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Getting clients to work on backlinks

 8:12 pm on Sep 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

I help my clients with their SEO and use many of the techniques listed here. Usually, I get my part done and the last issue is backlinks. Any ideas on how to both motivate them to work on their backlinks and prove that this is their final issue to acheiving a top rank?



 11:55 pm on Sep 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Not so sure that its the last issue for me. For many clients the first job I do is research and in that stage I usually determine what sort and level of linking we are going to need to be competitive.

The clients that dont pay for the initial research stage, to my way of thinking are working with an arm tied behind their back anyhow. I take much less interest or responsibility for the results their sites generate.

What I recommend is to take some time to explan how the internet works - show some detailed background on the way that the top listings for their target keyterms are embedded into the fabric of the internet .. including the influence of cross site links and incoming links, anchor text, directory listings etc - these are their competitors and thats usually enough to get people fired up and on side in my experience :-).

Then explain that you dont specialise in their specific field so they may come across linking opportunities that you will not know about. etc etc

It works well with some clients, others just wont get it .. a recent one was great and found himself a pr5 and a pr4 and others in the first week after the usual suspects for his sector - his site has been performing well since the start of its life - its great to have clients like that.

I suppose some in here may take the other view, why let them do something you could charge them for .. its a valid view also I have to say.

However the way you are thinking is no different imho from telling them to put the URL on all their stationary etc etc :-)

I would not charge extra for giving them that advice :-)


 1:24 pm on Sep 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Cgallent, welcome to WebmasterWorld! This is a perennial problem - my clients have not been particularly effective at getting links on their own. Nevertheless, at every opportunity I encourage them to think about vendors, customers, trade organizations, etc. as potential link sources.

I think doing this has had some benefit - with some regularity I'll get a call saying, "The Widget Quality Association is offering to upgrade my listing on their site with a link for $___/year - what do you think?" My conclusion is that raising awareness is worth the effort, but in most cases won't lead to a ton of links.

If nothing else, though, you are educating your client. If you are striving for a long-term partnership, open and honest communication is the only way to go.


 1:54 pm on Sep 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

To help out cgallent and others, let's compile a list of suggestions for client link-hunting. Here are a few of my favorites:

Suppliers/Vendors. The client will have more leverage with these firms than just about anyone else, and vendors often like to brag about their customers anyway.

Customers. These are a bit trickier, but sometimes there's a long-term relationship that would make a link or link exchange feasible.

Trade Associations. Just about every industry has one or more of these, and they almost always list their members online. Sometimes, though, they charge for a web listing (over and above the exorbitant dues). I look not just at PR and link method, but the friendliness to visitors. I've seen some directories that were abominable - if you didn't know the name of the company, you'd never find their listing. Others have geographic lists, keyword searches for products/services, etc.

Local Business Groups & Directories. These are often overlooked, but I've found there are almost always one or two local resources, and sometimes more. The Chamber of Commerce, the city web site, community sites, ad-supported local directories, etc. You may find some of these, but the client may know about others.

Golfing Buddies, etc. If you can sensitize your client to thinking about links, he may remember to ask other business owners or marketing types about linking when he encounters them informally. Not only might he pick up a link partner (as opposed to a links partner ;)), but the other owner/exec might be intrigued enough to become your client too.

Where have your clients found links?


 2:10 pm on Sep 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

For UK Readers Vendors I guess means Distributors :-)

Its one where often a two way link of some kind will be easiest to achieve though it depends on the circs if the organsisations will be keen on this.


 2:16 pm on Sep 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

I give clients an "exit report" type thing. In this report is a two page guide to getting backlinks: everything from how to approach a webmaster, finding relevant sites and broaching the subject with golfing buddies (nice one rogerd!) to what kind of things to avoid and a guide to what PageRank is.

Partly I do this because I'm too damned lazy to go out and get backlinks for clients - if they don't pay me to do it. If they do I don't mind - but it's expensive, so most tend to do it themselves.


 4:19 pm on Sep 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Good idea, edit_g! Giving clients a written summary may help them keep things straight. Nice value-add.

I've tried to explain PR to clients with middling success, but with the current variability in toolbar PR, the presence of new pages with PR0, etc., I'm starting to thing that's a waste of time. Better to let 'em find links that make sense, and let PR take care of itself.


 7:33 pm on Sep 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ya'll are dealing with the same issues that I am. Hmm, clients are lazy everywhere I guess. I've got two who we've rebuilt their sites for both a better user experience and SEO. Everything code-wise is in place and they won't get off their you-know-whats and work on their links. Then I get blamed for not having a higher rank. Primary site is a PR4, 300+pages and top 30 @ Google for their primary key-phrase. Only 12 backlinks, most of which are internal absolute links.


 7:42 pm on Sep 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi cgallent

Do be careful with the expectations you created when you did the selling job. I dont usually leave it up to them completely as I might get some dissapointed customers and they would not recommend me or give me a good reference.


 7:47 pm on Sep 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

I dont usually leave it up to them completely as I might get some dissapointed customers and they would not recommend me or give me a good reference.

If you explain to clients from the get-go that you can either make link building part of the package or you can give them instructions on how to get links. Clients aren't uniformly stupid and they know that getting good links isn't easy. This is why you can charge a lot for link building - and ongoing link campaigns are a great source of regular income. :)


 10:34 pm on Sep 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

edit_g you are quite right it can make an income.

However I dont know what part of the webmastering role you enjoy the most but for me the type of work involved in "ongoing link campaigns" is not something I find very motivating :-)

I need an office junior who finds it pleasureable, then it would become of much more commercial interest to me :-)

Harking back to the first post of the thread from cgallent

"Any ideas on how to both motivate them to work on their backlinks"

Well how about somehow finding a way to make the actual work more interesting ... cause actually to be honest I find that part ver dull - if you agree with me on this then its not like we can sell it to clients on how exciting a task it is to do :-) perhaps the first time it may be but after that lets face it its routine and a bit humdrum no?


 10:44 pm on Sep 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

You don't sell it to them as an exciting thing to do. You sell it on the merits of them doing it themselves:

1. It will cost them nothing to do it themselves. If you do it for them it will cost them an arm and a leg.

2. If they do it themselves the emails for link requests will come from their email addresses (they are known in their industry and their email addresses will be someone@soandsosite.com, not seo@yoursite doing work for someone else)

3. They may well be known and recognised in their industry - it is easier for them to get links than it is for you.

4. They know their industry better than you (hopefully!:)) and will be able to target sites more effectively.

5. When they get the PR8 link they'll wallow in their own glory for ages. :)

6. Explain the importance of building links (I can build links for you, but it will cost you, but I've given you the foundations, all you now need to do is build links)


 11:03 pm on Sep 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

sorry I had gone off on a slight tangent .. what I meant was I want someone to make it less dull for me, then I would stop trying to get them to do it and make great money doing it myself :-)

I have no trouble trying to persuade clients to do it :-)


 11:06 pm on Sep 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

what I meant was I want someone to make it less dull for me

Sorry Mark_A, probably my bad. :)

The only way to make it less dull for yourself is to a) get paid a lot of money to do it or b) do it for your own site. :)

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