Linkbuilding - A problem-solving adding-value matter

Fri 16 October 2009 09:00, Dennis Sievers

Linkbuilding - A problem-solving adding-value matter

Ah, linkbuilding. The biggest problem child in SEO land. Everybody knows how we should do it, but nobody ever tells how you really get those links. Sure, its about the conversation; about getting to know the person behind the website that has that beautiful linkspot you need. Yes, we get told to engage, to approach those who have the key to link-success. We try a lot, and sure, we fail even more. But there is light at the end of this tunnel. We don't need all webmasters to put up a link on their website. Well, actually we do, but we know they won't. We just have to make the best of it. Linkbuilding might seem like a nasty job, but once you see it as a game of trial and error, you might appreciate it a little more. 

So, to get you guys (and girls!) started, I thought I would just share a beautiful story about me, a webmaster and a new link, no wait, two new links!

Linkbuilding - First contact with victim

See? I used the word 'victim'. Thats the first sign that linkbuilding can be funny. Everybody likes to play the bad guy, and so you need a victim. My victim was a webmaster of a portal with some high quality links to companies that design, build and sell furniture. I will call the website furniture.com to keep things easy. Because he already had a list of links to more competitors, I felt like I didn't really needed to get to know him (or her). Nevertheless, I decided not to use their online form, because I do believe in a personal approach. Of course, when you don't have an email address, the form is all you got. So, I opened my email client and started typing.

"Hi there,

How are you? I am emailing you personally because I accidentally came across your website. I am doing some research on websites that write about furniture. Our company is relatively new, and we offer services in the topics you write about. We design, build and often sell furniture to those who are interested. 

I was searching Google and got on the page interior.furniture.com. Next to the fact that the page serves quality content to consumers, I also saw that the page has a list of links to companies that offer services just like us. Maybe you are interested in complementing that list with our company. I've listed our company details below. 

Just let me know if you feel like adding our website or not, and why. We're trying to add value to our readers and consumers, and we are more than happy with your feedback, if you have any of course. Here is the information about our company:

<company details>

Thanks in advance, 

Dennis Sievers" 

Yep, although I know why I am really emailing him, I decided to play a little dumb and focus on content. Now it was time to wait and see if my hook would catch some fish. 

Ah, linkbait. Well, sort of. 

Only one day passed when I got a reaction. Not quite the one I hoped for. My victim, Paul, did place a link. So, I did get some result out of my email. My focus was on interior.furniture.com, a PR 4 page with a few quality inbound and outbound links. Instead my victim placed the link on the less relevant and powerful page companies.furniture.com. It was a good link (PR 2), but not the best I could get on that particular domain. So, I decided to 'engage', like professional linkbuilders always say ;-) 

My reaction:

"Hi Paul,

Thank you very much for adding our company to your website. We believe your website has a lot to offer, and can deliver high quality traffic. I saw you placed our link on companies.furniture.com. Our company focus is purely on furniture though. That is why I mentioned the page interior.furniture.com in my previous email. That page can deliver high quality traffic to us, and by mentioning us on that particular page you deliver relevant content and links for your visitors. You add value to you visitors.

Maybe you can (re)consider placing our company on interior.furniture.com. Of course, it's your website, and i'm very thankful for mentioning us on it already, even though the page is somehow less relevant. 

Thank you Paul,

Dennis Sievers".

Now, lets wait and see how Paul reacts. And yes, two hours later, I got a reply. The reason why he didn't put us on the desired page was because of the fact that he felt the list of companies got to big. So he was playing hard to get, so to speak. Anyway, I love to play that game. I took a quick peek at the page, to see if I could come up with a solution for his, well, my problem. And yes, I found another way in. One link on that list had his link text spread over two lines because of the narrow table. Nonetheless, TWO WHOLE LINES. 

Linkbait solution; time to close to deal

There was only one thing left to do. I had to tell Paul what was going on. Two whole lines, come on. Shrinking the link text of that particular link would mean more space. I wanted that space. It was mine. I had a fix for Paul's problem, and I went back to collect my reward: the link. 

"Hi Paul,

Thank you for your quick reply. I totally understand you, as I'm not keen on big lists either. Big lists tend to look spammy, and spammy lists deliver less value to users. 

I took the liberty to see if i could come up with a solution for our situation. Your list is getting too big, and thats why you can't complement the list with our company. What I noticed though, is that the third link has its link text spread over two lines. It is not mandatory to alter that, but I think we can improve the page here. When you shrink the text link so that it fits on one line, you create the space you need to add our company to your list. 

Let me now if you change the page or have more questions about my solution. I'm more than happy to help you out here and improve your website. Just give me a call, or email me back. 

Cheers Paul, 

Dennis"

One day passed. Two days passed. Then the third and fourth day passed. I began to wonder if I tried to hard. But on the fifth day an email notification pops up my screen. It was Paul. He had been on a holiday, so he couldn't reply any sooner. I got to the second paragraph. Bingo. Paul wrote me that he added our company to the list on the desired page. He told me he never had noticed that one link text was spread over two lines. Ching Ching. Finally, there was the link I wanted so badly. 

Linkbuilding? Problem solving matter where adding value is key. 

Yes, you read that right. Linkbuilding is a problem solving matter where adding value is key. I wanted that link on a particular page. Sure, Paul gave me a link, and I'm thankful for that, but its not the one I wanted. I wanted my link on a popular page, with a relevant topic, and I had to convince Paul. Paul created a problem. A problem I had to fix to get that link. Because Paul's page and my website share the same topic, we were able to add value to the page and its visitors. Paul agreed, and finally added our company to the page. 

The proces:

Email 1: play a little dumb, play like adding your website adds value to the page

Email 2: show him again why you think adding your company is adding value to the page

Email 3: come up with a perfect solution for the webmaster - one he can't dodge ;)

Most important thing of all: be grateful. When there is no problem to solve and the webmaster just isn't going to put up a link on the page, don't keep trying. Put him on hold, come back later to see if you got some new options. 

Eventually, I got two links for only 20 minutes of work. One relevant, powerful link, and one with less relevance and popularity. Of course, its not always as easy as you just read, but try to focus on adding value. Don't bash in the webmasters door, yelling you want a link from him. Focus on value. And just have fun while doing it. Make it a game. You're the hunter, that link is your prey. What are you going to do to get it?


  • Comments (9)
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Comments (9)

 

  • Well written article, and some good points.
    When I try to build links, I usually run into webmasters who want's money for placeing the link, which I would never pay, because its blackmailm, when he dosem't own the website.
    But its not uncommon, that people want's money.

    Vr 16 okt 2009, 11:05


  • Great article, and that on your birthday! A true present ;). Happy birthday also Dennis!!

    Vr 16 okt 2009, 11:28


  • Thanks @jonas and @bas. Indeed my birthday today! Another year of online marketing on its way :)

    Vr 16 okt 2009, 11:42


  • Gratz, and have a nice day!

    Vr 16 okt 2009, 11:43


  • @dennis,

    http://www.google.nl/search?q=Dennis+Sievers

    i hope you didn't really show your own name at the bottom of the e-mails? If you did, my guess is the webmaster wasn't a really clever guy, you (else) would have never got a backlink from me though :-)

    Ma 26 okt 2009, 16:31


  • @gerben thanks for your comment. And indeed, i don't use my own name for linkbuilding :)

    I always use the name of the customer. Might be the owner or an employee, but always someone that actually works for the organisation im doing linkbuilding for. That way, when webmasters want to validate information, they can always call or email and get a existing person on the line too ;-)

    Ma 26 okt 2009, 16:52


  • @Dennis,

    Wouldn't expect you to do any different, but you've got a mailaccount from the customer to reply to e-mails than?

    Ma 26 okt 2009, 17:04


  • @Gerben,

    Yep, we created an email-account for us to use. Emailing from a company domain with the name of an existing employee adds more success to the campaign.

    Di 27 okt 2009, 08:53


  • Hi your post is amazing, It's incredible and Man, this thing's getting better and better as I learn more about link building. Also as part of my ongoing mission to find the absolute best tools to make money, this is without a doubt at the top of my list. Everything happened so fast!

    Do 5 nov 2009, 07:56

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