Yesterday I wrote a post that got carried on Searchengineland.com, which was very nice of them. Thanks.
It was titled. Have you Tried Asking for a Link and I talked about that fact that sometimes you simply has to ask. However, to be clear and I have had a few emails about this. The post said that you could “Just nicely ask for a link, using your own words in a real way and ask for a link to something good.”
As I find people tend not to ask the right way for a link and others do not ask at all.
The post goes on to say, “I will give you a link for free, from an authority blog, just give me something to link to, ask nice and make me think you will do something nice back in the future.”
Of course, some thought all they needed to do was to ask for a link and they would get one. And that “something”, meant anything. I clearly stated that I wanted to “link to something good”, meaning it has to be good enough to link to.
Perhaps I was not clear as I should have been, and should have outlined what “something good” actually meant as not everyone creates content for links. In my world, “something good” means a specific level of quality. Quality of communication, quality of attractiveness etc.
And so when I got several of the emails asking for link this morning, a few of them didn’t get it. So I wrote an open letter to those people to save time.
Thanks for that [NAME WITHHELD], appreciate it.
Yes I have had a lot of requests.
The point of the “ask for a link”, article is about asking nicely and in a human way. Just asking me after saying hi is missing the point.
Although I do note that you have helped me with pointing out the error on the email link, although I have had plenty of emails this morning, I’m not really that hard to contact.
Would you give a link simply because someone asked?
Of course not, it wouldn’t be good practice.
You need to have something, a piece of linkable content you want to be linked to, I need a reason to link, something specific or something interesting. As I wrote in the article.
It can’t be just the fact that you have a website there has to be a reason for me to link to the website. Something of merit, something to be cited, something different. The whole reason I have links on my blog is to help the reader, either giving them more context or allowing them to explore the subject further. A link has to be of value to the reader within the context of the blog and the blog post.
Obviously people buy links, you cannot buy links on my website, but you can on others and when that happens it is sometimes blatantly obvious, because there is no context to the link being given or that the content being linked to is not worth being linked to. And if a website exhibits a pattern of bought and sold links and Google finds out, Google may ban them.
I don’t want my website to have the hint of bought and sold links because I don’t want my website banned. Not that linking to your website would get my website banned. I just need a reason to link, as I stated in my blog post.
Of course I can give out a non paid link that is not entirely contextual to prove a point, for example the Blue Bar at Porthtowan beach, where I am often found. OK, this is not entirely non-contextual as it’s a place that I love and go to regularly.
But you see the point about simply dropping in links with no context? There has to be a reason to link.
If you want me to further analyse your request further, it didn’t leave me feeling that you were going to do something nice in the future. It simply told me that you saw the request (not sure you read the article) and thought you simply had to ask.
This is not the point of the article, it’s not the correct methodology for effective outreach and it certainly isn’t a nice way for human beings to communicate.
If you are in a pub for example and someone comes up to you and says, “Hi, I’m John, hope you had a great holiday. Your laces are undone. £50 please”.
It’s probably not going to be effective.
And this is the point of the article.
Not that you simply have to ask, using as few words as possible. But that you actually have to connect with another human being and treat them better than a cynical way to get a link.
Don’t get me wrong, my verbose reply is not indicative as anger or even annoyance. It’s more about frustration that opportunities are being lost, simply because people do not connect with others effectively over the Internet.
I don’t say “connect properly“, as that is subjective. I mean “effectively“, as in getting to achieve your goal.
It’s very clear what works in link building and what does not. No one wants to be taken advantage of or thought of as an idiot who will link to anyone.
People tend to link to people who they like, they do not link to websites but to people, as I have said in my blog and at numerous conference talks.
You can clearly see this human effect in action after a conference when people who have met people and like them, link to their blogs afterwards when they would not have linked to them when based just on the website.
Going to conferences and being liked is the best link building technique I have seen. I say “technique” tongue in cheek, because it’s not. It’s a way of being.
And yes, I suppose some people think it tiresome to actually interact with people you have zero interest in, but this is the point. People can easily sense that, even emails have an odour.
The solution is simply to be nice. Take the time, be genuine have something real to share.
This of course takes time, and if you can get away with a quick ask, job done. I totally understand why someone would knock out a crafty email link request between a mocha.
But knocking out a crafty one was not the point of the article.
Being effective by being nice was.
Link building should be looked upon as a tribal act. Look how the tribe of Moz acts, totally tribal. Look how Buzzfeed acts, they feed their tribe daily.
I wont tell you that link building is easy, you have to really work at it. But you have to work harder if you see it as a vending machine, or a cash point machine. Gone are the days of the push linker and I am old enough to remember those days. They were fun times. But it’s better now because great content can now give you a reason to properly ask for links.
My goal is to teach people the effective way of doing things, that was the point of the “Link offer”, blog post and this is the point of this blog post.
Thanks for taking the time to email and reading my blog post. If you do have great piece of content to share with my readers, please do not hesitate to contact and if the content works, and if your website is cool and if you are not a horrible person and if you [Insert here all the obvious stuff that most with a basic understanding of SEO understand] then I will drop you a tasty, contextual link.
Too Zen? I don’t think so, this is about what works and what does not work.
It is the sound of a link being built to an idea that does not yet exist.