Linkbuilding is one of those areas of SEO where you could feasibly spend hours mining, collating, sorting and listing whilst actually achieving very little – here are some of the tactics we use to improve the effectiveness of our linkbuilding campaigns.
1. Dig deep for that email address
Many blogs display a PayPal ‘donate’ button and by clicking on that, 99% of the time, you will see an email address that belongs to the webmaster or blogger. If there is no PayPal button then look for the contact information by performing a Whois search.
Ingenuity and persistence are great qualities. The webmasters that make their email address slightly more challenging to find will almost certainly discourage the lazy linkbuilders out there who will give up when they don’t see a contact page, leaving you the opportunity to grab a high-quality link.
This method is by no means 100% effective but it should certainly be that final step before crossing the website off your list of link prospects. Remember to include the name of the site you are looking to achieve a link from because we all have more than one website.
2. Employ Jedi mind tricks when writing link requests
Well, employ some basic sales tactics at least. You are after all, making a pitch.
If you follow #5 of this list then you will almost certainly have a better understanding of your prospect so be sure to speak their language; use the kinds of words and phrases that you have seen them use – mirror their language as it will make them feel a stronger rapport with you. Keep the pitch concise and state the benefit they will get from linking to you. They don’t really care that you are trying to build links (you care about that) they want to know what you are going to do for them!
Remember to treat them like a prospective client so enter them into your link management system (if you have one), update the status and keep notes of communications…it makes the entire process much smoother.
3. Look for other link opportunities in the blogroll
I have found this to be a great way to find other link opportunities without too much extra manual research.
A blogroll is very often manually curated so it gives you a ready made source of leads that are likely to be in the same or related industries as you are building links for – use the list to add to your database of prospective links. I’ve found no end of great link opportunities from blogrolls.
You can even leverage this information and reference these different blogs and websites when communicating with the webmaster, if for example you have written a guest post for a website that appears in a blogroll somewhere, the chances are they respect that website or blog…so why not use this to your advantage and hit them with a link request. The power of authority by association.
4. Don’t determine the opportunity based solely on metrics
Linkbuilding is becoming increasingly about relationship building.
I would categorise link opportunities as ‘now’ and ‘future’ opportunities. The ‘now’ ones will of course benefit your website’s link profile now but you should also think ahead of time and look for opportunities that you can harvest 12-18 months from now.
When a website is ‘young’ – the owner or blogger is likely to be far more receptive to things like guest posts, link requests and content partnerships. Getting in there and establishing a relationship now means you can capitalise on this relationship (in a non-sleazy way) in the future.
Sure, get a link if you can but its more about establishing the relationship with them – see if there is anything you can do to help them grow their new online venture.
5. Do your homework
Never go into a pitch clueless – you’ve only got one shot at the pitch and if you burn all your bridges in a small marketplace then you are done for.
I spend 5-10 minutes per prospect looking for ‘foots in the door’ or hooks I can use to bait the prospect into them at least striking up a conversation with me.
Facebook and Twitter are absolute goldmines of information telling you everything from their religious and political views to everyday goings on and the TV shows they like. All of this helps you formulate a pitch that will get them hungry to link to you.
I also use Spy on Web to find associated websites – it gives you an idea whether they are a link whale worth investing more time pitching to.
DON’T be creepy though – use your knowledge of them without overtly revealing you know where he is every Monday morning thanks to a Foursquare check-in.