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My Favorite Link Building Lie
People will tell you it’s no longer possible to obtain links by asking for them via email. Spend even a little time reading the SEO/SEM blogs, forums, comments, etc., and you’ll find a reasonable and well-meaning post, something like this beauty I read over at the UK version of TechCrunch.
“The days of asking a site to link to you politely are long gone”
Darn. I wish someone had told me. I could have saved several clients some money and spent more time with my family.
The reality is the exact opposite. While it is pointless to seek links (via email or any other method) for crappy content from other sites with equally crappy content, link building via email does in fact work perfectly – but only under one perfectly obvious and sadly overlooked circumstance: when the link seeker represents meritorious content and the link granter is looking for that type of meritorious content to link to. It’s so painfully obvious to me, that I fight the urge to laugh out loud when I read quotes like the one above.
In fact, not only does link building via email still work, it still works for both traffic and rank. I’ll spare you a link drop here and explain by real-life example.
My son has a hearing impairment and through serendipity, I recently ended up working with a company in a related field. This company creates diagnostic tools and devices, and had launched a new web site devoted to that topic. This new site has a tremendous amount of content that physicians, audiologists, SLPs, and the parents of a hearing impaired child will find helpful. As their linking strategist, over the course of six weeks, I conducted industry research and link analysis, and I identified 28 truly outstanding sites devoted to pediatric hearing loss which also offer a resources and/or links section. I contacted each those 28 sites individually via email and introduce my client’s new web content. I did exactly what the article linked to above says I should not do.
I politely ask for link consideration.
The result is a 100% success rate. I’ll repeat that. All 28 sites devoted to pediatric hearing loss did in fact link to my client’s site devoted to that exact topic.
It makes sense, doesn’t it? And only someone who either a) has never done any link building, or b) worked for really bad sites, would make the statement that link building via email does not work.
My client’s new site now ranks at Google and Bing at an extremely high position for the specific multi-word phrase they most coveted. For you anchor text fans, note I did not once ask for any anchor text at all. If you’ve read my articles before, you know I find it rude to ask high merit content authors for anchor text when it’s obvious and apparent they do not give it. When you go vertical enough on both sides of the link building equation, anchor text is not needed.
This is the point where the hard core SEOs shoot at me. They say it’s not hard to rank for highly vertical multi-word phrases when you are working on behalf of really outstanding content.
My response is always the same: exactly.
That’s the point. If content is truly worthy, your goal does not have to be to make a site rank first anyway. That’s up to the content and the engines. The goal is to help the site seek out the exact links their content deserves and can earn.
High rank is a side effect of meritorious content that becomes well linked.
It was, is, and always will be about content merit and topical resource citation. You can write whatever you want about link building. I’ll always be here, or here, telling it like it is, like it was, and like it hopefully will be in the future, from the perspective of someone who actually does it.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.