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3 Link-Building Techniques for Convincing Skeptical Site Owners

Link-building remains the best way to get your brand noticed, but how we build links is very different now compared to just a decade ago. Webmasters are decidedly more cautious (with good reason) about approving links to avoid the ire of Google’s algorithms. That can leave you, the relatively unknown website owner, in a tough spot. The information in this short overview will help you tailor your outreach campaigns for better results – especially if sites are skeptical.

Exchange Value, Not Links

First, let’s get the most important tip out of the way. Too many people see link-building as “link for link,” drilling down to the basic technicalities of it all without considering what that actually means.

Think about this for a second; WHY do we share links? Go beyond “to get listed on Google” or even “to get my brand name out there.”

Ultimately, the answer is that backlinks are inherently valuable to the owner of the backlinked address. But backlinks can (and should) also benefit the site they’re posted on if they link to valuable content,

Value comes in many forms. Try writing really useful, actionable content, or create content that makes sites who backlink to it appear more authoritative. Maybe your content solves a problem for the site’s readers or offers them a special discount for being a visitor at all. Custom research is also really effective for providing value.

Don’t Overstate Your Position

Look, as marketers, we all tend to go into the hard sell first and ask questions later. That doesn’t work for skeptical site owners, especially when it comes to backlinks.

In fact, if you send an email touting yourself as the be-all, end-all, must-need backlink of the week, you’re more likely to come across as an arrogant spammer. That’s decidedly not what you want to do.

Instead, make friends first. Reach out and say something about the site or it’s content. Address the site owner by name and dredge up some sort of tidbit that shows them you know who they are and appreciate it, too. Get to know them.

After all, how can you write valuable content they want to link to if you don’t really know who they are?

Lead in With Friendliness in Query Emails

This also stems from “marketerism.” Many of us have a tendency to fall into the trap of leading our introductions and emails with the sale (in this case, the backlink). In some cases, this works, but for skeptical site owners, it’s only likely to make them hit the block button.

Instead, you should lead with friendly banter and add the backlink offer at the end. You need to be relatable first.

Look at these two openings:

  • Hi, <First name>,

    “I was browsing your site and found a really useful article on _____. Thanks so much for this piece; I totally loved it. It really helped me drill down and figure out the answer to <a problem I had.>

    Also saw you love the Chicago Bears…go Bears! Nice to see a fellow fan out there getting involved in the world of ____.

    We’d love to collaborate with you on some content. When can we chat about the potential for a project?

  • Hi, YourSite.com owner,

    “Acme Co. is the number one provider of ____. We are an industry leader with lots of experience and a ton of networked resources. Backlink to us and you’ll get so many visitors, your head will spin! Get your link now!”

Which one seems more interesting and relatable to you? Not many will say the second because it feels more like a commercial than an offer for a mutually beneficial exchange.

Ultimately, the number one thing you need to remember is that you can’t just seek out backlinks for your own benefit. You have to create the content behind them with the idea of providing value, too. If you need help, just give us a call at Go Digital WSI.