The Link Mensch tells you how to request a link. Complete with a sample link-request email and a list of everything it should contain.
This week's column is a bit longer than normal, as we have a lot to cover. Have you ever seen an email in your inbox that looks like this one?
As amazing as it seems, the above link request letter, or variants thereof, land in my inbox every single day. The only part I added was the last line, StupidCompany.com, because it's accurate.
A link request sent via email should include several elements. Collectively, all of them serve two key purposes: They let the receiver know you took the time to look at his or her site, and they make it as easy as possible for the receiver to make a decision whether or not to link.
Here are the 12 things that your link request should contain, followed by the reasons why. Although these may seem simple once you read them, 99 out of 100 link requests that I get do not contain any of them. While in certain cases there are also other elements, for this week's column, let's focus on those below.
Below is a sample of what a full link-request email would look like. A link request similar to this is being used to successfully build many new links for eNature.com.
Any webmaster or site manager who receives the above email can tell immediately many crucial things about me and my link request:
There are many more subtle points to this exercise, and many additional things I might need or have to include (HTML link code, button logo, reciprocal link, etc.), but these are not right for every scenario, so let's keep things as simple as possible for now.
The bottom line is that by recognizing the individuals on the receiving end of your link requests, and showing them so, you immediately move out of the spam realm in their minds. When I receive link letters, I look for telltale signs that I was not singled out individually. If I spot an obvious bulk link seeker, I delete it immediately.
Yes, this means you cannot automate this process, and, yes, this means you have to create and send each link request one at a time. As you should. Sometimes each site takes an entire three clicks and two minutes. Big deal. This is a lifelong link you're seeking.
Until next time, I remain, the Link Mensch.
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Eric Ward founded the Web's first link building and content publicity service, called NetPOST. Today, Eric provides strategic linking consulting, link building services, training, and consulting via EricWard.com. The publisher of the strategic linking advice newsletter LinkMoses Private, Eric is a co-developer of AdGooroo's Link Insight.
Eric uses his experience and unique understanding of web's vast linking patterns to teach companies his link building techniques. He has developed content linking strategies for PBS.org, WarnerBros, The Discovery Channel, National Geographic, About.com, TVGuide.com, and Weather.com. Eric won the 1995 Tenagra Award for Internet Marketing Excellence, and in 2007 was profiled in the book Online Marketing Heroes.
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