A Lesson In Link Building

I have never been a huge fan of old school “emailing for link building” but hey, it works, and that is why people continue to do it (you know who you are). I thought I would share two stories of link building in the same industry. One that worked, and one that most certainly did not. To me, it was interesting to see the two side by side, and they both happened to come across my email path on the same day. Here we go.  By the way, I have removed names/URLs etc. to just make everyone happier – you get the point without knowing the details. 🙂

The bad:

Bad Link Building Example
Bad Link Building Example

I mean, it seems nice right? Using somewhat decent English (I have no room to talk by the way – bad english, spelling all around my posts) etc. Well, if you take a look at the red arrows you will see what is wrong with this request.

  1. Wrong Industry (close) but not close enough to “Furniture” to be relevant.
  2. Letting them know how it will help their search engine rankings no longer helps you, but in my opinion, hurts you.  There are more tactful ways of letting people know (that don’t know) about how link building helps rankings etc.
  3. Telling me you are real person and not a request bot – it had the opposite effect on me – made me think they sent this to 50 million other people, and don’t really understand my industry (again, going back to the fact they got it wrong in the first place).

I may even have considered this one if they didn’t get the industry so wrong, but its just not personal and to the point (Don’t waste my time).  They are trying to hard IMO.

The Good:

Good Link Building Example
Good Link Building Example

I want to point out the reasons why this one is great.  It is simple, to the point and got the link (which I will show you the response in just a minute).

  1. Show them how it will benefit their business (not that it will help improve their rankings) Show how it will help their customers and the people visiting THEIR site AND WHERE it will benefit their site. (supply URL)
  2. Make it easy for them to link – show them exactly where they can link to you.
  3. Be real, be yourself – Ok, we might be marketers AND Sales Managers, but let them know in this case who they are dealing with.

You can tell from this second example that a real human wrote it.  It does not come across as spammed to 50 million other peeps.  It seems as if it was written for THAT specific site (which it was – pay attention here – good link building alert).  No mix up in industries here!

And guess what?

Link Building Response
Link Building Response

Most important thing here?  Look at the arrow – added the link.  That is your goal right?  To get the link.  This shows how easy it is, if it is done right.  The point here is simple, pay attention to what you are doing, be personal and show exactly how it will benefit their users.  You follow the examples I have spelled out for you here, you will probably start having a lot more success with link building.  Good luck!

5 thoughts on “A Lesson In Link Building

  1. Tim says:

    I get a couple of these every day, from the same person, in the same area, furniture, DIY and home improvement. I once checked their website and was a link farm, with hundreds of reciprocal links, sitewide. Getting a link from there is useless and a waste of time.

  2. Adam Gardner says:

    I’m not an guru in writing, but definitely know how to recognize good ones. As a recipient of a letter, I would like to read a letter that is grammatically correct. Not something that I automatically put into trash.

  3. Richard @ Lifestyle Design Unleashed says:

    Another thought on the subject…

    When I offer a guest post like in your “bad” example I actually like to include it in the body of the email. Let’s say you *were* considering letting them write for you, you’d have to email back, wait for their article and so on. It all takes time – which few of us have lots of.

    However I have found that if I include the guest post – and a high quality, original one at that – then not only does that save the recipient time but it also generally gets a better response because you can see – right then and there – what you think of the guest article and whether you’d like to use it.

  4. Greg Shuey says:

    Great post Mat… Since I oversee all of the link building that takes place at our firm, I see a ton of really poorly written link request emails go out each week. Unfortunately, those are links we are never going to get and time spent that is lost forever. Writing the link request email, isn’t rocket science, but it does take some common sense. I have definitely found that the simple, straight forward emails tend to work the very best.

  5. Noo says:

    Someone should write a post sometime comparing link building letters with opening lines with new women. It’s tough to attract attention and to get a date.