When it comes to SEO gold links are going to be the closest equivalent, it’s what we all want and it’s what takes the most amount of effort to obtain. There are a million articles and blog posts out there that will tell you how to get them (articles, guest blogs, or my personal favourite, just create ‘amazing’ content and links will just magically appear). Any good SEO worth their salt knows where to find links; it’s actually getting those links that takes the time and effort.
Link building is all about relationship building and outreach. You’ve found that really nice site, it’s got a good page rank, plenty of high authority links pointing at it, it’s not sending too many links out and it’s completely on topic. All in all getting a link from this page would be perfect.
Look for the contact information, if it’s not staring you in the face do a quick crtl+f because you never know if you’ve just missed it, if it’s hiding at the bottom of the footer or if it’s genuinely not there. If you can’t find it from the home page try the sitemap, if this site is looking as good as you think it should have some basic SEO which should include a sitemap. If there’s no link to the sitemap type it straight into the URL, /sitemap.xml. Most sites these days won’t pass up on the opportunity to get some money, if nothing else they’ll be a contact form under the option to advertise with them.
Now you’ve got their contact details you actually need to contact them, try sending a simple message explaining how much you loved their site and asking if they’d be interested in adding your link and you’re never going to hear back from them. Ideally you need to contact them from your own personal email rather than their contact form as this will add a layer of personalisation, if you’re an in house SEO use your work email as it will also add an extra layer of validity to your request. Try not to use something too generic either; email@example.com probably isn’t going to get a reply.
The most important part is what exactly you say, it’s a bit cheeky to just ask for a link (but then again, you don’t ask you don’t get) so try and have something you can offer them in return. If it’s an industry relevant site maybe you could offer this sites traffic something enticing, a discount on your site, free entry into a competition or a useful PDF download? Content is the other obvious offer you could make, every site loves content almost as much as they love relevant juicy links. Do you have a unique article they could publish? Do you have some unique industry relevant stats that could add to some of their existing content? Could you send them a product they could review? Find something you have that they could use and offer it in exchange for a link.
Make your contact original. If you have some industry research you’ve carried out tell them you were reading their page about ABC and you’ve done this research that you’d be happy for them to use in return for a link. If you want to send them an article or piece of writing tell them about the other pieces you were reading that made you think your piece would fit on their site. If you want them to review a product tell them you loved their review on pink fluffy dice and explain why you think a review on your blue fluffy steering wheel covers would make a good addition. They’re probably going to get a dozen link request emails every day so you need to think of your email like a CV and find a way for it to stand out.
Alternatively you could always pick up the phone. It’s very easy for them to ignore an email or take a quick look at your link and decide they can’t be bothered but if you make the effort to give them a call and actually ask them if they consider giving you a link you’re going to have a much higher success volume. Twitter is also an ideal platform to make contact on, follow them and interact with them, there’s no guarantee they’ll follow you back but if you’ve got something nice to say about their site the chances are they’re going to follow and give you your link.
Jessica works on the SEO for Real Asset Management who are asset tracking software vendors