SEO Link-Building Tactics on a Bootstrap Budget

For a startup, it’s understandable that liquid funds are short. For small business and startups alike that have a bootstrapped budget, I’ve collated some link-building tactics, which are great for growth hacking the popularity of your links for better SEO.

Post-penguin, we already know the SEO basics with the importance of great content being a primary factor for SEO rankings, alongside using optimal keywords to name your metatags, URLs and image tags, H1/H2 headlines, infographics, and guest-blogging as a means of getting your content out there. But what other content marketing and link-building methods efforts should we be adopting for better SEO?

Submit an XML sitemap and Robots.txt to Google Search Console

XML sitemaps help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex and to better index your site. A sitemap lets crawlers see the complete structure of your site and retrieve links to pages and posts.

Some useful sitemap plugins for WordPress that automatically creates sitemaps for your site are:

Alternatively you can use a generator that doesn’t limit you to 500 pages:

Submitting your sitemap can be done via Google Search Console after your site has been verified through following these instructions.

Robots.txt files do the opposite and indicate which parts of your site you don’t want search engine crawlers to index.

Use a Table of Contents for your posts

A table of contents is a great way to organize your content and is a much underused on-page method to highlight key words, which makes it easier for crawlers to pick up.

Use Anchor Text through comments on other sites and forums to link to your site

We know the key for startups is to use growth hack methods to build up links to your site through other existing popular sites and platforms. One method is to use anchor text with high quality key words that link to your site through commenting on existing popular sites and platforms that already generate a lot of views. For example,

<a href=””>Example Anchor Text</a>

Linkbuilding Comments

Try to avoid being marked as spam through genuinely contributing to relevant articles and don’t come off as too self-promotional. Answering questions on forums and websites such as helps build rapport and showcase your expertise whilst link-building to your site.

Use vocabulary or micro-data generator rich snippets

A schema markup is semantic vocabulary that helps search engines identify key word markups for on-page SEO. For example, an image markup done with would follow as such:

Image Object Information Copy and paste into a notepad before putting on your page:

<div itemscope itemtype=””>
<h2 itemprop=”name”>Apple Crumble</h2>
<img src=”” itemprop=”contentURL” />
By: <span itemprop=”author”>Gourmet Foodie</span>
Photographed In: <span itemprop=”contentLocation”>Australia</span>
Date Uploaded: <meta itemprop=”datePublished” content=”Nov 11, 2015″>2015-11-11
Description: <span itemprop=”description”>Apple Crumble Slice of Cake </span>

Another method is to use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper.
Structured Data Markup 1

Structured Data Markup 2

This can be used for articles, book reviews, events, local businesses, movies, products and so forth which will generate HTML code for you to input into your website. Just remember to test the code through fetching the URL with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool afterwards to validate that your code is rendering correctly.

Alternatively you can use the All In One Rich Snippets Plugin if you are using WordPress.

The search engine will produce a Search Engine Results Page (“SERP”) entry with the following tags, which highlights the data which will give you a leg up from the competition and provide snippets that are more encouraging for audiences to click.

Use high quality directory listings

Directory listings are essential for link-building and can benefit your business from registering your company information with search engines.

Some Australian websites to list your business include:


Source: SEO Copilot 

Some of which and more are free include:


Use content sharing platforms to generate buzz

On top of more popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter and Linkedin, don’t forego the chance to share your content on these content sharing and micro-blogging platforms.

Founded by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, this micro-blogging platform is a great way to read, write and share stories. I found my most useful social media growth hacking tool on medium.

Flipboard is a social-network aggregation and magazine format platform founded in 2010 by tech entrepreneur Mike McCue and previous Apple engineer Evan Doll.

Scoop-it is a social publishing platform which launched in 2011 and is a content-marketing haven for curating content to drive more traffic to your site. There is also a Chrome extension, which makes it easy to collect and share online content.

Yahoo’s Tumblr hasn’t been able to create quite the same buzz as Weibo but is a micro-blogging platform that’s great for SEO. is another free content curation service that lets you publish your content in a newspaper format to share with others daily. It also comes with an easier subscriber and mail-out function to gain viewers to your content without the hassle of integrating a subscriber list with platforms such as MailChimp.

Save on ads and create publicly available presentations

Television or even Youtube video advertisements can be costly and time-consuming to create. You can save on ads and feed regular content into slides on social publishing platforms such as:

Founded in 2009, it’s a great way to create easy online presentations that are publically available. Over 60 million users are on Prezi. Though it does now cost up to $13.25 per month, it’s a substantial cost saving tool compared to paid ads.

Scribd is an open publishing platforms for sharing documents of all kids from business presentations to academic papers. Though it does cost $8.99 per month, it’s no more than a Netflix subscription and lets you access unlimited books, audiobooks and audio content as well.

Linkedin’s Slideshare gets an estimated 70 million unique visitors per month and is an extremely effective free platform for creating presentations. Just as with other social media platforms you can build follows and follow content for up-to-date feeds on industry news and topics.

Visme lets you upload three presentations, infographics or banner ads per month month free of charge. They have a thorough range design templates available for use, which makes it easy to customise slides and ads for PPC. As a relatively new platform, get in first and make use of a great content marketing tool for link-building. 

Create your own link shortener

Though I don’t condone the use of link shortening for social media, as no one clicks on what they cannot see for added security, if you must use a link shortener, create your own. This points users to your site first, increases click-through-rates through the appearance of a reputable link and creates branding for your site. Socedo did it, so can you. Use YoURLs to create your own shortener.

These are some basic link-building methods that work great for business and content growth hacking on a bootstrap budget, and will give digital marketers plenty of work to do for optimising content marketing. If you have any more to share feel free to comment! Open to suggestions.

Hoi Sze Lam

Hoi Sze Lam is an autodidact of all things digital marketing, and is a privacy advocate with a keen interest in cyber affairs. Given the time she reads, breathes and follows good food, wood fires, travel and technology from down under.

10 thoughts on “SEO Link-Building Tactics on a Bootstrap Budget

  • January 18, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Hello would you mind stating which blog platform you’re using? I’m going to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a hard time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique. P.S My apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

    • January 18, 2016 at 7:29 pm

      Hi there,

      I’m using WordPress with the Color Mag Pro theme by ThemeGrill. It is a paid theme but the design works quite well, if you are simply looking to test it out I would recommend looking into the free version Color Mag theme through WordPress.

      Optimally, if you are looking to produce a large database I would look into Drupal as performance wise there is no CMS like it.

      B2evolution requires some technical programming expertise to customise your site.

      Alternatively, if it is a simple blog you are after, WordPress definitely does the job as it is a CMS built for blogging. It also is the easiest CMS to use, though there are obvious downsides such as when you are looking to markup or optimise content for speed and minification of files.

      I’m not familiar with Blog Engine, but from what I can see it looks like a simplified version of WordPress, but without the popularity, which makes looking for themes and plugins more difficult.

      Hope that helps you out and don’t hesitate to connect with me on Twitter @hoiszelam or shoot me an email if you would like to know anything else.

      If you are a blogger feel free to sign up for an account, am always looking for guestbloggers to contribute to the site 🙂


  • January 19, 2016 at 4:24 am

    Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is fundamental and all. However think about
    if you added some great images or videos to give your posts more, “pop”!

    Your content is excellent but with images and clips, this website could certainly be one of
    the best in its niche. Wonderful blog!

    • January 19, 2016 at 4:48 am

      Thanks for your kind comments and feedback!

      I’ve actually been meaning to get onto repurposing content into videos and slideshares, just haven’t had the time to do it at this stage, but I will definitely make time for it in the near future.

  • February 10, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    I love what you guys are up too. This sort of clever work and reporting! Keep up the good works guys I’ve included you guys to blogroll.

  • August 16, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Anyone know of any growth hacking videos?

  • September 14, 2016 at 10:09 am

    Like the table of contents idea!

    But do you have one? I can’t see it on a quick scan of the site.

    If I implement I’ll also put a note on the bottom asking visitors to suggest anything they think is missing.


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