Link building is an ever-changing landscape. This is because the search engines make changes to their algorithms to thwart artificial link building, and because link building as a practice continues to morph. As time goes on, more webmasters will become aware of the importance that inbound links have on improving organic search results.
One result of this trend seems to be a significant increase in email requests for links. As a marketing director for a website, I get link requests almost daily from all kinds of Internet entities offering me all sorts of rewards and praise for a link. Every once in a while an offer seems legitimate. The offering website is relevant and responsible. But, otherwise, I read most of the emails quickly and I delete them and unless some legitimacy immediately stands out.
Seize on Personal Encounters
The most productive Internet link building I’ve experienced comes from in-person encounters. Working within your professional and social circles, these meetings can help to reinforce relevance for your website, which can help you decide to add a link, or not.
Asking for a link sometimes means offering one as well. Avoid direct link exchanges, however, because they are frowned upon by search engines and are likely to simply cancel one another out. But, if an exchange is necessary, use any secondary web properties that either of you might have.
There are many places to engage in link building, such as:
- Conventions. No matter what your industry, conventions are a part of it. Conventions are often filled with people who control relevant websites.
- Professional gatherings. These gatherings could be planned events or more casual affairs, but people representing relevant websites are likely to be in attendance.
- Parties. Even at the most general gatherings, you’ll encounter people with websites. Often, people who have little or no knowledge of the search-engine implications are happy to offer a link.
- Travel. If the guy next to you is a windbag, you might as well nudge the conversation towards websites and links.
If you want to start or augment a conversation that leads to a link-building opportunity, simply broach the subject. Business cards are a great way to exchange information. During the exchange is a good time to bring up the possibility of a link. After the initial meeting you can send an email–it’s much more likely to be read than one coming from an unknown entity– and request the link again. Avoid being demanding, but don’t be afraid to simply ask the question.
A Final Note
Link building can be valuable and it doesn’t have to be an exhausting experience. Engaging a single potential link partner in person is more likely to garner a link than sending 25 or 30 or more anonymous emails.