Here’s a no bullshit guide to link building in 2019. So you got clients and you are asked to build links. What’s the first step? I mean really, what do you need to start building links for that client? Here’s the Ultimate Guide to link building in 2019 in 5 simple steps.
Creating Your Persona
Creating your persona for link building takes years to master but luckily I have a shortcut intended to help you send emails in the next hour or so.
Select a name that is easy to remember but don’t go for made up celebrity or fictional characters as that sends of the Bull Shit alarm. To easily create your persona you will need the following:
- Facebook Account
- Twitter Account
- LinkedIn Account
- WordPress/Blogger Account
You will need to add your photos and make sure you frequently post, share, and connect with influencers. We’ll save that for later. Facebook and Twitter will allow you to find people in the same industry so try to stay within your niche and build relationships. Creating these accounts will make it easier for webmasters to find more information about you. Make sure you have a consistent bio when creating these accounts. In some cases I would like to mix my persona with my real world information. That works too. Personal Bio is required by the best blogs and websites out there so make sure take time to review what you wrote there and use it to match the industry that your are trying to connect with. So if your bio and persona says plumbers, roof repairs etc. It doesn’t make sense to target the gaming industry or even law firms. So create another one. Seasoned linked builders have 3 or more personas so make sure you have a variety. And don’t forget to cater to all sexes. Male, Female and the third one. Trust me it helps to have all three. This is the same formula that made shows like Game of Thrones and Sabrina very successful. This is where most email marketing efforts fail. They sometimes forget that most webmasters are men hiding in the shadows and are not interested in connecting with other men online. I would know, I’ve been doing this for 10 years. Which leads us to the next step.
Building relationships always revolves around trust. A wise man one said: In order for me to place a link on a website, ask yourself this: “Would you trust this website/profile/account with your credit card?”. So how do we build trust? How do we make our persona or brand look like it is trustworthy?
- Connect with Influencers
- Connect with Industry Titans
- Don’t just like and share, talk to them
- Ask the expert for advice
- Your Network will provide all the trust factor that you need
Link builders will often create a gmail, add a random image from google, shutterstock or pexels and go with it. This is the very first mistake that you can make. You see, link building is an art. The more time and effort you put in it the higher the chances of success. So don’t be lazy! Here’s a thought, grab a picture of your a person from past and go with it. That way you can add their friends and make it look more legit. Well that went dark for a bit but you know what I mean. A wise man once told me to get a picture with speakers as it will help my future in the industry. It did! Thanks Grant. It also helps if you have pictures with the SEO top dogs. As that really sends a powerful message to the community or whatever group your are affiliated with. So now that you have a solid network all you need to do is start getting published.
Get Published First
This is the easiest step since all you need to do is read guidelines. There are many tech blogs out there that will accept free posts provided you follow the guidelines and only publish educational material. That being said, don’t put your amazon affiliate link in there. Or don’t even try to put a link back to your client’s site as this will automatically fail. Some blogs have really good editors and will guide you when it comes to your first Opinion Piece on their website. Some will even throw in images for free. Just remember to have a Trustworthy Persona and an original 1,500 word article ready to educate their readers. Getting published on a reputable website allows the webmasters to see your writing style and sends some trust signals up their alley. Kaiser the Sage would be the best example when it comes to getting published. Those juicy online mentions will go a long way.
- What You Want
- How it will Benefit the Webmaster’s Audience
- Your Topics
- Subject Line
Not introducing yourself before starting a conversation is considered very rude. Same with any person you meet, be polite and leverage your juicy persona by showing your published post, your website, your bio and that awesome email signature. This is why I started this post with your persona. Get in character and stick with it when you communicate with webmasters. If you are a girl? Express yourself and write like females do. If you are talking to a law firm, it might be a good idea to be a little formal. Your messaging and tone will set the pace.
What Do You Want?
Provide a clear idea of what it is that you actually want. Don’t beat around the bush and ask them directly if you want to publish an article, guest post, opinion piece or just get a link. People now-a-days have a short attention span and nothing beats being direct.
What’s the Benefit?
What’s in it for the webmaster or author? Will it cut down his task of researching or creating a new post? Will it appeal more to his audience? Will you be able to consolidate all his old posts into one updated article? Do your research. Make sure the website is a perfect fit for your niche and that your keywords are already present in his previous posts so you can also provide internal links. This makes webmasters happy.
Again research, don’t send emails to the food industry if you are building links for finance or marketing for lawyers. This pisses off webmasters, authors and bloggers as it is a complete waste of time for them. Relevance is key so once again do your research search for similar or exact match topics on the website before you pull the trigger. Another tip: Give them no more than three topics to choose from. Send them titles and headings to give them an idea of what you are gonna post on their website/blog. Finding a good topic is easy with Ahrefs Content Explorer, Google Trends, Bing etc.
Perhaps one of the most important key players in email marketing. This tells the recipient what the entire email is about. A good subject line gets that email opened. Think of this as meta descriptions in the SEO world. So avoid using special characters and SPAM words. Be direct and get creative. Stop using click baits as your subject line. Email providers have a long list of spam trigger words that will prevent your email from even reaching the intended recipients.
Email Outreach Frequently Asked Questions
How many email templates should I use? – A good link builder should be armed with 4 or 5 email templates per niche.
- Initial Email
- Follow Up Email
- Pitch / Negotiation Email
- Article/Post/Link Email
- Thank You Email
An awesome Link builder will often have just one Email Template to start a conversation and get those articles published by sending just three emails if you followed the 5 steps correctly.
Introductions, What You Want, How it will Benefit the Webmaster’s Audience, Your Topics & Subject Line
How many emails should I send out? – A good link builder can send about 50-100 emails a day following link building guidelines or client specified rules. The reply rate is often 5-10% if you are using old school link building methods. A good 15-20% if you follow this article and create your own style. In all honesty, it depends on the niche and time you send out emails as seasonality also affects the reply rate and you have to know the webmasters’ time zones. Don’t send emails when your webmasters are in bed or eating. It just won’t work.
Never send emails on Mondays and Fridays.
I usually get 50+ emails everyday and Monday is usually the busiest day of the week for most digital marketers, webmasters, bloggers etc so be aware of this fact. Fridays, some webmasters don’t want to open their emails because they are already on weekend mode. – And yes this is what I’ve personally encountered this past 10 years.
Should I get an auto emailing service in load my templates to send all at once? – In my personal opinion no. The whole point of sending emails is to make things personal. I ran an email marketing company and we also had to customize codes to add name, website, product, etc. But nothing beats personalized emails. I like changing topics and content every now and then so I stopped using auto generated link building. I would rather train link builders and have them do it the right way.
In this example you can see the following: Subject Line, Introduction, What Do You Want, Benefits and 3 Topics presented.
Let’s look at positive replies and look at pricing and negotiations. In this email I gave them the budget so they have a clear idea of what I am willing to pay per article. Since their website is DA 50 I gladly said yes to the amount and ordered an article for them to publish. Again I will send them 3 topics or should I say articles ready for publishing.
Now lets look at an article that went live. A few email exchanges after the initial email and I got the article live. Webmaster Paid everyone happy! Now it is important for you to note that there are different guidelines set by the SEO or Client and payment is based on metrics that we set. Some guys like DA40 only some clients are willing to go below DA30. Find that sweet spot and follow your guidelines. Don’t be tempted to do shortcuts because it ain’t worth it.
Some webmasters own multiple websites so be sure to keep in touch with them. Other webmasters will openly give you a list of websites they control along with stats and pricing. Remember to BUILD that Relationship.
Payment Issues. Sometimes you will encounter webmasters with no Paypal or simple delay in payment. Transparency works. Don’t be too afraid to say you are sorry and just tell them what happened.
There may be times when you want to negotiate multiple sites and post so my advise is just ask. Here’s an example of a webmaster giving a good price for DA40 websites with unique IP addresses and relevant content. Instead of making $30 he can make more if he gives a discount. I am getting 6 sites @$10 so this means, the webmaster is going to make $60 instead of just $30. A win-win situation for us.
Perhaps the easiest step in link building. Anybody who knows how to read can do this. Prospecting starts with your client intake forms and later develops in to guidelines. These are the client specifics, what they want versus what you can find online. When it comes to prospecting all you need to remember is to stick with the Metrics agreed upon. Don’t be lazy and don’t cut corners. The amount of time it takes to create a successful post is your queue. Now I’m more of a quality versus quantity and I would rather build 10 good links a month for a single client than build 30 PBN links or guest posts to sites that allow viagra or anything harmful. Not a big fan of churn and burn especially when we know that our persona matters. This is the reason why each step is crafted with quality to ensure the best possible outcome for your link building in 2019. Having said that, here are simple guidelines that I usually give clients and link builders:
- Duplicate Content Check – Does the website have duplicate content?
- SPAM SCORE – What is the spam score of the website
- DA/PA – Usually DA 30 and Above depending on the industry
- Freshness – How often do they do posts or allow guest posts
- Relevance – Is it an industry match?
- Number of Internal vs External Links in a Post – 30 external links on homepage and 5 or more external links on guest posts is bad.
- Guest Post Guidelines – Does the site have guidelines? Word Count, Bio etc?
- PBN – Is it a blog, a PBN, an expired domain turned into a link whore?
- Penalty Check – Does it have history of penalty
- IP Address – Check if the websites have different IPs
- Start with Google Sheets and Do your keyword research alongside your quality guidelines.
- Search Using Google, Bing & Yahoo.
- Incorporate Google Search Operators or Advanced Search
- Read Blogs, follow who they follow, rinse and repeat
- Use Tools such as AHREFS Link Intersect, MAJESTIC, SEMRUSH to find competitors and who they get links from etc.
- Never target blog networks as they usually just suck.
Learn to view source codes, look at about us/contact us, use social media, some use twitter others use instagram. Do a site search for their email or contacts. Connect with them personally and gain their trust first, then pitch.
Webmasters have friends. Just because the webmaster has no other website doesn’t mean he is useless. Start a referral program to get him to introduce you to friends and build on that relationship. Expand your network! Contact Forms work – never underestimate contact forms. Make sure you send emails or questions using contact forms. Similar to checking backlinks of the backlinks of your competitor, you might want to connect further with webmasters and their network. This cuts down the time because some of these webmasters already have sheets to share. Email Outreach is the best way to build links because you can choose the link placement and anchor text.