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Paid links are fairly taboo to discuss in the world of search engine optimization marketing. More often than not, they are dismissed immediately as black hat and evil, and this is definitely not always the case. What I propose is that you can buy plenty of great links if you try to help people! We are going to tread through the awesome world of how to buy links and help people with varying budgets and how to find those linking opportunities.

1. Contests

Budget: $5-$2,000

How to Get Links: The point of the contest is to buy something, tell people about it, and give it away. People get excited about free stuff so you can give away a coffee machine or the latest iPad; someone wants it, and they will link for it. The most common method to run an online contest is through your company’s blog or social media. Create a page on your company’s site and find the most commonly used social media marketing platform within your industry. Design the contest to get the most valuable asset your community has: their content. Have entrants create a blog post on their own site, post comments, share on Facebook, or tweet/retweet that link to the contest page on your site. Take advantage of great minds available to you and give something back to your fans.

ZAGG Tablet A Day Giveaway

Finding the Prospects: Social media users and bloggers are your best prospects for contests. For Twitter, use hashtags in your tweets like #Giveaway or #Contest to capture people along with keywords about what is being given away. On Facebook, incentivizing people to share your page can get more attention and be scalable. When finding bloggers, contact bloggers that you already know to spread the word and take advantage of their communities. Once you have exhausted those resources, head to Google and plug in some queries like “keyword + intitle:mommy + inurl:blog.”

Bonus: Because you already found some bloggers online, ask if you can sponsor their blog for a link in their blogroll or if any of the bloggers would like to do a paid review on one of your products. Continue to develop relationships with bloggers and other people in your community!

2. Scholarships

Budget: $100-$1,000

How to Get Links: Create a blog post or a page on your site devoted to the scholarship. Write out a set of rules for winning the scholarship that require prospects to write an essay about your industry and why they should win, link back to the scholarship page if they have a site and post the essay online, or share socially depending on the type of links you want. Once the due date is past, judge and celebrate the winner’s victory with a blog post and give the scholarship money to the winner. If you would like, 301 redirect that link juice to another page.

Finding the Prospects: There are two ways to find our prospects for scholarships: on school sites that list scholarships and scholarship directories. To find school sites, use variations of the following query: site:.edu scholarships. If you have a particular school in mind, plug in the actual URL for the school’s site. For example, if I wanted to reach out to the University of Houston, use the query “site:uh.edu scholarships.” Scan the site for contact information by looking for keywords like “Contact Us”, “Contact”, and “Phone.” When reaching out, the best method for contacting is to give the decision maker a call.

University Of Houston Scholarships

For scholarship directories, try getting your scholarship listed on the following sites to start off:

Beyond these sites, you can use a query like: scholarships intitle:”list of” OR intitle:listings. Play around with different reoccurring words that you see in titles and meta descriptions on other scholarship directories.

Bonus: Within the rules, state that you are able to publish and use the submitted content however you like. After the contest is over, you are left with all of the essays. Feel free to repurpose and publish on your own blog. Depending on how many entrants you get, you could have free content for awhile.

3. Charities

Budget: $50-$10,000

How to Get Links: There are plenty of charities and non-profits that do lots of good that could use our help. Sometimes these organizations show some link love with pages devoted to their sponsors and donors, and these are the people we want to help. Have your company brainstorm a few causes or types of organizations they would like to support and, after finding them, donate to their cause.

Finding the Prospects: From here we are going to find the linking organizations on the web using advanced search queries like the following: help children in Africa site:.org inurl:sponsor OR inurl:donors. Research the organization on their site and determine whether they are someone you want to support and they give out links.

Help children in Africa search results

Bonus: After your site gets a link, write a blog post about your company helping out and how great the organization is. It will attract attention to the causes that your company cares about, and it makes your company look good.

Buying Link Juice for Good

Buying links is potentially an awesome thing for people around the world. Go into it with good intentions, and you can be rewarded with some link love. Think about it: what are other ways that I can use my resources to help someone else while getting a link in turn?