By Jesse Stoler
27 Apr 2015

A Recap of #LinkaratiChat - Creative Link Building

SEO Strategy

On April 23, we held our fourth installment of #LinkaratiChat. Our topic was Creative Link Building.

This time, we were proud to have Paul Shapiro of Search Wilderness as our featured guest. He provided an endless barrage of useful advice and innovative tactics. Honestly, I wish the chat could have lasted longer so we all could have picked his brain some more.

Similar to previous chats, we asked six questions, and allotted roughly ten minutes to each.

So without further ado, let’s get to the recap!

What’s a Unique Way to Use a Marketing Tool for Link Building?


Linkarati staff writer Andrew Dennis kicked us off by saying:

BuzzSumo is an incredible tool for building a content strategy. It allows you to search for the influencers in your niche. Once you pinpoint who these influencers are, you can inspect their best performing content. It’s helpful for content ideation - you can see what kind of content has worked well in the past, and create your own version of that content.

After reading an article in an academic journal, Shapiro was inspired to use tools to find popular phrases people are using in his niche. It’s an amazing idea. The more you can legitimately relate to the people in your business, the more likely you are to open up link opportunities. This idea was inspired by an atypical source, which is a great segue for our second question.

Where Do You Get Inspiration for Link Building Creativity?


Just as there’s such a thing as writer’s block, there’s absolutely such a thing as link builder’s block. How can you overcome it? Here’s a suggestion from ThinkSEM:

One principle of content ideation is the idea of giving your audience what they want, but it’s always not easy to identify what that want is. Thankfully in the age of growing social media, link builders can watch their audience engage and ask questions. If you see a certain question recur that’s relevant to your niche, answer it in the form of a post. Not only are you creating content, but you’re creating content that you know people want. Devin Boudreaux had another idea:

Edmund Burke once said, “Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.” Sometimes however, the past is worth repeating. Look what’s worked for you in the past. If you can figure out a way to apply it to the present, there’s a lot of power in that.

How Do You Determine Whether a Creative Idea is Worth Pursuing?


Just because an idea is creative doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good. The idea may sound interesting, but the more you consider it, the more you realize that it’s an inefficient use of time. How do you separate the best from the worst? Here’s an idea courtesy of Linkarati’s managing editor, Cory Collins:

If you can’t even muster up the will to explain the strategy to your client, that’s an indication that it’s not worth pursuing. If you’re proud of the idea or you’re unsure, that’s one thing. If, however, you are fairly positive the client won’t be interested at all, then it’s time to reject the idea and move on.

Sometimes time can be inspiration’s best friend. When you have an idea that you’re unsure of, write it down. You don’t necessarily have to think about it for the next 24 hours - just come back to it after a bit of time. If you’re still excited about it after 24 hours, that’s a good sign. If you still can’t reconcile your reservations, than perhaps it’s time to dump the idea.

What is an Interesting Creative Twist to Link Prospecting?


Our fourth question centered around link prospecting. Here’s what Anthony Randall had to say:

When you come across a link prospect, you can use that site as a source for even more link prospects. There are a few ways of going about this. For example, if a site chooses to link to you, you can ask that site owner about other link prospects he/she thinks are worth pursuing. Sometimes you don’t even need to ask. If they have a links page, look at it. Or you could run a backlink report on the site. Here’s what Don Rhoades had to say:

If you’ve been running a link building campaign for a long time, you’re going to have a long list of prospects, ones you converted and ones you didn’t. The list of sites you didn’t get a link on is likely to be longer. These are sites you can still outreach in the future though. So it’s important to maintain such a list, so you don’t waste time chasing dead sites.

What’s Your Favorite Creative Approach to Outreach?

chatq5 It’s often been said that outreach is the most important process in link building. You should always be learning about new tips to improve your outreach. Here’s one from Dusty Aunan:

Bad outreach is often bad because it’s entirely impersonal. Site owners don’t like to be treated as just another link prospect. They like to be treated as what they are: humans. This is why you should look for common ground. That common ground can come in the form of anything, from music to gardening. Here’s another great tip, this time from Linkarati staff writer Meghan Cahill:

No one likes reading link pitches that look as though they were composed by a robot. Outreach is much more captivating when you can insert jokes or timely references. Bad puns may not be appropriate for every niche. In some cases however, you will find that a disproportionately high number of people will respond.

Any Last Tips or Advice for Blending Creativity Into the Pursuit of Links?

chatq6' Kate Smith said the following:

Link building isn’t just link building - it’s relationship building as well. When you’re pursuing quality links, you engage with some of the most influential people in your niche. It’s important to treat them with respect. The more you treat them like humans instead of link machines, the more likely they’ll link to you. And when they do link to you, you’ve opened up potential partnership and marketing opportunities, both online and off.

Finally, here was the last tip from our esteemed featured guest:


Link building is highly work intensive. And the work that you do can be ineffective. Even the most talented link builders face a hefty amount of rejection emails. It’s important to remember to never take it personally, and to keep trying.

See You Next Time

And that’s it! Thanks for reading our recap of the #LinkaratiChat. We really enjoy hosting this chat, so we plan on doing another one on Thursday, May 7. We hope you come chat with us. As for those of you who participated in this particular chat:


Jesse Stoler

Jesse Stoler has years of experience in the SEO industry. His hobbies include stand up comedy and pretending he has fans.