Link building can be one of the most difficult parts of SEO, and unfortunately, it’s practically half of what SEO is about.
There are many different techniques to building good, quality links. I’m not going to talk about getting links naturally through link baiting, I want to talk about recognizing willing websites to request links from, and making those requests correctly.
Link building is supposed to be natural, but when you’re competing for some major keywords, you have to be proactive. In a political campaign, you go out and entice people to vote for you. Similarly with link building, you have to go out and make contact with those that will vote for you, or in other words, link back to your site.
The trick to getting links from sites that will provide your site with some good, succulent, link juice, is to simply find the right site. That’s it.
There are plenty of sites, for practically every category, that would be perfect to request a link from. When doing so, think about the likelihood that an unassociated site would place a link back to your site in the contextual form you need. Why would any site do that? It takes up some of their time, it takes away from their site’s linking authority, and they didn’t start a monetizing website to help out your business.
Recognizing the Perfect Site
When looking for the perfect site to request links, look for the following:
- Sites that show up for the keyword, or the industry of the keyword you are targeting. If you can find a site that is centered around your keyword, or the industry of your keyword, and it is not a competitor, you’ve just found yourself a potentially willing candidate.
- Sites with content relating to your keyword but have no examples or references.
- Sites that have posted something about your client or your company. This is really the first thing I look for when seeking links. There are countless websites (especially for some of our bigger clients) that have posted a review or other useful information about a client, but have no links to their site. Or, they have a link, but it’s in url form only. Many times, these websites are happy to make the change and add the link.
- Sites that ask for suggestions or that ask, “if you know of any other websites that would be relevant to this page, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.” I love coming across a website like this after hours of link building failure.
- In general, sites with a “links” page. There are many websites that have an “industry links” or a “favorite links” page that are willing to add yours without a reciprocal link.
Making the Request
When requesting a link from that perfect site you finally found, don’t screw it up. There are a few guidelines that I follow. Some of these include:
- Find the email address of the right person to contact. This could be the webmaster or a prominent member of the company. I actually prefer to contact people like editors who manage the site’s content, but don’t directly make the changes. These kinds of people are good at getting the webmasters to make the changes, as long as you’re professional and polite with them.
- If your client will allow it, create an email account from your client’s domain. This will establish credibility and will help them see that you’re for real and not a spammer.
- Use the subject line in the request. Try to make it sound important, yet be somewhat ambiguous. If you are contacting the webmaster and if it’s applicable, webmasters always take attention to subject lines that say “problem with your site” (a site all about software, with no links to a software site, is not very user friendly). Do not use words like “link”, or “link request” in the subject line.
- Be professional, or at least try to sound professional. When emailing this person, use their name in the introduction.
- As soon as naturally possible in the email, mention their website and the page you are emailing them about. This will help maintain their attention.
- Be simple and clear in your request.
- Give them exactly what they need to make the change as effortlessly as possible.
- Thank them for their time.
- Make sure your message is free of spelling and grammatical errors.
- Format the letter as professional business correspondence.
The last thing you need to do is follow up. Some people are just busy and need a reminder. When they do get back with you, make sure you respond promptly. I have had many successes from people who have had a concern or question regarding my request, because I responded quickly with respect and compliance for their concerns.