website and it seems to be new on the Internet. It seems like they are giving some ads for free before the official website start in 26 days from now. What happens when they start, i don’t know. Is it still going to be for free, hard to say. Contact them and find out more details about they offer.

  • I tried to get people to link to my site for a contest once and no one did it. They even skipped putting their blog URL in so they didn’t have to do it.

    Jenny’s last blog post..Minimalism At It’s Finest

  • @Jenny: Could you tell me more bout your contest and the way you organized everything. I’m interested in finding out how to improve such competitions to make them more irresistible for people and make them a link opportunity for organizing body. You can post your story here or email me at pawel (AT)

  • This post is a working example of a couple of your points.

    To gets link naturally without spending money you have to bring something to the table. Something really is different. It has to add value.

    Birmingham SEO’s last blog post..Gadsden, AL Search Engine Optimization Service

  • Nice list, albeit not very original. I think probably the one with least value is number 5, sponsor a non-profit organisation. It’s a lovely thing to do, but it all you’re after is Link Juice, all the other options are cheaper and more effective.

    Owen Cutajar’s last blog post..Time for a HoneyPot

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  • Hi Pawel,

    It’s a good article with the suggested 101 List model. Most of your ideas suggest one of the model I think would change the way we think about marketing.

    The future of marketing will be a Philanthropic approach. So, the punchline for my Marketing Gossip blog is “Philanthropists are greatest marketers and vice versa”. due to this fact, it’s not a matter of wonder if businesses generate social activities and run several philanthropic programs.

    Asif Anwar’s last blog post..13 Prophecies of Internet Marketing – The Near & Far Future of Online Marketing

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  • First of all, thanks for all your comments.
    Here are some more tips you may find interesting that may bring additional inbound links to your website:
    Tip #8: Develop valuable content.
    Create interesting, unique content. Make it easy to read and understandable. Double check it to eliminate grammatical and spelling errors. Attractive and appealing text is great opportunity to gain links to your website and a chance of becoming cited source and website with high authority.
    Tip #9: Enable easy linking to your website.
    When you write a valuable content let people easily link to it. Enable users the use of social bookmarking services. Add “Digg this” buttons and similiar on your website.
    Tip #10: Ask for links.
    Easy as it may sound it is rather more complicated process. Actually as long as you are not well recognized and respected person in your industry you should expect to get mostly negative answers for your emails. But don’t give up. Keep trying and you might success. Combined with timeless content on your site you may expect some positive answers and you may gain valuable links to your website.
    But remember: Think about your customers. Link with sites that will bring benefits to you AND your visitors.
    Tip #11: Conferences and business meetings.
    Attend your industry conferences, meet with people from your branch. Talk to them in person, make relationships with gurus in your trade. Don’t be shy and start a conversation. You may extend that person to person relationship onto the web which may help grow your business and gain some links to your website. You may also make interesting interviews with the “inside people”. Such interviews make original content quite easily and they may spread quite fast on the Internet distributing your links on different websites.

    I hope those tips will help you out in your link building campaigns. Comment and share. Thanks.

  • Planetbuzz is launching a new and FREE website! And it will remain free to everyone for their listing. I actually work for them and yes, it is free. Check it out:
    Use promo code AC1109 to set up your ad! (This code will save it in our system)
    If you have questions, please feel free to email me at

  • I’ll second that confirmation. I signed up for a free ad using this promo code someone gave me and… it worked like a charm. Got me a free display ad and, it’s nice! Here’s the code. Just click on this link and it will automatically put the promo code in where it needs to be.

    Tip: get your business display setup and looking good, BEFORE the public launch of June 26th! Also note: I understand the fee display ad is free not just before the public launch but forever thereafter!

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  • Great suggestion about the contest.

    I also think it matters what kind of contest you put up there and it is important to have a contest that is easy to enter, yet involves the people entering adding some value as well. So in order to have that taking place, one should carefully strategize how to set this up.

    I am sure there are some resources for where we can find some good material for this online.

    Founder / Inventor
    [link removed]

  • You gave an exact info what I need for my site
    Plz tell me more ideas..Thanks..

  • sophia levis

    Excellently amazing and exciting too. Can you please mention me the source of your reference… I am happy that at least somebody gave this subject an attention.Web Design Birmingham AL

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