We’d all love a few more backlinks.
But are you prepared to do whatever it takes, even if it means pretending to be a woman, to net yourself some more?!
If so, roll up your sleeves, grab a coffee and get ready for some rather different ways of securing backlinks that will give you an edge over your competitors and launch you up the SERPs.
Google has changed a lot over the years, and it may be facing significant competition from Facebook now, where its position as the number one traffic driver is concerned.
But SEO still matters—and so do backlinks.
Back in 2014, Matt Cutts of Google said that backlinks would dwindle in their importance over time. Fortunately, we’re good for now.
However, what hasn’t changed is the way people secure their links.
We guest blog, we use our SEO tools to see where our competitors are getting their links from, and we network as much as we can to get attention and links.
Fortune favors the brave, and the brave are often those who do things a bit differently.
If you fancy yourself as a creative person who likes to try new ways of doing things, let’s take a look at a few, shall we say, unconventional approaches to link building.
Creative Link Building: 5 Unconventional Approaches to Getting Backlinks
1. Work with schools
Where backlinks are concerned, you can never be too cool for school.
See, Google really likes .edu domains. They’re super authoritative, and getting a link from them can work wonders for your position in the SERPs.
But how on earth does one secure a link from a reputable educational institution? Do we have to go to Harvard first and split a few atoms?
Not at all!
In fact, all you need is something that an educational institution could use, such as a piece of software that helps either students or teachers.
Then, you can offer the school(s) a discount on your software in exchange for a link back to your site.
- Academia.edu is one of the most popular .edu websites
Don’t have a piece of software? No bother.
Alternatively, if you have information, knowledge on a specific topic or an inspiring personal backstory, you could offer to deliver a lecture to a local school.
It’s really a form of guest posting where, instead of you offering to guest post on other peoples’ blogs, you’re asking them to guest post on yours.
2. Find broken links
Does it sound a bit geeky to be trawling the net looking for broken links on websites before asking if you can replace said broken links with links to your site?
But this is an unconventional approach to backlink building that works, primarily because you’re doing the website owner a massive favor by pointing out damaging broken links on their pages.
There’ll be websites related to your niche who can provide you with awesome contextual backlinks but who have, unfortunately, already linked out to your rivals and aren’t preparing any fresh, relevant content just yet. Darn it.
However, these same websites may also have a few broken links that really need replacing.
Due to a lack of time or apathy, the website owners probably aren’t even aware that the links are broken. Instead, they need you to point this out to them.
You can use a broken link building strategy like this one to: a) find websites relevant to your niche, and b) find broken links on said websites.
Once you’ve found the broken links, you can then kindly inform the website owners before offering to replace them with a link to your site.
Make sure that your message is polite, well-thought-out, specific to them and reassures them that you’ll be offering their page value.
3. Pretend to be a woman
Um, this is when things get really unconventional.
It was brought to the attention of Moz that being a woman will get bloggers more links. So they decided to test this theory out.
Fair enough, not everyone gets a reply when reaching out to bloggers for some link juice. But could it really be possible that women get more positive responses than men?
According to Moz’s research, it is.
Of the 437 positive responses received from Moz’s outreach campaign, 262 were received by a woman while 174 were received by a man.
We probably all have our own theories as to why this is—are women just more trustworthy than men?—but the upshot is that, if you’re not a woman already, you might want to consider pretending to be one when reaching out to blogs.
Hey, in the wacky world of the internet, there’s not exactly much shame in that! Ghostwriters pretend to be different people all the time.
4. Create a community and arrange a meetup
Thanks to recent changes to Facebook’s algorithms, marketers are sensing that the way forward for businesses on social media is to focus on creating groups instead of pages.
A Facebook group is fantastic because it brings together your customers and followers into one place and turns them into a tribe. And once they’re part of a tribe, the idea is that they’ll pretty much do anything you want.
Likewise, you could create a community on your site for your followers/fans/customers. Setting up a forum is pretty easy, and then all you need to do is encourage people to chat, post, start topics and share cool stuff.
Then, you can arrange a meetup!
- Facebook is a great way not only to expand your visibility but also to collaborate and get more backlinks
The great thing about this is that some people who join the meetup will also have their own website, and like you, they’ll want to document the meetup and blog about it.
And this means—you guessed it—they’ll link out to you. Huzzah!
The great thing about this particular unconventional approach to link building is that, although it’ll take some time, it shares a purpose other than building links.
Instead, you’re actually offering real value to people in building a community and bringing people together. Sure, you want those links too, but it’s such a creative idea that there’s more to it than just more links.
5. Feature other bloggers or companies in a post
If you have a blog, why would you want to write a post all about other bloggers? Um, because backlinks, of course!
- Promote other companies in your blog post, and they’ll be happy to backlink to you. Credits: blog.nightwatch.io
Compile a top ten post that’s relevant to your niche. An example could be something like a “Top 10 SEO Bloggers,” “Top 10 Marketing Software” or “Top 10 iPhone Apps for Entrepreneurs” style blog post.
Then, publish it to social media and make sure each blogger or company featured knows about it. With any luck, they’ll happily link out to it.
After all, who wouldn’t share a post that features a glowing reference to you, especially when you didn’t even ask for it?!
Creativity can pay off
In a world where backlinks aren’t easy to come by, sometimes it’s the unconventional approaches that have the most impact.
Some of these strategies are downright wacky and some will take a lot of time to implement, but all are creative, and all can help you to secure more links and boost your position in the SERPs.
Aljaz Fajmut is an internet entrepreneur and founder of Nightwatch—a search visibility tool of the next generation.
Follow him on Twitter: @aljazfajmut