If you’ve heard me talk, you know that I’m ridiculously passionate about link building that, ahem, works.

I mean, getting a couple links out of a campaign is nice. After all, a link is a link. But if you’ve done all the work to find 100 “webmasters,” researched their background and contact info, sent each of them the best link request email you could muster, then a follow up, then another follow up… that’s a lot of work. Are you happy if you walk away with only 3 links?

If so, congrats! Well done. After all, three links is way better than zero links.

But, I’d rather have 50 links. Maybe even 100. If we’re going to do this, let’s do it right!

Tip #1: Mass Emailing — Just Stop It

What? No more batch-and-blast your way to success? Believe it or not, the “Hey, we’ve never met, but would you link to me?” approach still happens… a lot.

Still batch-and-blast link building?

Image courtesy of SEOperks

If you’re happy with a 3% (or less) success rate, then be my guest. Batch those link-begging emails and blast away, baby.

Tip #2: Make Sure They Know You Before You Ask For A Link

Here’s a shocker: You can actually connect with a potential link partner… before asking for a link. (Pause for emphasis.)

No, really — it’s easier than you think. Follow link partners on social networks; send them a meaningful question about an important topic; comment on their blog. Do something — anything — to initiate contact without being sales-pitchy.

If you like killing two birds with one stone, check this out: try asking a link partner about a blog post idea. Let’s say there’s a big convention coming up in your industry. Why not get their thoughts on it?

Hi Billybob,

I’ve been following your blog for some time now and appreciate your insights. As I’m sure you know, the ABC Convention is coming up and as a fellow blogger I was wondering if I could get your opinion.

Should I blog about Topic A? I’d like to talk about why it’s important before the convention, but I’m not quite sure how to address it. What do you think?

Warmly, Me

Now you have name recognition, the start of a relationship, and a possibly-great blog post idea!

Tip #3: Don’t Sound Like A Template

No, really — be absolutely sure that your template doesn’t sound like a template.

Think you have the most effective, slam-dunkiest email template that sounds perfectly natural and personal? Send it to 3-5 colleagues and ask if it sounds like you personally wrote the email just to the recipient. If anybody says “no,” rework it and resend it to new colleagues until everybody that reads it says it sounds completely individual and personalized.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when writing link building outreach templates:

  • Write a new template for each group you reach out to. This keeps things fresh and gives you more practice.
  • Look at template examples and past campaigns for inspiration, but don’t copy/paste.
  • Focus on one person and write your template as if you were writing it to them.
  • As you edit your template, make it more specific (not more general).
  • Leave plenty of room for personalization. Personalize it each time you send it (Buzzstream’s outreach module makes this wickedly easy).

Tip #4: Give Link Partners A Heads Up Before You Ask

This takes some planning, but it is well worth the effort.

Linking to something you published a week ago or a year ago is, well, boring. But stirring up interest for an exciting new resource that hasn’t launched yet can stir up curiosity, excitement and intrigue. Take a look at how Marketo stirred up interest before the Definitive Guide to Engaging Email Marketing came out. Now, that’s something worth talking about!

Try engaging link partners by giving them the inside scoop before it happens. You might have a new resource, a new product or a big company announcement to promote. If link partners know about it beforehand, they will be much more likely to link to it after the news breaks.

Tip #5: Give Link Partners A Real Reason To Link To You

Spread a little link love

Spread some love with your link building.
Image via shutterstock

There is an emotional bank account in every relationship. Every interaction is either a deposit or a withdrawal. It’s a core part of how we interact with one another. Make too many withdrawals in any relationship (or too few deposits) and it will fall apart.

My wife loves to talk, and she likes hearing me talk, too. Even our quick chats can be (small) deposits into her emotional bank account. If I can get her to laugh, the deposits get bigger.

The real big deposits happen when I can let her know just how good she looks and just how deep her beauty goes. I need to make plenty of those right now because I’m about to make a big withdrawal — a three day rafting trip with the guys! (Did I mention she’s pregnant, and we have a 3 year old? I’m a lucky guy!)

When is the last time you purposefully made a deposit into your link partner’s emotional bank account? This might sound manipulative, but it isn’t. It’s relationship building 101 — giving first in the hope of receiving something in return.

This also might also sound like “ego bait,” but it’s much more than that. Building quick but meaningful relationships is critical to link building, and you never know what kind of partnerships and friendships you may find along the way (even after you earn that all-powerful link).

Now it’s your turn — What principles or practices have you found that make the most significant impact on your link building results?

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Link Building | Link Building: General | Link Week Column


About The Author: is an author, speaker, and entrepreneur. As CEO and founder of SEOperks, Nate has driven revenue improvement campaigns for companies large and small with a focus on high-quality link building and future-oriented SEO.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


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  • DPM

    A better title for this article would have been…”Don’t be an a**hole when it comes to linking outreach…be a real person and connect with real people”

  • http://www.toxigon.com/ TOXIGON

    This is more like social engineering and playing other people feelings, would you link me on your blog Nate if I frankly ask you go on http://www.toxigon.com do it, of course you wont, and if I fake it you might do so, the idea here is to do business, hello nate would you exchange links, or would you let me have a guest post it will be unique? yes then fine, no then bye.
    there is nothing better then being honest.
    I respect your idea, it’s really cool, but please don’t teach dump asses how to play people feelings. let them be a failure better then to become a scam.

  • http://www.firefighterphotos.com/ firefighterpic

    Good advice, take the time and do it right

  • sharithurow

    Hi all-

    I love this article! (You know I really like something if I retweet it…I don’t tweet that often.)

    This article is as appropriate now as it was in the 1990s. Nice work!

  • http://www.seoperks.com/ Nate Dame

    Glad you liked it Shari!

  • http://www.seoperks.com/ Nate Dame

    Well said Sukh. Taking time to build real relationships is… well, how you build real relationships! It all goes back to good ‘ol networking networking networking…

  • http://www.seoperks.com/ Nate Dame

    One skill we can probably all never stop growing in (myself included) is sincerely building mutually beneficial relationships. That’s tough in a link building world where link exchanges and guest posts don’t exactly work like they used to =), and with the temptation to try to smash-n-grab with junk template outreach!

  • http://www.seoperks.com/ Nate Dame

    One skill we can probably all never stop growing in (myself included) is sincerely building mutually beneficial relationships. That’s tough in a link building world where link exchanges and guest posts don’t exactly work like they used to =), and with the temptation to try to smash-n-grab with junk template outreach!

  • http://www.seoperks.com/ Nate Dame



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