Link building WITHOUT writing great content

“Content is king” is the old Link Building mantra which is trotted out time and time again in almost every article you will read on the subject (except this one, apart from that once…)

All too often though people see the word “content” and instantly think articles, lists, how too’s or some other kind of text-based content. In truth these are all solid tactics (if implemented well) but for many business owners, and at times myself, sitting down in front of a screen and bashing out 1000 words for that “Killer content” just isn’t an option week in week out. Unfortunately we’re not all gifted writers. 

Image: akeeris /

However, don’t think that if you’re not the greatest writer in the world then a content based link building strategy can’t work for you because it can, you’ve just got to think outside the box a little. I’ve listed below a few good examples of how you can get link worthy content up onto your site without spending hours trying to craft the next literary masterpiece.

(Yes, I see the irony in writing an article when the topic is link building without writing great content but let’s just pretend we both missed that, deal?)


Tactic #1 – Video

Creating short informative or entertaining videos are a fantastic alternative to writing articles in order to attract links to your blog. If you are short on time then you can make a video equivalent to 1000 – 2000 word written article in about half an hour. Once the video is complete you could obviously then get it transcribed giving you the “Killer content” without the pain of typing it all out but even transcribed videos attract links.

Some ideas of different types of videos you could produce:

  • Informational
  • Product demo/review
  • Humourous
  • Location based

Dan Shure recently did a guest post on the IPullRank blog which illustrates this idea of using an informational video rather than written content, go check it out.

Tactic #2 – Leverage your network

It really surprises me how many people seem to completely miss this opportunity to build links even though it has one of the highest success rate of any tactic around. Just ask your friends, family, colleagues for a link, they’ll hardly ever say no!

Most people today have some sort of online presence, even if it’s just a simple Facebook page updated once a month so asking your nearest and dearest can get you those all important first links if you’re just starting out. If you have colleagues or business associates in the same industry who are willing to give you a link then all the better.

Tactic #3 – Run competitions

I wrote a blog post last month about how you can get a ton of traffic to your site by running or offering up prizes for competitions but this same idea can easily be used in order to build links. If you are hosting the competition via 3rd party blog then you will almost certainly get a link from them as part of their write up. To ensure that you make a link to your site even more critical however you can use a question as part of the entry criteria, the answer to which can be only found by visiting your site. (via the link provided)

Another really great tip for using this idea to build links even if you are hosting the competition on your own site is to allow additional entries via social media and getting people mention your brand. Having people tweet “I want to win XYZ from” for example can easily net you hundreds of social links when running a popular competition.

Tactic #4 – Share your presentations

If like me you are required to do lots of presentations in you day-to-day work then you no doubt have access to another source of non-written content, your slides! You can upload these to Slideshare (or similar) and use them embed them into your next blog post along with just a few sort paragraphs to explain what they’re about. Easy, linkable content!

Tactic #5 – Publish guest posts

I was in two minds whether or not to include this on the list because it does essentially rely on producing the traditional “great content”. The overriding factor which got it on the list however that you don’t have to write it! Inviting well know people in your industry to guest post on your blog is a solid tactic which benefits both the blog hosting the post and the 3rd part supplying the content.

(if anybody would like to guest post on this blog by the way just let me know via twitter)

Tactic #6 – Publish your pictures

Images can be an extremely useful substitute for written content when attempting to build links and you don’t have to be a pro with an expensive camera to do it. If you are attending an industry event or somewhere which would be of interest to your readers always make sure you take a camera and snap away, publishing the best photographs to your blog on your return.

John Doherty tweeted this link to the “In Focus” section of The Atlantic website over the weekend which, as he says is a great example of content marketing (and as promised I did use it in my blog :-). According to Open Site Explorer the In Focus section has 344 linking root domains

Tactic #7 – Create  a custom map

This is a tactic which I have employed for many local businesses,  Google maps gives you the ability to create custom maps which can be embedded into your website to great effect. Check out this example of a custom map being used to show dog walks along the M1 motorway in the UK, really useful information for their target market of dog owners which will no doubt attract links.


So there we have it, 7 solid tactics for attracting links to your site which don’t involve you “witting great content”. I’m sure there are many more and I’m looking forward to hearing your ideas in the comments below.


  1. Although nothing here is writing, it’s essentially still focused on creating good content. Only point 2 isn’t creating content… makes the first paragraph a bit confused.

    • Cheers James, you may be right. I rewrote that first couple of sentences a few times and still aren’t completely happy with them. The point I was trying to make is that “content is king” seems synonymous with “writing content” which is why I was trying to avoid mentioning it.
      You’re spot on that these are all pieces of content though, just not written content.

  2. I believe in different type of contents. In fact I have the feeling that in most of the cases people don’t even read something in the page. For example…let’s talk about an ecommerce page with products. You can create an awesome content, explaining something about that brand or that category..but really? who’s gonna read it?

    thanks for sharing.

    • Hey Alessio, thanks for that. You’re spot on in terms of eCom nobody really reads all the beautiful content you spend hours crafting. They are interested mostly in the pictures and (if available) videos. You’re well aware though that written content on a product page is mainly for the engines to have something to index and to get the longtails in, it’s not for the human reader so much.

  3. Great article although you clearly missed out putting up cute pictures of cats and kittens as an alternative to writing reams and reams of great content. 🙂