Whenever I begin a link building and content publicity project, I start with research. One of the areas I research is trusted sources. The type of trusted sources I am referring to are those people that have already shown an interest in the topic of the site I’m building links for and have created a link resource list, located on an already trustworthy site. That was a mouthful, so as an example, imagine you operate a web site devoted to blues music, like The Blues Database. I have no affiliation with them and they are not a client—I’m using them as an example only.
Aside from obvious and overused target site identification tactics, I always look to see if any professional researchers or librarians have compiled link guides in that same topic already, given that if they have, they likely have identified some of the most useful target sites for link seeking, and by pointing at them from their own already trusted sites, they are in a sense creating a stream of trust. And here’s how you can follow that stream.
I do a search on the phrase top sites for researching blues music. Notice in the results is this article from the highly respected Information Today, as well as this jewel from the Flint Public Library. In looking at both of these sites, I see they each refer and link to this Blues Music site from PBS. A little clicking around the PBS Blues site and I found this resources/links page.
From a link seeker’s perspective, I think we can agree that getting a link from this PBS Blues resources/links page would be a coup for any blues related site, and it should be one of the key target sites identified to contact for the site I mentioned earlier, The Blues Database. Notice a couple other things about the PBS resources page. It doesn’t have a laundry list of links, just a few selected links made by editors who chose them for a reason. That means getting on that page wont be easy. And that’s exactly what you’d want to be on it. If you ran a search engine and you found content about blues music on the PBS web site, and if on that same web site was a small collection of links to other blues sites, what would you do? You’d reward those sites that were linked by PBS, that’s what you’d do.
This is the essence of the trusted source link stream method. There are hundreds of people who have already taken the time to create useful and extremely selective collections of links to sites on any subject you can imagine. If you have content that will appeal to them, content that can truly earn a link from them, you can benefit by politely introducing your content to them. This is by no means a slam dunk. These types of links are tough to get. You have to have the content to justify it, and then you have to reach out in the proper way to the exact person who can make a decision as to whether or not to give you a link. It does no good to pursue a link from a trusted source if you are representing junk content. But for those of you who have the right kind of content, there is likely a trusted source linking stream already flowing, and if you can identify it and earn your way in, you will be rewarded in both the short and long term with more targeted traffic and improved search rank.
Eric Ward has been in the link building and content publicity game since 1994, providing services ranking from linking strategy to a monthly private newsletters on linking for subscribers. The Link Week column appears on Mondays at Search Engine Land.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.