You know you need links. Links are the key to ranking. You can comment on blogs, write articles, build Web 2.0 properties all day, but what you really need are other sites to link to you – specifically authoritative sites that are relevant to you. How do you do that?!
It’s called Webmaster Outreach – the process of contacting authoritative, relevant sites and convincing them to place a link to your site on theirs. And it’s probably the most difficult, time consuming of all link building strategies. Here are a few ideas that may help you with your webmaster outreach.
Find the right kinds of sites to link to.
- Search the keyword you want to rank for. Example: You rent heavy equipment and you want to rank for the keyword “trencher Kansas City“. When you search that keyword, you’ll see who the search engines see as relevant for that keyword.
- Weed out any site that is a competitor. Of course, they aren’t going to want to link to you.
- Look for sites that are category relevant. Maybe you find the manufacturer of the trencher you rent. Maybe you find instructions on how to use a trencher, or an article about the different uses of a trencher. Maybe you find a local ditching or landscaping company. All good candidates for a backlink.
- Look for blogs or forums where you can post a link without having to ask for it. (This isn’t exactly webmaster outreach, but while you’re here…)
- Do another search – this time not as specific – just category relevant. Example: Google “sprinkler installation” or “how to build a rock wall” – jobs that need trenchers. It might make sense for them to link to a resource that can provide a trencher.
Just about any site that ranks for your keyword and isn’t a competitor is a good candidate for webmaster outreach. Of course sites with more authority, lots of quality content, few advertisers and outbound links, even PageRank may be better opportunities than others. But a link is a link. And these links are relevant – so I like ‘em!
Get the publisher to post your link.
- Write something informative and creative on your site or blog. So you rent trenchers. So what? Why is that worth linking to? Lots of people rent trenchers. But what if you had a great article about trencher safety or uses for a trencher? That could inspire a link.
- Offer to write something for their blog. All websites want and need fresh content. If you’re willing to write an article for their blog, they’ll probably be happy to reciprocate with a link.
- Look for social media opportunities. If they have a facebook page, like them. If they are on twitter, follow them. If they Google+, circle them. Create a relationship so that they are more likely to see you as a friend than as a leach just looking for a link.
- Pick up the phone! It’s easy to disregard your email request for a link as SPAM, but a phone call may actually impress the person on the other end and generate a conversation about a synergistic relationship.
- Offer a special deal. If the publisher ever needs your services or his readers do, maybe you can work out a special discount or incentive.
- Offer cash. Hey, don’t judge me. Cash talks, and a lot of webmasters expect payment for a link. Sure, Google says it’s a no no, but how will they ever know? I’m just sayin’.
A couple of things worth noting.
- When it comes to geography – if you’re a local business, try to get the publisher to put your city in your anchor text, even if their site isn’t anywhere near or about your city. But even if they won’t, it can still be a great link.
- Many publishers will want to trade links. You’re welcome to do this, but know that a reciprocated link is way less valued than a one-way link.
Webmaster outreach has the potential to get you some of the best links out there. You can often get an in-content link in a relevant article on a relevant site with good authority. Really, that’s about the best link anyone could ask for.
Obviously, the price is high – and I’m not taking about paying for the link. I’m talking about the time involved. I’ve heard of clients chasing a link for months before getting it to come to fruition. What is your time worth? This is one link building strategy you may want to consider outsourcing.
Thanks for reading,
Are you a website publisher? Read Webmaster Outreach – Should I Place Links On My Site?