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Greetings from MozCon 2012! A few of us from us the SEO.com team are attending this year are going to be providing updates and rundowns on some of the great presentations happening throughout the week. Here is a quick synopsis on Jon Henshaw’s presentation on how relationships drive link building.

Let’s face it, good link building isn’t always easy. Whether you’re experienced or new to the game, link building requires strategy and relationships. So the real question is, how do you become an expert in relationships and how can relationships lead to links?

According to Jon, the first thing we need to first ask ourselves is what do people want from a relationship and how do we go about building them? Jon offered the following points to help us get started:

  • Treat people the way you want to be treated
  • Be genuine
  • Don’t treat people like targets

So who are we trying to build mutually beneficial relationships with? We can start with finding websites that are relevant to your business or industry and find the people behind those sites. Jon says that we need to be actively doing the following:

  • Discover networks – Who are people you want to establish a relationship with following?
  • Full contact – Great tool for finding out what networks someone belongs to
  • Interact with them – Make it a goal to reach out a few times a week and follow through
  • Develop relationships naturally
  • Be there, participate. It’s a long-term approach but one that will get you noticed
  • Don’t overwhelm them
  • Stay on topic
  • Create a positive experience
  • Be patient

Other opportunities for building relationships can come in the form of unexpected mentions, being a resource in your industry or niche and going above and beyond what is expected. Another great way that Jon mentioned to build a relationship is to show appreciation for a mention. Sending a small gift or note can go long way. Jon also recommends:

  • Donate to a good cause – Find something you believe in and donate
  • Help others – Lending out your time and expertise for someone who needs it can result in a link
  • Pay it forward – Small gestures can really pay off in the future
  • Thing long-term – This is consistent with how you want to build up your website’s authority

Building these friendships will not only help to build out your networks but can also manifest themselves into a multitude of other opportunities. By employing all these relationship building tactics, you have the opportunity to not only make a friend but to also make new connections with their friends and through their networks. The end result will be social exposure and natural links.