Link Building With a Healthy Dose of Marketing: 8 Ways to Solve Problems for Free

Show of hands: who likes working for free?

Let's be honest: no one really likes working for free.

I'm not talking about volunteering. I volunteer around my community when I have the time. I enjoy it, and believe everyone should give back. That's different though. I'm one of the 13 percent, but I wouldn't do my job without a subsequent revenue stream.

Link building is hard work. It's one of the few SEO tasks you can't have total control over – it consists of convincing other people that it's in their best interest (or their audience's best interest) to link to you. Convincing people to do you a favor is never easy.

Another reason link building is so difficult: it's never a singular marketing task done within a bubble.

We have a number of other marketing concerns within our link building campaigns that must be addressed as we're working to build links. These concerns include:

  • Are we positively and accurately representing our client and their brand?
  • Are we fostering positive relationships and impressions as we build our links?
  • Are our methods sustainable, and adding to the betterment of the web?
  • Are we excited to show our links to the client, and would we hesitate to show other link building professionals?
One link building method that doesn't produce links 100 percent of the time, but helps us ensure we're meeting other marketing concerns, is solving problems for free.

Solving problems for free is the core of what Rand Fishkin of Moz calls "investing in non-measurable serendipitous marketing."

The concept is to recognize and solve a problem for a targeted group of people within your niche. If this is done consistently, eventually there will be a serendipitous, or unexpectedly large, payoff.

Solving problems for free can result in branding opportunities, foster positive relationships, boost your authority, and even help establish your company as a thought leader within your space.

However, solving problems for free shouldn't be your only link building (or marketing) strategy, as it's unpredictable. There's no reliable input>output. Fishkin recommends 20 percent of your time/budget be allocated into serendipitous projects.