Recent Google updates like Penguin have had a significant impact on the link building landscape. Some of the quicker, easier tactics for getting links that had previously been effective in helping your content to rank have actually become detrimental to your efforts. So if you're starting a new blog or site from scratch and have already created some high quality content, what can you do to get your first link and ensure that you're on your way to having your first 500 links be high quality?
Finding Potential Outreach Targets
For your first few links, start with who you already read. These are targets that you can start right off by writing a very personalized note to. If you don't already, follow and engage with them on Twitter and via comments on their blogs. Thank them for creating some of the more in-depth and laborious resources you see them write. In many cases just by engaging with them you'll get a link or two without even asking for it, since most bloggers and writers will check out your site if you're saying something meaningful and insightful in your interactions with them and you're writing quality content.
Build More Relationships
While in some cases you may have an instant return on genuine interactions, you can increase your odds of getting a quality editorial link by going beyond the folks you already read in your niche and creating a process for identifying and interacting with other bloggers:
- Look at sites like Technorati, All Top, niche-specific top blog lists, blog rolls, and link prospecting tools to identify additional opportunities for sites to follow
- Subscribe to their blogs and comment there
- Follow them on Twitter and re-tweet anything that's quality and try to engage in conversation where appropriate and natural
- Show up in the communities where they interact
By doing this work (and it's a lot of work) you'll again give yourself a lot of opportunities to get attention from the bloggers you'd most want links from, and in a vast majority of the cases you'll start to get links back to your content without even asking.
Take The Leap: Ask For The Link
But what if you don't? If, in fact, you've done all of the work above and you're still not getting links, the first thing I'd say is that you take an honest look at your approach and consider whether you've really been engaging and making valuable contributions in most cases if you have, you should already have your first link. If you've genuinely been contributing and you're still not getting traction, however, it's probably time to start to get a bit more aggressive and actually push for links.
You still don't want to get overly salesy or pushy here, as the long-term relationship is always much more valuable than a single link, but here are a few approaches that frequently work:
- Ask for Feedback If you send a link to your content to someone you already have a relationship with and ask them for some candid feedback on the post or article, you'll frequently get some valuable advice as well as a link. Or if they offer feedback and don't give you the link, you'll have a good sense of exactly what type of content they'd find valuable and want to share with their audience, and you can either tweak your existing content or create new content to fit that particular bill
- Ask for a Link If there's a specific post or page on their site that you think would really be a great fit for some piece of content you have, come right out and ask if they'd consider adding a link to your resource. The worst that can happen is a no, and again if you've had genuine interactions with them and have quality content your success rate will be extremely high.
- Ask for an Interview or Offer to Guest Post If they're not interested in linking directly to your content, you can ask to interview them and/or offer to guest post on their blog. Again if you've already established that you're interested in their work and have something to add to a conversation with them, your success rate here will be very high and will likely result in at least one link.
From here, you have to then find ways of applying this same methodology to multiple pieces of content over time to get significantly more than just one link. The good news is you can leverage real relationships and by doing the hard work of continually building your network and your syndication channels, you'll have created a really high barrier to entry for anyone looking to get the same links (and ultimately rankings) that you have.
If you liked this post, you might also enjoy 4 Ways to Link Build Without Asking for a Link