Link building is kind of like gambling. You sit and work at it for a long time, there’s very little guidance on how to “win,” but it’s really exciting when you do. The main difference between link building and gambling is that no one comes around serving me free drinks while I build links… although they probably should. I started link building about three months ago, so I’m a newbie. I knew essentially nothing about link building before I got started. However, I used to work as a journalist so I found similarities. I reach out to websites that are relevant in some way to our brands, find a reason why they might want to link to us, and pitch the idea. Sometimes I actually get a response back! That’s winning. In my short time doing link building, here are five things that I learned. Welcome to link building 101!
Link Building 101: Five Things I’ve Learned so Far
1. You might be getting links and not know it
The first thing I realized, is that not everyone who chooses to add your link is going to tell you they did it. Most of the links I’ve acquired so far, I found by checking our fresh index backlinks on Majestic.com. Each week when I start my link building, I check our newest backlinks and compare them to my list to see if any of the links are from websites I contacted recently. I was pleased to find that they were. I had been feeling very discouraged about my link building progress until I learned from a coworker to check this. Essentially, I was winning and didn’t know it.
2. Organization is key
Link building 101 lesson number two – organization. In order to be successful at link building, you need to be organized. This is especially important if more than one person is doing link building for the same brands. Make sure you’re keeping track of who you’ve reached out to and when, so you’re not harassing someone or sending them the same request from multiple people. Follow up is important, but you don’t want to overdo it. That’s why keeping track of all lines of communication is key.
3. Keep your emails short and to the point
I keep my emails short and to the point for a few reasons. The first reason is that I recognize the person I’m reaching out to is probably getting a bunch of similar emails every day. The longer my email is, the less likely they are to read it. Secondly, if their job is anything like mine, email tends to take up a lot of time that they don’t really have free. That’s why when I reach out about a link, I tell them about my brand, suggest a place for my link, and thank them for their time. It’s short, simple and direct.
4. Broken links are your best friend
I’ve had the most success in getting links by finding broken ones and suggesting one of my brands as a replacement. Many times, people aren’t looking to add more links to their page. However, if they know one of the links already there is broken they are more likely to take time to replace it than they are to add a brand-new link. This is why broken links are your best friend. I personally use a Chrome extension that checks sites for broken links, but I’m sure there are other resources out there.
5. Don’t get discouraged
The final lesson of link building 101 – don’t get discouraged. It may seem like you’re doing a terrible job and you’re never going to catch on, but that’s probably not true. Like I said in the beginning, link building is like gambling. You’re not going to win every time. It could take a while, and sometimes it simply comes down to luck. However, you will eventually get links! They trickle in over time, and you’ll slowly start to see all those weeks of outreach pay off.
What additional link building 101 tips do you have? Share with us in the comments below!