Link building is probably one of the most discussed topics of SEO, and, in my opinion, can be one of the most tedious. Everyone knows the basics – the links should be from high quality sites, relevant to the target website, on a page with few outbound links to soak up the most amount of link juice available. It’s certainly not rocket science; it’s just a case of resources. If we’re to gather the links required to get our website up the rankings, we’re going to have to work on this full time.

One of the techniques you can use, is to find the websites that link to your competitors and approach them for links. Perhaps sending them an email and hoping for a response. This technique can work well, but is extremely time consuming and can be demotivating when you get no response.

I frequently get emails requesting a link to websites that really aren’t that relevant and won’t be of any benefit to our website visitors, so I tend to ignore the request. Not because I don’t understand where they’re coming from, but because I’m simply too busy to respond.

But there are alternative ways to get those sought after inbound links…

At the PRO Seminar hosted by Distilled and SEOmoz in London last year, I picked up a few more innovative ideas to build those inbound links.

If you’re in the B2B sector and send out emails to clients, you could look to include a ‘PS’ at the end of your emails which could include something like ‘By the way, if you have a website, we’d love it if you’d link to us (www.yoursite.com)’. As it’s just a PS and not the purpose of the email, it’s more likely to get read. And, as it’s not at all pushy, it could get a better response.

Writing reviews on your website is a great way to mention relevant products and related websites. You can then approach these websites, sending them a link to the review of their product and suggest their website visitors would be interested to read your unbiased review, so perhaps they could add a link to your site.

Provide something unique on your site such as an application or tool that others will find useful. You should find that people will want others to know about this tool and will publicise it on their site or through social media. You too can use your social media accounts to publicise the application, targeting the people in your network who are the most vocal and most respected.

There’s many ways to build links without the manual email requests, but focusing on one single technique is going to make the links look unnatural, so keep some variety in your link building campaigns – if not for Google, certainly for your sanity!

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