How to Get Other Sites to Link to Your Site
I frequently get requests from other sites in my niche to link back to them. The majority of them I will deny because their sites are crap and their request is lame. Yet when I email other webmasters requesting links, I have a very high success rate. Here’s how I do it.
Use the good dishes
Most importantly- you need your best content where other webmasters can see it and that’s the first page of your site. EVERY article on your first page has to be top notch. Most site owners are not going to spend all day poking around your site- they’ll go to the first page and maybe click on a post or two from there. If you need to change dates around or otherwise manipulate your site so older better content is on the front page- do it. Ideally you want original content and not rehashed versions of content on other sites but whatever is the best content you can offer that’s what you want.
Put your good stuff on page one, ask for some links and then you can go back to the same lame generic content you had before. But while you’re in the link request process, keep the good stuff up. That incredible post you’ve been saving until your site gets more popular because you want more people to see it- put it up NOW. If you have a new site, build up some content first before asking for links- it’s much easier for a more established site to get links.
I scratch your back, you scratch mine
Next you want add your target sites to your blogroll or link page. Remember you can always delete these links later if the other site chooses not to link back to you. It builds a much more convincing case for a webmaster to link to you when you’ve already linked to their site. Then click on the link. This is to make sure it works and also so that your site appears as a referring site in your target webmaster’s statistics program (obviously this will go unnoticed for massively popular site but for smaller websites site owners will DEFINITELY take notice of your site in their stats even if it’s just you clicking).
Webmasters are vain
Now go use your cellphone (not via wifi though) to click on it too. If you can change your IP address easily, or have access to the web at work, school, or elsewhere, or have some willing friends, go ahead and click on your link there too, spreading out your clicking throughout the day. Now it looks like 2, 3, 4, or more people are going to his site from your link. These numbers may be small but remember if your target site is getting 500 visitors per day and you’ve managed to make it look like 5 different people are coming from your site, that’s 1% which should get you noticed. Webmasters always check their stats, often obsessively because they’re all super vain. Use their vanity to get on their radar.
This time it’s personal
Now that you’ve set everything up on your end, it’s time to send an email off to the owners of your target sites. (I’ll cover how to find sites that will link back to you in a later post, btw.) The important thing in the email is to make it personal. Find the owner’s name from the contact page on the site or elsewhere and USE IT. An email sent to me addressed “Dear JMoney” will get read more closely than one that says “Dear ExposedSEO”. DO NOT use a mail merge and send the same generic letter to every webmaster. MAKE IT PERSONAL. Tell them why you like their site in a few GENERAL words. Make sure you really go their site and get a real feel for what it is.
Your recent post… insert link here …was good
Don’t talk about or link to a recent post on the target site- this makes it clear that you don’t know the site at all and you’ve simply picked a recent post to make it look like you do (I get at least one of these form letters a week and it’s always clear that they have not spent more than 5 seconds on my site: there must be some SEO “guru” out there telling everyone to do this).
Here’s an example- “I really like your post on ExposedSeo.com on How to Get Other Sites to Link to Your Site, it taught me a lot about linking strategies with other sites”. That’s HORRIBLE. BAD BAD BAD. Thanks for summarizing content I wrote that you didn’t even read completely. No link for you. A better email would say something like “I’ve been reading your site for a while and you always have great SEO tips that I wouldn’t have thought of myself and have been able to use for some of my sites”. MUCH BETTER. It sounds like you’ve read more than just one post.
The point is that even if you are a shady webmaster just trying to get links from this other site, you don’t want to make it seem like you’re a shady webmaster trying to get links. You want to come off friendly and complimentary to the other site owner. You want to look like a long time fan of the site, even if you’re not. You want to be his new best friend, blog buddies forever, skipping off together into the big blog rainbow sunset. Make sure you mention that you’ve already linked to his awesome site and don’t forget to give the link to your site (he’s not psychic, he can’t link to you if he doesn’t know what your site is).
Keeping records is not just for DJs
And of course if you don’t get an answer back or a link back within a week or so, delete the link on your site. The other important point is to keep track of which sites you’ve asked, what email address you sent it to and what their response was. A simple 3 column spreadsheet or just a text document works fine. The reason is that you want to keep this list of all webmasters in your niche for later use, whether it’s to ask for a link again in a year, or simply to network.