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A great link-building strategy
dickbaker




msg:4254876
 10:55 pm on Jan 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yesterday I received an email from a webmaster in which he pointed out at least four links on my links page that went to 404's. He then asked if I would consider adding a link to his relevant site.

I was so grateful for his extra effort that I added his link without requesting a reciprocal.

I don't know if that's his MO, or if he just noticed, but doing something for someone first before asking is always a good idea.

 

CainIV




msg:4254969
 3:52 am on Jan 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

Its his MO. Classic, quality link building by developing a relationship and helping out.

RP_Joe




msg:4254993
 4:52 am on Jan 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

What a great idea!

Planet13




msg:4255003
 5:30 am on Jan 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

I would not be surprised if it was one of the regular posters in this forum.

linkbuildr




msg:4255943
 9:57 pm on Jan 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

there are some great free tools to track down broken links for this purpose! Great method as well.

caribguy




msg:4256001
 1:29 am on Jan 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Read some of the excellent posts by Wheel on this topic, e.g. Busted links as reason for link request [webmasterworld.com]

JohnRoy




msg:4268653
 8:30 pm on Feb 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks caribguy. I wondered why the previous posters didn't mention that post.

I've known of this method for years - it works!

On the other hand - there are some who have a bad link pointed to you - and when you address the issue there's no response. That's annoying especially if you have your 404 customized to alert you each time it's being hit.

leishusheng




msg:4271967
 2:08 am on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Do something for someone first before asking is always a good idea. That is right!

Pjman




msg:4287646
 11:41 pm on Mar 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Totally going to do that. Thx.

Planet13




msg:4307946
 6:22 pm on May 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

So, has everybody been following up on the promise they made to themselves to contact webmasters with broken links?

I've gotten a couple more the last few weeks using this method. One was probably of little value (bunch of links to off-topic sites), but one was an on-topic link from high pr site with great quality info that only links out to about 8 other sites - all high quality in themselves.

Hope this inspires everyone to keep plugging away.

jeyKay




msg:4307980
 7:16 pm on May 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've tried this a few times...with limited success. I will try this again, hopefully with better results.

But yes, this is a classic link dev strategy.

brotherhood of LAN




msg:4307995
 7:51 pm on May 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

The nice thing about it is it can appear that you actually visited the page (even though you could run a script across the links). Typos and broken links are easy to spot.

Planet13




msg:4308403
 6:21 pm on May 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

The nice thing about it is it can appear that you actually visited the page...


Personally, I like to visit the page, because it usually gives me ideas on content that I could add to my site, or because i can look at the other sites that are linked from that page and see if they might want to link to me as well.

But it is indeed time consuming to do it this way.

BlueBeacon




msg:4308608
 7:40 am on May 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

link building is a best way to find good position in Google. But use it very careful.

wallarookiller




msg:4311695
 7:28 am on May 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Funny, that very well could have been me.

Planet13




msg:4312010
 5:44 pm on May 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've tried this a few times...with limited success. I will try this again, hopefully with better results.


What we don't know is how many sites they originally contacted. They could have contacted hundreds or thousands, and even with limited success, they do add up. The only drawback is they eat up lots of man hours.

I've found that in cases where they don't add a link, it at least allows me to "start a relationship" with them to propose other ideas. Fortunately, we sell products where we can have affiliate sites linking to us, pay a commission, and still make a profit. So in some cases cases, I can at least turn nothing into something.

CainIV




msg:4313969
 6:28 am on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

So, has everybody been following up on the promise they made to themselves to contact webmasters with broken links?


Decided to build a tool that does this for me (spiders 24-7 websites for a variety of queries in verticals I play in)

I like work, but smart work only :)

vivalasvegas




msg:4313971
 6:57 am on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've been using this link building method for quite some time now. Many websites do not reply/change the link simply because they are deserted web properties no longer updating their content. But a small percentage do reply, change the link and thank me for pointing out the error.

FranticFish




msg:4314029
 11:17 am on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've tried this extensively when working on one site a while back. Maybe it was the niche, because the webmasters were a bunch of ungrateful b*st*rds and although a fair few thanked me, not one added my link (to a website run by a complete 'god' in that niche and household name to boot). I'll try it again, but was very disappointed by the response.

wheel




msg:4314049
 12:21 pm on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

If I suggest that you need to spend 3, 3 hours stints at the computer doing routine work and in the end you'll have a .edu link, are you going to do it?

that's all it is. People quite because it takes work. Persevere and eventually you'll get a link, likely from some really old authority.

It's not even like this is hard. It's just time consuming. And we're back to, you want easy links, resort to some automated method. You want good links, they don't come easy anymore.

FranticFish




msg:4314069
 12:55 pm on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's not hard, and I will do it again, but I was pointing out that YMMV because mine did. Some people fixed the links (I saw when I checked back) and didn't even bother to say thanks.

wheel




msg:4314090
 1:30 pm on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's not YMMV. It's an almost guaranteed success if you do enough of it.

The fact that it takes some effort is the best part about the technique, because that's a show stopper for most people.

Planet13




msg:4314149
 2:55 pm on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

Some people fixed the links (I saw when I checked back) and didn't even bother to say thanks.


I have the links I want to acquire listed in a database (you can use a spreadsheet if you want). I put in a field for next contact date. Usually set it ten days in the future from the date I originally contacted them with the link request.

If they haven't changed their broken links - or if they have and haven't added a link to my site - I give them a gentle reminder. And I set a future contact date for another week in the future.

Also, I don't tell them ALL the broken links on their page in the first email request, specifically so I will have a reason to follow up with them in the future. I might also take the time to ask them to review a page on my site and see if it has any inaccuracies or if they have any suggestions for it.

~~~~~

Some sites ARE abandoned. I have sent a couple of emails saying that I could take over and help maintain there site if they would like - if that site has a lot of backlinks coming into it or has a great domain name. Haven't heard back yet, so we will see how that goes. Again, will follow up down the road.

~~~~~~~

On a side note, the people who link out in my niche are pretty concerned about quality and accuracy. My content isn't great, but it is above average. And it is pretty easy to read.

So I point out how crappy pages from ehow are polluting the SERPs, and how urgent it is for sites like theirs to continue to help hard working people promote well written content.

The key is to show that you and they have a common interest; they built their links page in the first place because they wanted to help spread the word about quality content. So as long as you can mesh in with that, I think you are going to have a better chance of getting the link.

Robert Cialdini, who is one of the preeminent authors in the US on the psychology of influence, says that research shows that if you have a "because" with your request you are significantly more likely to get a favorable response then without one.

So don't just ask them to link to your page. Please give them a reason - preferably one they can identify with.

Planet13




msg:4322140
 4:41 am on Jun 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Ah... just got an email from another professor who just added a link from his University's page to our site. Was about to go to bed early, but think I will go out and grab a beer to celebrate.

You miss out on 100% of the links that you DON'T ask for.

afreshup




msg:4342394
 7:20 pm on Jul 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Can anyone recommend a script for this purpose?

Planet13




msg:4342441
 8:22 pm on Jul 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Can anyone recommend a script for this purpose?


If you are asking about requests via email, I know it's tempting, but I really don't think you should use a script.

I think one of the things that makes it most effective is when you can speak from your own point of view.

Offer An Easy Solution

If you are notifying them of a broken link, I think it is most effective if you can find out whether the page they are linking to has moved. So then you can give them the URL of the new page, because they are a lot more likely to take action if you say something like, "the link XYZ is broken, but you can easily fist it by linking to the new page here."

If there isn't a new page, then you could instead suggest a page on your site that they should link to instead.

the easier it is for them to fix the problem, the more likely they are to act on it.

Show Common Interest
An important thing to do in your email is blending, which means show what you have in common with them, as they will be more amicable to people that they have something in common with them. So if you could say something like, "It is great to find another site that is also trying to promote [subject here] as well."

Get Them To "Finish The Job"
research has shown that people are more willing to finish a project that is already started than start a new task. So I always compliment them on taking the time to maintain their site. Frame their efforts along the lines of that they have already put so much work into their site, don't let that hard work go to waste by not updating their site. People will work harder when they can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Be gently persistent:
put your link targets in a spreadsheet with a column for "Date of Last contact" and another column for "Follow Up Again." If they haven't added your site, then email them again and suggest a different link on someone else's site that is relevant, but is not directly competing with your site. Just mention to them, "Hey, I cam across this site and I really liked it, and I thought maybe you would find it interesting too." Then you can remind them about adding a link to your site.

And as wheel said, the harder it is to get a link from a site, the more valuable that link is to you because your competitors will have a hard time getting a link from them, too.

Also, if they don't link out often, you will get a larger slice of the Page Rank pie, as opposed to a site with tons of links, where you will end up getting a smaller slice.

Hope this helps.

Planet13




msg:4342446
 8:31 pm on Jul 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Also, one note about being persistent:

I had a woman email me back last week saying that she had kind of moved on with her life and she wasn't really planning on updating the page where I had requested a link.

I emailed her back asking her a bit about what she was doing in her life and if she had a blog (I already knew she did), and just saying to keep in touch. It was just a polite email and I didn't even mention the original link request.

so I just got an email back from her today (a week after I last emailed her) and she said that she had decided to go ahead and clean up that page and added our link. so she ended up removing four out of 12 links and added ours.

so not only did I get an "unexpected" link, it now appears on a page with LESS links than before, so I get a bigger slice of that proverbial page rank pie.

afreshup




msg:4342456
 8:40 pm on Jul 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks Planet, that's good advice. I was in sales for 20 years prior to becoming a web developer and you just touched on the golden rule.

"Never get caught selling" Nobody likes to be "sold", but everyone likes to be helped.

So, is there a link checker that you would recommend that I use?

wheel




msg:4342459
 8:42 pm on Jul 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

xenu lnk sleuth is free, but use it politely, dont srape the bejeepers out of someones bandwidth:).

Planet13




msg:4342471
 8:59 pm on Jul 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

...don't srape the bejeepers out of someones bandwidth:).


Unless it is one of MY competitors. Then you have my blessings :]

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