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Link Development Forum

Why did *you* link out based on a link request?

 9:08 pm on Nov 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think of building links as a "problem". And one of my favorite problem solving techniques is to look at what people in a similar, but much more difficult situation, did in order to solve it.

Getting links by sending out a link request to an online marketer seems to be a more difficult than average situation :-).

What are the (few?) link requests you received, that made you actually give the person a link (rather than delete it right away)?

Did it always come down to them having such great content (for a certain part of your site), that...if you didnt link to it, you'd do your visitors a disservice?

Not sure if anyone is going to participate LOL, but I'd love to start a thread on sharing the moments when you (a savy webmaster) actually ended up giving somebody else a link (based on a link request you got).

actual examples (if possible) would be awesome, of course.

I think this might help people (incl. myself, of course) figure out better/additional ways to find link building opportunities.



 9:32 pm on Nov 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

Racking my brain to try to remember the last time I ever finished reading a link request, let alone acted favorably on one. Well, that's not completely true- that applies to link exchange requests, which make up the bulk of link-related messages I get.

So if I acted on it, the mail did NOT start out like a generic link exchange e-mail. Not a form letter for that matter.

Also, if I acted on it, it did NOT waste my time by trying to tell me how Google likes links and that I can improve my ranking by having/getting more links.

Also, the person did not waste my time by going on and on about how great his site is or how much time he spent on it or how many users he gets or any other information that I don't care about.


 9:34 pm on Nov 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

I can't remember the last time I received a link begging email. Most knuckleheads who email me about links have garbage for clients and aren't even begging for a link, they're asking for a three-way.

Oh wait. Yes. The only time I receive a link begging email is from twits who want to have their ad listed for free in a section that is clearly commercial and ranks in the top three.


 9:40 pm on Nov 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

The link requests I most often post a link for go something like this.....

Hi ken;
My name is .... and I have a business that (some related activity). I was wondering if you would post a link to my website at.... (example.com0. I would really appreciate it.

Thanks for your time.

business name
business address
business phone
email addy
website url

Notice that there is no mention of a reciprocal link. Mention a recip and your request most often goes directly to the reject file. At the very least it goes to my "pending" file, which I try to review (mostly by trashing the contents) every year or so.

The content of the other site matters a lot. If it's a "real" ecomm site or a relevant affinity site I cut them a lot of slack as far as being a well built, asy to use/navigate site. It's the actual content I care about.

Affiliate sites almost always go straight to the reject bin. I think I have intentionally linked to maybe 2 affiliate sites in 10 years.

Sites that appear to be mainly built for AdSense (or similar) almost never get a link. I can't think of a single one offhand.


 10:15 pm on Nov 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

Interesting...is it possible that I underestimate the difficulty of having your link request e-mail even *read*, b/c there is so much (extreme) garbage out there?

Im still a bit of a newbie and dont have a high-traffic site of my own..

Is it possible that some link request e-mails, even if they did contain awesome content youd love to link to, might simply not get read by you...because there's so much noise?

really wondering if i underestimate the noise out there


 10:20 pm on Nov 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

Not to change the topic, but I have fairly decent success in approaching websites in the way Google's webmaster guidelines used to suggest. Google's suggestion used to be to contact other webmasters and let them know you are there. Of course, it helps to have a decent site and it won't work for every niche...


 10:23 pm on Nov 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

Is it possible that some link request e-mails, even if they did contain awesome content youd love to link to, might simply not get read by you...because there's so much noise?


I have a business to run and my time is extremely important. I don't have time to read ever single sentence of every single e-mail or letter I receive. And linking to unsolicited sites is way, way down on my priority list.

If it's not from someone I know, the sender has maybe 2 or 3 short sentences to grab my attention and keep me reading instead of hitting the delete button. That's assuming that the message subject doesn't force an automatic delete before even opening the message.

Expanding on ken_b's and martinibuster's comments, I might be inclined to link if the message says something like, "I run a site on (subject) and I think it might be of interest to your visitors on (related subject page). If you agree, I would certainly appreciate it if you could provide a link to me site."


 12:40 am on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Is it possible that some link request e-mails, even if they did contain awesome content youd love to link to, might simply not get read by you...because there's so much noise?

Yes. I don't think my link request emails are getting read anymore. Even getting one top quality link these days seems to be a gargantuan task. I just sent out maybe 20 link request emails, good valid ones. In days gone by I'd have gotten 5 or more links. I was hoping for 2-3. If I'd have received one I'd have been doing OK. I'm not sure if I got any. I'm going to try again, across maybe a hundred emails and if I get no response I'm going to have to seriously sit down and evaluate what I"m doing.

As for me, I've never linked out based on a link request email. Quite frankly, I don't think I've ever received a link request that was both in my niche AND had decent enough quality content for me to link to. I've had a few link requests from my competitors though, or more correctly from the low end SEO firms that my competitors have hired. Those are feel good emails, I get a chuckle out of them.

I'm trying to link out more these days, but I still pretty much only link out to people I know or have a relationship with.


 3:51 am on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

what I find so surprising is that you're the only person who Ive heard has that problem, wheel. Could it be that it is your particular industry where link building has gotten so much more difficult?

Ive heard this from nobody else who used to be successful at building links (from your posts on WebmasterWorld Id say you definitely were successful at building good links until recently), but now just isnt anymore.

Do others simply not bring this point up? or could it have something to do with your particular industry?

Im really just curious..as for you it seems that link building has gone from utterly successful to no success, at all anymore.


 4:28 am on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Could it be that it is your particular industry...

I can only speak from my experience, but I find that niche can have an effect on the success rate. An informational site that is useful may have a higher success rate than a shopping site that is useless except for buying things.

Another factor that can limit a link begging campaign is the choice of sites to approach.


 5:15 am on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

I don't bother with link requests. I MIGHT respond to a real "fan" email wherein kudos and pats on back are exchanged... and they have a site, too.

"I loved what you did with (subject). I've been a fan of same for years. Thanks!"

Might even be a bit more gushing, but that's the gist. Note that in the above they do not say what their site is, or that they either linked to mine or requested a link from me. HINT:

Open a dialogue with whoever you want to link to you... and make sure you have what THEY like, too. Else waste of time for both parties. Sincerity really works, if it is truly sincere.


 5:22 am on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Why did/do *I* link out based on a link request?

I've never linked out based just on a request (reciprocal or not). I can tell within a minute or so if the request was genuine or a hired hand (most of them seem to be hired hands these days).

I will only link to sites/pages that I deem relevant/helpful. My personal test...

Would I feel comfortable in passing this link along to a relative of mine in an email (if they were in need of the information now or might be in the future)? If my answer is yes, then I will link to that site/page somewhere on my site.

@wheel - don't limit your efforts...there's always the phone and/or snail mail...


 4:14 pm on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Like micklearn I have never linked out based on a link request.

My site has a straightforward linking policy to determine which sites we link to. If somebody contacts me with details of a qualifying site then it goes in. If I find a qualifying site when researching my topic then it goes in (the most common source of outbound links). If it isn't a qualifying site then the request is ignored.

I always tell site owners when I link to them and make two points: 1. A return link would be appreciated and 2. it isn't a pre-requisite for my link.

As my site has a live entertainment based topic, outbound links are part of what our visitors expect (find the gig, link to the venue).


 5:14 pm on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)


"the choice of sites to approach"...this is something Ive thought of (a bit more in-depth) recently. I (finally ;)) noticed that google is basically just another website...which receives most of their traffic from type-ins (I envy them!), and tries to monetize it through ads (adwords)...... and us webmasters, we want nothing but a link from google's website to get some of their traffic (on the first page for a certain keyword).

How do we do that? we try to create a win-win situation with google. Basically, like we'd try to create a win-win situation with any other website. by creating content they want to show to their visitors.

The big difference I see between google and every other webmaster out there, is that google cares about the quality of their site a ton (and thus edits it extremely frequently), as their business model depends on it. Most people if you e-mailed them with "better content than the next guy" (for a page they created 2 years ago), cant be bothered to replace it. many cant even be bothered to replace broken links.

Obviously if I could find enough sites in my niche that care a ton about the quality of their site & thus edit it frequently....that would make it a lot easier to get links from them (with the right content). "hey here's content that's clearly better than the other content you link to (, you might want to add it/replace it)", the webmaster might actually appreciate it.

In a thread on here where you suggested how to have a competitor's link replaced with your own link (if you have a better site), I brought up a similar point and i think you agreed with it and ended up saying that hobbyists were those kind of folks (who care about the quality of their sites).

I guess another obviously good idea is to ask what id call altruistic webmasters..who arent in it for the $, but seriously just want to help people (webmaster who have repeatedly linked out to useful stuff for their visitors....teachers who care about their students+love their subject...etc.).

Is this sort of how you approach the "choice of sites"-thing to get a decent success rate?

I hear everyone saying how important great content is, but few people mention that asking the right kind of webmaster (who cares about the quality of his site) might actually be just as important as the "great content"-part. Mail s.o. with great content for his website, but he doesnt really care a ton about his website, and he might not be bothered to put your "great content" on his site, as it costs him time, and he simply doesnt care......mail s.o. who obsesses about the quality of his website with just better content than the next guy or additional good content, and it might turn into a link.

Do you consider this "choice of site"-thing just as important as the quality of your content? or not really...if I may ask :-)

@piatkow: What are your criteria for it being a qualifying site (in case you can share that..if not sorry for asking)?

it seems that the reason most of you guys dont (ever) link to sites you got a link request from...isnt really because you would never do it, but simply because the vast, vast, vast, vast, vast majority of them are simply #*$!. Is that right?

but if someone got in front of you with content that makes you feel like "okay, if I dont link to this...I'd do my visitors a disservice"/"it truly would make my site better"....either on the phone or in a link request that you actually read....then would you have inhibitions to link to that site?

@wheel: Here's another idea I had - in case it has to do something with link building in your niche simply having gotten so much more difficult - do you really need any new links? Keep in mind the competition might have the same problems as you! Have they been getting any new links?


 10:24 pm on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

When I link out these days, it's often the follow-up to actually meeting someone. So anyone I've met in person is much more likely to get a positive response to a link request. You've got to press the flesh.

So the next stage of internet evolution is when we go full circle, and get doorstep link requests: press-the-flesh spam.


 9:18 am on Nov 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Industry conferences are my best source for new links now.

In the corridors and coffee breaks!


 10:27 pm on Nov 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

This may be a simplistic view, but...

If a page is relevant to one of my pages, and the page makes me say, "Man, I wish I had written that," then I will link out to it with a followable link.

I do this with one site that has a large directory as well as with my main ecommerce site.

On my directory site, all the links are free and followable - I don't even require a reciprocal link (I do suggest a reciprocal link, but it ain't required). But I do require that the page I link out to is on topic, helpful, and isn't a direct competitor of mine.

Again, this might be overly naive, but I think that is the way it should be done.


 7:36 am on Nov 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

I link to the source of what I write about, which is mostly product based, and I choose my topics with care.

I've had too many negative experiences when dealing with "gimme, gimme" webmasters, such as 301 redirects to adult sites from links I gave freely to non adult sites.

LINKS and link value are a bain created by Google and I do my best not to entertain any link related offers these days.


 9:27 am on Nov 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

@planet13: I agree that this is the way it should be done :-). unfortunately, everyone doesnt think that way hehe. now let me ask you - if someone e-mailed you with a link to a relevant page on his website...that makes youthink "this page is relevant to a page of mine, and man i wish i had written that", would you give him a link based on a link request, too? or are you much more inclined to link out freely, than if someone asks you to (nicely)? just curious...

@Sgt_Kickaxe: if I may ask - what other negative experiences did you have with them? I cantotally see how this might be a big turn-off if a webmaster has had experiences like that in the past, just trying to dig deep to figure it all out ;).

were those "high quality" sites e.g. sites that looked like the webmaster cared a ton about them? or your average website? ...im wondering how good people like that are at disguising their spammy techniques....and if someone with a great website could still get a link from you if he had some highly useful content on it.

would you trust someone if they had a great site+business details listed+contacted you over the phone,etc...? or not really a chance that youre gonna trust a stranger enough to give out a link? just curious!


 3:49 pm on Nov 12, 2010 (gmt 0)


...would you give him a link based on a link request, too? or are you much more inclined to link out freely, than if someone asks you to (nicely)? just curious...

I would probably be just as inclined either way - whether it was a site i came across by myself, or whether it was a link request from a fellow web master.

But, I would add that if the web master had taken the time to really browse through MY site and mentioned something particular to MY site, I would be more inclined. If it was a generic comment, I would be less inclined.

So I would suggest you might do the same when asking for a link back to your site.

Example of what NOT to do:

I think your site is informative and helpful. Your visitors might like to learn more about the subject on my site at mypage.com/widget-design.html

Example of what to do:

I really learned a lot about the lost wax method of widget casting from your page at xyz.com/victorian-widgets.html. I thought your visitors might like to read about 20th century widget casting and molding techniques on my page at mypage.com/widget-design.html

Everybody likes to be SINCERELY flattered, and (believe it or not) many people will do things for recognition that they wouldn't do for money. So I would just suggest to be sincere, and to concentrate on really relevant pages where your content will truly benefit their visitors.


 3:54 pm on Nov 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

One more thing:

I also agree with ken_b's comments above. I almost always delete a reciprocal link request immediately.

I would include the page title along with the URL as well, because a nicely worded title that explains exactly what the visitor will find on that page is a big incentive for getting me to look at that page in the first place.


 9:11 pm on Nov 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

thanks for clarifying planet 13! ..Ive never sent out a reciprocal link request and dont plan on doing that anytime soon :-)...and I always personalize my link requests, as well. Interesting to hear from someone who "openly states" that this might be the difference maker for him linking to something (or not), though!


 4:35 am on Jan 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

I rarely link out based on requests, and, I spend a fair amount of time explaining to my clients why I turn down most of their link requests.

The most recent link-out request I granted gladly. The site admin of a very credible website emailed me with an offer of a guest post/article (with links back to his site) which was to be on-topic for our site and his. Expecting something less than stellar, or not really on-topic, I was astonished to receive an original, unique, beautifully written article wholly appropriate for our site and clientele.

Requests like this one I will grant every time!

And it is a technique that I will use in the future - offer a good value exchange rather than requesting a favor.


 7:25 am on Jan 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

The most recent link-out request I granted gladly. The site admin of a very credible website emailed me with an offer of a guest post/article (with links back to his site) which was to be on-topic for our site and his. Expecting something less than stellar, or not really on-topic, I was astonished to receive an original, unique, beautifully written article wholly appropriate for our site and clientele.

That is pretty much along the lines of offering someone a "guest blog" spot, right?

Personally, I think that is great and will definitely be looking for more opportunities like that in the future.

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