If you've already built links, you know how difficult and tedious this process can be. It's great when the stars line up and everything works perfectly, but these examples are rare and become rarer.
Mailboxes are flooded with unsolicited email and spam is at a record high. You may encounter issues with client guidelines that seem unrealistic, or the person to whom you are submitting your content may be having a bad day.
What's a good link builder to do? How to attract the attention of someone and promote your fabulous content when everyone is trying to do the same thing?
Let's break down the main aspects of a link building awareness campaign and look at ways and means to open and respond to your emails.
The number one problem in getting good links is good content. Good content can make or break your link. If you do not have quality content, it's ten times more difficult to get links than if you had something unique and valuable to offer.
I think this is also valid even if you buy links unless you work with sites that only exist to sell links and ads. Many webmasters are increasingly reluctant to make connections with anything other than useful quality content to their readers.
I have worked on many campaigns with poor content or nothing other than a sales or product page, and the conversion rate of these campaigns is significantly lower than it was when we are able to offer great content resources. We've seen some campaigns with conversions of 80 to 90% when we came up with unique guides or practice guides with video.
Here are some of the obstacles I face when managing a content awareness program and ways to get around it.
When a potential host site already has similar content. If you do not want to know if the subject or type of content you are launching is not already on your target site, you may lose a lot of time. I learned that the hard way. There is a simple solution, of course, and that is to make a quick site: search with the main keywords of the piece you buy in to see if they already have something similar . It's so simple, but it's a mistake I've made many times, unfortunately.
The content is inappropriate for their readers. Obviously, you do not want to try to buy an article about the best breeds of children's dogs in a blog dedicated to health care for the elderly, because the content would not be appropriate. While seniors have grandchildren who might want a puppy, but overall, the purpose of the elder care site is not to accommodate content on the selection puppies.
I was asked to host articles about the pools because an employee had written an article and explained how he had previously worked for a company that was installing pools. The article was not about swimming pools, he mentioned them by the way, yet we receive emails anyway. It's a good idea to spend time looking at potential host sites to make sure your content will fit well.
Making sure that a site has the proper "tone" is almost as important as making sure it has the right audience. We tried to get links to content and to have erroneously accessed sites with very different political views from those in the article we are proposing.
The content is not worth a link. It's a delicate subject because no one thinks their baby is ugly. Some customers seem to have the idea that any content they produce is worthy of links, when in fact it is not. We have found that displaying successful content elements on the same topic helps content developers understand the elements to include to make the piece more easily accessible .
Discovery and Prospecting
This is where my team and I spend the most time and we feel the most frustration. Although I think that link building has not changed in the last ten years, I noticed one thing: prospecting for good sites takes much longer than before. It is tedious to prospect manually, but working with scrapers and automated tools can prove to be ineffective. Advanced operators can also slow you down with CAPTCHA.
Here are some workarounds and tips to help you in your discovery and prospecting.
You become too greedy and contact every site that looks good from a distance . In my opinion, it's a huge waste of time for you and for the webmaster you contact. You may want to throw a wide net, then sort things out. It works in very small or niche industries. But overall You will quickly realize that you spend time responding to many webmasters whose sites do not match. It's hard to come up with something, then go back and say, "Sorry, I can not do it after all." You really have to look at every site you want to associate with or risk your link profile. .
2. You have no idea how to find sites that would make excellent liaison partners . Although I like advanced search operators, they can slow things down, especially if you do not know how to use them properly. If you become really specific with research you may find very few results; but if you go too far, you will get sites that use your keywords from time to time, but that are not related to your area. Use several tools to prospect; no tool returns everything you need. Use free trials on paid tools to get an idea of what's best for you.
3. You are too taken by the metrics and leave some excellent sites on the table . One of my main problems with pets is when my clients give me a set of strict guidelines like:
I understand that the measures may help in some ways, but I do not think they should eclipse a site that might be perfectly fine.
The scope of bond building is difficult and it is highly likely that some of your efforts will fail. Many emails are never even seen by the recipients; I personally delete tons of emails every day. If it's not someone I know OR if the subject line is not interesting, I delete it.
I'm sure I'm not the only one to delete an email. Here are some problems you may encounter with your emails.
Your email is not open. It's extremely difficult to open your e-mail because we are all inundated with unsolicited e-mail. Using automated emails or little tricks like adding "re:" in the subject line to make it look like you've already communicated with them does not work and should be avoided. We know what you are doing!
If an e-mail subject line is filled with weird fonts, weird capital letters, emoticons, strange characters or spelling mistakes, I removes. By telling me what to do and using all capital letters, your email will also be deleted.
You have no answer . It's a nightmare for me; I always wonder what I did wrong to get a zero answer. Was the subject frightful? Have you just been caught in a massive email suppression marathon by a frustrated person? Did the person open it and did not care? Agony. I prefer to receive a rude answer that no answer. At least that way, you can learn what you did wrong.
You may also learn not to receive answers. Take a look at your email, and if no one answers, your subject is probably missing.
You get a negative answer . I think any answer is good because it helps me to understand if the subject line and the content of the email were good or bad. If you receive a message "please, do not email me again", then it suits me perfectly. We remove the address from our list and move on to something else.
But if I get an answer saying that the person on the other end did not like the content, I find this information very useful. Sometimes you do not know what needs to be changed before someone who is not close to the subject tells you.
Another reason not to send automated emails to off-topic sites or to send bad emails? Public humiliation. From time to time, a webmaster will publicly share a bad email that will humiliate you or your client. Not good. Send an email written by professionals to strong prospects and this should not happen.
Negotiation and Assistance
Sometimes you have to negotiate a lot to get a link. This is true when you buy links or attract them with content. Sometimes you are lucky and a webmaster gives you links without you doing anything other than showing your content. But it's not always easy. The webmasters asked us to clarify what we wanted. Webmasters have set up links that go nowhere. We had a lot of webmasters who do not even know how to insert link code, and we had to discuss them. You name a crazy situation, we probably saw it.
Here are some problems you may encounter.
A webmaster has absolutely no idea what you want, why they should give you a link or how to insert a link. Anyone can have a blog these days, but you'd be surprised how many people do not know how to handle them and even less code.
Sometimes we find a blogger who has never been asked for a link and has no idea how to add a link to previously published content. In some ways, I think these "beginners" are gems because they are not spammed, but in general, inexperienced bloggers can be hard to work because they do not know how to insert a link or do it incorrectly.
We end up spending a lot of time with these bloggers, and this moment is not always worth it. Again, examine any potential link partner with a strategic eye, and remember, the time is money.
Webmasters are frustrated and withdraw. This has happened several times with webmasters who do not understand building links or who know how to insert a link. It also happens when they misunderstand what we ask.
A couple has accepted an investment only to "phone a friend" and ask him if what he is doing is a good idea or not. We've heard people come back with "Well, I've heard what you're asking for, it's a plan to steal my passwords and my identity" or "I've been told that you try to hack my site one way or another. "We saw a lot of craziness here
By providing clear and concise information in your initial email, you will avoid a lot of confusion and save you time. Be clear about your intentions and, if possible, offer testimonials or examples of other sites hosting similar content.
Webmasters do what they want, which is not always what you want them to do. Hey, it's their site, so they can do whatever they want, but sometimes it can be a problem.
In cases where you want something very specific, be specific to what you want. We have negotiated awesome content with a resource link and found the link removed and listed in tiny font in the sidebar of the home page. We also asked people to move the link to the end of the article or post the link on each page of the site. Moving links does not help the reader understand the story or provide the necessary information, which often makes the story difficult. Tell people why ties are embedded in the way they are helps greatly in keeping them in place.
There is much discussion of the best way to with webmasters during a link campaign . I hate the fact that I'm distraught, but I can not ignore the fact that our success rate is due in part to our follow-up procedures.
I've seen cases where it took eight follow-up emails to place the content. I'd usually think that we should give up after trying three, but a lot of our links are coming online after more than five emails, so I do not feel like that anymore. It's irritating, but it really pays.
Here are some mistakes you could make with your tracking efforts.
You do not remember to include a withdrawal option. The inclusion of withdrawal instructions is the norm on all our awareness emails. As we depend on webmasters for links, why risk irritating them when it is so easy to give them?
You do not follow up or enough, and you leave potential links on the table. If you have already set up a link building campaign you know that you can get great links by doing a follow up. With so many emails reaching the inbox every day, it's easy to forget. Following the right moment can do the trick. Maybe you have the impression of only following one time. This next email could be the one that lands the link.
Keep your emails clear and informative, and do not forget the refusal!
You waste your time following too often or on too many platforms. This can be extremely inefficient. If you've done more than 10 follow-ups, chances are the link will not happen, and you'd be much better placed to focus on relationships with other webmasters.
This may be a personal preference, but I do not really like being called on Twitter for not responding to an email. I've seen it recently, and I'm wondering about success rates. I could go get the e-mail they are referring to and then answer, but I would be very upset with this method.
Tweets that say "Hey Julie, I sent you an e-mail" do not bother me, but they are the ones who say "Hey Julie, you did not answer me". .
I really think I could write this same article every month and find completely new examples of what might go wrong. At least every few weeks, I hear "Well, it's new!"
I guess that's something that makes linking so fascinating to me. It can be tedious, but it's never boring. I really think that many people learn better from their mistakes, so I try to consider these problems as useful. The essential is to see the problems as a learning experience and look forward to the next craze.
About the author
Julie Joyce is the owner of the Link Development Firm Fish Media Link and is one of the founding members of the blog SEO Chicks . Julie started working in search marketing in 2002 and quickly became a research manager for a small IT company. Finally, she started Link Fish Media, where she now holds the position of Director of Operations, focusing on working with clients in highly competitive niches around the world.