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|Is there a set way to ask for links?|
What's the most effective way for doing it?
I have a few sites that have original content and that are informational. I am trying to find other websites that have similar content so I can link to them and vice versa. I am not sure how I am supposed to call a webmaster and ask for a link. I am trying to be respectful but I am not sure how to directly ask them for a link. Can anyone tell me the proper etiquette for asking for a link? Thank you
|Your client's competitors will be reciprocating with determination, during that same timeframe. |
|These natural links may take a bit longer to acquire, but they're usually 'worth' a lot more too. |
bobothecat, what if I don't want to wait and I need them now? My competitors are out there doing this with determination, how can I compete with them? I don't want to add new content, that's boring. I just want these people to link to me so that I can rise in the SERPs and establish my Brand.
There's an interesting recent in Google Search News that talks about...
25 Signals of Crap
Look at the #1 signal listed. ;)
|bobothecat, what if I don't want to wait and I need them now? My competitors are out there doing this with determination, how can I compete with them? I don't want to add new content, that's boring. I just want these people to link to me so that I can rise in the SERPs and establish my Brand. |
Then go directly to:
... and figure out why. ;)
Waiting for 'natural' links is for technical geeks who are afraid or unable to market. An aggressively marketted link is better than a 'natural' sit-on-your-hands-until-someone-might-do-your-work-for-you link. You get to pick your links and in many cases your link text as well.
And the only thing 'natural' about a natural link is that it's unsolicited. All you're doing is giving up any sort of control over your links and increasing the time to get those links (if you get them at all).
There's nothing unnatural about aggressive link development. It's just marketing and sales applied to the web. And nothing happens until somebody sells something.
If I sat around waiting for links to develop unsolicited, I wouldn't have any of the large authorities linking to me that I do. The ones that link to me do so because they find my content interesting - AFTER it's been brought to their attention by my email.
|Waiting for 'natural' links is for technical geeks who are afraid or unable to market. |
You keep thinking that... while us 'technical, unable to market geeks' continue to do just fine.
I personally get great one-way links because, (a) I have good search listings and am found easily, (b) offer orginal content that is usefull ( not cookie-cutter ), (c) sites have been around 5-10+ years, and (d) I'm just a nice guy ;)
See, pageoneresults, you keep on putting up this straw man of reciprocal link directories whenever the subject is brought up and then smugly referring to what will happen in the (unknowable) future.
Not that I agree with everything that DomainDrivers is saying, but I would equally and heartily dispute your point of view.
You say "But, if you have to set up a links directory at /links/ and they have one at /links/ then this is most likely an SEO function and not one for building brand."
I say: "The essential concept of a reciprocal link is a function of SEO thinking and shows an equal lack of original inspiration as targeting links from link directories."
There is no such thing as a reciprocal link. There is a link which gives or receives value. There are no equal exchanges.
>>>>I personally get great one-way links because, (a) I have good search listings and am found easily, (b) offer orginal content that is usefull ( not cookie-cutter ), (c) sites have been around 5-10+ years, and (d) I'm just a nice guy ;)
Nobody's disputing that starting with a 5 year old domain that's already ranking is an effective way to develop links. It's just a retarded business strategy because if you're rankings fail you've got nothing (and you've already indicated that you're unable to correct the problem through link development if your rankings do fail).
|"When was the last time you saw a local (regional) automotive site that had a 1,000 natural backlinks? ... |
Hmmm... are links from scraper sites "natural"?
[ Sorry, OK, back to your regularly scheduled show... :) ]
OK - here's the scenario...hypothetical, but very reflective of a real world situation that a prospective client will bring to the table...
A real estate agent with a brand new site in a very competitive market such as Phoenix wants to rank well and with stability for the primary terms in that market, as soon as possible. That's why they hire SEO consultants, after all.
1) Just exactly what "content" about Phoenix will be so remarkable and extrraordinary that other real estate-related sites will naturally find it and then run out and link to it gratuitously?
2) Let's say that item 1) doesn't happen (and it won't!). Then we move to plan B, which is means that we have to actually generate links in some way.
What form of forced (i.e. let's call them "unnatural") one-way linking gambits will be deployed to acquire the hundreds of links that seem to be required to just begin to compete? Just where are these links, after the few dozen real estate directories (paid and unpaid) are tapped out?
I don't often see broker/agent sites ranking well in the most competitive markets without having large quantities of links, and those are links usually reciprocated links.
I have worked on several of these specific situations in other metro areas, and I have been involved with helping them get to first page in Google. So I know firsthand that my own approach works, and it is fully legitimate, since we only link within the home and real estate realm.
We simply link with other home and real estate sites that publicly invite cooperative reciprocation. Plus, we have no secrets here. The sites are easy to find. Just review the link back profiles of other realty sites that rank well, and follow the rules posted previously. It just takes work.
But I am more than willing to look at one-way linking alternatives that work in these situations. To date, I have never seen one yields hundreds of links from unique domains, and that is fully duplicatable, in the sense that some other agent in another area could follow a similar course and expect to see the same result.
Oddities and methods that are not readily duplicatable and affordable are interesting, and they do exist, but they are of little value in a business environment that I described, since they can't be deployed on another site.
I can't wait to hear how that is done, in enough detail that we can all understand exactly where to go to do it.
Hmmm. I work in a very competitive field that's as tapped out and overworked (and as boring) as the real estate market. And I've not seen anything new in the way of linkbait for years. The folks that rank are those that got the big authority links years ago when they were one of the few in their market. There just isn't any linkbait in a field as dry and boring as what I'm in. And nobody's linking to the next in a line of a million of the same type of site.
Except in the last six months I've come up with two linkbait ideas. Mind you, both have taken an awful lot of manual work to get live.
What I've done is tried to figure out content that is related to my industry that is either interesting or useful to researchers. Then I do the work to provide that content.
For example, if I was doing a real estate site, I might do an analysis of housing prices in various neighbourhoods over the last 10 years. Or of mortgage rates over a similiar period of time.
My next thought would be builders and contractors (and even better, builders' and contractors' industry associations). What kind of information would someone like that find useful or interesting? Prices of lumber, drywall, $/foot costs to build housing trends, etc. etc. For lumber, I'd probably be looking for seasonal trends. That might take some digging to find. (I've spent time in libraries scanning books to get some of my info - it sucks, it's grunt work, and people like it).
Then do the grunt work, and publish it.
Now, while the typical contractor's regulatory body wouldn't link to joe real estate agent, they very well might link to a study on seasonal trends of lumber.
Or home inspectors and their governing bodies - what would toot their horn? I don't know the market well enough, but there's a whole 'nother area full of websites where you can get links - from folks that won't mind linking to something neat.
In my competitive industry, I've noticed two things in addition to the fact that the regular linking is pretty much tapped out. First, nobody links 'naturally' even if the content is worthy. I have to agressively find and seek links from authority sites. It's a big part of the job even after the linkbait is online. That being said, I now get many of those links that I wouldn't have before - after I email them asking for a link. Secondly, none of my competitors are doing anything like this - I believe just because it's too much like work to spend three months and a thousand bucks to get historical lumber pricing and trends. Willingness to do boring grunt work for months in an excel spreadsheet has turned into a competitive advantage.
A couple of points....just to clarify.
You say that you don't work in real estate. I do. Every day. With dozens of sites. So, if I could, respectfully, provide some insight from my actual experience against your well-intended speculation. I will try to be respectful in my rebuttal. OK? That will hopefully make it a more constructive discussion.
I am well aware of link bait techniques. I am also well aware, that by and large, they don't work in real estate for the average agent site. You yourself said: "First, nobody links 'naturally' even if the content is worthy." Bingo. Links have value to the site providing them, as well as to the site getting them. Cajoling people to link back without some form of juice back to them is very hard to do.
Let's look at your content suggestions. You mentioned "an analysis of housing prices in various neighborhoods over the last 10 years. Or of mortgage rates over a similar period of time."
I agree, that kind of content would be interesting, but to who and how many? By that, I mean, who would really read it then link to it? A few people. Maybe. You'd have to find them. Same with "Prices of lumber, drywall". With respect, I don't think that contractors are looking to real estate agent sites for that kind of information, and that info is of no interest to home buyers.
I realize that you are brainstorming out loud, and I appreciate that a lot of ideas are just stepping off points for further development.
But...in the end, whatever content development that you'd decide upon going down the "unique and interesting" track, it will likely take dozens of hours of development time, and then many, many more hours of hard promotion work, since "nobody links 'naturally' even if the content is worthy." Someone has to pay for that work.
In the end, what do you have? Maybe 20 or 30 links? That simply won't cut it in Phoenix, or a lot of other metro areas.
Conversely, the real estate site that simply posts genuine content about their local housing situation,(the types of property available, the price ranges, links to local resources, the names of local communities and subdivisions, the number of transactions that they have made in the last two years, their own specialty), in a way that instills confidence in a real person who might land on that page, is much further ahead.
That is actually "content" that very few other sites would willingly link to gratuitously, but it most certainly conveys good information to a real person seeking "your town real estate" in a search. The kind of info that makes the reader realize that this agent works in their market, gets listings and makes sales. Again, it's not Pulitzer Prize content others care about, but it is actually quite valuable in the context of home buyer/seller/agent.
Build a number of optimized pages featuring several local communities, or something similar that is relevant to that agent's business. Maybe they specialize in lakefront, or land sales, etc. Describe it, in a keyword rich, optimized way.
Then go out and get the site linked within the home and real estate realm, via of reciprocation.
The time investment to do that is comparatively limited, the number of links earned grows consistently, (but not dramatically), and the links are from sites that are relevant. Over time, hundreds of links are possible, and results like that are common to those who do it. They also watch as their site traffic increases gradually but significantly.
Regardless of what people within SEO who oppose that approach might say, it works well, for thousands of agent sites, and it provides an much superior return on investment to the site owner, in a much shorter period of time. In fact, what I just described is what most of real estate sites have done that rank well in Google and other engines. All you have to do is look.
Going down the track of over-analysis, complex link bait campaign design and development, and all the other link building techniques just *might* work. But more likely, especially in real estate, it will come up very short against competitors who are not so constrained, and who take a much simpler, well-proven approach.
That's the world I live in. Agents who come to us don't want to hear about taking months to study and compile data about lumber prices, or some other tangential content development program. They'd hang up the phone, or at the least, they'd want demonstrated proof that it works on other agent sites. These agents all talk to each other, and they are getting to know what works and what doesn't.
Some people in the SEO world do try to BS them, but the word gets around quickly. In our case, we simply get more and more referrals from within the industry, based wholly on results.
I can live with that, while getting pounded in these forums about reciprocation, all of which to me is just amusing that people in the SEO world don't actually understand it at all. I am not here to convince the SEO world. My posts are placed to speak to the site owner who wants grounded information.
People can take their reciprocation advice from people who don't do it at all, but make all kind so of assumptions about it, or from people who do a lot of it, every day, for hundreds of sites. It's their choice. There are enough people who select the latter to keep me very busy, so I really don't much care what the SEO world says.
I am interested in the site owner and their ROI, not in satisfying the convoluted concepts of a bunch of anti-reciprocation preachers in the SEO world. And, I actually do work in the real estate market every single day, with several dozen sites, and I have a very hands-on knowledge of what works and who is doing it.
By and large, it is not "link bait" that works in real estate. I rarely see that. Instead, it is basic optimization, content that speaks directly to potential buyers and sellers, and reciprocation within the industry.
[edited by: DomainDrivers at 2:39 pm (utc) on Feb. 6, 2007]
|2) Let's say that item 1) doesn't happen (and it won't!). |
Whoa, speak for yourself, please. If you are their SEO and you don't know how to do it, then yes it won't happen. Others know how to make it work.
Unfortunately many SEOs are following the pack and are unable to rub their brain cells together to come up with an original idea. They only know to follow others, and only after it's been played out.
The other day I saw an authoritative blog post about link bait. Oh man, oh man- was that really necessary? I mean, we've been talking about baiting links for years and years and years before the term link bait was even coined, and here comes along joe blogger with the ten millionth re-statement of link baiting. Geez, it's symptomatic of the lack of imagination surrounding SEO. It's such a herd.
"Whoa, speak for yourself, please. If you are their SEO and you have zero clue on how to do it, then yes it won't happen. Others know how to make it work and the real estate agent should find themself another SEO who can."
What you are overlooking is that I don't need to develop that kind of "link bait" content. My clients don't even try.
I can get by with very with well-written content that specifically serves the site owner and their site visitors, and not the whole real estate world at large. That kind of content is efficient, direct, optimized, and quite proper for the site. Then I simply get it linked.
That all happens very affordably, and predictably. I can do the exact same type of thing for another agent, but their content will be very different than the first one. And so on.
Getting the rest of the world to first read some form of real estate related "link bait", then stand up and applaud it with a link is not necessary, and skipping that frustration saves a lot of time and money. People can chase that game around if they like (and they do, if they try to follow "leading edge SEO advice"), but, frankly, I see very little real ROI in it.
At the end of the day, some expensive link bait content and a handful of links is a high price to pay for bleeding edge SEO work.
So I ask again:
1) Just exactly what "content" about Phoenix will be so remarkable and extra-ordinary that other real estate-related sites will naturally find it and then run out and link to it gratuitously?
If there are duplictable ways to develop such content and then get hundreds of real estate and home related links at a cost that is comparable to what I do, and if the concept will work for more than a single agent, then I'm all ears.
But, again, you seem to assume that I am stuck in a rut. Not the case at all. I just have no need to sit around and concieve of and develop unique "link bait" scenarios that cost more and produce less.
There's clearly a difference in markets. If you can get ranked using standard tactics (and clearly, some can) on terms you want to rank for using this stuff, then I agree - I wouldn't bother doing anything else. No point doing useless work. However in my market, that type of stuff won't get you listed on page 100 of the serps.
Link directories have lost their luster. Quite a while ago too. They're anchors these days. ;)
|1) Just exactly what "content" about Phoenix will be so remarkable and extra-ordinary that other real estate-related sites will naturally find it and then run out and link to it gratuitously? |
Now you see, there's a rut. You don't need links from other real estate sites.
|If there are duplictable ways to develop such content and then get hundreds of real estate and home related links at a cost that is comparable to what I do, and if the concept will work for more than a single agent, then I'm all ears. |
The rut gets deeper: Your solution must be moldable into a cookie cutter.
|But, again, you seem to assume that I am stuck in a rut. Not the case at all. I just have no need to sit around and concieve of and develop unique "link bait" scenarios that cost more and produce less. |
A typical real estate agent is going to know little about optimization and one can sell them on pretty much anything. They might be lining up to pay for SEO like they're buying hot dogs from a cart. But link building is not a hot dog, and I don't think the cart model is appropriate for selling link building, real link building in any case.
There is a load of crap being marketed to real estate agents. I've seen some of the templates and marketing schemes being marketed to RE Agents and it ranges from innocent site building templates and MLS plug-ins to outright snake oil.
"A typical real estate agent is going to know little about optimization and one can sell them on pretty much anything."
It all depends. I have several very sophisticated clients who have been around this scene for a long time. Many of them have decided that "big name" SEO advice is rather dangerous to play with, or expensive to prosecute. They've reverted back to basics. Or never left.
Second, the rest might not know about the specifics of optimization, but they do understand a long string of demonstrated examples of success, at affordable cost, using accessible methods and straightforward explanations of what was done. But talk "link bait" and their eyes will glaze over. Rightfully so.
BTW - I probably talk to a dozen new prospective agents a month, and have hosted seminars for several dozen. I have a prtetty good feel for the real estate market and their views toward SEO at this point.
Like other business owners, they just want solutions that work, at the least cost. They have no interst in SEO fads-du-jour.
"I don't think the cart model is appropriate for selling link building, real link building in any case."
That's your opinion, and you are welcome to it. I prefer to focus on what works, again and again.
I have no need to satsify people in the SEO industry with what I do, nor do I think they will ever see this the way I see it. None of that matters to me or my clients. Reciprocation is a practice that, done properly, pre-dates every search engine. It is entirely legitimate, when done correctly.
"There is a load of crap being marketed to real estate agents."
At least we agree on that!
But let me re-phrase my question:
1) Just exactly what "content" about Phoenix will be so remarkable and extra-ordinary that any other sites will naturally find it and then run out and link to it gratuitously?
I am not in a rut. Just curious to know.
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