Building a great backlink profile is one of the most important aspects for ranking on a SERP and quite possibly the most difficult part of search engine optimization. We are all eager to get links and see our clients rush up the ranks to the coveted 1, 2, 3 positions and the more sophisticated Google's algorithm becomes, the better it is able to pick up the best content for our queries.
However, simply having great content doesn't always get you the link. It's best to reach out to bloggers and webmasters for the purpose of building a foundation for an ongoing relationship. Those of us who write and develop content rely on great information to source when working on a piece—no matter what subject.
Link builders need to have a vested connection to the material and it needs to come across in their pitch along with stunning affability. I can't tell you when you'll connect with a great collaborator who invites you to openly publish for 50 of their websites, but I can tell you it's always possible.
First impressions WILL make or break you
Think of it as if you are approaching someone for a first date. First impressions are just as important here as they are when trying to get that all-important first date. Some bloggers are inundated with spam requests on a daily basis and are quite jaded when it comes to guest blogging queries; this is why it is important to show your personality and be warm.
Be engaging, specific, and don't be upset if no one is getting back to your well-crafted query. Play with a few different approaches and be mindful of your prospective reader.
Give a concise description of what you are developing and how you think it will fit in well with their content.
Get to know them
This is where the research comes into play. Knowing the contact's existing content and where your ideas can fit in can be a good catalyst for collaboration. I have had great success with reaching out as a collaborator—wishing to be a part of the conversation a particular blog or website is creating.
As you would expect, a site with high authority can be quite selective. High authority sites tend to only respond to thoughtful pitches that are tailored to them. Catering your pitch to the blog's overall context shows that you are an informed follower of their blog, Twitter, Facebook profiles, and what-have-you.
I also read as much of the contact's blog as I can in the time I have. This informs the tone and style of my pitch. If the blogger has content that is relevant to your client's industry, then get on it and pitch them a related content idea that they haven't covered yet. However, I am always sure to end a specific pitch like this with an offer to tackle any subject matter they would really like covered.
Know the difference between good and bad content
Immerse yourself in the content research. High-level bloggers and webmasters most likely get a lot of intelligent pitches and yours will need to stand out with something unique. Good content has unique substance, offers value to the readers you are targeting, and has personality. Great content doesn't read like a menu; it has a genuine, personal take behind it. Poor spelling and grammar are obvious indicators of bad content. However, other writing aspects like tone, style, and voice can be equally as important.
Remember that you are building a network of valued relationships that you want to last; these are not just one-off chances to get a link. These tips have helped develop great, ongoing blogger relationships that work to the advantage of all the clients I represent. Nurture your contacts and they will reciprocate.
Do you have any great tips to build relationships for ongoing link-building? Let us know in the comments below or tweet at @BFMweb