Last update: 03/23/19
The new age of search engine marketing has brought many changes to link building strategies. The best link building requires some serious efforts.
Guest Post by Jonathan Goudy: Link earning requires some beautiful and high-quality content as its foundation, but it requires outreach to other webmasters to really be successful.
Outreach has to be more than just sending a quick, generic email. You need to develop and sustain working relationships with relevant websites. Links should be a reflection and symbol of high-quality relationships. When this is the case, they can provide a lot more value than a little “link juice.”
With link development, the first and most important rule is: ‘if you manually build the link without interacting with another human, chances are many others will build the same type of link, diminishing the overall value.’ This is what happened with article submission websites, directories, blog comments and even forums. There really is no value in these links anymore, and the best search engines know that.
The best links will either come from other webmasters who naturally find the content and then link to it, or through outreach and promotion
What to Outreach For
The most common mistake is to outreach for just links. People don’t want a relationship based off a link, not when there’s so much more you can give them
Offer something great for their website. Offer a promotion, offer to help them with some of their broken pages, or even provide a great resource that you think will provide more clarity or answer questions their readers might have. Offer them some positive feedback on things you genuinely recognized on their website. Even offer gratitude, people love appreciation for the work they’ve done on their website.
Don’t just be a guest author. You might be amazed at what happens when you offer more.
There are many ways to reach out to other websites, but the most common is email. In my experience with email outreach, the best way to be effective is to keep it personal (custom), short , and simple.
For SEO.com, I monitor the blog content and guest authors, and the type of emails I receive from people that want to write for us is pretty sad. If the person misspells words I don’t even consider their content. If you can’t write a high quality email how is the webmaster going to believe you can produce high quality content? Be impressive with your emails, don’t spam, and always offer value, whether if it’s for a guest blog article or a promotional way to introduce the content on your website.
Social Media Outreach
Webmasters should use social media to promote content and really establish relationships. Social media should not be used to spam. It can be a brand’s greatest asset outside of their website and employees. Promoting content on social media channels will naturally build a strong following.
When email boxes are full, and spammed out, webmasters will check social media inboxes and profiles. These platforms can be a highly effective way to communicate with brands. Every social media channel is different, so it’s important to know the best way to communicate on each one.
Not every brand is active on Google+, but those that are can use a highly effective tool to for communication.
It’s important to make sure your communication is private and provide a way for them to connect with you outside of Google+. Don’t ignore Google+, even if the whole world is on Facebook.
The twitter inbox is usually, and sadly, spammed out for many web brands. To use this channel for outreach, it’s important to really build a relationship by re-tweeting their content, commenting, and liking (favorite) their tweets. Once a relationship is established, you can do your outreach in a tweet.
Make the tweets personal, and be sure there is value in what you’re offering for their website. Twitter works, and for many brands this channel can be the most effective way of communication.
Communicating Through Websites
One ignored avenue of communication is the website. There are various ways to communicate with content publishers on their website. These are highly effective if done right, but may take more work. They will often have very specific requirements for contacting them, so be sure you follow the directions exactly.
Once a website form is filled out it will usually go to an inbox or CMS. Web form messages tell the webmaster that an automated machine didn’t spam the message, but that an actual human took the time to fill it out. This is why it can be considered an effective avenue of communication.
If you’re using blog commenting for a link you really are just wasting your time. This highly abused link building method should actually be a way to communicate with web authors. Authors will pay attention to the comments on their posts, but blog comments shouldn’t be used for links.
If you are using blog comments for links you are killing the value of the site you are linking to. Link to your social media channels in blog comments and really focus on building a relationship with the brand and author. After a while you’ll notice they’ll share your content and will become a great resource for your website.
Outreach will never die. The methods and ways of reaching out to other websites will change over time, but outreach can always be effective if it’s done right. Take the time to understand the best ways to communicate with authors and web masters. Don’t just reach out for a link, reach out to build a relationship that can eventually result in many links and promotions.
Key Points to Remember
- Links you can manually build are usually worthless.
- Links developed by other humans on the other end of your outreach will offer the most value.
- Don’t build a relationship for a link. A link really offers no value in a relationship.
- Offer more in your outreach.
- Use social media channels to reach out.
- Use websites to reach out.