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5 great examples of sites that use links creatively

Every website needs incoming links (back links) to achieve high search engine positioning and they’re essential to build, regardless of how difficult it may be for the particular industry you’re targeting. Creative link building, or thinking outside the box to achieve links, is the ideal way to entice users into linking to something unique.

Link building has changed and it is no longer sufficient to submit your website to a 1 000 directories, build links on forums, comment on posts, use link lists and offer reciprocal links. These strategies, while still relevant in many instances, are all becoming old hat and should only be considered if it is contributing to your business objectives.

Strong link building is now mostly done in-house, where five years ago it would have been outsourced. Agencies would have seen this as a laborious task and spent very little time on it before outsourcing. Leading agencies now consider this one of the most important aspects of SEO and work to deliver effective linking strategies.

This change has come about since Google tightened its algorithm to rid the internet of spam in favour of working to only return worthwhile quality search results to users.

Now you may be thinking that it’s a lot of effort to get creative with link building, but truth be told, it’s only tough initially. Once you have a solid idea, it will work for itself. This is called link bait and it’s one of the most powerful ways of achieving multiple links with one creative idea. With link bait you don’t have to spend time trying to obtain manual links, which can be ineffective when it comes to obtaining authoritative links.

Below are some innovative ideas that have attracted many different links and spread across the social sphere. Remember that you can find an angle for any industry — it’s just a case of a little creative thinking. Check out some of my favourite examples.

1. Compare the Meerkat

Car insurance is hardly the most glamorous industry, but Compare the Market found the perfect angle for turning a regular car insurance provider into a socially spreadable sensation, with even teenagers repeating their slogan. The campaign ‘Compare the Meerkat’ worked incredibly well because the play on words appealed to most people’s humorous side.

2. The Monterey Bay aquarium

This link bait was created for a commercial aquarium website which communicates easily digestible information about ocean friendly seafood. It helps create awareness around endangered fish species and it works brilliantly. It has an interactive map where you can easily navigate to the chosen area and download the appropriate guide. The quality of information on offer means it appeals to a wide audience and it deals with a very topical issue. This has helped create a huge amount of incoming links.

3. Water: use it wisely

This is a very clever piece of link bait because, while water usage is not a terribly sexy topic, the site has not only made it informative but has also combined it with a visual representation. This meant it went viral and spread to a wide audience. Top 100 lists always work effectively if created well.

4. Thomsons

Travel operator Thomsons has presented a fine example of thinking outside the box. In my opinion this is one of the greatest pieces of link bait ever created for a number of reasons:

  • It explains how music has developed and spread around the world, in an interactive infographic
  • The company built social sharing tools into the page
  • It travelled like wildfire, not only because of the amazing content (that’s a given) but because it was so easy to share on the most popular networks

5. The Tape Measure Master: Integrity Windows

The Tape Measure Master is a very clever link bait idea created by window and door manufacturer, Integrity Windows. This is a tough industry to achieve links in but this brand has managed to become well-known via its viral content. It created a number of viral videos including “The Tape Measure Master” “Wake Boarding” & “Hockey”. Watch more on its website:

The days when you could just build any old links have definitely passed. You now have to be creative and maintain quality editorial content to even stand a chance of ranking well. Search is becoming increasingly linked to public relations, and search savvy PR agencies are positioning themselves to do very well in the next few years as link building develops further. It’s up to you to keep up with this trend.

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