There’s a been a ton of noise the last 12 months about bad link building practices . There are seemingly never ending cases of companies hiring some ill informed hack SEO firm to do their link building that ultimately jeopardizes the clients web presence as well as their brand severely. Read the JC Penney case outlined above or Overstock for truly vivid examples.
These hack agencies typically employ some type of bot like SEONUKE or Scrapebox that troll the web on auto pilot submitting, syndicating, social bookmarking, and spinning low grade content that screams to Google ban me.
The newest shiny object on the block is Link Wheels. @Ryan Clark just today dropped a post about the major concerns with Link Wheels and how the misinformed are digging themselves very deep holes that they may not be able to climb out of.
So let’s do this SEO’s, let’s put the big hefty tools and poorly formed link schemes aside and create real relationships. Relationships = natural links. By creating real relationships you never put your clients in harms way.
Link building in its truest form involves a cold call with the aim of building a relationship which benefits both parties. Stop wasting time chasing down thousands of low quality links and have your link builders work on finding relevant, authoritative sites with which to build links and most importantly LONG TERM relationships.
So how do you get your team up and rolling with relationship building?
Well, get the ball rolling by instilling some healthy fear into the team by painting the worst case scenario of how a site can be caught buying links, what happens when they are and how your team would be publicly tarred and feathered if making the same mistakes.
Secondly, they’ll need a few admin items:
• Company email address.
• Outreach worksheets containing target lists. (Creating a target list to come in a later blog)
• Workflows and worksheets for record keeping. Check out Raven Tools for some kick a$$ record keeping.
• A simple email outreach template for link building and tips on how to personalize and customize each request to ensure a better response rate.
Finally, the subject of today’s post!
In addition to setting a framework for frequent updates, we outlined the following 12 check-list for things to check prior to sending out a link request email which ensure that all outbound communication is personalized, spell-checked and does not amount to a blatant link buying request email.
Before sending out an email, please ensure that the
1. Email comes from an official company email address.
• This helps build trust – recipients often visit company website to find out who they are dealing with, make sure to leave a good impression.
2. Email has been personalized to address the recipient E.g. Dear Sir, Advertising Representative, Webmaster or Person’s Name.
• This tells the recipient it’s not a blanket email which indicates a more genuine request.
3. You have introduced yourself.
• This helps personalize the request and build further trust with the recipient.
4. You have mentioned the type of client making the request, but not made specific references to the client’s domain or company name.
• Not mentioning your client specifically ensures them safety through anonymity.
• Mentioning the client’s industry sets a context for enquiry & indicates to the recipient that the request is genuine.
5. You have not mentioned buying links – pose the request as one for a Text Based Advertorial, Advert or Content Partnership, Article Exchange etc.
• This prevents a link request email being from perceived as a blatant request for paid links – which can kill an organic seo campaign if a link spam complaint is filed with search engines such as Google by the recipient.
6. You have reviewed the client site and provided a specific reference to them and their website from which you’d like advertising.
• This further personalizes the outreach to the recipient and shows them that you’ve reviewed their site and have a legitimate enquiry.
7. Thank the recipient for their time & indicate that they should reply to request further information of they are interested.
• This is a cold-call so be sure to remember your manners, it helps to build credibility, establish character and trust.
8. Sign-off with your name and contact details.
• Create a simple email signature to append to all outbound emails; this makes it easy for recipients to reply to your request.
9. Copy in your team leader on all outbound emails.
• This allows your team leader or link builder to have full context when following up on favorable responses to initiate and conclude link deals.
• CCing your team lead also allows for recording and monitoring of outbound emails for frequency and quality.
10. Spell-Check and send.
• By this stage the outbound email should be personalized, specific and error free, ready to go.
11. Enter contacts details into the appropriate link outreach sheet.
• This helps to ensure that month end recons and reports are quick, easy and accurate.
• This also allows the tracking of outreach productivity for monthly performance related bonuses.
12. Check for replies – notify your team lead with a follow up request.
• Strike while the iron is hot! Use a task management app or in-house system to quickly create notifications and tasks for link builders to follow up on positive responses.
There you have it, 12 things to include in your email pre-flight check when sending outbound email requests for links, partnerships or advertising on behalf of your clients. Keep these in mind and you can be assured your help can hit the campaign trail quickly and begin building not just relationships, not only links.