The Critical Importance of Relationship Building in Building Backlinks
Quality inbound links are one of the single most important factors that determine how well your website ranks in the organic search results. Despite multiple algorithm updates that have discredited many backlink acquisition tactics, Google still relies heavily on backlinks to weigh the value of your website for its search users, and is likely to continue to do so for some time to come.
Back in the good old days, a quantity of backlinks from practically any source was good enough to propel a website to the top of the organic search results. Those days are long gone, and today Google demands that inbound links be editorially earned and come from high-quality authority sites. Irrelevant, spammy links will only get your site penalized and possibly de-indexed.
The problem is that the best authority sites have been overwhelmed with requests for backlinks coming from marketers offering poorly written, irrelevant content with little or no value for the reader. As a result, many webmasters are turning a deaf ear to unsolicited linking proposals coming from someone they don’t even know.
If You Build a Relationship First, the Links Will Follow
- Acquiring backlinks today is more about building relationships than it is about building links.
- Webmasters want proof that you are capable of providing high-quality content that will resonate with their audience. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by building a “portfolio” of original articles on your own blog that demonstrates your abilities and knowledge of your niche.
- Webmasters need to be sure that your articles are unique and are not being “spammed” to hundreds of other potential link providers. Taking a chance on an unknown contributor is simply not worth the risk of getting slapped with a penalty for duplicate content.
1. Create a list of the movers and shakers who are the top influencers for your niche. A good place to start is by Googling your niche to find relevant blogs. FollowerWonk.com and Topsy.com are two additional resources for identifying influencers. Be sure to take note of blog URLs and social media connections for each influencer you find.
2. Make your initial contact. Forget about sending a cold email – it’ll probably get filtered into a spam folder. One of the most effective initial contacts you can make is to leave an insightful and interesting comment on the influencer’s blog. Don’t ask for anything at this stage – your goal is to make a series of contacts that will help get your name onto the influencer’s radar screen. Try to be one of the first to make a comment.
3. Twitter is another great stage for making your initial contact as long as you plan your outreach for maximum impact. Don’t try to reply to every Tweet – save your ammunition for question, poll, or help tweets that are more likely to capture the influencer’s attention.
4. Google+ is prime real estate for connecting with influencers because it tends to be less crowded than other venues. Add the person you’re following to your circles and post a comment.
5. After you’ve spent some time getting acquainted, it’s time to follow up with value – give them a reason to want to link to you. Check the influencer’s blog for a guest post guidelines section. If you don’t find one, do a Google search for past guest posts by adding “guest post” or “guest author” to the end of the blog’s URL.
6. Examine the blog for opportunities for improving popular content or upgrading older content. Never ask for a link. If you provide genuinely useful content of value, the links will follow.