The term “link building” can be a little bit taboo because focusing on writing quality content should be your main goal (not only for success with Google, but success in other areas as well). However, link building can still be a part of creating great content and publishing that content on great sites. The links you build do not have to be your priority, but if they’re relevant, then link building is still a great practice in 2015.

Of course with this current state of link building in mind, you have to get creative. Writing great content with relevant links is an excellent way to find success, but this can get expensive and it isn’t always going to work with the articles you’re producing. When it comes to link building specifically, there are a few things you can do to both stay in budget and stay in line with Google’s rules.

Top Ways to Link Build On a Budget and Stay Penalty Free

Below are some of the different ways to build links for your company in 2015:

  1. Get included in list-type articles from influencers.

One of the best links you can earn is a link in a top lists posts. Not only is the link natural, but it helps show your company as an authority. The best way to find these opportunities is to look at some of the top blogs in your industry and see if they publish anything regularly (usually weekly or monthly). If they are publishing a series regularly, it’s oftentimes a list-style article or video, and it’s something you can anticipate. This gives you the ability to reach out to that website and ask to be included if your company is relevant or has something to add.

You can also do a search for “top X companies in X industry” to see what list-style posts are out there. You can then research the website and see if the post is something regular and try and make a connection with the author. You don’t necessarily want to ask outright if you can be included in their next article, however—always make sure to build the relationship first before asking for too much. Offer your own articles and social shares in return. Below is an example of a weekly post that one of the top companies in our industry, SEMRush, publishes each week:


  1. Get listed in niche directories.

Niche directories are one of the biggest and best ways companies are getting creative with link building. The idea is that the directory focuses on featuring a list of companies from one niche so that consumers can go to one place and discover your company. Of course, this also builds you a link on an authoritative site, so this helps boost your SEO efforts. By getting your website included in a few directories you can get your content in front of a targeted audience. Keep in mind, however, that not all directories are created equal. Take a look at the other links included in the directory to make sure it is quality and not spammy.

You can visit here to learn more about finding a niche directory and how to analyze a directory once you find it. Below is a screenshot from a niche directory AllTop that actually focuses on lots of different niches:


  1. Focus on shareable content for the community, not the masses.

A huge way to build links is to focus on building a community. I highly recommend checking out a write-up I did from the SEJ Summit in Santa Monica last week here to learn a few tips about creating a community from scratch from Srinivas Rao, CEO of Unmistakable Media. In a nutshell, the idea is that having a smaller number of solid followers and fans is going to bring you more opportunities (and yes, natural links) than if you focus on creating content and trying to appeal to a larger audience. If you can build a smaller community, you can trust that the community will help link back to your website and believe in your mission.

  1. Use Google+ Ripples to find influencers and make connections.

Google+ Ripples is one of my favorite tools for finding influencers and making connections. In the end, building links is really all about the connections you make, so this point connects well with number 1 listed above. If you can get your name out there with influencers (specifically influencers who are active in social media and references), there is a better chance that you will earn natural links from those influencers. If you’re connected on social media, they are more exposed to your content. Again, it’s not really about asking to be included in an article, but just finding the right people to connect with so that link-building opportunities will just start to pop up and happen for your company.

You can learn more about how ripples work and how to get started here. Below is an example of a fairly complicated Google+ Ripple, but keep in mind they can be much simpler!


Of course in the end, developing engaging content and publishing that content on authoritative websites is going to be your best bet when it comes to earning natural links. Nonetheless, some of the tips above can be good supplements to your link building strategy and help you stay in budget and still get the benefits that link building can bring.

Do you have any tips for getting creative with your link building? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.