Anyone who is ever been tasked with outreach for their company will know; it is not always easy out there. At best, you get a prompt reply to your email request and an offer to write an article that fits 50 different requirements. At worst, you get ignored or even insulted. Building high-quality links to boost your ranking requires patience, grit determination, and thick skin. And also, a little common sense.
So, before you get started, keep in mind that it’s a marathon and not a sprint. Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, your site won’t climb to the lofty heights of page one on search engine results overnight. But consider the following tips before you get started on your link building campaign to help you along your way.
1. Start Building Relationships
Even more important than the number of links you rack up is the quality relationships you build. At least, if you’re in this for the long run. So, don’t obsess over quantity and place more importance on quality. You can probably get several links from small or spammy sites in a day, but building relationships with quality sites and journalists will take longer.
So, how do you do it? How to do you break the ice over the internet and fall into a journalist’s good favor? It isn’t easy. The truth is that your emails will more than likely go unanswered. But, persistence is key. Take it slow. Get on their radars. Research the types of publications you want to appear on and the journalists who cover topics related to your industry.
Stalk them on Twitter, retweet their content. Don’t just send a blanket email saying how much you liked their article; unless you really read their article. Be clear about what you want and be direct. Journalists don’t have a lot of time. Share their content, flatter their ego, and then send them a perfectly packaged sound bite for an article they’re working on. The less work they have to do the better. If they can copy and paste your beautiful prose, they’re more likely to use it.
2. Try HARO
If you haven’t heard of HARO (Help A Reporter Out) yet, you haven’t been doing this very long. HARO is a free platform you can sign up to and receive updates from journalists looking for sources for their stories. Select the options that apply to your business. If you work for a translation services provider, skip on health and fitness. Select instead of relevant business updates and publications.
HARO, again, is about persistence, luck, and writing a good pitch. If you aren’t particularly skilled with a pen (or rather, keyboard) this is something to leave up to your writers. If your content team is busy, a tactic that works well is getting the outreach and link builders to scour HARO for possibilities and send them to the relevant people.
You need to be timely since most inquiries are needed within a couple of days. Many of your pitches will be ignored, but every now and again you’ll earn a quality link by keeping at it.
3. The Backdoor Approach
The backdoor approach is a very special tactic of mine and I’m going to share it with you. I believe that I even coined the term. You may find the perfect journalist who works for Forbes, Huffington Post, and other desirable publications. But, guess what? You and a thousand others are soliciting these journalists daily and they get a little fed up. So, take the time to find out what else they’re working on that isn’t just the high DA publication you seek.
Many contributors don’t get paid for what they do, so why should they work extra on your article? Try the backdoor approach instead. Find out if they have their own website, if they’re setting up their own business, or if you can send content ideas to their personal blog. It’s more in-depth than following them on Twitter or DM-ing them on LinkedIn. And it shows you care. Do a good job and you’ll get your foot in the door. First step small and just starting up the blog; next step CNN.
A lot of link builders hold the misconception that a link from a site is good enough and once you have it, it’s not worth getting another one. There are so many factors to take into account when building quality links for your site. Yes, raising your SERP ranking is probably the number one. But driving more traffic to your site through the publicity should also carry some weight. And then there’s the issue of link freshness as well.
You see, your links will get buried on a lot of sites eventually and lose their potency. So, when you get the green light to get a link on one site, keep them in a Google doc or excel. Contact them again further along the line and refresh the bond. Get another link, another vote from your friends; keep the momentum going.
5. DA is not the Holy Grail
I’m going to come out and say the thing you’re not supposed to say. DA is not the Holy Grail. It matters, yes, it matters, but it isn’t the only indication of quality. Let’s take a couple of examples. Sites with high traffic don’t always have high DA, but they can send customers your way anyway. The more views increased length on page and engagement, the higher your SERP will be.
Added to that, a clumsily slipped in the link in a quality publication may get flagged up for looking suspicious. Whereas a quality article from a small-but-respectable site is equally as worthy. OK, who am I kidding? Keep going after the high DA sites. Just remember to keep your link portfolio diverse, or it will look like you’re manipulating the results.