This is arguably the most powerful linkbuilding technique there is. Having great relationships around you to availably help you out in your linkbuilding efforts is a priceless arsenal to behold for any linkbuilder. The idea is simple.
Give and Take
All relationships start with something – usually a conversation. As a linkbuilder myself, I always make it a point to communicate with the thought leaders in my niche – usually just for the heck of it. Talking with a friend doesn’t have to have any motive behind it. And that builds the relationship between both parties.
In the internet, communication can be in a form of various methods. It can be through a Tweet, a blog comment, an email, even a Facebook Page wall post! Believe me, a Tweet can go a long way. Jason Acidre and I started a linking partnership together through just a Tweet – and we got to know each other from there on.
Ana Hoffman, on the other hand, contacted me through email to invite me to guest post in her blog (which I did – about the importance of URL Slugs). This started a series of linking to and fro between us for the different blog entries that we have. It also started a mutual sharing relationship between us with our latest entries.
Kristi Hines has always been a very generous linker. A simple email to her asking about her opinion on using Google+ over Facebook sparked a great linking relationship between us. She has published numerous extremely helpful posts out in the web. She’s everywhere! And I’m ultimately privileged to be mentioned (and linked to) in her Friday roundups.
These are just samples of relationships that I’ve built over the course of my work in SEO Hacker.
It’s all about Relationships
That is what Linkbuilding comes down to. In the real world, links pertain to referrals or references. If a good friend told you that you should buy an iPhone 4s and you’re looking to buy a new smartphone, his referral will influence you. Meaning, the iPhone 4s has been leveraged as an option in your life because of your friend’s influence over you as a good friend.
A link works the same way. It leverages that which it points to – in the online world. And if the link’s source is an influence over you, you will follow it. This link bears weight to you. And if it bears weight to a lot of other people, then it must be a good link. A trustworthy link. Therefore, that which it points to must be good. It must also be trustworthy.
All relationships around the linker, the destination and the link itself is affected. Just like in real life – the referrer, the buyer and the referred is affected by a single referral.
The best, purest form of linkbuilding should be about building relationships. If you have relationships around you that you can tap, it makes it all the easier for you to build great, quality links.
First Step – Say Hi
Almost all the time, if it’s you who needs links, you’re the one who needs to reach out. There is virtually an unlimited amount of resources at your disposal that enables you to reach out to the thought leaders and other publishers in your niche. Tweet them, email them, tap them on the back, you can even set a meeting and buy them coffee!
Our world today makes relationship building so much easier. Technology has made everyone easily reachable. Use this to your advantage.
Second Step – Give
Don’t go shooting out Tweets or Emails asking for links. That’s just not gonna work! You have to be a giver first. Genuinely participate in their blogs and the things that matter to them in order for them to give you their attention. Expecting something in return for nothing is wishful thinking.
Perhaps you need to link out to them or interview them or cite them as a source in your blog. Anything that enables you to give to them is a plus. In this step, you are reaching out to these people to show them you are interested in building a relationship with them.
Third Step – Ask
Don’t be shy, you can sometimes ask a link or two if you have a linkable asset that they can use as a source. Once you got their attention and you’re sure you’ve given to them, there is now no reason for you to try and ask nicely for a link or two. Sometimes, if you’re very confident that they will notice you without asking, you can skip this step. In my case, the third step has generated me a bunch of great, quality links that I would otherwise have forfeited.
Fourth Step – Keep Talking
A relationship can die out if it’s left stale for a long time. If you don’t keep the communication going, it would soon be hard to ask for a link again. Giving is always a part of a relationship. Asking is an option. But communication is a must. Keep that Retweet button hot, tell them how much you liked their latest entry, give them a heads-up that you linked to them in your blog, etc…
Tips for Keeps: Get your ass off your comfort zone and learn to say ‘Hi’ – who knows how that relationship can affect your linkbuilding campaign?