Smash a Brick into the face Link building

One of the problems of link building that I rarely see addressed in depth, is the issue of attracting the initial attention of the linker.

I am talking about someone we have no prior relationship with, someone who we need to reach out to.

But my points also apply to our closest link pals. Who are always good for a link or two.

You have crafted a piece of content, spent hours, days even weeks. Maybe thousands of pounds getting it just right?

How much time do you think you have to get the linker to pay attention to your content and consume it.? I put the question out on my twitter feed and the average of 2.7 seconds came back.

2.7 seconds to grab attention online seems about right.

What usually happens, is you are sitting in front of your computer and I’m probably like you have about 15 windows open. Twitter client, email, web stats digg and many other

Even talking about it now I fee I should cut back a little.

The point is, for those of us who work online, there is a huge demand on our attention as soon as we power up our computers

The linker is no different. Works at a computer, has tabbed browsing, multiple windows open.

Everyone seems to suffer from acute distraction disorder.

We have to find a way to burn through this haze of distraction to get out linker to pay attention. How do we solve this problem.


We smash a brick into his face.

A good headline will do this job. A good headline will stop you in your tracks. Engage you and draw you in, blanking out all those distractions to allow you to focus on the one task of “I must read more”.

My favourite headline was introduced to me by a top copywriter called Jon Carlton. The headline is, “Boy Eats Own Head”.

How can you not want to know more.

Headlines do not only exist at the top of the content. They are in the subject text of email,
they are in a twitter post, rss feed, digg headline etc

But the shocking truth is, Websites do not link to websites. I know what you’re thinking, what the hell is this guy talking about. Consider this, people point to the work of other people.

It is people we need to target and not the technical manifestation of a link. It is people for they are those that give the link.

Because of that understanding the way people work is crucial to successful link building.

We have to become students of the human condition, because websites do not link to other websites, people point to other peoples work

The battle for the link takes place in the mind of the linker. Not that the content is unimportant, it is merely a vehicle to allow us plant a suggestion in the mind of the linker.

That suggestion being, “drop a link to these guys”

The sub-conscious will decide if you get the link, thousands of factors will be lined up to tell the consciousness whether or not to link.

Getting people to link, means we have to be aware of and tap into their hopes, fears prejudices, desires, dreams, fears etc. Ultimately, we have to tap into their sub-conscious.

How do we do that?

We have to research the people who we want to get links from.

Fortunately, people are desperate to link to interesting and engaging information. They are hungry for it, all we have to do is show them a piece of content that persuades them to make a drop a link.

15 Replies to “Smash a Brick into the face Link building”

  1. The problem is that everyone already smashes bricks in the face of potential linkers. We’re already immune to it. I usually delete emails with Amazing titles as spammers have taught me to ignore them.

  2. It’s always going to be hard when link building for commercial organisations. secret is to make your link request

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~JUMP OUT AT YOU!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    BOO! =]

  3. Good article and one of the reasons why link building, in the traditional sense, is a dying art. If you contact me asking for a link with no compelling reason other than ‘it will help my Google rankings’, forget it.

    Make your site a great resource full of useful information, relevant to my target audience, and I will quite happily link to you on the basis of wanting to direct my website visitors towards great content.

  4. @Dee No one is immune to a good headline. Because, if it fails to connect then it’s a bad headline. A brick in the face is the metaphor for a good headline, not for for kind of garbage spammers send.

    A good headline works, what you are describing are not good headlines.

  5. “We have to research the people who we want to get links from.”

    It’s hard to express how important that line is. Great article

  6. Obvious but absolutely on target. I’ve found in applying much stricter time management that I only look at titles in my feed reader now.

    That means that even from people I respect I may not see any more than that title. So there is a secondary consideration here. Even if you don’t throw a brick at them, make sure they can quickly guess what that ‘lump of stuff’ is. 🙂

  7. @ Lyndoman. If that’s the case, I don’t ever remember receiving a good headline in my inbox. I’m very trigger happy with the delete button though, so maybe I just need to lighten up.

    Marketers tend to lean more towards penls spam titles rather than creative newspaper type titles, which is why I think 99% fail.

  8. Very good post.

    Regarding the time to make an impression, there were a series of studies done, which indicated that you have .5 seconds to make an overall impression on someone with your website. At first, this seemed to short, but after thinking about it and working through my immediate impressions of various websites, I feel it is pretty accurate. If speed is of the essence with websites, then it would stand to be so with everything digital.

  9. Came here from Gary’s blog and I do agree that sensational, important, and highly informative titles must be used to grab people’s attention.

    I try to include magic words like ‘free’, ‘easy’ etc. in my titles on social media sites and post titles. But there are only so many of them :))

  10. You touch on a issue here that is close to my heart, I have some experience with adverts, of a static nature, and i doesn’t matter what information you put in your advert, you could have the answers to the universe in there, nobody is going to read it unless you have a punchy headline that draws them in… What gets me is that this isn’t new information, this is the stuff you learn on day one of a design course and surely common sense!

  11. Great post! I think that apart from just getting a fancy headline and writing good content, you should also encourage readers to save/share/vote for your story by having the bookmarking buttons easily accessible on your site – they can also eventually get you links.

    Why don’t you have a ShareThis kind of tool or bookmarking buttons on your posts? It’d make my life of saving your post easier, since I’m quite used to using it.

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