Sometimes your link building efforts produce absolutely nothing of value.
Sometimes you do the exact same searches and use the exact same methods that have always worked for you, but they don’t work right now.
What do you do when this happens?
My link builders, even the most experienced and successful ones, will sometimes run into obstacles. Same thing happens to me.
What I always advise them (and I try to remember for myself) is this: do something totally different.
Here are seven ways to shake up your link building efforts.
1. Search differently
- Start from page 10 or even 20 and work your way up the Google SERPs.
- Grab a few of your competitors URLs and run them through a backlink checker, then go to the best backlinks and check their backlinks.
- Use a search engine other than Google. Use DuckDuckGo, Bing or Million Short.
- Use Quora.
- Do totally random and crazy searches. It might not be your thing, but some of our link builders used to add a curse word to their searches. We found some pretty cool sites that way.
- Experiment with advanced search operators, such as the AROUND operator. Here is an example query for [budgeting AROUND(2) software]:
Note that you get different results than when you just search [budgeting software]:
- If you use one tool for link prospecting, use another, or find one you haven’t tried and try that one. Many link tools have a free trial so you can test out a few if you want.
- Search for images, videos and news. Sometimes when you search these areas you will find sites that may have been lower in the SERPs, but they can be great link partners.
- Search social sites. Twitter’s advanced search is very useful. Searching Facebook can lead you to great content.
2. Reach out in a new way
Perhaps you have more success with email outreach for link building. Instead, try:
- Call for a webmaster.
- Find the webmaster on Twitter and engage them in the conversation, then ask for a link once you’re comfortable.
- Find them on other social sites, like LinkedIn and Facebook.
- Meet in person, especially if you’re building local connections.
3. Realize that less is sometimes more
We are all very busy people, so recognize that no webmaster wants to read a thesis.
Review your introductory email and keep it to a minimum. You want something so ask for it quickly and get straight to the point without needing four email exchanges to get it done.
If you are on the phone, do not insist. Just express your point of view and request your link without asking a lot of questions and without giving information that no one really wants to know anyway.
Yes, emails should be personalized, but you can still do it while being direct and to the point.
If you’re lucky enough to work with other link builders or marketers on your project, take a few moments to brainstorm new ideas and ways to solve problems.
Sometimes someone who isn’t working on the same thing as you can more easily see different possibilities or identify new solutions to old problems.
It doesn’t even have to be a link builder! If you work on a video game site and you don’t play video games, ask someone who does, for example. You might get amazing ideas this way.
5. Think of a different place
Although I wouldn’t really recommend doing this, as it’s unprofessional, we used to send a few of our staff over with some money for a few drinks, and they honestly came up with ideas for really amazing link building that worked really well. .
One of my best link builders will occasionally work from home very early in the morning, just so he already has a different perspective for him. I do a lot of my work from home, but sometimes going to the office for a few hours really allows me to focus and come up with new ideas.
Host a meeting at the local coffee shop instead of your office, or go out to lunch with members of your team.
Sometimes just seeing different landscapes is enough to trigger new and fresh ideas. Just walking around the block can even help.
6. Get a second opinion
Have someone proofread your link request and ask how you can improve it.
Ask someone who isn’t in the industry to look at your email or content and ask for their opinion on the clarity of the points.
The purpose of raising awareness is also not always clear.
I received emails asking me to take a look at an article. Are they hoping for a link? Do they want me to tweet it?
It’s best to ask what you want and not leave people wondering.
It’s silly, you think, but it’s not always easy to recognize your own weaknesses. Sharing your work with someone else makes it easier to locate and resolve issues.
7. Persist in your efforts
Sometimes there are various reasons why you are having difficulty.
Maybe you are targeting a group in a country that is enjoying a major holiday and that is why you are not getting any response. Maybe your emails are going to spam folders or you have an outdated phone number.
Because you’re experiencing a downturn, you might be tempted to stop altogether or totally rethink what you’re doing.
Sometimes, however, simple perseverance is the key.
We’ve found that following up multiple times tends to net us a lot more links than if we only sent one email.
All in all, link building really isn’t that complicated. However, link building is a very, very tedious and time-consuming job.
Shaking things up a bit can usually bring things to light and restore your optimism. So what have you got to lose?
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All screenshots taken by author, June 2018