4 minute read.

Out of the box link building ideas.

Paul Anthony / August 30, 2009

Posted in: Archive

Links are the currency of the web. If you really want to see growth in the number of visitors to your site, you need to fight tooth and nail to win new incoming links to your site. Not only does it result in traffic from the links themselves, but more importantly it sees you getting more traffic from keywords in Google.

Growing your authority is one way to help increase your exposure, but for many getting to that point is difficult. In addition, even good content can sit without attracting links if you are small and don’t promote your content.  So you’ve already started doing that, what else can you do?  How do other’s achieve white hat links?


Think of the number of software packages out on the web, running people’s websites, and the number of them that require graphically based themes. WordPress, Magento, Blogger, Tumbler.

If you are a dab hand at photoshop, and can make something beautiful, you’ll already positioned to get new links to your site. If you are not, consider commissioning someone who is.

WordPress is probably the main contender for themes online, you only have to do some keyword research to realise that the number of searches per month is absolutely mental. As well as potentially capitalising on this traffic, if your theme is anyway half decent it will get picked up by larger sites when they are compiling a list of themes. Free themes = link porn.


I’ve seen this over and over again. Free icons are another link magnet. Not convinced? Ever heard of Fam Fam Fam? Course you have. They turn up on a ridiculous number of searches for free icons. Have a skinny at their link profile on Yahoo site explorer. For a site that hasn’t been updated since 2006, there are over 2 million backlinks to it. That’s insane.

There’s a boat load of action to get in on there. Many professional icon designers give away a small subset for free, to attract people to their site in a bid to make them a customer of their commercial icons, which isn’t a bad tactic. With software products not generally having loads of time to create their own, this is clever online marketing.


Data is a secret weapon for many sites. It’s providing that content in an easy to consume, newsworthy way that’s the problem. Campaign Monitor have it nailed.  Email client popularity reports. I think they released data on the words which generated the most email opens in their email marketing near the start of the year as well.

Information which is related to their product, yet helps ordinary folk make decisions is gold dust. If you are storing data on visitors to your site at all, look at it from an outsiders perspective, and instead of using it just to power your site;  analyse, compile and present it in a beautiful way to help people make informed decisions. Bottom line? Do everything in your power to become the Google trends within your industry.

Time Savers

There’s a whole subset of the online community obsessional over saving time, and becoming more productive. Lifehacker and Zen Habits, pretty much have this niche tied up from a content perspective.

That said, there’s still people hungry for new desktop applications that save time.  If you are a programmer, and want to attract links there’s nothing quite like giving away a software product for free. It attracts links like bees to honey.

Think in terms of quicker deployment for developers, quicker downloads for user, batch saving of files. Anything really that you’ve grokked as part of your day job to speed a task up, is a candidate for fresh relevant links.
Overall, there’s nothing like a bit of creative thinking to help you build fresh and relevant links to your site. You just have to keep at it, and over time, the rewards will come.

  • icons
  • keyword research
  • linkbuilding
  • magento
  • themes
  • tumblelogs
  • tumblr
  • website promotion
  • wordpress