By Sarah Lokitis
Apr 13, 2011
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Along with thorough keyword research, content editing, social media participation and inbound linking, link requesting is one tactic to consider as a part of a holistic search engine optimization strategy. Since I’ve been requesting links, I’ve gathered a few pointers to keep in mind before I click Send for any request. Especially if you’re just embarking on your link requesting strategy these 10 tips should help you at least get started.
1. Monitor use of your name or brand.
2. Search specifically for your press release titles.
You press releases already SHOULD have targeted keywords within them. When press releases are republished on blogs your links might be stripped out. Go ahead and ask for the most relevant link to be added back into the release.
3. Coordinate with your search team.
If you’re on the social media end, like myself, ask your SEO team members or refer to your keyword list to see if any relevant keywords are mentioned within the article. I recommend asking just for links to keywords that are already within the post. Asking the author to re-word the article for a link is a double favor. Don’t count on that one.
4. Try to contact the author themselves.
Contacting the webmaster, advertising sector or submitting your request through a contact form may not give you the highest of response rates. To get the author’s contact info, if it’s not apparent on the site, do some digging. Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are all at your fingertips.
5. E-mail subject lines matter.
If you’re reaching out for a link for a well-known brand, use that brand equity to your advantage and include their name in the subject line. Make the subject line to the point and don’t be deceiving.
6. Read the post.
Show that you’ve actually read the article by quickly mentioning a point from the post and thank them for writing about your brand favorably. The author knows what their post says, so you don’t have to regurgitate it to them.
7. Keep it short.
Writing your request in simple and clear language, describing what you’d like them to do – “please hyperlink this phrase to this URL” – will work better than a flowery 6 paragraph e-mail any day.
8. Keep a “form” handy.
I use the term form very loosely here. Your whole message should be customized to each author, but a simple form will help you remember to include each section of your email. Remember the point above, reference a point from the post, make your request, add a nice closing and thank them. Done!
9. Prove that you’re a real-live person.
I’ve found that including my business card in my e-mails helps prove that a real, breathing person exists on the other side of this message. A business card says: I’m not a robot, I’d love a response, and would REALLY appreciate you adding in the link unless you have a policy that prohibits it. Also, I’m smiling at you. Smile back at me in the form of a link. Please and thank you.
10. Speaking of please and thank you: Ask nicely!
You’ll never get the link if you don’t ask. And you’ll never get the link if you’re rude while asking for a favor. Be sure to be personable. We’re all people regardless of if we’re SEOs, authors or social media specialists. If it’s a Friday when you send the author a message – then go ahead and wish them a good weekend! Who doesn’t like well-wishes (especially on Fridays)?!
Keep in mind, having link requests granted isn’t easy – but by following these guidelines, you’ll have a higher success rate. It can be discouraging not hearing back, but continue to tweak your process, learn from mistakes, and remember when you do have a link request granted, it’s worthwhile.
Help out the community and leave your suggestions you’ve found helpful below. If you’re the tweeting type, find me @Lokitis on Twitter to chat. Finally, for more explanation, check out Search Engine Journal’s post, The Perfect Link Request.