If you just published a great page, updated your website, or shared something that you know deserves the link juice, but all you hear is crickets – you’re not alone. Or maybe you are actively trying to get people to link to your content but no one is biting, no matter how many emails you send out?
You can give up and hire an SEO expert who will do an audit of your whole site as well as content analysis and devote a team of people to get you those links – or you can still try to do it on your own. If you already have a good SEO company on your side, you can still learn about link building on your own – it’s a skill that anyone who runs their own business should know.
Link building is hard work. In order to get your link building outreach started on the right foot, you have to think about:
● What types of links do you want to build?
● Who are you pitching to?
● What you have to offer (not money – value)?
● What method are you going to use to find opportunities?
What is Value, Anyway?
In the link building world, value isn’t money – or at least it shouldn’t be in the world of white hat link building. Value is knowledge, interesting facts, on-point infographics, research, well-written guest posts, or amazing original images. These are all valuable things, and if pitched properly they will get you the links you want.
If you’re asking people to link to your content, you have to ask yourself if what you’re offering them at the other end of the link is worth their time.
Is it going to give their readers knowledge, directions, or maybe even some entertainment, or are you asking for a link to a bare product page? And if you are – isn’t that just asking them for an advertisement?
In this Guide to Offsite SEO, Edge Online explains that backlinks are much better when acquired organically, through hard work on building your own content and relationships with bloggers and authority sites. There is no cheating the system – Google’s algorithms run on AI and sooner or later they will figure out that you did some link building using link farms and other seedy methods. It’s not worth it to get penalized – go for high quality.
Pitch to the Right Person
Maybe you are offering excellent value, but you’re not reaching out to the right person?
Before we work on your pitch, you should probably think about your prospecting methods a little bit.
If you have great content and you know how to target a person who will listen to you and care about what you post about, it’s time to take a look at some of the strategies used by the professionals to get links to your website. If you are link building for your own business, you have an advantage over them.
Once you have a list of niche sites that you can’t wait to start a conversation with, how do you break through the wall? It’s not easy to target cold emails, but the good news is that as long as you sound genuine you are likely to get pointed the right way.
Here are some ways to find real people to write to. Note that you’re not doomed to write email after email – you can easily do your prospecting and reach out on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or niche groups where people in your line of work congregate. This way, you know you’re pitching to the right audience.
Here are some interesting facts about looking for leads on sites like LinkedIn – LinkedIn is the best tool for lead generation – and there is no reason why we can’t use sales tools that are readily available to us for the purpose of looking for great prospects.
There are apps and plugins you can connect to LinkedIn, like Crystal or Discovery, that will give you personality insights about a “lead’ – which will help you when you approach them about a link.
Another tool that you will find useful when prospecting for contacts is Hunter.io. This great tool will help you discover the names, titles, and emails associated with most websites that you find. Thanks to this, you can write to them by name and get straight to the point.
In most cases, a link building strategy doesn’t need to be complicated. Keep it simple for as long as you can. Here are some go-to methods that are used by the pros:
Link Prospecting Methods
Most of these methods have been around since the beginning of link building, but they are not as easy as they used to be. It’s not enough to toss a low-quality piece of content at your prospects, but in order to get those quality links you really have to hustle.
Broken Link Building – Broken link building is a great way to get some link opportunities. This method to get people to link to your website has been around for a long time and a lot of people are annoyed by emails that simply let them know about the broken links they found – this is probably because most of them looked like a mass email dump. What matters is the effort – if you genuinely find a broken link that led to valuable material and you make sure that the site you’re prospecting is something that you can spend a lot of resources on – go as far as publishing a new, great quality and updated site that matches it. THEN reach out to them and explain exactly why they should link to you. A short guide on getting those broken backlinks here.
Blog Posts and Guest Posts – Even though the word on the street is that “guest posts are dead” – they never will be. Why? Because there are experts who write amazing content and want to share it with the world, without having their own blog. If it’s great content, it’s worth having on your page or blog – that’s the bottom line. And if it means a few links (provided they are high quality), even better.
Image Links – If you have quality images and infographics, you can use them as link collateral as well. The great thing about images is that you can use them more than once. You don’t have to design a new infographic every time you pitch – simply give your permission for the blogger to use it as a visual in exchange for being given credit for it.
The most important thing to remember about building links is that it’s also about building relationships with people in the same niche as you.
Don’t spam or bombard people with requests for links or poorly veiled “can you just link to me” questions.
These emails are going to remain without an answer, and if they do get a reply, chances are that they are going to come from poor quality websites that won’t give you the authority you want and won’t drive organic traffic either – not to mention that they will charge you for their services and drag you down with them once they finally get penalized.