As we all know, unless you are fortunate enough to have content on a client site go viral due to its sheer brilliance, link building is a time intense activity. Positioning yourself in a niche, building great content, approaching a webmaster for a link– these things don’t happen in the blink of an eye. But I’ve established an excellent way to work on link building campaigns that takes less time than it would to do all the work alone.
The answer is simple – university students. These anxious young minds are jumping for work experience, and link building is a relatively simple task where their success can be easily measured as you give them a head start in the marketing industry.
University students are Internet savvy, decent writers, and cheap in comparison to link-building companies and consultants. The saying “you get what you pay for” does spring to mind, but they aren’t hard to train – they’re used to learning new material. It’s important to note that especially in this economy, university students are having a harder time finding work experience – which can work to our link-building agenda’s advantage.
Step 1: Find the Career Office of a Local University
Universities are eager to reach out to local businesses in order to connect their student with opportunities. Take advantage of this! Most schools have intra-net job sites, where you can post your “Link Building Trainee” opening at no cost.
Step 2: Explain Link Building to Your New Charge
Once I’ve selected Link Builder, I email them link building resources and explain that links from reputable sources are a significant part of a search engine’s algorithm. The more they understand what an important part of SEO links are, the more empowered they’ll feel to do their job well.
Step 3: Identify Linkable Content
The student must understand what parts of the site make for strong content and to whom they appeal. Have them write a quick line or two about which target audiences are interested in the content they have identified and why.
Step 4: Proposed Websites
Depending on how much control you want to exercise, it may be a good idea to have your student draw up a list of websites they propose to contact BEFORE they do it. If the student has understood the target audiences, this step should be easier for them to get the hang of.
Step 5: Email Template or Phone Script
If you’re going straight for the kill and contacting webmasters directly, show your student examples of past emails you’ve sent when link building. Naturally, they should be to the point, personalized, and demonstrate your site’s involvement/relevancy enough to convince a webmaster.
If your student is phoning the website, run over with them who they should speak to and how they should present the content – it’s worth writing a script to ensure there is no confusion.
Step 6: A Log
It is important your student keep a log of their communication with different bloggers and webmasters. Be sure this data is in YOUR control, so if the student leaves for summer holiday or gets ill, you know who they’ve conversed with.
Before I end this, I must say a word about student salary. While cheap, be fair and compensate university students for their time; at the very least reimburse them for travel and lunch when they come into the office. That said, go find yourself an aspiring Link Builder – while freeing up your time to focus on more important tasks, your Builder will be gaining valuable employment experience.
Chelsea Blacker is a London based search consultant currently working at Base One Search With a background in SEO & PPC cultivated at Promediacorp in NYC, Chelsea focuses on engaging B2B brands in social media and online PR. If you want to further procrastinate from getting on with your real work, check out her current Marketing Pilgrim post You Know You Work in Search When… or say hi to her on twitter @ChelseaBlacker