Sometimes your link building efforts produce absolutely nothing at all of value. Sometimes you conduct the exact same research and use the exact same methods that have always worked for you, but they aren’t working right now. What do you do?
My link builders will occasionally run into stumbling blocks, even the most experienced and successful ones. What I always advise them is this: do something totally different.
Start from page 10 and work your way back in the Google SERPs. Grab a few of your competitors’ URLs and run them through a backlink checker, then go to the best backlinks and check their backlinks.
Follow the blogrolls for those sites, and maybe you’ll find something you haven’t seen before. Use Bing! Use directories. Do some totally random and crazy searches. If you use one tool for link research, use another one, or find one that you haven’t tried and try that one.
Reach Out In A New Way
Maybe you’re most successful with email outreach for link building. Try calling a webmaster instead. Try finding the webmaster on Twitter and engaging him or her in conversation, then ask for a link once you’re comfortable.
Realize That Less is Sometimes More
We’re all very busy people so recognize that no webmaster wants to read a thesis. Look over your introductory email and pare it down to the minimum. You want something so ask for it quickly and get to the point without it taking 4 email exchanges to do so. If you’re on the phone, don’t go on and on, just state your point and ask for your link without asking loads of questions and giving out information that no one really wants to know anyway.
If you’re lucky enough to work with other link builders or marketers on your project, take a few moments to brainstorm new ideas and ways to solve problems. Sometimes someone who is not working on the same thing that you are can more easily see different avenues of opportunity, or identify new solutions to old problems.
Think In A Different Place
While I wouldn’t really recommend doing this, as it’s kind of unprofessional, we used to send a few of our staff out with money for a few drinks, and they did honestly come up with some truly amazing link building ideas that really worked well. One of my best link builders will occasionally work from home in the very early morning, just so he has a different perspective already there for him.
Have a meeting at the local coffee shop instead of in your office. Occasionally, just viewing different scenery is enough to trigger new and fresh ideas.
Get A Second Opinion
Have someone read over your link request and ask how you can make it better. Have someone who isn’t in the industry look over your email or content and ask for opinions on whether or not the points are clear. We recently did an amazing infographic that I showed to a good friend, and his first question was “what is the purpose of this?” I’d never considered that the purpose needed to be clear.
Silly, you might think, but it’s not always easy to recognize your own weaknesses. Sharing your work with someone else makes the trouble spots easier to locate and fix.
Persist In Your Efforts
Sometimes there are various reasons why you’re having a harder time. Perhaps you’re targeting a group in a country that’s enjoying a major holiday and that is why you’re not getting any responses. Maybe your emails are being sent to the spam folders, or you have an outdated phone number. Because you are experiencing a slowdown you might be tempted to stop completely or totally rethink what you’re doing, but sometimes simple persistence is the key.
All told, link building is really not that tricky but it is very, very tedious and time-consuming work. Shaking things up a bit can usually bring things to light and restore your optimism, so what do have to lose?