Stop Link Building For Penguin
“We got hit by penguin! We need you to get us some better links than the last agency got us.”
The more client work that gets sent my way, the more requests I see for links. Which is no big deal, but when the site has no resources on it, much less a blog, I get a nervous twitch in my right eye. I mean that could also be the caffeine getting to me, but I’m not one for stopping coffee cold turkey to find out.
How do you come up with the missing resources?
Recently in an Ask the Experts: Top 3 Link Building Strategies in 2013 interview I did alongside some other smart link building peeps, I mentioned that an initial step is to use what the client already has on their site. If they have an infographic, for example, that hasn’t been given any attention; I consider re-launching the content. This especially works great it is time-sensitive material. It can help get the link building ball rolling. However, if there is absolutely nothing that can be refurbished successfully, then it’s time to put on the thinking cap and figure something out.
Deciding who’s responsible for creating the content (or developing a shareable tool) is going to be a big factor. If the client is going to undertake this, then great! You can focus on working on stuff that you can build and push. Or you can just work on other types of link building while that’s being done. Things like:
- Finding brand mentions without links
- How to use
SEOMoz Fresh Web Explorer with BuzzStream (on the BuzzStream blog by the intelligent Matt Gratt)
- Link Building for Startups- Find Unlinked Brand Mentions at Scale (great piece by John-Henry Scherck)
- How to use
- Prospecting for a variety of links
- Need something a little more creative to do?
How long should you do a push on these resources?
This answer will vary, based on a few factors. An example is how big the item is that needs to be pushed and how time-sensitive it is. For instance, you can push a resource like an energy conversion chart longer than you could an infographic on the same subject. The numbers on the conversion chart are less likely to change and be something people will use year round versus the static data in the infographic outdating seasonally.
Now I’m not saying infographics can’t be pushed for a month or even a few. What I am saying is you shouldn’t be making it your go to items for links and social promotions. With each promotional push you (and your client) should be aiming to go bigger and bigger. Maybe you start with an infographic and then move on to building an online tools for your clients to use, like the conversion chart I mentioned. Or perhaps even something as interactive as Moz’s Open Site Explorer (that may be a bit extravagant, but you get the idea here of an optimal goal).
That all sounds great. What else can I do?
See the links I dropped to those posts? Have you read other link building posts other than this one? Have you actually tried to go build links? No matter your answer to these questions the only thing left to do is to actually do it. For the longest time I really didn’t like sending emails (resources or not) because I didn’t like getting rejection emails. Distilled’s Lexi Mills nailed it perfectly if you have the same hesitation I had (still get from time to time) with this: “It doesn’t matter if it’s sending pitch emails, or asking site owners to links to the resource you’ve built. Success of link bait isn’t guaranteed no matter how much you plan.”
That’s not to say it’s going to fail either, but regardless if you’re keeping track of everything (making notes, saving emails, etc.) learn from what went wrong. If anything did fail, make sure not to repeat it next time. The same is also true if something succeeds. Make sure you know what went right so you’re sure to do those same steps next time.
The opinions in this post are those of the author and not necessarily of Marketing Pilgrim.
Joshua Titsworth is an Analyst with Vizion Interactive who is passionate about all things Internet-related. When he isn’t online tweeting or blogging, he’s playing TMNT with his kids or Mario Kart with his wife.