If “content is king”, links are the king’s supporting army, quietly helping the kingdom grow in power and authority. Unfortunately, as with a physical army, as most links get older they – or rather their influence – begins to deteriorate. Why won’t a powerful link just stay a powerful link? Why can’t you just build a huge amount of links once, and then never again? A few reasons:
- Search engines don’t just want links; they want fresh, quality links. If a website was linked to in the past, it indicates that the site was considered an authority – once. However, if a website is continually being linked to, it not only builds past authority higher, but also indicates that the site is still considered an authority.
- Directory links gain more competition. You have competing websites for your keyword, right? Many of these competing businesses also know about link building. As time goes by, more links will end up on the directory page with yours; by the end of a year, you may have hundreds, or even thousands, of links with which your site now shares its “link juice”. Therefore, the quality of the link deteriorates.
- Websites close. You have 1,000 sites linking to yours – at least, you did the last time you checked. However, the Internet fluxuates rapidly; sites rise and fall on a continual basis. How many of those 1,000 sites are still live? How many have closed down, effectively killing part of your link army?
Other possible reasons exist, but these are some of the most common. Once you know that links deteriorate, what do you do? Of course, the obvious answer is to go out and find more – but where are they hiding?
15 Ways to Find Your Link Army
When you begin building a linking campaign, you first want to decide what the purpose of the links will be. For example:
- Keyword ranking
- Higher PR
- Higher traffic
If you’re targeting all three purposes, you can find links based on each goal separately, or on all three at once. Finding links that meet all three goals is more time consuming and research intensive, but provides the most effective, high quality linking.
You’re saying, “Yes, yes, high quality links, but let’s get to the nitty gritty. Where do I find them?” Here are a few places, numbered but in no particular order:
- Sites linking to your competitors
- Sites relevant to your own, or to a specific page you have
- Relevant blogging sites
- Business directories: Note that this is “business” directories, not “site” directories. For example, young entrepreneurs may find a “young entrepreneurs” directory for B2B. Another example would be your local Merchant’s Circle.
- Product review sites
- Any partners you may have
- Sites whose visitors might find your information useful
- Search for sites that linked to recently expired competitive/relevant domains.
- Sites with your chosen keyword in the URL – i.e. www.keyword.com
- All about “keyword” sites
- Scan relevant sites for broken links.
- Make relevant, thoughtful comments on “do follow” sites.
- Relevant publication sites
- Create microsites dedicated to specific keywords.
- Create relationships on social media platforms: Note – don’t just come out and ask for a link. This method is slow, and is really more about the relationship than the link. Eventually, once the relationship is built, the individual will most likely link to your site because they like it and you.
3 Email Examples
Develop a listing of these types of sites based on your linking purpose. For link building that requires it, contact the webmaster (preferably with firstname@email rather than info@email) with a personal email – NOT a generic email. Be straightforward, not whiny, begging or sneaky. A few examples:
Email Example #1
I noticed that [link] on your site is broken. I’d like to suggest this link on my site [your link] as a substitution. Please use [key word or phrase] as the link text, and do let me know if your visitors could use any other type of information I might be able to provide.
Email Example #2
I’ve been reading your blog and find it [insert adjective]. I’d love to contribute with a guest post. I’m knowledgeable in [industry] as you can see from my site [site address]. Do you have a specific topic you think your readers may be interested in or specific keywords you’re targeting? Please let me know what your requirements are for guest posts, and when a new post would be useful.
Email Example #3
I came across your site recently and find it [insert adjective]. I recently wrote an article that I feel would be useful to your readers, posted here [article address]. Please use the title to link to it, and don’t hesitate to let me know if you think you could use any other information available on my site.
Does finding high quality links take time? You Betcha. Yes, it does. It takes time, dedication and research. However, the return on that time investment in terms of meeting your link purpose goals can be unbelievable. Now get out there and get to building your link army!
Post image by Frank Kovalchek