Search Engine Watch ForumToday a forum member (wildnetSEO) added a nice post titled ‘100 Back Link Finding Techniques‘. The list actually includes 104 ideas, so already you’re getting more than you bargained for. As I’ve been building links for…oh, forever, I’ve decided to take a look and analyze the list. Next to each idea, I’ve added a rankings/comments for the following:

Difficulty (1-10): How difficult the technique is to apply and obtain a link? 1 meaning it’s a very simple technique and 10 meaning it takes a very large investment of time, money or both.

Effectiveness (1-10): Rating of the overall SEO effectiveness of the technique. Will it generally result in high quality or low quality links. 1 being very low value from the link and 10 meaning the link will deliver great link-juice.

Spam Alert (1-10): Rating that shows our opinion about the legitimacy of the technique, and will it be a spammy-approach. Is it likely to be red-flagged or de-valued by Google now or down the road. 1 being a low spam level and 10 a neon sign applied to the link that screams ‘This link is so worthless, it’s almost funny we got it in the first place!’. Even if it isn’t detected, it may require a total sell-out approach to get the link in the first place. Not a good thing for your online or offline reputation.

Comments: I’ve added some of my personal opinions based on experience or gut feeling.

I’d love to hear feedback on 1) the ideas themselves, 2) my rankings and 3) my comments.

Link Building Technique Ideas Difficulty




Spam Alert


1 Create viral linkbait if you use wordpress. 9 8 1 Not sure what the ‘wordpress’ portion is referencing.
2 Write and give away a free ebook. 9 6 5 If educational-great. If a bloated sales pitch- stupid.
3 Write a pillar (authority) article. 6 6 2 Everything depends on the quality of the article.
4 Create a numbers list (10 ways to xxx, 20 different xxxx). 3 4 3 A little played out, but easy to do.
5 Hold a contest, and require that they link back to you for an entry. 5 5 5 Can be difficult to get participants. Other’s spam alarm may be activated.
6 Send off interview templates to big bloggers, and post up completed interviews. 3 5 2
7 Create a WordPress plugin. 10 10 1 Identifying a need and delivering the solution is hard, but a great way to earn links.
8 Design a hot WordPress theme, and distribute it for free, requiring they keep your link in the footer. 9 6 1 Footer links not as valuable, page probably not relevant.
9 Create controversy (be careful and don’t get into something you can’t handle) 8 7 3
10 Find a scammer/shady website or blogger, and make the world known about it. 6 6 1
11 Submit a press release about your new product or news. 6 4 5 Played out and becoming very cluttered, but if you have something to announce, still fairly effective.
12 Submit your site to free directories (careful, only SEO friendly ones) 1 2 7 Easy to do, but low value…and getting lower all the time.
13 Submit your site to paid directories (dmoz(kidding!), yahoo, alive) 4 6 2 Be selective, but often worth the investment.
14 Submit articles to article directories. 3 4 3
15 Submit posts to blog carnivals. 2 3 4
16 Email a webmaster, and ask for a link. 6 5 2 More a task required for many other link building techniques- often required and valuable approach. Very time consuming and requires great follow-through.
17 Offer to buy a one way link from another relevant website (keep this on the DL) 4 4 6 Be careful.- fairly risky. Only selective links from sources that come up as a natural result of doing business. I prefer industry specific memberships and groups.
18 Send unsolicited, yet awesome articles to other bloggers to reference or post 6 6 4 If content is good, it may work out as a good long term partner.
19 Let your networked friends know that you’ll do reviews and testimonials. 4 5 4
20 Buy reviews on pay-per-post or a similar service. 2 2 6 Don’t prefer this technique. Haven’t seen it really pay dividends.
21 Get on the Digg front page (and watch your server melt). 10 10 2 Creating something that gets on the first page is the hard part.
22 Exchange Stumbles on popular webmaster forums. 3 3 6
23 Submit to 1 4 3
24 Answer a question on Yahoo Answers and reference your site. 2 4 2
25 Pick a hot ebook or software program and review it for free. 2 4 2
26 If you get paid for a review – make it a great one, and you’ll get a link back. 4 4 2 Getting paid for a review is the difficult part. Making it good should just be a given.
27 Don’t be afraid to link out – share the link love (just don’t get too spammy) 1 4 2 Sharing the love is a good way to get link karma- others in the industry reciprocate.
28 Be the first to report breaking news (hard, but very effective) 10 9 2 Takes great timing and some luck, but a nice technique. Not really something that can scale for most SEOs.
29 Review a semi-popular tech gadget. 3 4 3
30 Review stuff on Amazon, and put your link in your profile 2 2 5
31 Create a Linked-In page, and make sure to put your link on it. 2 3 4
32 Speaking of that, do the same for Facebook, Myspace, and others.. 2 3 4
33 Hire good writers to pump out quality content. 7 8 2 Hard to find good writers at an economical price, but quality is always worth it.
34 Join all applicable Chamber of Commerce’s’ in your area for free links 3 4 3
35 Join the BBB (Better Business Bureau) for a free link. 2 5 2 Wait?! Isn’t this $300-$1,000 annually? Effective, but expensive.
36 Post a bulletin in your Myspace account about your new site. 2 2 3 Not a big Myspace fan.
37 Throw a relevant link in a Craigslist ad. 2 3 5
38 Create your own SEO tool. 10 10 2 If it’s valuable and solved a common problem it’s a great idea. Problem is- that’s hard to do.
39 Buy TV air time on a small station flashing your URL. 10 3 7 Expensive and a lot of work.
40 Buy Radio time for a short commercial spamming your URL. 9 3 7 Expensive, a lot of work and I don’t see it driving links.
41 Put bumper stickers on your car with your link on it. 2 1 10
42 Look for older, higher PR sites with Guestbooks, and sign them! Easy links. 2 2 4
43 Comment on Do-Follow blogs (meaning the link in your comment will be followed by a spider) 4 4 4 Potentially very spammy. Add value to the blog with high quality comments and links to resources.
44 Post your link in forums, and your forum signature. 3 3 5 Potentially very spammy. Add value to the forum or go away.
45 Don’t forget to link from some of your older, more established sites. 3 4 1 If applicable, do it.
46 Buy post level links from other bloggers/webmasters. (usually cheap) 2 3 5
47 Don’t be afraid to ask for links, you just never know! 3 4 3
48 Do pro-bono work for a non-profit, and they may link to you. 8 7 1 Love it. Takes a lot of work, but adds value and earns high quality links.
49 Offer to be a guest blogger or regular contributor on a bigger blog. 6 7 3 Write good stuff and earn good links.
50 Apply to for a topic that you can write about. 5 6 2
51 Sell items on ebay and agree to donate proceeds to charity – they will link to you. 5 6 1 Great cause and legit way to earn link- but takes time and money.
52 Hire someone from a webmaster forum to submit links for you. 2 3 5
53 Trade articles with industry related webmasters 4 4 3
54 Rewrite old content they may have been buried to fast…breath new life. 3 5 2 Update the content to make it more relevant. Don’t just rehash same stuff.
55 Find out about getting a link on your local libraries website. 4 6 3
56 Launch an affiliate program for your site, ebook, or product. 4 4 5
57 Technorati tag all of your posts for good Technorati exposure. 3 3 3
58 Take advantage of “old world media” (newspapers, magazines) 5 3 3
59 Rent links from Text-Link-Ads or similar service (careful with this one!) 3 3 7
60 If you have the ability, create a Firefox extension and release it. 10 9 2 Difficult to build and get adoption, but if you can do it- quality, earned links will follow.
61 Answer questions on Google Groups and link if necessary. 4 4 3
62 Call in to a radio show and shamelessly plug your site! 3 2 10
63 A good PPC campaign can draw exposure which could = links. 5 3 5 Perhaps a way to spread link bait. Can be expensive.
64 Head over to the slums (chat rooms) and mention your site if appropriate. 3 2 7
65 Create a controversial political cartoon and get it some attention. 10 6 3 Creating the viral cartoon is the difficult part. If you have these talents in-house, may be an option, for most not pratical.
66 Most local Fox sites have a blogging community you can tap into. 3 3 4 Fox news sites? Not aware of this, so assuming low on each.
67 Hire someone to do everything in this list. Outsourcing is cheap and fun. 5 3 5 Not easy to find a good outsource partner that delivers quality. Takes a lot of trial and error. Usually not a good investment.
68 Get business cards, and distribute the hell out of them for exposure. 4 2 9
69 Drop your link on Xbox live. 2 2 10 Never done this, seems really spammy.
70 Mention your link when you’re playing online PC games. 2 2 10 Never done this, seems really spammy.
71 Donate a larger sum of money to a small charity in exchange for a link. 10 8 2 Good cause, but can get expensive, hence the 10 on difficulty. Links are often not worth the investment. Check for how much juice is being passed. However- great cause and legit way to earn a link!
72 If you’re in school, put your link on your college website (even sneak it in for a free .edu backlink ) 7 5 10 Not really scalable- risky and spammy. Remind anyone of Overstock?
73 If you have family friendly content, get a link from your Church’s website. 3 5 8
74 Set up a Squidoo lens with good content, and link to your site from it. 4 5 3 If good content and kept up-to-date can be a good link.
75 Sponsor an event or a big contest – trust me, lots of link love there. 10 8 2 Good cause, but can get expensive, hence the 10 on difficulty. Links are often not worth the investment. Check for how much juice is being passed. However- great cause and legit way to earn a link!
76 Enter all the group writing projects you can find – good links. 4 4 5
77 Start a community helpful website, and get on the local news – they love it. 10 8 4
78 Submit to RSS feed sites – hopefully they’ll link back. 2 4 2 With good content coming in consistently, this is well worth it.
79 Make sure to take advantage of trackbacks when linking out to other blogs. 2 3 2 Easy in WordPress- so well worth it.
80 Set up an award system on your site, and have readers vote on best site. 5 5 6 Hard to create unique contests and get people to utilize. Kind of played out, but if legitimate contest may be worthwhile.
81 Speaking of that, enter all the award sites you can. 2 4 4 If your site is well designed or has something unique, well worth submitting to these contests.
82 Make a super crazy viral type video, and get it on Youtube. 10 8 4 Really hard to create something viral that will take off. Educational type videos that go semi-viral in an industry may be a more cost effective and less risky approach.
83 Start a podcasting series, and build an audience, they’ll link to you. 10 6 5 Hard to create and up keep. Huge investment of time is required and follow-through is required. Good links, but large investment of time over a long time is required.
84 Write a heavily opinionated piece to get people talking. 7 7 2 Again, the content is the secret. Difficult to cut through the clutter- but doable- especially within an niche industry.
85 Retain a real linkbaiting service. (There are a few out there, but $$$) 10 6 2 Great idea, but hard to find a great partner. Gets expensive fast.
86 Hire an actual real life publicist for your site (if you can justify it) 8 5 5 Expensive. Probably not doable for most businesses (small and mid-sized). Consider adding the task to a current employee who has aptitude for it.
87 Help with an up and coming web 2.0 project for more exposure. 10 5 1 Identify good opportunity and invest time/$ is the hard part.
88 Start a content writing service website, and have clients link to you for a discount. 10 6 3
89 Crack the top 100 in Technorati, or create the largest MyBlogLog community. 10 8 3
90 Go old school and trade links with other relevant sites. 4 3 7 Only a small portion of this is healthy. Too risky if a core of your link building strategy. Make traded links relevant and within the natural course of doing business.
91 Check who links to your competitors, and get links from them! 5 7 3 Love it.
92 Provide a ***y “link to me” button or banner, and people will use it, for real. 4 3 7 Only a small portion of this is healthy. Too risky if a core of your link building strategy. Make traded links relevant and within the natural course of doing business.
93 Create a good Facebook app, and if it’s really good, the links will pour in. 10 10 2
94 Review bands, local restaurants, and small shops and get links on their sites in return for the exposure. 4 6 3 Especially good for geo-targetted optimization.
95 Speaking of that, sponsor a hot local band’s show one night with big flashy banners with your link on it (in the background) 8 3 6
96 When Hannah Montana comes to town, buy up some tickets, offer them on your site as prizes. Local news stations and papers will eat it up alive. 8 5 3 Concept is okay, but requires money and some serious promotion.
97 Sue Yahoo, Google, or whoever, and you’ll get plenty of publicity – lol 10 1 7 LOL.
98 Answer all of your emails promptly and professionally. People love that, and will link to you and let everyone know how swell you are. 5 1 1 Good practice, but hardly a link building strategy.
99 Create a thorough walk through on a game or even an electronic device. People love that stuff! 3 3 3
100 Network with like-minded individuals offline. Talk to them about tossing your link up on their site. 5 3 7 Good practice, but an after-thought. It should, however, become a habit.
101 Write about the hottest celebrities, and make it unique. People love Hollywood. 5 2 6 Rarely have I found this to be applicable to a link building strategy.
102 Create your own Wiki page (it’s no follow, but could lead to natural links) 3 3 7 Usually will be vetted out. Industry specific wikis are a better approach.
103 Create your own training program for your field of interest. 10 8 2 Quality training content takes time and consistency, but a great way to earn legit links.
104 Offer an on-page language translator to reach out to other countries, which can lead to new links 5 3 1

Feedback? What rankings would you change? What comments would you add? Let us know what you think.