What Tim Tebow Can Teach You About Link Building

If I learned one thing during my years as journalist, it was that headlines will make or break you.

Tim Tebow Link Building

There’s probably a good number of you reading this solely because of this headline, but stay with me, people: There is a connection to link building.

Earlier this month, I went to the Chick-fi-la Leadercast where Tim Tebow was one of the speakers. As he was talking about his football past and how he views leadership, it occurred to me how downright amazing he would be at link building and SEO in general.

“Timmy!” I wanted to shout from my seat. “Quit football and come do SEO for me instead!” I don’t think it would have gone over well.

Sadly, Tim Tebow will never become an SEO, but he did say some pretty remarkable things during the Leadercast that apply to what we should do every single day.

“If You Don’t Love It, It’s Going To Be Hard To Do It Every Day”

You could say a lot of bad about the SEO industry — in fact, a lot of people have — but you can never say we don’t love what we do. I have never met an (ethical) SEO who isn’t deeply passionate about it.

They have to be because it’s a time-consuming and frustrating job to do, especially the link building side of it. There’s no way around that. And if you don’t love it, you better learn to or just get out now.

“I Just Try To Be Real & Authentic”

Automated link building is not a long-term growth strategy. Neither is sending the same “Can you link to me?” email to hundreds of prospects. The best link builders are real and authentic.

Yes, link building is about the getting links to your websites, but to be successful, your focus should be on building the relationship not the link. How do you do that? Here are two key ways:

  • Send personalized emails: I don’t think we can harp on this enough. If you want to increase your response rate, write an email worth responding to. You can do these with some standardization, though, with Gmail’s Canned Responses. I have saved email templates for guest blogging, broken link building, content promotion, and resource listings that I then build off with personalization for each source.
  • Follow up: Once you actually get your link placed, the relationship isn’t over. In fact, you’ve really just had your first date. Follow up with them. Thank them for including your guest blog post or your website as a resource. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to get another link from them in the future.

“Don’t Worry About What You Can’t Control”

There are no guarantees in SEO and link building, mainly because you’re forced to rely on someone or something else. And it’s hard for clients to understand that just because I reached out to 100 different sources, we’re not going to get links from those 100 different places.

While madly infuriating, it’s not worth your time to stress about it what you can’t control, like algorithm updates, the links themselves, or random changes in rankings.

Instead, focus on the things that you can control. Put out great content. Every. Single. Day. Build and maintain relationships. Internal link the bejesus out of your pages. Be creative.

“At The End Of The Day, It’s Just A Game”

There’s been a big to do about all of Google’s updates with the umpteenth version of Panda and now Penguin, and there are even more articles written about how you can recover from them. Algorithm updates are a fact of life, and you have to live with them, regardless if the outcome isn’t what you expected.

At the end of the day, it’s just an algorithm update. There’s nothing you can do to change it, so rub some dirt on it, walk it off, and figure out how you can better frame your link building to avoid updates in the future.

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

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | 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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  • theneatgeek

    Great article for someone like me, whose head usually hurts when I read most articles on SEO. I like your honestly about not being able to control everything. I think people get too caught up in link building that they forget to produce great content.

  • RobSkidmore

    I’ll admit I started reading this only for the title. But you managed to connect the two topics quite well. I agree it takes a certain amount of passion and perspective to be successful at anything. Thanks for sharing. 

    Also: Am I the only one who thinks it’s funny when people say they try to be authentic. I feel like authenticity isn’t something that you can try to be. Like I can’t try to be a human being because I am one. Ya know?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=687466742 John Hones

    Great article, will certainly refer back to this in times of uncertainty :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/kns1988 Kunal N Shah

    Nice article with comprehensive information, while I agree that loving what one does is important, it may not always be possible to do so. As such, one can outsource the same to experts at times. I run a blog on social media and I got a professional SEO company, 
    http://www.agencyplatform.com/seo-services.html  to handle it for me. Must say the results were really good!

  • http://twitter.com/rogerweavers Roger Weavers

    Yep great article. SEO is not an exact science but a bit or an art.  You need passion and instinct to be in this game.

  • http://twitter.com/freedatingforu Loyla

    Great article keep up the good work.

  • alcantaramedia

    Great analogy to Tebow. Now, that’s hes a Jet, I’m sure you can fit another one. “If it’s not working, change team”?


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