Asking for the Link: The Foundation of a Solid Link Building Campaign

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    Key Points

    • A popular way to build backlinks is by simply asking a blogger for a link.
    • There are 3 kinds of sites to build backlinks on: low, medium and high quality sites.
    • The quality of a site can be determined by Google Page Rank, number of backlinks, overall visitors and users, RSS subscribers, look and feel of the site, and other things.

    Summary

    The most basic component of optimizing your website is your link building campaign. Typically with a link building campaign, you should start with friends and associates that are bloggers. Reach out to them and offer link exchanges. These should be some of the easiest links you can obtain when just starting out.

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by Rob Stretch

The most basic component of optimizing your website is your link building campaign. Typically with a link building campaign, you should start with friends and associates that are bloggers. Reach out to them and offer link exchanges. These should be some of the easiest links you can obtain when just starting out.

In this article, Rob Stretch will share with you methods he uses to successfully reach out to other bloggers for backlinks, and help improve the traffic flow to his blog.

Eventually, however, you will have to branch out and start reaching out to publishers who you do not know to further your linking endeavors. This is the practice I will guide you through in this article.

How do you reach them?

A lot of bloggers are shy. Even though there are two different computers separating you from the other blogger, it’s still common to be a little shy. This is especially true if you are dealing with an authority in your niche.

Some common ways to reach out to other bloggers are:

  • Email (usually through a contact form on their site).
  • Twitter, and other social networking sites.
  • Their own blog, via the comments section.
  • A forum community.

I would generally categorize the sites who link back to you in 3 different categories: low, medium, or high quality. The quality of a site can be determined based on Google Page Rank, number of backlinks, overall visitors and users, RSS subscribers, look and feel of the site, and other guidelines. I use different link building methods when dealing with different classifications of sites.

1. Low Quality Sites

I target low quality sites on a large-scale approach. This does not mean sending automated emails or thousands of spam emails. What this means is maybe working from a pre-written email template, and customizing a few lines to fit the target site or blog.

Usually when targeting lower end sites, I spend a few days collecting email addresses, and the next few days sending out semi-personalized emails to the webmasters. These sites do not pass much link juice but satisfy your volume needs.

Warning: Don’t stoop too low
When categorizing sites as low quality, never stoop too low. If a site is under construction, spammy-looking, has horrible content, or is overall a horrible site, by all means don’t link to it. Linking to sites black-listed by Google can have a negative impact on your search engine results.

2. Medium Quality Sites

When targeting medium quality websites, I spend a little more time reading content on the site and getting a feel for their audience before emailing the webmaster. Each email at this stage is customized for the site owner.

I usually link previous samples of posts I have done to medium quality site webmasters. These sites pass a little more link juice and can be very useful in ranking your site for specific search terms.

3. High Quality Sites

For high quality sites, you really need to spend some time on your link proposal. This could mean writing free content and not even asking for an attribution link on the first post (or however their guest post guidelines are setup). This could even mean making phone calls instead of emails. However you choose to do it, you should know the targeted site like the back of your hand and know their reader base.

When it comes to emails – personalize them accordingly. Links from a high quality site are the ones that really get your site to start ranking high on the SERPs.

Keep in mind, quantity is not everything when it comes to link building. In every link-builder’s arsenal there lies a secret weapon: deep linking. Deep links are links to pages besides your homepage.

For example, VaMortgageCenter.com Reviews would be considered a deep link, because it is linking to the glossary. These allow for you to target more keywords, and allow for more pages of your site to be crawled more often by the search engines.

Here you can read more about my overview of a balanced link building campaign.

Crafting Your Email

Writing a persuasive email is an art these days. When contacting webmasters who you don’t know personally, use these guidelines:

  1. Use an appropriate subject line (and address them by their name in the opening. Spell it right too).
  2. Keep your message short
  3. Keep your message simple
  4. Articulate your cause
  5. Provide accurate contact information

Experiment with different variations of content as well as different subject lines. Be active – measure your response rates based on different variables. When you notice a subject line starts returning a high percentage of responses, keep using that subject line!

Bottom line: try to get as many high quality sites as you can while avoiding sites with a negative influence.

What’s a Link Building Campaign to you?

There are many ways to build links to your blog, and asking for links is just at the tip of the iceberg. How do you build backlinks to your blog? Think carefully, because most of the time you are doing it, you aren’t even aware of it!

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Richard Scott April 21, 2010 at 12:29 am

Ah, the only thing missing are examples. Asking for links is something I have not done. I feel most people will want something in return, like $200 a month. lol. I’m just letting people link to me naturally. It would be nice to get a couple of big sites to link to me, but most would consider that competition. Not an easy thing.

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Evan April 21, 2010 at 9:11 am

Really interesting post, I get e-mailed at least a couple times a week asking for a link – I wish they read this post before doing so.

Richard,
If they aren’t natural (i.e. I found your site, and wanted to put it in a post) I absolutely charge for links.
.-= Evan´s last blog ..Great Posts from Around The Personal Finance Blogging World =-.

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John Paul Aguiar April 21, 2010 at 9:22 am

Nice tips. It really is as simple as askign a blogger but hard part is wording your email corretly.

Most blogger are very helpful and if approach correctly, will open to link sharing.
.-= John Paul Aguiar´s last blog ..My Crazy Simple 7 Step Plan To Promote A New Post =-.

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Moon Hussain April 21, 2010 at 9:41 am

Rob, nice tips. Wouldn’t it be better to not even focus on the low quality blogs/sites and focus on medium and high quality sites with great content? As long as there is exposure and the readers love what they read… you get a backlink as well as a subscriber, hopefully.
.-= Moon Hussain´s last blog ..Fun Friday Round-Up: Delish Posts to Savour =-.

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Rob Stretch April 21, 2010 at 11:30 am

Richard – many charge for links but be creative with it. Provide them with great content they would love to have and they won’t mind if you slip in a link or two.

Moon – Medium and high quality sites help out a lot more, but just getting your presence out there on a weekly basis may increase your chance of an article going viral or responding to a current search trend. The point is quality but quantity doesn’t hurt unless the page is not Google-friendly.
.-= Rob Stretch´s last blog ..What Color is Your Hat? =-.

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Shirley April 21, 2010 at 5:38 pm

I’ve been learning all about Keyword Research, SEO, Link Building, and all those related stuff today and you are also talking about Link Building here today. So it’s all continuous learning I’m doing here thanks to you and Alex :) .

Great great tips, Rob :) .
.-= Shirley´s last blog ..An Ultimate Guide To Getting And Making Use Of Traffic From StumbleUpon =-.

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paul | entertainment tonight April 21, 2010 at 8:12 pm

I have done this when I was only starting out but I don’t think that I would need it now since my blog is already popular.
.-= paul | entertainment tonight´s last blog ..The top directors that made an impact in the world =-.

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Rob Stretch April 21, 2010 at 11:04 pm

Unless your site is ranking 1st in Google for every related keyword, you need to link build (i.e. everybody).

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Kok Siong Chen April 21, 2010 at 11:27 pm

I seldom request for link exchange recently. I just did it in the beginning of my blogging journey. In my opinion, link exchange will only benefit to us when we exchange the link with the high quality website. The natural link building which is driven by good content is the best way for link building campaign.
.-= Kok Siong Chen´s last blog ..Tamoxifen – Breast Cancer Treatment =-.

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Reza Winandar April 22, 2010 at 6:27 am

Begging backlinks is easy, as you beg it for the right person, like a newbie blogger. ust offer them a valuable ebook and they will give you a backlink.
.-= Reza Winandar´s last blog ..5 Types of Comments That Attract Attention =-.

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Dennis Edell | Direct Sales Marketing April 22, 2010 at 9:35 am

Over-all, a great guideline, but “low quality” “negative influence”; what does this mean exactly?

Personally I wouldn’t be so flip or lite with blogs not owned by Darren Rowse (that’s the feeling I got reading). If one truly dislikes a site for one reason or another or at all afraid of Google and co. coming down on you, then they shouldn’t link at all.

Big picture tells me, any blog now deemed low, yet legitimate, can shoot to $100 link sales eventually…never underestimate. ;)
.-= Dennis Edell | Direct Sales Marketing´s last blog ..Theme Customization 4 – NEW Social Media Icons & RSS/Newsletter Subscription Box(s) Coming – You Need to Settle an Argument! =-.

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Rob Stretch April 22, 2010 at 1:57 pm

What I mean by “low quality” is that if Google has red-flagged a site for being spammy or black hat, you probably don’t want your site associated with it.

If all you’re doing is posting links to link farms or spamming directories, you might want to think twice about what you’re doing.

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Dennis Edell | Direct Sales Marketing April 23, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Exactly, 100% aghreement. Then why, “I target low quality sites on a large-scale approach. This does not mean sending automated emails or thousands of spam emails. What this means is maybe working from a pre-written email template, and customizing a few lines to fit the target site or blog.”

target them at all?

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Seth W April 22, 2010 at 3:09 pm

I like how you broke down your link building campaign a lot. Without a viable link campaign strategy you will just continue to face mediocrity or worse.

My personal strategy is as follows…

#1 Work like a dog and get natural, strong, high-quality links (excellent anchor text) from top blogs in your field. Think about more than just THE best blog or THE most popular but rather go to the top 10 or 15. Each top blog will offer a different crowd with different link/traffic results.

If you get the big links naturally then you easily get the low and medium quality links. When I have guest posted on problogger, daily blog tips, or other big blogs you can often get dozens of smaller blogs linking to you because of the article you wrote on the big site.

Not only do you get the big link juice but a natural overflow as well. Always work on the best first. Don’t waste your time on the little stuff. Think Big!

#2 Collaborate with blogs your own size. If you work together and decide to link to each other for certain keywords you will both do extremely well. This is how it would look… whenever I write about ______ I’ll link to this article ______. Whenever you write about _______ you link to ________ . Its natural and very beneficial.

Remember to provide win-win situations and go over and above with your quality. If its extremely useful they cannot help but link to you!
.-= Seth W´s last blog ..Senior Center Celebrates Earth Day =-.

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Julius April 22, 2010 at 5:20 pm

I especially like your point about crafting your email. I agree that we should try to include the persons name as long as we can find it in the site, instead of just putting “Dear Sir/Madam”.
.-= Julius´s last blog ..The Challenges of Blind Internet Users =-.

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Brad April 24, 2010 at 12:11 am

Being addressed by name or the name of the site is a must. Just about all the emails we get are addressed to “Dear Sir/Madam” and use something like “we just visited your website” <- give some proof that you did by stating the name!
.-= Brad´s last blog ..Surfing Angourie Back In The Day =-.

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Pinoy @ How to blog April 24, 2010 at 2:47 pm

I think asking for a link will do work if you have a more stable or optimize site. Crafting a persuasive email will really help but make sure you first have a medium to quality site.
.-= Pinoy @ How to blog´s last blog ..4 Basic Blogging Tips and Tricks for newbies =-.

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Jasmine Henry from System Fail News April 24, 2010 at 5:31 pm

The first (and admittedly only) link share that I did went very well. I accidently found the site as it uses Blogger like I do. Because the site is similar to mine in size and also covers the same niche (video games) it was easy to relate to the blogger and the blog. Using forums and e-mail I was polite and sincere but not too formal and I think that really helped. If we’re too casual when asking for links, the other blogger won’t take us seriously and if we’re too formal they’ll think we’re too “corporate” and might think we have an ulterior motive. As long as you get the right balance when asking for a link-share it’s quite simple. Because of the interaction, we are now good friends who mention each other on our blogs frequently as well as interacting on Twitter, this is all down to being accessible and firendly when we did the link share!
.-= Jasmine Henry from System Fail News´s last blog ..Skate 3’s Improved Hall of Meat is Brutal! =-.

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Jason @ I need lots of money now October 16, 2010 at 5:57 am

Well, Rob, the reason why this is the case (that a lot of bloggers don’t ask for linking) is because of the fact that Google don’t really like reciprocal backlinks and that most of the time the bloggers that have the established blog don’t want to link to poor content blog especially when they are at PR of 0.

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Marketing Blog January 23, 2011 at 6:56 am

Dear Author, Kindly answer this query. Is it necessary that we get backlinks from our relevant niche only? Or is it ok if we get it from other niche blogs. Like i write on marketing. but i m ok with writing on blogging as well. So is it ok if i do guest posts on blogging blogs and get backlinks? kindly answer this question of mine. Thank you.

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David March 5, 2011 at 7:36 pm

This is what I’m about to start doing for my blog, since I just got my first three posts up I figured it’s about time to start doing some link building, and getting my site out there.

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Alex Heil March 13, 2011 at 5:02 pm

When I first started my site I didn’t know anything about linking. Now I’ve started to learn what to do and what not to do. Thanks for the post.

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selfishyayun April 24, 2011 at 3:26 am

aku membuat blog menjadi dofollow, membuat blog auto approve dan melakukan blog walking. aku rasa itu beberapa hal penting yang telah aku lakukan

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selfishyayun April 24, 2011 at 3:27 am

I create a blog into dofollow, blog auto approve and do blog walking. I guess that’s some important things I have done

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