7 Creative Link Building Tactics You Won’t See Anywhere Else (with examples)

Are you tired of using common link building techniques and looking for untapped tactics that scale? This is the one-stop-destination you need.

Link building is an age-old SEO technique that is constantly evolving. Still, when you think about link building, common strategies come to mind:

  • Guest posting
  • Blog & forum commenting
  • Broken link building
  • Stealing competitors’ links

 While these techniques are the bread and butter of building quality links, there are other untapped tactics with even bigger potential, but hardly any marketer uses them. And I am not talking about email marketing for bloggers (also very important!). In this post, I’ll list 7 link building tactics that you won’t see anywhere else (with examples) that helps you build valuable links with the potential of driving long-term results.

So, let’s start.

1. Invest In Partner Programs

Building relationships with other businesses is a smart way to develop link building opportunities.

Create exclusive programs for businesses in the same niche and authorize them to use your brand’s logo as an embedded partnership badge on their website.

Investing in partner programs work best if you have a “partnership” page on your website explaining the perks. It helps new partners to learn more about the program and contact you accordingly.

Example: NRMA Insurance

The NRMA (National Roads and Motorists’ Association) offers roadside assistance, motoring advice, car servicing, International Driving Permits, travel, and other services. This Australian organization provides a badge of trust to repairers.

Clicking on the badge directs visitors to the NRMA website.

Result: By using the partnership model, NRMA has generated over 10.62K active backlinks. Partnerships are one of these tactics that offer long-term results.

2. Organize Award Programs

Organizing award programs for businesses and bloggers that fall under your niche is a creative way of building links.

In organizing the award program, make sure that the nominees and winners receive a badge with your brand’s logo. Share the badge’s embedding code to the nominees and winners so they can add it to their website and give you a backlink. The press and PR of the Award and social media signals of them are the cherry on the cake for link building.

 Having multiple awards increases the backlink potential as well, starting with a round of nominees.

  • 1st Prize
  • 2nd Runner Up
  • 3rd Runner Up
  • Best Creative
  • Best Newcomer
  • People’s Choice
  • Nominees

Example: TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor offers certificates and awards to restaurants, hotels, and other businesses. Click on those awards and it redirects you to TripAdvisor.com.

Edward Parry Motel & Apartments received awards from TripAdvisor and HotelsCombined.

3. Provide Value Or Offer A Free Tool

Providing value wins trust and attracts links.

Focussing on creating a value-adding asset in the form a free tool transforms your website into a link magnet. This is because bloggers prefer linking to valuable assets that help their audience – as a blogger, I prefer it too.

Example: Nomad List

Making travel plans, but confused about the best time to visit a place? And wondering, whether it is safe or not?

Don’t worry. The Nomad List provides you with the valuable information you need in the form of a free tool. 

Nomad List presents you with the needed information every traveller considers before making their travel arrangements to a location.

The tool even gives you info like network speed, weather, and average expenses (monthly).

Link building results: Making this detailed data that the users need available via a free tool has resulted in Nomad List acquiring 52K active backlinks.

4. Create Quality Widgets

Moving forward with providing valuable information to the user, next in line are widgets.

Widgets allow webmasters to give users easy access to information that compels them to make better decisions.

But, in the Link Schemes guidelines by Google, embedding widgets are mentioned as a violation.

 “Additionally, creating links that weren’t editorially placed or vouched for by the site’s owner on a page, otherwise known as unnatural links, can be considered a violation of our guidelines. Here are a few common examples of unnatural links that may violate our guidelines…Keyword-rich, hidden or low-quality links embedded in widgets that are distributed across various sites.

Now, considering this scenario, how can you embed a widget and not violate Google’s guidelines?

 Let me tell you.

To save yourself from receiving a Google penalty, webmasters should embed quality widgets without hidden or low-quality links. As for the developers, their core objective must be to create quality widgets following Google’s guidelines.

If you create quality widgets, more websites will embed it on their website, increasing your backlink count since clicking on the data directs the user (and the bot) to your domain.

Example: TripAdvisor

This online travel company is a dominator in its niche. It receives nearly 3 million visitors every month and has 191 million active backlinks.

 Tripadvisor offers a variety of widgets for hotels, motels, restaurants, and other businesses. Due to TripAdvisor’s reputation and its massive user-base, websites trust their widgets, and users trust the sites associated with it.

Have a look at the valuable information provided by TripAdvisor:

If you click on any data point, you’ll get redirected to the Edward Parry Motel page on TripAdvisor.

Radisson Hotels is also using a TripAdvisor widget.

While Edward Parry Motel linked back to TripAdvisor, Raddison links it to a duplicate review section powered by TripAdvisor, which adds value to the travel website anyway.

5. Offer discounts to university students & staff

.Edu links are ranking rocket fuel, Google treats them very heavily.

.Edu domains have high authority and a lot of educational value, which marks them authoritative and trustworthy. Getting links from a .edu domain improves your search visibility and trustworthiness.

So, how to get links from .edu domains?

Here are the two most effective ways to grow your .edu backlinks:

1.   Offer a discount

Most universities keep the transparency of information on a pedestal; hence, you’ll find that many of them have a list of businesses on their website that offer discounts and deals to staff and students.

 Use these search operators to find the discount pages on .edu domains:

  • site:.edu “staff discounts”
  • site:.edu “employee discount program”
  • site:.edu “student discounts”

 Example: Indiana University Southeast

Indiana University Southeast has listed the staff discounts based on category.

The University has also added a disclaimer clarifying the nature of the partnership with the listed business:

“By listing businesses and their offers below, Indiana University Southeast and Staff Council are not endorsing these businesses or the goods/services offered. We have been in contact with these businesses, or they have contacted us, regarding partnering in our perks program.”

 On accessing each category, you will find details about the business and the discount they are offering and a link to the given business’ domain.

The majority of backlinks to bigotrees.com are from Reference/Education domains.

To acquire such links, you must approach the University with a favourable business proposal for its staff and students.

2.   Offer Scholarship

Similar to discounts, you can create numerous .edu backlinks through scholarships.

Scholarships target the University’s stakeholders by offering them value. In return, you’ll get long-standing .edu backlinks, higher search visibility, and trust.

Use these search operators to find the scholarship pages on .edu domains:

  • site:.edu “scholarships”site:.edu “college scholarships”
  • site:.edu “scholarships links”
  • site:.edu “scholarship list”
  • site:.edu “list of scholarships”
  • site:.edu “Outside Agency Scholarships”
  • site:.edu “private Scholarships”
  • site:.edu “keyword + scholarships”

Example: Arizona State University

Arizona State University has compiled its scholarships.

 Scroll further down the list, and you will find a website: Raise.me.

Run a Backlink Analysis on “Raise.me” and you will find that the majority of links are from Reference/Education domains.

6. Support Your Content With Case Studies

Every blogger aims to help readers and clients with actionable information to grow their business, and case studies are an impressive way to increase backlinks – because they cover all the details and prove that the given strategy is successful.

Example: Crackitt

Crackitt created a conversion-focused explainer video for RankWatch.com. After RankWatch embedded the video on their home page, the sign-up rate increased by 27%.

Crackitt created a case study on the video’s success and posted it on their website.

Results: This case study alone has generated a total of 8 active backlinks in 2 months.

7. Create Organized Pieces Of High-quality Content And Prioritized UI & UX

Google keeps high-quality content on a pedestal. If you are not receiving the perks of it yet, soon you will. High-quality content never goes unnoticed by Google and bloggers.

If bloggers find a high-quality content piece, they will not hesitate to link it in their content because it increases their credibility.

Now, how about you improve the readability of the content and give it a visual appeal? Will that help you acquire more backlinks?


Example: Get Vero

Get Vero created a 3,000+ word article on Tips for Sending Dramatically Better Emails.

The article contains all the details with relevant examples and has high-quality visuals without any distractions. Then when the article got some traction, the company started treating the article as a case study – getting it even more backlinks. 

Results: The post generated a total of 326 backlinks with 301 active and 25 deleted.

Conclusion: Creative Link Building Tactics You Won’t See Anywhere Else

Backlinks are crucial for your website’s online reputation, visibility, and rankings, but only if they are natural.

The 7 strategies mentioned above are a powerful and most effective way of doing natural link building.

So, choose a strategy that is best for your brand; it can be one or all seven. But make sure that their implementation is organic.

Do you think I can add more creative and unique link building strategies to the list? Let me know about them in the comment section.

Sahil Kakkar

Sahil is the CEO and Founder of Rankwatch - a platform, which helps companies and brands stay ahead with their SEO efforts in the ever growing internet landscape. Sahil likes making creative products that can help in automation of mundane tasks and he can spend endless nights implementing new technologies and ideas.