On-page Factors are cool. It tells the search engine what your webpage is all about but off page factors especially backlinks are a no brainer.
If you want your website to climb higher on the SERP, you need to get more links.
If you want brand visibility and referral traffics, you need to acquire more links.
Backlinks are the spine of the Google algorithm and therefore you need to understand how to build links.
The Link building process:
The link building process is generally straight forward although the possibility of a tangent is high. Yet, there are three main steps involved in order to complete this process. The three steps are:
- Discovery Stage
- Acknowledgement stage
- Link claim stage
Let’s examine them one after the other.
This stage is where the prospecting stage. At this stage, you might have made up your mind the kind of technique you want to use. There are lots of techniques you can use. To keep myself sane, I usually pick one technique per month and then get a link with it.
Sometimes a simple query like this “list of keyword” can turn up loads of opportunities you didn’t think before of so you need to be open minded.
At other times, you want to start with looking for resources page so you can either request to be an addition or you are looking for broken link opportunity.
At other times, you are simple looking for opportunities like guest posting.
Whatever your chosen technique is you need to know how to use your prospecting query.
I stumbled upon the above query while seeking an opportunity for resources listing for a client so while at times, your query are well defined, at other times they are not.
That is why it is good to have an open mind as your begin your search.
Now you have seen a link building opportunity. The first question I ask is:
Is it worth getting a link from this site?
Often times not all links are worth seeking. Apart from metrics like domain authorities, page rank etc, I am not sure anyone still uses this metric you need to further conduct a manual test.
Certain questions to ask include:
- Is the website updated regularly? You don’t want a link placement on a site that was last updated 10 years ago although this may be the golden opportunity for broken links or outdated content link building technique. (See what I was talking about early in the post)
- Who is behind this website and do they look serious? You don’t want to get yourself on a PBN site.
- Is this site active on social media? Social is important so if they are not actively using social media, your link might get all the juice it deserves.
- Finally you want to ask if the site is worth your effort. This is crucial for guest posting as you should only guest post on sites that can further establish your reputation as a leader in your target industry or get your in front of influencers.
The more you practice, the easier it is for you to conduct these checks on the spot.
This is the actual process of getting the links and it involves connecting with the webmaster to ask for the link. At times the process is so simple like placing your links in a directory (did you miss the news, yahoo is shutting down its directory) but most times it is as crazy as emailing potential link partners.
Numerous articles have been written about the best way to write the perfect outreach letters. I have a curate list of templates that I read once in a while to refresh my memory about the perfect outreach letter but believe me, I have hardly used it.
This is not because I am afraid they won’t. It is simply that I want to be myself whenever I am emailing people I want to build a relationship with so I don’t use templates because I don’t want to sound like a robot.
Have I learnt a lesson from sending outreach emails? Yes and still counting.
So if you need to send a link request outreach email, you better of following the process below.
- Whenever possible try to strike a relationship first. There are lot of ways to do this. Befriend them on social; send them a direct email or do anything to get on their radar. I have gotten links in the past by emailing people out of the blues so do not be afraid to ask first.
- Be personal: Names are crucial; point of interest may not be. The fact that a person I am emailing someone who loves base ball does not mean I have to pretend I do. It only means I get an insight into what the person cares about and if I can find a common ground, I should use it.
- Short mail triumphs: I have never sent a mail of more than 5 -7 sentence and I have had great success with them. This might be because the pre-qualification stage was done appropriately. It might also be because I love being direct without being rude but hey, it works for me, my prospect responds, everyone is happy.
- Where is the bait? Most link request involves talking to humans. Resources listing, guest posting opportunities etc are some examples of this. When you have to deal with humans you have to let them see the benefits of your proposal or you must have something to bait them with. If there is a subtle way of pointing this out, please go ahead. If there is not, don’t be jerks; just go straight to the point.
- Try once again: When you send the first email and there is no respond, don’t just give up. Your prospect might be busy. Life happens.
- Remember to say thank you: Hurray! You got the link but did you remember to say thank you. In your quest to get to the next linking opportunity on your radar, did you pause to say thank you?
Link building is a slow process and relevant quality links are hard to get. But it doesn’t have to be difficult. Follow this strategy and you are on your way to building better links.
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