How I Acquired Several PR4+ Links With Personalized E-mails
Written by: Nick LeRoy
Link building is undoubtedly the most difficult aspect of SEO. Some may prefer blog comments, directory listings, and message board signatures to increase their link counts. The reality is that even one medium valued link on a niche related site will be of more value than 100 low quality links that have been mentioned above. Anyways, if you're reading this article you probably already know about this and want the goods... hold on tight.
Using the combination of advanced search operators and the reciprocity link building method written by Melanie Nathan I have been able to achieve several highly valuable links for clients. While each individual link may not throw anyone to the top of Google, it sure will help the overall project. Did I mention that these links were pretty easy to get and only required a couple friendly e-mails? I didn't think it was possible but this is about as close as it gets for "easy links".
Searching For The Right Sites
Using several advanced search operators including "keyword+inurl:links" I was able to target websites that have a links or resources page. Using this technique can really open your eyes to how many PR4+ niche related link opportunities are available to you. Using this technique above I was able to complete a list within an Excel spreadhseet in less then a couple hours. When starting my list of sites I added any site that I thought offered value. I did however make a field for 'notes' so that if something came to mind while glancing at certain pages I could jot it down for analysis.
After completing the initial list of sites that I was interested in obtaining a link from I started visiting each page looking at site metrics, link counts and most importantly a valid reason to contact the webmaster. This is the key! Click through the links and see if any of them are broken, redirected, or simply converted to parked ad spaces. If you can find even one of the above issues it gives you a great opportunity to contact the author.
Making The Most Out Of The First Contact
Look around the website and find the webmaster's name. I can't stress how much this helps when writing a personalized e-mail. Sometimes you're fortunate to find an e-mail address that contains their first/last name but other times you might have to search for an 'about' page or another page mentioning their name. After finding the webmasters e-mail address and figuring out their name, it's time to write the e-mail.
I personally like to use the subject line "found broken links on your site". It's straight to the point and it peeks the interest of the webmaster. The subject line of your e-mail will completely make or break your link acquisition opportunity. If it's not compelling enough to make them open the e-mail then you have zero chance of garnering a new link. Avoid subject lines such as "links", "Links Page"and other subject lines that might make the webmaster think you're only interested in helping yourself. Remember that the key to the reciprocity method is helping out the webmaster.
You now have written your subject line and addressed the webmaster by name, now what? This is when you mention that you found some issues with their website. Be specific but don't give away too much information otherwise they have no reason to ever reply back to you. One of my favorite 'template' e-mails is something like...
Subject line: Broken Links Found!
I was browsing your website this morning when I stumbled upon a couple broken links on this page. (http://www.linksite.com/links). Would this be the best e-mail for me to send you a small list of the broken links I jotted down?
I was also wondering if you consider site suggestions for this page? I know of a great site that is (enter niche) related that you're readers may really enjoy. Let me know, I can forward the URL along with the broken links.
Have a great day! :-)
- Nick (Or another link building alias)"
Take Aways From The E-mail Sent
Notice how the subject line was intriguing enough to get the webmaster to open the e-mail? The message included a service to the webmaster (broken link reporting) but also requires them to write back for the in depth response. It's very important that you don't give the broken link info to the webmaster in the first e-mail. You want to confirm that they read the first e-mail and took the time to respond to you. If they do this then your chances of having them follow through with the page update increases. In addition you just opened up a successful line of communication with the potential linker.
The E-Mail Response
Don't expect a response from every webmaster you write. Many times the site isn't being managed anymore, the e-mail address is bad, or the webmaster truly doesn't care that there are errors on the site. It's even possible that they will do the homework themselves and correct the broken links without even getting back to you (this is what happened to me on a PR7 link apportunity... doh!). However, you are on the right trail when you get a response such as...
"Hi Nick! (Or whatever link alias you gave them)
Yes - this is the right address, please forward broken links here. I do accept suggestions but they must fit the theme of the site.
- Johnio Webmaster"
BINGO! Not only were you successful in getting a response but they are actively waiting for your reply. Once you forward them a list of broken links they may be more compelled to add your site.
The Follow Up E-mail
The webmaster is now expecting an e-mail back and in addition has invited you to suggest your site. The key to your response e-mail is to make your site suggestion first. If you give them the broken links list first they may get too caught up in their sites issues to follow through to the end of the e-mail. So make your site suggestion followed by any errors found.
"Johnio Webmaster, (Remember you're probably on a first name basis at this point)
Thanks for the quick response! The site I wanted to suggest to you is http://www.pleaselink2me.com. I was thinking that it would be most appropriate under your (enter cateogory or part of link/resources page if applicable.) I really think your readers will enjoy this site.
Here are the broken links I fround on page (enter URL of page you want a link on here.)
Link 1 - www.brokenlinks.com
Link 2 - www.broken-links.org
I Really hope this broken links list helps you out and thanks again for letting me make a site suggestion :-)
Nick (Or link building alias)"
Real Life Example That Helped Me Obtain Several PR4+ Links
Please note that this link started out by using a contact form on their website. I couldn't find their e-mail address but was able to figure out the webmasters name. Also note that I will be blurring out some info including the actual URL. This is for the protection of the linking site and my client. Sorry, but that's the rules.
After all was said and done a link was aquired from this website. Take a look at the toolbar below to see the PR and SEOmoz data. Not too shaby for an 'easy' link huh? The best news, anyone can use this technique! click on the image and scroll to the bottom to see all the toolbar data more clearly.