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Making Phone Calls to get Links

Replacing the old link exchange request email



9:34 am on Nov 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I’m about to start working on a linking campaign, but I want to avoid sending out email requests which we all know are largely ignored. I reckon the way to go could be to make a phone call and hopefully make more progress this way. If need be the phone call could be followed up by a targeted email.

By calling a company / person you could either get talking to the person who is in charge of the website, or get a direct number to that person.

If the website is outsourced, I could ask for permission to call the company looking after the website and ask them to add the link. I also expect that I will get a lot more one way links using this method.

I was wondering has anybody gone down this route before and if they have how did it work out, and what you would suggest in terms of tips / pointers etc.


12:20 pm on Nov 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member wheel is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I do email link development and outbound telephone sales though to date I've not combined the two.

If you're calling, you need a script just like an email. And you'll need a compelling reason for them to link to you just like an email. But if you've got that down, I think the benefit of a phone call in general is negligible.

If you think that just because it's a phone call instead of an email that you'll get more links, I think you'll find that's not the case.

Phone calls in isolated and specific situations are fine. Generally speaking I'd suggest you refine how you're asking for links so that it doesn't look bulk instead of focusing on phone vs. email.


1:53 am on Nov 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

This will only work if you have already established a rapport.

Phone calls are like a knock on the door - intrusive! They are an unwelcome distraction that tie busy people up from making money.

To make matters worse, sales pitches and scripts are so bad these days, that the very script sounds, er - like a script funnily enough.
And are usually delivered using a robotic-like tone, and not sounding interesting like pitches should. No helpful, human presense at all. Lack of warmth, and the smell of greed of someone who's about to sever your wallet from your pocket.

[edited by: Maxnpaddy at 1:57 am (utc) on Nov. 7, 2007]


8:29 am on Nov 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

A number of people have a wall of separation between the internet and the "real world." They want to keep it that way. Calls would be invasive.

It's different for businesses, of course, and if the site provides a phone number. If you go looking for their number which they didn't volunteer, and cold call them, it could feel like stalking.

I don't approve of spam for links, but I was thinking about letting people call me for links instead. I want to link to sites I can trust; I'd like to speak with the owner first.



8:52 am on Nov 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Answer yes to one of the following; you can call:

Are we currently doing business?
Are you a genuine potential customer?
Are you my friend?
Have you met me within the last month?
Do you know me personally?
Have I specifically authorised you to call?


9:19 am on Nov 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I have done both but not as a combined campaign.

If you are a gifted talker you can probably gain some links, but you must have some common ground ie; same business, niche. Was impressed by your site,etc.

You have to be a good verbally adept talker, no uhs and ohs.

This comes from old telemarketing guy. Use to cold call for a carpet cleaning

It was a brutal job but I was pretty good at it. I got five dollars a lead
which wasnt bad twenty years ago.

Its worth a shot. Give it a try and see how it works out. Good Luck!...KF


9:49 am on Nov 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks everybody for the feedback.

The reason I wanted to call rather than send an email is because it is more personal. The businesses I would be thinking of contacting during this exercise are in a very similar and complementary industry and all would be easily contactable by phone. I’m not thinking of contacting anybody who would fall outside this parameter or calling Mom & Pop operations.

Any company I would contact would have a phone number on their website and are already currently linking to other websites in my sector.

I put a lot of effort into any email I send out looking for a link, but I guess I just want to separate myself from the many emails these companies receive every day looking for a link.

Vincevincevince: I think your parameters are excellent. What about “could we potentially do business?” as a add on.


3:16 pm on Nov 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Personally, I think that (in the right circumstances) a phone call can be far more powerful than an email.

I've had several emails from companies in our industry hoping for a mention on our site. Invariably, I'm busy doing something else and I file their emails away to look at in the future. Unfortunately most of these emails are very scripted and I'm unlikely to ever look at them again.

If, however, I get a call from someone, that likely tells me two things-
i) They have a real (UK) presence, even if it's just a little office somewhere with a mobile phone
ii) They're not just sending out millions of link requests hoping for a bite

It also means that I take a couple of minutes out from what I'm doing to chat to them and find out a rough idea of whether it'd be worth mentioning them. If I think it is, then I normally get them to send me an email with the details- I'll then be expecting the email and far more likely to deal with it. So perhaps a phone call with a followup email is the best way of doing things...


4:42 pm on Nov 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

If you are in the USA consider the possibility of falling afoul of the Do Not Call list and related telemarketing law. Read the law before engaging in the practice of calling to solicit.


11:24 am on Nov 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

as an old hand in telemarketing (i did it for 2 years selling ad space) I think a mix of emails and phone calls works very well.

link building is a sales process. sometimes you have a site in great demand and it sells itself and most of the time you have to push it along (when it comes to link building).

in normal offline business, you send an email or a brochure (the more impressive the better) wait a couple of days and call. This way you find out who the decision maker is and wether they are actually interested in your offering and from there you build the value of your proposition - leading to a sale / amicable trade between 2 parties.

so why is it so bad to do what sales teams have done for years? Bear in mind, you are mostly not talking to end user consumers at 8.00 in the evening, but webmasters.

Its only bad when you have a *hit site and you're trying to peddle something with which there is no interest.


11:47 am on Nov 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

What about “could we potentially do business?” as a add on.

I'm afraid not, not under any circumstances. Don't know about anyone else but if you, a stranger, phones me and tries to sell something I put down the phone.


1:59 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I've recently thought about calling other site owners to see if they want to engage in a link exchange with our site, but i don't have the time to dedicate to something that may not figure into SERPs as much as other factors like page SEO and Paid Search.

I still prefer to send my requests via email. The fact is that if you do your research and find relevant sites that should link to you, then you should get those links. One trick I like to use is putting my target company name in the subject line. I immediately noticed an increase in response after implementing that tactic.

Whether you're emailing or calling, the key is to know what you're talkin about and show that you know a thing or two about their site. Research research research.


2:42 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Something I don't see discussed when it comes to making contact to discuss a link between two sites..

Many webmasters now use software to manage their linking to ease the data management chore of link building. Many of these softwares provide public "suggest link" forms. Look for them. You can find them by searching "keyword add link" or "keyword suggest link".

For example, we have an aviation site. We have editors who spend a few hours a week searching "aviation suggest link". They submit our link to the suggest link form (when relevant and useful for our users). If we make a dozen requests a week, we can usually get 4-6 of those to respond with a link fairly quickly every week.

Sites who are using these forms tend to link back faster than sites who do not publish a suggest link form so look for them.


2:45 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

cnvi, unfortunately, those links are generally penalised unless you can find a particular term which isn't obvious. That's why there's been a shift from 'add link' and 'links page' to 'suggest resource' and 'resources page', and now further changes which most of us will have noticed.


3:18 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

cnvi, unfortunately, those links are generally penalised unless you can find a particular term which isn't obvious

I dont pay attention to that.. I am linking for traffic and as a branding function. I do not make linking decisions based on what I think its going to do for me SEO wise.


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