We often hear that link building is really relationship building. There’s no magic program that allows one to manually place links on any website they come across (although that sure would be nice), the only way to acquire such links is by rolling up your sleeves and requesting them from webmasters by showing them the value of your site.
We’ve all received link requests straight from a template. I always have to chuckle when the average serial link requester doesn’t even bother to change the site name to mine from his previous request. The success rate on requests such of these is exactly what you would think it would be: slightly better than nil.
In an ideal world not only would every request be fully personalized but there would be a relationship built behind that request first. You would perhaps comment on each other’s blogs, interact on Twitter and Facebook, become known quantities to one another and then one day ask, “By the way, would you mind linking?” But such an approach is as scalable as template link building is successful.
A Better Approach
The solution is an approach I like to call templatized personalization, which combines the effectiveness of personalization with the scalability of template requests, despite sounding like an oxymoron.
Many aspects of your typical link request don’t need to be altered from request to request. Information such as the value proposition offered by your client’s site or maybe even some background information about the client isn’t going to change, so why write that from scratch in every request?
That should afford you time to really get to know the site you are requesting the link on. Really ask yourself how your client’s link could benefit the readers of a site like this. If you can’t answer that clearly, your chances of getting the link aren’t great.
I also like to see if there’s anything personal I can find about the site owner that I can use as a bit of an icebreaker. If the person talks about how much they love their cat in their bio I might bring up something on that topic. Once I found a webmaster’s personal site and saw he’s predicted the winner of every Miss America contest the last decade, so I asked him a fun question on that topic.
Most of all you need to communicate the fact that you are actually a human with a pulse rather than a copy and paste robot shooting out emails to every webmaster on every end of the Earth. You need to show that you actually understand that webmaster’s site and his or her mission while effectively communicating why your site can be an asset to that site’s visitors.
In an ideal world you would build an actual relationship and perhaps the link would come from the genesis of that connection, but in the actual world templatized personalization makes the most sense for its combination of effectiveness and scalability.