Creative Link Building Tips & Strategies

But what does that mean for link building? Simple: if you do something first, you reap the greatest reward.

A week before I wrote this, I sat down and brainstormed new link building strategies for about an hour. It was awesome. I thought of a ton of great ideas that might not net you links by the thousands by themselves, but they’re raw ideas that can be used as building blocks for some of your future projects.

What I’m hoping you get out of this is that you can take some of these raw ideas and think about how they can work in your current situation. One might not click for me while it completely clicks for you. That’s just how some things are.

Before we get into them, make sure you stick around for the last part of this guide that talks about how I came up with these ideas.


Widgets: they’re old. Real old. Yet, there’s still opportunity there to be had, both in spaces with no prior widgets created for them

(yep, there are still some out there), and in this case, for the spaces that have been previously exposed to widgets.

For this strategy, here’s what you’ll be doing. Find blogs that are known to embed widgets or other things in their sidebar; try to come up with at least 10 relevant ones. Then, find something they’re passionate about. Once you find out what that is (could be anything; get creative!), create a widget for it, but personalize it with their brand. Make the color scheme line up with their blog, or put one of their big fat logos somewhere on the widget.

When you reach out to ask if they’ll embed it, emphasize you made it personally for them; no other blog has this widget. Sure, you could use the same template for other blogs (which helps improve scalability), but when it comes to colors & logos, make sure each one is customized to that blog’s liking.

To improve success rates, just find an old niche related widget that’s been embedded for ages. Update it and add that bit of customization, then reach out to people who still embed it; like other reverse engineered strategies, these bloggers have already proven that they’ll embed it, so if you make it even better, then there’s no reason why they wouldn’t.


We all have the issue of our content going out of date, and it turns out, so does everyone else! Therein lies the opportunity:

helping update & enhance old content.

The best part is, there’s more opportunity here than guest blogging. There are 10s, if not 100s, of posts on most blogs that you can easily enhance by adding 200-300 words or by updating some old statistics. You could even help them add a few images & videos, an infographic or two, or anything else that enhances an old post.

It takes less time than coming up with an entire guest post (which might not even be accepted), and it can easily be repeated many times on the same blog. Just send them over the exact updates to the content, and ask them to review it before possibly copying & pasting the updated version in their CMS editors (which makes things easier on their side).

Word of caution: only do this with the bloggers that get it. These are the people that you know care about their content above almost all else, just like you. These people love it when others help them out.

Bonus tip: Since writing this original PDF, Bill Sebald from Greenlane SEO created an outdated content finding tool.


Here’s a completely outside the box strategy. Create a non-branded how to video, then set up Google Alerts to find when that phrase gets mentioned around the web (i.e. “how to tie a tie”). When it gets mentioned on a blog, reach out to the blogger and say you just created this awesome video on that subject and that you think it’d greatly benefit their readers if they embedded it at the bottom of that post.

If you know how to create an embed code with a link in it, then you’re golden; if not, go Google it. It’s not too di icult.

Bonus tip: you can do this with infographics too! Create an infographic for a highly specific search, and do the exact same thing as you did with video.

Double bonus tip: create an embed within an embed. What this’ll do is display an embed box below the video that goes in their post, so any others who like the video & have a blog can easily grab the code.


Imagine if HubSpot, immediately a er coining “inbound marketing”, set up Google Alerts so when that phrase was mentioned,

they’d ask the blogger to link to their definition page all about inbound marketing. Needless to say, there’s huge opportunity here.

Coin something new, use it at least once in all of your guest posts or anything else, and make sure you set up Alerts and take full advantage.


Set up alerts for a variety of travel phrases (i.e. “Tampa to San Francisco”). When they get mentioned on a half decent blog, create custom maps (maybe hire a freelance designer to create a few each day), put a little watermark of their blog on them (to show they’re made personally for them), then reach out and ask if they’d embed. If they’re lacking images in that post, then there’s a good chance they will.


Did you know that each webpage contains a time stamp on when it was last changed?

This is very useful for outreach when trying to get placements on existing pages on the Web (i.e. resource pages). All you need to do is make this link a bookmarklet in your bookmark bar:

Then whenever you click it on a page you want to find the time stamp on, it’ll pop up in a small box on your page.

No, this date will not always be accurate, as it looks for ANY change on the page (and some content management systems will change the time stamp of ALL pages for the smallest things), but if the date is more than a month old, then there’s a good chance it’s somewhat accurate.

The reason this is useful is you can mention this in your outreach emails (i.e. “I know the page hasn’t been updated in the last 6 months…”), which makes you seem like a regular visitor. This will add trust & increase your chances at success.


Hopefully some of these ideas sparked even greater ones for you. If not, sit down and brainstorm like I did. It’s amazing what you can come up with in a short amount of time.

Here’s a few brainstorming tips:

Why do people link? Map out your reasons.
Can you take advantage of timely ideas/events/updates just like content creators do?
Are there any tips you can combine into one? (i.e. using Google Alerts in combination with coining a term) Who do you already know, and how can you use them to build links?
What can you do to stand out when pursuing the same old opportunities as everyone else?

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