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Crowdfunding – The Overlooked SEO Link Building Strategy

Crowdfunding The Overlooked SEO Link Building StrategySomething which often gets overlooked on SEO link building strategies lists is Crowdfunding (sometimes called crowd financing or crowd funding).

There are hundreds of crowdfunding sites around and hundreds of companies on each of them pitching for investment (donations).

Typically a company looking for funding offers a range of fixed amounts you can donate to their project/business. The amounts you can invest normally range from £1 – £1000 and each donation amount has a reward assigned to it.

Often the smaller amounts get you some kind of small thank you gesture or a product sample and the larger donations get you coverage on their promotional materials and larger scale publicity.

What I absolutely love about using crowdfunding for building links is:

    1. Cheap and easy link. Very often donating one of the smaller amounts get you a link or thank you on their website. This is easy for them to do and costs them no money so they see it as being less attractive to a donor than say your logo on corporate printed materials which they reserve for the larger donations. Except for link builders this reward and price point is perfect! I often find projects who will add your link in exchange for the £1 donation…

    1. Link for life. It’s unlikely your link will be removed. They won’t want future investors/donors to see that ‘thank you’ links are removed once they get the money and they will also feel a moral obligation to keep your link live as you donated during their infancy.

    1. Donations for every niche. There’s so many projects/businesses looking for funding you can normally find a project that’s spot on or related in some way to most SEO topics you’ll encounter. Often the projects are categorised making them easy to search through quickly. Sometimes if you can’t find the perfect project for a niche you’re working on there’s something related.

    1. Could be huge. Some of these projects/businesses MAY just become very successful in a few years. That £1 link now could be worth a LOT more down the line on a site which becomes impenetrable to get links from once it takes off.

    1. Brand association. Following on from point 4 you are connected to that brand for life. If they become big there’s association there and also inferred wisdom that you donated in advance of a project becoming successful.

    1. Publicity. Aside from the link you might also get publicly thanked on Twitter/Facebook etc which reflects well on your business and gets you additional positive publicity.

  1. You’re helping. You got the link you were after but you also helped someone launch their project/business too. Nice to get a link with the knock on effect of helping the person you get it from. Sometimes I find myself going a donation level up than I have to in order to get a link because a project really connects with me. Win Win!

Crowdfunding link building considerations:

  1. You might end up on a page with 100 other donations. Not ideal but can you complain for £1?
  2. The project might flop after x months/year and the site with it.
  3. The link might end up getting removed if they revamp the site once they become successful and forget to include that thanks page.
  4. Normally donations are not collected unless the project reaches it’s funding target. Don’t assume because you pledge a donation you’ve got the link so check back on donations periodically
  5. Brand association was mentioned earlier but this could also work against you if in the future the project takes a direction you don’t like or want to be connected with.

Have you used crowdfunding for your linkbuilding excercises before? Is there anything you think should be added to what’s above? Just use the comments..

Comments

  1. Wow. This is awesome Chris! Really like how much depth you went into.

    I’ll be updating the “crowdfunding” tip on my LB strategy post with a link here; this is way better than I could have ever put it.

  2. It’s great when you can give and receive at the same time, it creates a growing cycle of giving and recieving, investing and reinvesting. Also, It would nice to include some links to a few well know respected crowdfunding sites.

  3. Chris,

    What a brilliant article!
    And I’m absolutely privileged to be the first to comment, seriously, there should have be a 1000 thank you’s here by now.

    We’ve all heard, and most seo’s practice, the stale old link building practices day after day after day. (insert your own, directory listings, PR, article syndication etc)

    The question is, if everyone is building the same type of links all the time, surely all those sites will end up at the same place in a matter of time, right?

    Well, personally I love your ‘out-the-box’ approach and will certainly expand my link building for clients approach to take into account CrowdFunding opportunities.

    Thanks and looking forward to more from you soon – hopefully :)
    From one small seo company in good old South Africa.

    Riaan

  4. It seems like the majority of projects (on Kickstarter at least) offer something along the lines of “A thank you on our donors page”. They are all very vague on what is being listed and where it is.

    How often have you noticed that it’s actually a link and not just your name?

  5. It’s funny, i’ve been participating in the crowd-sourcing at kickstarter, and never thought to ask the people I’ve funded for a link. Makes a ton of sense….

    Thanks for pointing out the obvious in front of my face. :)

  6. Hey Chris,
    Just wanted to say I used this info today and scored 5 great link possibilities in 20 minutes, thank you!

  7. Great idea, Chris! As some of the others have asked, many of the project descriptions are vague – indicating that they will thank you on donors page. Are you going after these or are you looking for projects that specify that they will link to you (which I haven’t seen)?

    • Chris Gilchrist says:

      Edwin/Joshua it’s safe to assume that a non technical webmaster or non seo wouldn’t mention the word ‘link’ and that many people who donate won’t care about links or even have a website making it a moot point for most people. The goodwill and public thanks is more attractive to them so that’s what they advertise as the incentive.

      There’s not many people who won’t link to you following support/promotion of their project but occasionally it won’t happen if they don’t have the technical ability, time or perhaps get inundated with links to questionable sites.

      • Thanks for the response, Chris. What is your success rate for getting links vs. running into people who aren’t savvy or who wouldn’t link back after you’ve made your donation?

        • Chris Gilchrist says:

          It doesn’t happen often maybe 80/20. One thing to do is make the donation from your company name that way you still get company recognition even if you don’t get the link.

  8. I am not sure how I missed your blog for such a long time. Thanks to Jon, I am now subscribed to yours.

    This crowdfunding idea is absolute killer idea which is win-win for both sides.

    Looking forward to get more ideas from your blog.

    I just finished reading your link building toolbar review by Jon. Looking forward to check it as soon as possible.

  9. Hi

    My SEO consultant has suggested these types of links to me, but I have a couple of concerns.

    1) Reliance, the pages which link back to your site have little or no reliance and context relating to your website. To a search engine relevance is everything.
    2) Post penguie update are these not just another form of paid follow link. Is’t this against the Google webmaster guidelines. Couldn’t this do more harm than good?

    Your advice would be much appreciated?

    • Chris Gilchrist says:

      Paul as I mentioned in point 1 yes it will be on a page with lots of other links. It’s not going to be the best link you ever get but it’s still a link and if the project you fund is a real company/business/project then it’s not going to be spammy link.

      If you want them to be relevant to you then just target relevant projects! I’m sure you could find lots of business/training/help related projects.

      If that’s buying a link then so is giving a donation to charity and being thanked on a page, helping someone by doing something kind for them and being thanked on a page, sponsoring an event or any other real world permutation. Obviously I can’t say what Google would or wouldn’t think of a specific example. You shouldn’t be asking them to keyword stuff, deep link, demand it’s a follow link or anything else manipulative.

  10. Chris

    Thanks for the quick feedback, that is very useful.

    Everyone is very nervous about any type of link building at the moment. I had a look at Google’s guidelines on paid links http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=66736 and for us I feel that these could be classified as paid either now or in the future. It’s a strange world where you have to predict the future.

    I have booked marked your post on Google plus (https://plus.google.com/u/0/100214655021160928517/posts/SquPvQDGU7d) and will see if we can get any feedback from the SEO community there.

    • Chris Gilchrist says:

      Hi Paul I don’t think ‘everyone’ or ‘any’ is accurate in the slightest. There’s tons you can, and should, be doing without worrying!

  11. Nice article and a good idea. If on the rewards it says ‘a mention on our website’ would you confirm with them that it is a link, rather than just your name?

    Also, how many of these turn out to be no follow links?

    • Chris Gilchrist says:

      It makes sense to ask if it’s important to you as often they won’t have planned to or maybe even thought about it. Despite doing this some will forget or decide not to so you have to allow for that fallout within the budget.

  12. i’ve been participating in the crowd-sourcing and never thought to ask the people I’ve funded for a link.Thanks for nice idea.

  13. Great idea! Love it! I’ll be using it for my Coughy Cup crowdfunding. I already have plans to offer a “Wall of Thanks” page but I had not thought of up-selling with links for each name and city displayed. Although I’d have to make sure people understand we reserve the right to remove links for questionable content. Great idea. Kudos to you sir.

  14. As long as you do not insist on keyword anchor text or worry about whether the link is follow or no follow this should be part of everyones link building. After all it is ultimatl;ey just brand building and Google cannot find fault with that.
    Great post!

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