Some Great Link Building Strategies from an Expert

Posted in Articles By Sam Applegate

link building

I stumbled across a super link building book last week. Despite it being over 12 months old, Becoming a Clockwork Pirate by Kelvin Newman contains some fantastic SEO link building strategies which are still relevant today.

The resource provides a nice introduction to link building, and offers up plenty of food for thought. I very much enjoyed reading the book and have decided to summarise some of Kelvin's techniques, adding my own input along the way.

After 10 pages or so of background and introduction, Kelvin dives into some great manual link building tips.

Competitor Analysis

The book talks about the classic idea of reverse engineering those links pointing to competitors. The logic being, if a website links to your competitors, they might also want to link to you. Since Yahoo Site Explorer is no longer with us, use SEOmoz Open Site Explorer or Ahrefs Site Explorer to build a list of link prospects then contact each of them individually, in a professional manner.

Link Research on Trusted Domains

Look for opportunities to get links from .gov, .edu or domains. These are highly trusted sites in Google's eyes so will really help your cause. I remember an opportunity I once had to secure an inbound link from the South Downs National Park website. I had taken some photos of the local area and was storing them on Flickr. Out of the blue they contacted me, asking for permission to use one of my photos on a tourist leaflet. Of course, I eagerly replied stating that I'd like a link back to one of my (related) websites.

Donating to Charity

A great way to get inbound links is to get involved in a local charity or event. You'll not only get links from the charity organisation themselves, but there's also the possibility the press and media coverage will mention you in their online content.

Guest Posting

I'm personally a huge fan of guest posting. You need to find other websites related to your niche, and then write some great content for them, in exchange for a link back to your own site. It benefits your website two fold. First, you get an inbound link from a highly related domain. But also, you increase awareness of yourself within your niche and should benefit from plenty of direct traffic from the post.

Awards for Links

Why not invent your own awards? This is an extremely effective link building technique when done properly. Just look at 'What Hifi', their star rating is displayed in every HiFi advert, which is a great advertisement for their main magazine. Make sure you provide the winners with a badge which they can proudly display on their site (and link back to you).

Blog Commenting and Forum Posting

Ok, so most blogs and forums use nofollow links. But don't let this put you off. Remember, even if Google doesn't count these links directly for your ranking, you might attract the attention of other people in your niche, helping with your reputation. Of course only write well thought-out comments, as quick spammy posts may have a negative impact on your credibility.

Professional Associations

Become a member of any relevant professional organisations that you can find. You usually get a link back to your website, plus you will gain credibility being part of a professional group.

Original Research

You can either conduct this yourself, or collaborate with other people in your niche. Original research is great for attracting attention, and is clearly identified by Google as the mark of a quality website.

Real Life Events

Both speaking at an event, or merely attending and reporting on an event can generate substantial links for your website. Act quickly and get your report up before anyone else to catch the wave of inbound links.

Gifts and Freebies

This is definitely an 'old school' marketing trick, but still works great for generating links to your website. If there's a blog that you particularly enjoy reading, why not send them a gift to show them how much you love them? They're likely to write a dedicated post, thanking you for your gift. Better still offer them something which is related to your niche, for example, a complimentary meal for two at your restaurant. You might find they'll write all about the experience.


A great way to get links is by offering to write testimonials for a product or service you recently purchased. The company will be keen to have you write a positive testimonial on their homepage and be sure to provide a link back to your website. This works best when the service was related to your niche.


Similar to guest posting, you can negotiate a link back to your own website in exchange for a great interview on a relevant topic. But also, interview other people on your own website. You might not be guaranteed any links, but generally the person you interviewed will tweet or share the post among their own followers.

These link building strategies are only a subset of the techniques you'll find in Kelvin's book. He goes into much more detail and covers a wider range of link building ideas. So if you haven't already done so, go and grab a copy of this free resource from the Becoming a Clockwork Pirate website.

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Sam Applegate

About the Author

is a UK based SEO consultant. He is also a keen blogger, poker player, world traveller and fitness enthusiast. Read more on his about page.

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