What Is Link Building?
In a nutshell, link building is getting links to your site/page(s) appear on someone else’s site/page. If done correctly, link building allows you to drive tremendous amounts of traffic to your site as well as lets your site rank high in the organic search results.
There are four main things to consider when building links—quantity, quality, relevance, and anchor text.
- Quantity – It’s all about getting your links out and having them appear in as many sites/pages as possible. The more, the better of course. This, however, should be done with caution so as not to get one’s self branded as a “link spammer”.
- Quality – One should not just go out and drop his/her link on each and every one of the sites/pages he/she finds. Serious consideration should be given to a target site’s reputation. Is the site/page a trusted site? Is it considered an authority in the subject matter? Another one is whether or not it has other reputable sites linking to it.
- Relevance – This goes hand in hand with “quality”. Is the link relevant to the page/site it is placed on? Is it helpful/useful to the visitors of the site?
- Anchor Text – Using “click here” as an anchor text won’t help you as much as “click here for low-priced laptops” would.
Find the Right Sites for Your Links
Run searches for your target keywords on the major search engines and take note of the pages/sites that appear in the top results. This lets you focus in on the “good” sites which are most likely among the most visited sites based on your target keywords. This should allow you to piggy-back on their popularity.
Contact the Webmasters/site owners of your targeted sites through email, fax, or phone and ask them if they would be willing to link to your site. Phoning them is the best way to go about this since this proves to them instantly that a real person is making the request and not an automated emailing/messaging system. But if a phone number cannot be obtained, emailing your request/invitation may well be your best and only choice.
When sending your request through email, make sure that your mail is well-written and personalized to distinguish it from all the spam they receive everyday.
You couldn’t and shouldn’t expect all of them to respond positively to your invitation/request, however, particularly those that are extremely competitive with you. But there will surely be those who will be more than willing to link to you, especially if your site contains original and valuable content.
So, what to do with sites/people who are very competitive with you?
Admittedly, your chances of getting your link on a competitor’s site ranges from slim to nil. But you can still put them into good use.
Visit your competitors’ sites and take note of the sites that they are linking to, as well as the sites that are linking to them, and get in touch with those instead. You can also do the same with the sites that have responded positively to your request.
If you find sites that have already linked to your pages, you can ask the sites’ Webmaster if they’d also be interested in linking to the other (relevant) pages on your site.
Before Sending Out Your Request
So, you’ve already got a list of people/sites to send your request to… but before you go on sending out your request, there are a few things you can do in advance which can increase your chances of getting a positive response.
- Put their link on your site first. By doing so, you are basically turning the table around and asking them to return the favor to you. But, DO NOT make it appear/sound that way. Do not say something like “Hey, I’ve put your link on my site, please put mine on yours.” Be courteous and polite in making your invitation/request while emphasizing that you have already put up their links on your site. Show them where they can find their link on your site by providing them with the page’s URL. Also, mention that you are willing to remove their link from your site should they desire it (for any reason). Should they turn down your request, thank them then ask them if they’d allow you to keep their links on your site. What do you know, they might just change their mind about linking to you.
- Provide the HTML code for your link along with your invitation/request. Remember, you’re asking someone a favor, so make it less of a chore for them to grant you that favor. Providing your link’s code will allow them to simply cut and paste your link onto their page.
- Make sure that the sites you’re targeting have a links page or a portion dedicated to links. Sites that do not have a links page are most likely not going to grant you your request since they have no place to put your links on in the first place.
- Provide them with as much information as you can to enable them to easily link to you. For example, if they have a big site, tell them the specific page/section of their site where your link would fit in.