8 Tips To Increase Your Link Building Efficiency

I’ve seen a lot of posts recently that talk about how to dedicate enough time to link building to see results without it taking over your life. To be blunt, that’s a load of crap.

If something is scalable, its size can be changed, like fonts. How long you have to link build for to get results will never change. It will always be one of the most time-consuming and arguably hardest things you do. If it isn’t, you’re doing it wrong.

Still, there are a lot of things you can do to improve your efficiency and productivity. Below are just some of my favorite, but fair warning: They’re not going to free up all of your time. They’ll just allow you do to more in the time you have.

Gmail Tools

Because marketers are getting a bad rap when it comes to guest blogging, I solely use Gmail when pitching guest blog posts. In fact, we’ve found that Gmail addresses have a 60% better response rate for tactics like broken link building, too, so if you’re not using it, you need to be.

Gmail also has some of the best plug-ins that will help you save time in the hundreds of emails you send in link building. My favorites:


Allows you to automatically set up reminders to follow up with people if you haven’t heard back from them. It also lets you send emails at a designated time.


Canned Responses

Allows you to save email templates based off your contacting tactic. I have them set up for broken link building, guest blog pitching when through a blog community, and guest blog pitching on a source I found my own. Highlight what you need to change each time to make it easy.



Holy contact information, Batman. This will show you everything you need to know about someone when you put in their email address, from their contact information to their social profiles. You can create more personalized email or contact them through Twitter first to avoid email overload.


Organization Tips

One of the biggest reasons why link building takes so long is because people are just downright unorganized. When you’re dealing with dozens of Excel spreadsheets that each contain hundreds of prospects with rows of valuing information, you’ve got to stay on top of it. My tips:


You know every link carries a different value. And you know every link has a different approach tactic. So prioritize what you work on. I have a link prospecting sheet that has a Value (Scale 1-5, 5 being high) and Ease (Scale 1-5, 5 being difficult). Multiply them, then sort by highest to lowest to see what you need to tackle first.

Color Coding

I’m sure you already use Excel. It’s great, but if you have a lot of data to go through, it’s hard to keep things straight. I color code everything so I know where I’m at in the process: Green means link is up, Yellow means waiting on a response, Red means no way will you ever get a link. When I open a speadsheet, I can easily see where I’m at.


Browsers give you the ability to open multiple tabs for a reason. Use them. My open tabs are my To Do list. They let me know what’s left to look at before I can call it a day. Once I’ve valued the site or contacted them, I close it out. I also use Ontolo’s URL Reviewer to open all the URLs I’ve copied over from an XLS at once.


If I know I’m not going to be able to get to a prospect immediately, I’ll save it to my bookmarks. I organize both by client and by site type because one prospect may be suitable for more than one client. I’ll then set up a time on my calendar for 2-3 days later to remind myself to go back through those bookmarks.

Contacting People

Immediately after I’ve valued a site and have determined that I do want a link from them, I contact them. Why? Because their site is fresh in my mind. It’s much easier to craft a personal email when you just finished checking a site out.

If you wait until you valued a handful of prospects to then reach out and contact them, you’re either going to have very template-sounding emails or you’ll have to go back through the site to figure out what you want to say.

What are some other things you can do to increase your link building efficiency?

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 experienced digital strategist, content developer and search marketer. She's currently the SEO Manager for The Home Depot and has previously worked agency-side for mid-sized business and Fortune 500 companies. She speaks regularly on digital strategy, content development and inbound marketing at conferences nationwide. Follow her on Twitter @erinever.

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


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  • http://twitter.com/TobiSchumann Tobias Schumann

    Very basic but very helpful tips every linkbuilder should keep in mind. Makes our work soo much easier! Thank you!

  • http://www.consultancymarketing.co.uk/ Ian Smith

    “Because marketers are getting a bad rap
    when it comes to guest blogging, I solely use Gmail when pitching guest
    blog posts. In fact, we’ve found that Gmail addresses have a 60% better
    response rate for tactics like broken link building, too, so if you’re
    not using it, you need to be.”

    Unsure what you mean by this point Erin. I would have thought using an email address from your own domain would be the preferred approach?

  • McintoshClifton

    my buddy’s sister-in-law made $18108 a month ago. she worrks on the internet and bought a $525400 condo. All she did was get blessed and put into action the instructions given on this website 

    ⇛⇛⇛⇛► (Click At My Name For Link)

  • http://twitter.com/ruck ruck

    Excellent list. Detailed and put together for newbies and advanced marketers alike. Just saying thanks and appreciate the effort you put into this post Erin – Ruck

  • http://vsocio.com Muhammad Usman

    thanks for such a nice basic tips.

  • http://www.topfiveawards.com/ Top Five Awards

    A decent back-to-basics posts. It appears most have lost their way when it comes to strong link building.

  • http://twitter.com/mattchstik Matt Dyer

    Love boomerang and canned response for Gmail! Very handy for lots of things in addition to link building. Especially like the send later feature on boomerang.

  • http://twitter.com/sonoble Steve Noble

    I am also confused by your statement to use gmail.  I think the clarification is, do you mean use @gmail.com or the gmail web interface for the tools.

  • http://www.superblogga.com Missy Diaz

    For the love of god, keep your EMAILS brief. If we have to read more than two SMALL paragraphs – we will delete it. OK. I will delete it. When pitching to a guest blogger via email, keep the message brief and get to the point.

    Thanks! (just my .08 cents)

  • anilagarwal

    Surely these tips will improve our productivity. I’m going to try 
    Canned Responses tool. I’m a bit busy with doing and accepting guest posts on my blog. Most of the time I use 5-6 email templates and as of now I’m coping them from MS Word. But with this tool, things should become much easier.

  • Derek Cook

     Not sure about using GMail myself – it causes Spam problems, non-delivery and mistrust. I prefer a domain based email as I think at least the sender has a ‘presense’ – We literally get about 100 Gmails a week for SEOers – they all get ignored and my mail host is starting to block GMail as they say it is one of the biggest spammers !!

  • http://jaspreetchahal.org/ Jaspreet Chahal

    I agree. Thats what got me. I always believed that using your domain email address is the best approach. 

  • http://www.consultancymarketing.co.uk/ Ian Smith

     Que? Am I missing something here?

  • sarmista

    Hi Erin,Thanks for your 8 tips to increase link building efficiency. Its really great.

  • http://www.facebook.com/FelipeSplinter Felipe Bazon

    I never heard nor used Boomerang but at this time and age where my link building emails grew considerably I must start using it, thanks for the heads up Erin.

    But now, about gmail emails I have to desagree  with you. My response rate from emails sent through my gmail are close to zero.

  • http://twitter.com/inceptorsearch Inceptor Search

    Multiplying EASE by VALUE in your link priority list won’t give you an easier way to prioritize. The best links to build are high value, low difficulty. In your system, that’s 5 x 1. The reverse of this is true, as well. The worst links to build are low value, high difficulty. This is also 1 x 5. As those both equal ’5′, you can see how that doesn’t make it easier.

    Maybe making 5 the ‘least difficult’ would help your priority list. Although, you might have meant that from the start.

  • http://www.superblogga.com Missy Diaz

    Hi, Ian:

    Sorry if I wasn’t clear. But just meant that if you’re pitching a blogger for a guest post on their site make your email brief. I get a ton of emails from a variety of individuals and really dislike the emails that carry the long winded approach.

    I don’t need to know a bunch of extra superlative information and I don’t need your biography to accept your guest post.

    An email with the following is ideal:

    *your name
    *a link to your blog
    *the article (idea) you have in mind (not the actual article)
    *samples of previous writing

    That’s it.

  • http://twitter.com/erinever Erin Everhart

    It really depends on what you’re pitching. For PR or product reviews, I’d definitely agree that your own domain email address is best. But when you’re just looking to write and contribute content, I’ve seen much better success rate with Gmail. For straight guest blogging, it’s just remembering that above all, you’re a writer who wants to give good content. You’re not a marketer.

  • http://twitter.com/erinever Erin Everhart

    Whoops good catch! Definitely meant 5 as being the easiest. Thanks for looking out!

  • DixonBarbara

    my friend’s aunt brought home $17621 last month. she gets paid on the internet and bought a $566900 condo. All she did was get blessed and work up the guide revealed on this web site

    ⇛⇛⇛⇛► (Click On My Name For Link)

  • cory josue

    Hi Erin! This article is really helpful. Im a newbie in the SEO world and one of our tasks is to put comments on blogs to somehow promote our site. It’s a real dilemma for me because I don’t know how to do it without sounding like I am promoting my site. I don’t know how to inject my client’s site without sounding like its a hard sell.

    Can you make another post as to how to do that or tips? Thanks.

  • Matt McGee

    Cory, I’m not Erin, but my reply to your question is this: Tell whomever gave you this task that blog commenting is not a scalable, long-term solution to getting links. And then join that person in reading our recent article about quality links vs. quantity of links:


    Hope that helps.

  • http://twitter.com/DiviFernando Divi Fernando

    Spend some time to actually read the post. Comments would flow if you have questions in mind, or suggestions to further enhance the information. When you keep it genuine and real, it pays back. But it sounds like you are commenting for your clients, now that would be a tough cookie as you are being paid only to comment and not to read the post carefully :)

  • http://www.ydeveloper.com/e-smart-ecommerce-suite.html eCommerce

    Yesterday i used Rapporative tool for my gmail account and claim all social connections, really exciting to find someone’s social connections.

  • http://www.facebook.com/manoj.aravindakshan Manoj Aravindakshan

    Would you be able to share what are the most scalable, sustainable and effective link building techniques, that could be used by both small and large businesses? Also, is there any way to quantify the value of links obtained (or the different types of links obtained)? This is a recurring challenge, especially for small businesses that don’t have the wherewithal to support content creation & marketing that are required for links with long life-time value and are fairly immune to algorithm changes. I’ll appreciate your inputs on this. Thanks.

  • Matt McGee

    You wrote:

    “…small businesses that don’t have the wherewithal to support content creation & marketing that are required for links with long life-time value and are fairly immune to algorithm changes.”

    Manoj — why would Google want to give great visibility to a small business that can’t do those things? Getting onto page one of a search results page is TOUGH and the rewards are potentially amazing.

    You’re basically saying, “no time to market, no time to produce great content” — and that equates to “no time to do anything that’s worthy of high visibility.”

    This is why Google has taken the actions that it’s taken in recent months. Everyone wants to know how to rank on page one, but no one wants to work for it. Everyone wants quick, easy links — a silver bullet to get on page one and reap the rewards.

    It doesn’t work that way anymore … or, at least Google’s doing everything it can to see that it doesn’t work that way anymore.

    A scalable, sustainable and effective link building technique? Work hard. Be amazing. Work hard some more. Create the kind of website that Google has no choice but to reward with deserved visibility … and work hard even more.

  • http://twitter.com/johnfenix04 MedicalTranscription



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