Link building can be hard, really hard. Especially if you have no idea where to start or you consider your niche to be “boring” (we’ll leave the question of why you would work in an industry that you think is boring to one side for now!).
A good place to start when link building is with the “low hanging fruit”; these are areas where you already have a relationship with someone else, you can get easy and quick wins while boosting your link building confidence at the same time.
Make a list of “targets”
The first thing to do is sit down and write out a list of every person and company that you work with, from your suppliers, through to your business partners, friends and customers. No matter what your size every company should be able to produce quite a long list of these.
Now you have your list you need to put them in to some sort of order:
- Put your list of companies in to an excel document
- Then under column B enter their website (if you don’t know it look it up!)
- Under column C add in your main contact name
- Column D should hold your main contact’s email address and phone number if you have it
- In column E add in their Domain Authority (DA – if you don’t know what this is it may be worth doing some quick swatting up on the metrics produced by companies like Moz and Majestic SEO)
- Once all columns are filled organise them by DA. This will put the most “powerful” site at the top of your list and the least at the bottom and will give you a priority/importance list.
Now you have your list of “targets” and you know which ones you should be approaching you know need to work out how, where and why the companies link out to other websites.
Do they have a link page? A page where they list all their partners? Do they have a testimonials page? A page informing people where they can buy their products? A case studies section? A blog? Or do you think there is a gap in their site where you could provide some nice fresh, new and interesting content that they can use to fill that gap?
If doesn’t really matter what the section is about if you can approach them and easily fit in to how they already operate then you will have a much better chance of getting an answer that you want – preparation is the key to success here.
Once you have worked out a good place to get a link from on their site make a note of it on your spreadsheet, it will help if you are looking at 50 odd sites.
So now you have your list, that list is prioritised and you even know where you want a link from on their site you’re ready to outreach right? … Well almost but not quite, first you have to be able to answer the inevitable question, “what’s in it for me?”
What’s in it for them?
As any salesman will tell you this is a question that everyone asks and you need to be prepared for it. So what is in it for them if they give you a link from their site to yours? Why would they link to you?
Could you give them a testimonial to make them look good? (a link back to your site is contained in the testimonial, or may be give them a case study that they can use.
Perhaps they have a blog, everyone struggles to maintain regular blog so they may be happy to let you write a post for them, after all you are an expert in your field, and may be you could turn it in to a regular gig.
If they don’t have a blog, use testimonials or put up new content why not give them some space on your site? Give them a regular blog spot on your site, this will stroke their ego, make them feel important and chances are they will then link from for site back to yours (plus you get some nice new content for free!)
If that is too much effort for them or you then why not set up a page about your client on your site and ask them to link to it from their links page (or somewhere relevant). This means that they are linking to a non-sales page that is all about them; something that they may be more comfortable with.
Or if you are really enthusiastic why not create some useful tools, videos or data sheets that they can either link to or embed on their site (the embed code will include a link back to our site), something that their users would find useful but again non-sales focused.
As you can see there are a whole host of different options open to you, they just need some time and effort, but I promise you it is worth the effort. It will increase your industry exposure, reputation and site rankings.
Ok so now you have finally built your list of targets, you know who you are going to contact and why, you have an answer to what’s in it for them and you know where you want your link to live… it’s finally time to reach out to the first person on your list.
As these people are already suppliers, partners, friends or customers you will already know the person you are contacting so send them a personal email (not a standard template) or better yet pick up the phone and speak to them.
Simply ask for the link, or offer them a testimonial, or case study or a blog post (on your site or theirs), or whatever else it was that you thought would be a good fit for them.
You may find that you need to chase them a little but the great thing about this link-building method is that you already have a relationship with the person you are contacting, and that’s the first hurdle out of your way. In addition you help each other make money so why wouldn’t they want to help you out?! You just need to approach it the right way.
Well that’s it for now, if hope this helps and if you have any comments or questions just get in touch through Google+ or catch me on twitter.