Targeted link earning isn’t easy; it’s tedious, regularly has a low success ratio and isn’t time efficient. If you own a website chances are you’ll have had something come into your inbox subtly or unsubtly requesting a link. If the linkee puts the effort in with an original email and idea then as the linker, in my opinion one should always make the effort to reply. Having been on both ends of this frustrating aspect of online marketing I’ve grouped 5 ways of how NOT to do link outreach and instead, secure the best chance possible of receiving that all important reply – even if it’s a no – remember you’re still forging a relationship which could prove mutually beneficial in future.
1. DON’T Send a generic mail
It’s immediately transparent, unlikely to be read and even slightly insulting to receive. If someone has just found your website, seen the stats and sent out something impersonal that 10 other website owners are probably blind cc’d in on then why should you consider looking for an opportunity to link out to them on your site and visit their URL? Some of them get so annoying I’m even tempted to name and shame. Therefore…make it personal, this will bring you from perhaps a 1% chance of getting something back to at least a 20% chance.
2. DON’T Ask without researching exactly where and why you feel justified in asking for a link
This is another good one – don’t send anything to anyone without first doing your research. When you find a site, spend time on it. Look for the page where you think a link would be a good and relevant fit and explain why to them. This helps with point 1 in creating individuality with each email request too – the downfall of course being that you will spend significant amount of time on something that may or may not come to fruition.
3. DON’T Offer things (such as traffic) that you can’t deliver on
This is another good one – empty promises. I’ve been asked before about those emails whereby the linkee is requesting a link from you and offers you two back to your website in return; don’t fall for it. The chances are that they’ll want one from your site which will have say, a page rank of 40/100, in return for 2 from one of their pages with a corresponding rank of say, 12/100. The value they get is still far greater even if they do give you two links to their one and also, in terms of SEO it’s likely that Google will only count one of them anyway! Do offer site owners something in return though when doing your outreach, for example you could say “I can promote your site to our social network of 500 Twitter followers and on our Facebook page which has a weekly reach of 4000”. Be honest and realistic in what you can deliver but definitely offer out some sort of incentive, it’s in this situation I believe where reciprocal links can be white hat and a good idea.
4. DON’T hassle
The only thing more aggravating than a general, spit out of a machine link outreach email is 5 spit out of a machine link outreach emails! By all means follow up if you don’t get a response as this can show you were serious with your initial request and had intent behind the outreach, don’t incessantly spin out the same email again and again though. Be polite and individual with your follow up and don’t be afraid of doing it. For busy website owners, responding to outreach emails will be last on their priorities list so don’t shy away from it – there is a good chance they will have intended to respond but not had an adequate chance to follow up with you yet. Of course if you do get a response, it’s important to be timely and prompt with your ongoing correspondence.
5. DON’T be bland, be original
I always give cool points and am more likely to consider a request if it’s original. So add a bit of humour, refer to a blog post on the website in question you may have read recently or mention an issue in the news related to the website’s niche – even silly graphics can earn great brownie points. If you can make someone give a good natured chuckle with your outreach email they’re far more likely to respond and engage with your idea.
Any more out there? Leave your comments below.