Link building

Don’t do Outreach like one of those PR types, do it like an SEO


When building web links you should be using FBI powered, psychographic profiling during outreach.

It’s no longer enough to simply show people content and expect them to do what you want them to do, which is sharing and linking. You need to put a particularly crafted piece of content in front of someone you KNOW will desire it.

You KNOW they will desire it because you have conducted psychographic and cultural analysis of your target.

This is actually very simple.

  1. You find out someone eats pies.
  2. You give them pies.
  3. They eat pie.

If this is too simple for you I can find a Digital Agency who will charge huge amounts of money to explain the same thing in a more complex way.

This series of posts is part of my current Instagram experiment

Link building

Using SEM Rush to determine link quality

This is a guest post by Ryan Stewart, who first came to attention from me with his great blog post on, Why I Stopped Selling SEO Services and You Should, Too

Link building is about one thing: driving traffic.

That’s it. Mostly.

So what about link building using social media?

I see a lot of sites actively marketing themselves through social media, and I get it. From a purely business point of view, any link that drives traffic to your site is a good link. Traffic is traffic, and social media can bring it in.

However, from a traditional SEO view, those kinds of links lack the domain authority and trust flow (often less than five) and wouldn’t be considered a good link.

Search engines crawl between websites through links, so it’s easy for them to measure how much traffic is passing through a link. And that’s the measurement you want to tap into.

Measure The True Metrics

SEM Rush, a paid subscription service, is my favorite link building tool.

There are a lot of third party tools that promise to help you measure traffic with their own custom metrics–domain authority, or trust flow, for example–but what you need to be measuring are the metrics from Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Third party metrics are fine–don’t get me wrong–but they aren’t true metrics from search engines and they aren’t as useful for link building.

SEM Rush is the place I go to measure what the search engines are measuring, and it’s what I use to help me determine which websites are a good target for my link building efforts.

SEM Rush has the ability to gather a lot of data, but for determining link quality, it is particularly easy to use:

  • Take the URL from the website you are targeting for link building, and paste it into the top search bar.
  • Click on “Organic Research” on the left-hand side and a drop down menu will appear.
  • Click on “Positions” from the dropdown.

SEM Rush

On your screen, you’ll see lots of data with an at-a-glance graphic, as well as a traffic and keyword chart. (Click on “Try new design of Organic Search Positions” if your screen is different than the screenshot below.)

semrush 2

You will do these few steps for each website you are researching, concentrating on the information provided on this one screen. From here, you can use a simple three-step process to streamline your link building program.

1. Look At A Site’s Link Quality

The first step is the main step: figuring out which sites have high quality links.

There are a few things we need to look at to determine that link quality, and SEM Rush makes this information pretty easy to find. The questions you’ll need answers for are:

  1. How many keywords is that website ranking for?
    1. How much traffic does that website have?
      What is the cost of that traffic? (This is calculated by how much it would cost to pay for that traffic via Google adwords.)

SEM Rush creates a graphic that tells you these three things at a glance.

SEMrush 3

If you figure that keywords are approximately a few cents each, you can do some rough math and figure out how much the traffic costs per keyword.

The main thing, though, is you want to see more keywords, more traffic, and higher cost. For the three metrics in this graphic, the higher the better. Any potential links that you might end up placing on such a site, whether through guest blogging or other methods, can drive lots of traffic back to your site as well as increase ranking.

We’re going to come back to link quality in the third step, when we get to prioritizing our link building targets.

2. Look For Clean Domain History

Next, you want to find out whether the website you’re targeting is clean.

Look at the graph located to the right of the link quality graphic we just talked about. This graph shows traffic or keyword rankings over time.

A huge spike and then a sharp plummet is not a good sign. A spike and a huge crash means the domain could be potentially toxic. It has stopped growing and its traffic is drying up. Mostly likely, it was penalized for shady activity in the past.

SEMrush 4

What you want to see is a graph that shows the domain moving up and to the right, like the screenshot below.

SEMrush 5

A graph like this shows a site that is actively gaining traffic and actively marketing itself. Sites with these types of graphs are ones you want to place on the top of the list for link outreach.

3. Prioritize Your Efforts

Now that you know the quality a potential link has, and how healthy a domain is, you’re ready to prioritize.

But first: even if a website has low traffic or evidence of traffic drops, you may still want to work with them.

The point in searching out quality is so that you can prioritize your outreach efforts and make better use of your resources, not to avoid connecting and networking with other sites. High quality websites always go first because they have the most impact on your site’s SEO rankings, but don’t write off the other sites.

So, what is a high quality site? It’s a site with lots of keywords, lots of traffic, and a high cost for traffic with a clean and steadily growing history for its domain.

To target the high quality links first, follow a few simple steps.

1. Set standards based on link quality.

Set a standard between 1 and 5, with 1 being the lowest, signifying a link that isn’t as powerful, and 5 being the highest with a powerful link and your ideal target. Use the chart below as a guide to help you categorize the link quality from your SEM Rush research.


These rankings will be your tags for each link.

For sites that have a mix of rankings, such as level 3 keywords but level 2 traffic and cost, you would assign a level 2 ranking. Essentially, you’re trying to average out the data to determine the best quality ranking for each site. It’s especially important to honor the traffic history (i.e. if all the data is a 3 ranking, but there is a traffic drop, the true ranking for that site will be a 2).

2. Track rankings and interactions.

Create a spreadsheet in which you track the name of the site, the status of your contact and interaction with the site, the numerical tag ranking, the type of link you’re requesting (e.g. guest post), and the site URL.

Our concern here is tag each target domain for the quality of the link.

The tags can be used for different reasons other than just easily identifying top targets. For example, they can be used to assign writers for your guest blogging program. To get a guest post on a site with a 5 ranking will need a higher quality writer (which will cost more), while a 1 will not.

Once you have the sites prioritized and tagged using the SEM Rush data, you’re able to pursue successful link building without wasting time and basing your actions on guesses.

Wrapping it up

There’s a lot of information on the web about how to build links the “right” way. While a lot of SEO metrics like Domain Authority, Trust Flow and Citation Flow are helpful, they aren’t Google’s metrics. Simplify your efforts by focusing on one thing: building links that drive traffic!


Link building

Why you should use psychographic profiling when building links

psychographic profile

The above is the most clipped slide from my Content Publishing Strategy presentation on Slidedeck.

This presentation forms the backbone of the content strategy training I offer and the aspect of the “psychographic profile” is always the most interesting to people.

People think content is king, but this is wrong. Content is merely the vehicle for the idea.

The real action happens in the mind of the reader. It’s not the content that the focus should be on, but the psychology of the person it is aimed at.

The mind of the target reader must define the content, not the creator’s whim and fancy.

I’ve worked with a lot of creatives and a lot of them seem to be focussed more on a particular aspect they are interested in such as infographics, or a new javascript trick, than the actual job which is to communicate and influence the reader to perform a specific action.

But that’s not what Shakespeare and Hemmingway did, they were true artists!


That is exactly what they did. They looked at what triggered the audience to action. What ideas infected the minds of their target audience. Shakespeare was a brilliant content publisher and we could spend a few hours discussing this but lets not get distracted.

Lets get back to links.

Forget most of the guff talked at you by PR people who wear very heavy watches that are advertised in magazines with pictures scantily clad women.

Links are the key, they are what get you ranked in Google.

Ranking in Google is still the best way to get people to your website and buy stuff.

To get links, you need to influence the people who give links.

To influence people to give links you need to know what would make them link.

Content is not the trigger, it’s the idea behind the content. Thus it’s all about what is happening in the mind of the reader who can link.

  • Who are these people?
  • What do they read?
  • What websites do they look at?
  • How old are they?
  • What apps do they use?
  • Are they an Open World, MMO gamer or do they prefer Candy Crush on a smartphone.

These and a hundred more questions such as these, need to be asked in order to know what actually communicates to and influences your target linker.

Because it could be as simple as a picture of a kitten, or as complex as an interactive HTML5 driven infographic.

Getting links used to be simple, but cutting edge, link building theory has become a lot more complex.

Psychology and neuroscience are subjects that need to be studied if you want success in the digital marketing landscape of today.

Link building

Why you should not be working to get links from websites

Websites do not link to websites

People link

People share interesting stuff from other people.

Real people exist behind the website you want a link from. Think of the person you are going to outreach to and not the website when you do your link building.

It’s sounds crazy to say it, but the people who can give you a link are just like you and me, well maybe not me, I wouldn’t want to inflict that on them. But they have real needs and desires, most want to communicate and want to share, which is why you should communicate and share with them as fellow human beings.

If you are looking for ten top tips to optimise outreach, you are already thinking wrong. Change your mindset and stop thinking of people as a process and communicate with them as you would like to be communicated with.

You will be amazed at the success you will get.


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Link building

Link to me and see how much I will like you

Links makes likes

I really like it when people link to my websites, it’s different to a retweet or being told your cool by a stranger over email just before they ask you to publish their guest post about a new device that removes hard skin from feet.

A link is the most genuine of recommendations.
A link is powerful stamp of approval, even more so in these times, as fewer people seem to be linking out.

The Google hack, the sticking plaster that is “Penguin” which attempts to fix a failing system has turned a lot of SEO agencies into “penalty removal” agencies, rather than what they should be which is, “cool content” publishing agencies, building brand over multiple platforms.

Blegh, that last sentence was spiky, but sometimes you need to get a bit jargony to communicate effectively to the tribe.

However, (FU Gove*) people in the niche of online marketing tend to go overboard with jargon, terms like “content marketing” miss the target putting the focus on the content rather than the reader. And wanky terms like “inbound marketing”, which I still don’t quite understand seem to permeate like a rank fart in a bean and chile, festival tent, where the extractor fan has broken and someone left a dead meerkat under a chair for a few days.

The first thing I look at when someone is asking a favour for me is, “Do they link to me?”.
I love linking to people I like, like Taylor Swift, although I wouldn’t recognise here music if I heard it she faced down the greedy gits at Apple who wanted to give her album away for free for three months to build THEIR platform.

We don’t have a “Link to your friends day”. But maybe we should.
Maybe everyday should be “Link to your friends day.”
I do bit by linking to people and business on my SEO Services UK page. Make sure you link to those who do good things for you.

Feed your allies, starve your enemies.

* Michael Gave, aka "Twat", has told us we should never start a sentence with a preposition such as "However,". I am not of the "these are the rules for writing English and you shall keep to them on pain of death", group of writers. You will find those who do chastise usually break the rules themselves and the rest have rather arid sex lives.

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Link building

I Heart Links

I heart

I like Seth Godin.

He talks, I listen.

I hopefully learn.

I link to Seth Godin because I like his books, they talk about interesting stuff like Josiah Wedgewood.

I do not use the nofollow tag, as nofollow = numptiness

I use contextual anchor text as it is the most logical way to create a hypertext link.

Google did not create the internet, or the World Wide Web.

Google can kiss my ass.

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Gregory Bastien

Link building

How to contact Bloggers

Bona fides

An alternative headline would be, How to get people to do what you want by taking your thumb out of your ass! But I thought that may be too fruity at this time in the morning.

Another day another slew of “link builders”, “pr people” and rapscallions contacting me on email requesting to use up some of my brain cycles on them (dude, they are finite) and I need to keep them for coming up with magnetic headlines.

What I like to establish are people’s bona fides. and I like to use latin whenever I can.

From Wikipedia

Good faith (Latin: bona fides) is a concept used in law and philosophy which denotes fair and open dealing in human interactions. This is often thought to require sincere, honest intentions or beliefs, regardless of the outcome of an action. The opposed concepts are bad faith, mala fides (duplicity) and perfidy (pretense). In law, bona fides is the concept having good intentions and honesty in dealings with others. In American English the usage of bona fides is synonymous with credentials and identity.

Al Swearengen a canny political operator would have made a good SEO and link builder, and if you haven’t yet seen Deadwood, find time.

If you are going to make a habit out of contacting SEO bloggers you need to:

  • Have your bona fides ready
  • Know the person they are contacting
  • Be prepared for a back and forth email convo
  • Communicate as if you are talking to a real person and not an automated, link building machine
  • Know of the work the person you are contacting does
  • Be respectful and gracious at all times, remember, it’s you who wants something from them.

One last point, please remember that human interaction is not a technique.

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Link building

The Myth of Organic Links

Organic Links

There are no natural links

There are no organic links

But wait, all the seo industry keep banging on about you must have natural this and organic that.

What I say to that is, “we are not discussing peaches”.

And I love a good peach

Quite simply, and I hate to say this as I have a lot of friends (and I even do it myself) doing the natural/organic, shuffle.

The reason it exists is one of marketing, rather than something that accurately describes what it does.

In other words, it’s guff

It’s marketing guff

Very effective marketing guff.

As an industry we need to label complex, machine based processes with easy to use fluffy, psuedo hippy terms like “organic”. This helps us sell a service that is imperfect, and hide the fact that we don’t totally know what the hell is going on because Google wont tell us.

Google will hint that we need to build fields of lush, verdant organic links without a tinge of blackhat (another guff word) pesticide.

The problem with this is that this is how marketing people talk. But Google is run run by engineers and what we are dealing with is a highly engineered, efficient machine.

This is the thing to remember

Google is a machine

What the hell is organic about that?

Machines are process led, they repeat tasks, they create patterns. Not that you could possibly backward engineer Google. It is one of the most incredible things man has created, I could throw out some mind blowing stats here but you probably already know.

The Google bot is a machine, but we should be creation content for human beings, content that is amazing, magnificent. And it should attract links that humans have been inspired to give.

Create for humans and not the bot, and please leave the organic stuff at home. It smells.

Further Reading on this subject:
59 Amazing Organic Link Building Articles
A Look at How Organic Links Have Lost Value
Link Building Strategies: Organic Link Building
Free Link Building Tips For 2015
SEO’s: Time to Revolt Against Google?

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Link building SEO Cornwall

Create Great Content Ask for a Link Be Nice

Yesterday I wrote a post that got carried on, 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.

Lyndon Antcliff

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.

Link building SEO Cornwall

Have you tried asking for a link

Just nicely ask for a link, using your own words in a real way and ask for a link to something good. It’s a controversial statement I know judging from my email inbox and what doesn’t get talked about on Twitter.

I think I have a pathological aversion to cut and paste emails and cookie cutter content.

I get emails stating, “we are quaility link builders”, good because I always have people looking for those and I am quite liberal in linking out from my own blogs.

But the emails are obviously not written by the sender, but by some dry, crunchy assed, baked in the sun so long it has bleached their soul, copywriter.

I can’t read those emails without feeling my brain trying to escape through my ear.

But I want to link.

I even want to buy links.

Why not talk to me like a Human Being?

I prefer to get links without asking, by crawling inside your head and working the levers mostly. But when I do ask, it is I who am asking, using my own words and sending each request out individually.

Even if it means bleeding into the keyboard, I send link requests out manually.

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.

You don’t even have to do a nice thing for me, you only have to make me think you will do a nice thing.

Link building

Huge List of very interesting articles on Linkbuilding

Indonesia -Lost in paradise
I’ve been collecting the best of link building articles for a few years now, usually I just share them as the battery fades on my Toshiba hdr5010kb remote control, but I thought I would share a few of them here.

Putting Guest Post Outreach Theories to the Test [With Some Real World Data] | SEOmoz…eal-world-data

Blogger Outreach: 9 Tips You Need to Succeed | Heidi Cohen…ed-to-succeed/

Blogger Outreach: 5 Tips for Connecting With Top Influencers

21 Better Ways to Do Blogger Outreach…gger-outreach/

The Ultimate Resource Guide to Blogger Outreach and Guest Blogging (list of urls)

Does GroupHigh Take the Pain out of Blogger Outreach?…utreach/45627/

Interflora Penalty: ionSearch Speakers Offer Their Opinions…heir-opinions/

Outreach Specialist’s Bible | CopyPressed…ialists-bible/

The Five Stages of Blogger Outreach: Stage One – Attraction | CopyPressed…ne-attraction/

How Blackhat Mummy Bloggers Killed Interflora | Buzzkeep…rflora-123295/

Pinterest Image Optimization – How to optimize for Pinterest…e-optimization

Keeping Track of Long-Tail Revenue Points | SEM CLUBHOUSE…the-long-tail/

Guest Blogging Link Building using BuzzStream – Paddy Moogan Blog…ng-buzzstream/

Turning old & existing content into new links | Skyrocket SEO…nto-new-links/

Building a Quick Outreach List using Google Scraper for Chrome | Keyword Eye Blog…le-scraper-for

Broken Link Building using BuzzStream – Paddy Moogan Blog…ng-buzzstream/

22 Tips for a Better Outreach Response | Zazzle Media…each-response/

The Human Side of Black Hat SEO

The Art & Science Of Storytelling As Told By Journalists…nalists-150795

How Authorship (and Google+) Will Change Linkbuilding…-link-building

Google Drive Has A Handy Spreadsheet Autofill Option For Beer Drinkers | TechCrunch…beer-drinkers/

A Glimpse Into Google’s Brain, Hidden In A Spreadsheet App…preadsheet-app

Top 19 Google Chrome Extensions for Link Builders and SEOs | UK Linkology…link-building/

Build Relationships, Not Links – Search Engine Watch (#SEW)…hips-Not-Links

How the Daily Mail Became The Worlds Most Read Newspaper « Datadial Blog…ead-newspaper/

Gaming Google: 3ac Domains SEO Case Study | Domain Registration & Web Hosting Review…seo-case-study

Link Building Lessons – An Interview with @PaddyMoogan – Kwasi Studios

Is Content Marketing More Valuable Than Search? – Forbes…e-than-search/

8 Reasons Why You Need to Establish Authority on Google+…lus-authority/

Nine examples of small businesses using social media for branding | Econsultancy…wev2ve1cj0dnz1

44 Creative and Innovative Link Building Experts and Their Strategies | Kaiserthesage…ing-resources/

6 things SEOs really should know about PR (but probably don’t)

5 Creative Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your Blog Posts | Social Media Examiner…ur-blog-posts/

6 ways to find relevant and valuable content ideas for your social media marketing

10 Journalism Rules That Can Teach You Everything You Need to Know About Content Mark

Where do I get content ideas for my blog? | The Marketing Twins at 1429 Creative…s-for-my-blog/

Marketers Are Not Publishing Enough Content – Mitch Joel – Harvard Business Review…tity-tripling/

Link Data Research Study – Majestic SEO vs Ahrefs vs SEOMoz | Analytics SEO…refs-compared/

5 Outreach based link building that Will Rock 2013 | SEO Basic With Mee…ill-rock-2013/

The 22 rules of storytelling, according to Pixar…rding-to-pixar

How To Position A Product Like Don Draper…on-draper.html

How To Get Your Content Linked To From Top-Tier Websites…ebsites-188316

SEO’s Dilemma – Link Building vs. Content Marketing – Whiteboard Friday…teboard-friday

Relationships between Search Entities…arch-entities/

Is Search Still the Dominant Way People Use to Answer Questions?…-people-study/

3 Ways to Find Great Link Building Opportunities in Boring Industries…ing-Industries

What does a perfect agile marketing strategy look like?…egy-look-like?

6 things SEOs really should know about PR (but probably don’t)

The Web Developer’s SEO Cheat Sheet 2.0…t-2013-edition

The Technium: 1,000 True Fans

Link building

Why you should build content that lasts 7 years

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Just a quick one, as I have a ton of work to do today.

Recently someone contacted me, noticed one of my old posts, Beginners guide to SEO links would benefit from having a link pointed to content that had just created. I had created it seven years ago and it still gets traffic, although most of the information was applicable to that time, which makes a link proposition to update it attractive.

I checked out the content asking for the link and found it was top notch, something that people who read this blog would benefit from.

So I gave them a link.

The email wasn’t fancy, but was polite and to the point.

Is link building that easy?

Well, no because first you have to invest a lot of time into content, then you have to build a contact list and then you have to catch the target at the right time. I read the email 6 days ago but as I am catching up with a lot of work left it till now. And that’s the thing, the people you contact have real lives going on and it’s really just a case of numbers and …. well you know the rest.

This kind of link building is hard, at least I have always found it hard, because it’s a bit of a grind. Wins results though.

I am always willing to link out to people who offer something of value to my readers. That is what keeps the web interesting.

Link building

Massive links or Tribe Building

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As I sit at my desk with crystal blue, Cornish skies out of my window, I clear the inbox of client emails and consider what will 2014 will bring.

It used to be, one massive link from a website which Google deems as an authority was all you needed to kill it in the ranking pages. Linkbait, infographics, etc. all did that.

And that was great.

But now, things have changed. To get links these days, it’s better to forget about link building.

Manipulative link building, (if you want to fluff it up by calling it something like Inbound Marketing, content marketing etc. knock yourself out) has been negated. But it’s not dead, and SEO is not dead yet.

But link building has gone from the rabid wolf to the one legged coyote

Lots of people in the industry have hitched their wagon to a specific aspect of website marketing and will defend their territory when challenged, even with only one leg the Coyote is a animal to be weary of. This is why the industry is slow to change, although compared to any other industry it turns on a dime.

Google has changed things, they always do. They are like that.

It’s the animal that can change and adapt which will survive, not the one who can say, “look at my great kills of 2013”

Past performance is not an indicator of future success

The Cheetah is a fantastic killing machine, honed by evolution to perform one method very well, wait for the weakest, go fast and kill. But it’s the Coyote that thrives, who adapts, who looks at what is happening around it and changes tactics.

This is what you have to do to survive in 2014.

I am going to go out on a limb here and state that I don’t think manipulative link building is going to have the same effect as it once had. We are already seeing this happening. You probably don’t consider it “manipulative link building” and may even still believe in Santa. (thankfully my kids don’t yet read this blog, sshhhhh)

Are links still important, yes they are. But you have to respect Google for being the biggest cat in the jungle and if you annoy it, it will eat you turn you into fertilizer for the weeds.

Link acquisition should still be part of the strategic plan, but it certainly should not lead or be your only tactic.

What is becoming more clear is that tribe building is becoming more and more crucial, I have talked about this way back in 2007 and it was clear even then that this is the way to go.

Building a tribe is why you should create great content, of course links are important but people are more importent. They are they who make up your tribe, and it’s wise to consider what it is your tribe wants, do they want Game of Thrones content? Do they want you to help them save time, make money or get laid?

It’s the tribe you are the servant of, not the bot.
And don’t think your interests are more worthy than the tribe, if they want Kim Kardashian’s ass, then I am afraid you have to give it to them.

Yes, there will be outliers who kill it with links and end up on a sun drenched beach drinking a cooled beverage. But it’s not a business that can be replicated by most people.

This year is also going to be about publishing to the tribe. and giving them giving them what they want.

Link building

To Get Links you need to Forget about Link Building

Pic Source

I have been building websites and getting people to go to them since 1998. Doing it for such a long time does not always make you a better link builder, but it does give you a long view. It allows you to note that the current changes in the building of links to increase search engine rankings is just one more change in an constantly changing landscape.

The cost or value of links has changed too, experts would usually quote an average link on an average website, giving an average amount of Google juice would cost around $100 – $150. These would be links that would pass the “natural” test. You would need a few hundred of these links for the average niche to rank and get a decent ROI.

But what has happened is a whole level of the SEO industry has been eviscerated. These are SEOs who would rely on a fixed cost for link getting and could quite easily plan it out with blog network buys, industrial guest posting, web 2.0 articles, plus many more techniques that are available on black hat market sites.

Some of it still goes on of course and still works if you don’t abuse it.

Current link building best practice is more akin to PR than it is to SEO. The ironic thing is that the traditional PR agencies are still quite poor in achieving an effective ROI. This is because power has shifted from those slick smooth talking PR types to the passionate, creative, online digital publisher, or what we would call the Blogger.

Pick a jargon phrase and run with it – conversation marketing – inbound marketing – relationship marketing – content marketing – and so on. These phrases have a high copulation rate and so if you don’t like one another will be along shortly. If you employ a digital agency or find yourself on a self styled “guru’s” website, they will be using these types of terms and explaining how you need to buy their book that will reveal all.

But the reality is, the way you link build is actually quite ancient. It’s called “Publishing”. You create an idea, make it physical (ok digital but lets not distracted by semantics) by using a medium such as a blog post and then you share that idea with other people who react, hopefully in the way you desire.

It’s not about “build it and they will come”, publishing includes marketing, advertising, means of production, delivery etc.

To get links you need to be a publisher, you need to publish. Anything else is mechanics, the way or form in which you publish.

Effective publishing involves knowing the audience, achieving an effective ROI, developing relationships with those who consume the published material.

This is where effective link building resides right now. It could be argued that it has always resided in the concept of publishing (and as we know from Reddit pretty much anything can be argued).

Where does that leave you if you want and need links? You are probably not a publisher but sell something like, plumbing supplies online.

You simply have to build an efficient, effective publishing machine. This can be a one man band or a huge army of workers to build out a magnetic for links.

Your effort will have more effect if it is consistent, rather than a few linkbaits here and there.

Go get published and go get links.

Link building

Positive thinking in outreach: How a rejection can be the start of a conversation


When building links, one is always two emails away from rejection. Aside from practical tips for dealing with this situation itself, there are attitude adjustments that should be made. I believe that leaning towards optimism is a great start because optimists are prone to see failure as a setback they will be able to bounce back from.

In his book, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life, Martin Seligman writes “The very thought, ‘Nothing I do matters,’ prevents us from acting”. What’s important here is not to see yourself as a helpless observer in the link building process, but as an active participant with the power to change the course of things.

Paddy Moogan suggests that after rejection, you should reach out again and ask the blogger why he/she isn’t interested in your pitch in order to improve your campaign. It’s a solid and constructive approach, but I think there’s more to it than that…

Dismissing a prospect because they rejected your pitch is bad practice

One of the biggest setbacks I see is that link builders normally approach sites with one specific type of link in mind, and if they can’t get it then they move on to the next potential site. When you are open to new ideas, your pitch is much more flexible; hence you’ve got a better chance to turn that ‘no’ into a door to a ‘yes’.

Something that I like to do is to always have more than one link building idea for each site I contact. Whether it is broken link building, guest posting or a different kind of collaboration such as an interview, I’m always armed with 2-3 possibilities. What happens is that when the blogger rejects my initial pitch, I’m in a position in which I can offer them something new they might like.

The key is to spend enough time on their site to learn about their style, their audience and what’s working for them already. Once you’ve come up with diverse ideas, it’s time to choose the top 3 and reach out to them by pitching the least appealing one (which shouldn’t be a poorly thought idea, by the way.) If the first one you’ve pitched works, then great; if it doesn’t, you’ve got backup.

The byproduct of this approach is that you’ll be exercising your creativity A LOT more than when you’re just focusing on one specific type of link. As a result, there will always be a flow of link building ideas that could be applied to different prospects.

Don’t focus on the ‘no’, be glad you got an answer

To me a failure is not receiving a response at all because that’s the loudest and more conclusive ‘no’ you can get. But when a website owner takes the time to reply to your pitch, he/she is open to engaging in conversation with you. What you do after receiving their reply is what will change the outcome of the exchange, so the ball is in your court.

After I’ve exchanged a number of emails with a blogger or webmaster who has rejected all of my ideas, I will usually ask them what would they be interested in. That one would be the next logical step because I’ve already showed them how determined I am in working together, so asking for their opinion is the easiest way of reaching common ground. Of course I wouldn’t do that right after they’ve rejected my first pitch because most answers would be “just pay me, woman”, and this woman doesn’t like to pay for links.

It’s not just about accepting rejection, it’s about what you do with it

Ammon Johns left an inspiring comment on my post “We are missing the point” and I think that part of what he’s said applies to what we’re discussing here today:

“You have to push the envelope. You have to not only think outside the box, but also climb out of it and move the box to a better location. You need to be creative and original.”

This culture of treating website owners as one-night stands is limiting the growth of link building. Imagine being contacted every day by ‘super nice’ people who want to work with you, but will disappear as soon you tell them that you didn’t like their idea that much. “What a bunch of a-holes”, you may say and you’d be right. That’s not how you’d treat people in the offline world, so why do it online?

As I mentioned before, optimists view adversity as temporary and specific, as opposed to pessimists who are more likely to give up when facing setbacks because they see adversity as unchangeable. One could say that optimism is an important component of achievement: Those who have an optimistic outlook will be more proactive, persistent and won’t abandon hope that easily. For some people, being optimistic comes naturally but if that’s not your case, consider that optimism is an attitude that can be learned and practiced.

I have a tendency to be optimistic and that makes me the way I am in the face of rejection. But there’s another reason why I always try to be proactive in both link building and life: showing how much I care. When you show link prospects that you don’t mind being flexible for the sake of their site and their audience, that’s when the conversation begins.

By Gisele Navarro