These four strategies will be released as individual posts.
If you missed our first post in this series, check out the link building opportunities that come from being informative.
The second principle is all about turning your existing connections into relationships!
Principle #2: Connections
Link building is relationship building, simple as that. In order to create quality backlinks, you must first have some sort of relationship with the author or website that’s connecting to you. This comes with good news and bad news.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: It can be challenging and time-consuming to establish a relationship that will lead to a quality backlink from a credible source.
The good news? You already have more established connections than you might realize. And you have many more that are just a few steps away from being established.
In this post, we’re focusing on three types of connections that, if cultivated correctly, can turn into quality relationships.
1) Connections You Already Have
As we’ve already stated, you’ve got connections! Probably way more than you realize. A great way to see how far your established connections reach is to map your personal network. Not sure where to start? Consider these four ways of organizing your thoughts and creating a map of your network.
- Connecting via social: A little more than 50% of the earth’s population uses social media. With over 3.5 billion people connected, odds are good that you have already established many connections through your social profiles. While using your website content in your personal and professional profiles is a given, getting your followers to share the links you’re posting is a bit more difficult. But, by establishing a better relationship with certain people, you can increase the likelihood of them sharing your content and widening your network even further.
- Connecting via providers: No matter what your role is in a business, it’s important to remember that while you have customers, you are also a customer. While you’re building a relationship with your own customer base, you are also building relationships with your service providers and suppliers. Looking at both types of relationships when link building can be a game-changer. While we often look to happy clients to write a review of our services, it may also be worth reaching out to a reliable service provider and offering to write a testimonial or review on their site. Not only will you make that relationship stronger, but you may also score a link back to your website in the attribution!
- Connecting via alumni: When it comes to link building, one of the highest quality links you can get is from a “.edu” website. And the way to get a solid, verifiable link from them is easier than you might think. Start by writing a list of institutions that you and your team graduated from, and then see which ones have alumni profiles, groups, or directories. Link building using alumni pages is a great way to earn those coveted “.edu” links.
- Connecting via teammates: Unless you’re a one-person show, you’re likely part of a team. So, make sure your team is involved in promoting your company. Help them build that alumni network or encourage them to share your website content on their social networks. Since they all have a unique perspective on their field of expertise in your business, learn what that perspective is and have them share their thoughts on your site’s blog or by guest posting. Not only will they be helping your link building efforts with informative content, but they will be building their own credibility in your industry—which can only boost their careers in the long run.
2) Connections You Almost Have
We don’t think about this on a regular basis, but most of us are part of multiple communities at the same time. For example, most of us have a community of friends and relatives, a community of people we work with, and a community of people we live around. But, just as most people don’t actually know their neighbors, we often don’t realize the resources we have within our existing communities. Turns out there’s a whole network of relationships that you have nearly established that you can dive into.
- Connecting to your business community: No matter what business you’re in, there are industry-specific directories and websites that can be used as resources for you—make yourself aware of and available to them. Join industry-specific societies or national organizations. Both types of organizations are filled with like-minded individuals looking to make personal connections. By building those relationships, you’ll be more aware of link building opportunities as they become available, greatly increasing the chances of getting a link back to your website.
- Connecting to your local community: First, who’s in your local community? From local newspapers, media organizations, and bloggers to local businesses and schools, the list can go on and on. Because you live in the community, you have something in common with these resources and the people that work for them. Build on that common ground to develop a relationship that can eventually lead to links.
3) Connections You Could Have
Link building has a bad reputation of being like the weird guy at the party who acts like he’s been your best friend for years, but in reality, you only just met. Don’t be like that guy. Instead, establish common ground and use that to build familiarity.
First, look at the content you’ve already created. Which websites have you linked to in your past blog posts or throughout your website? Reach out to those sites and send them a link to your content. Maybe they’ll return the favor or share the post on their social networks (pro tip: Don’t waste time going too far back in time, as you want the content to still be relevant).
Next, make it a best practice to reach out to sites you’re going to be referencing or mentioning in an upcoming blog post and let them know beforehand. Ask for a quote or a relevant stat that you could add to your post. And, once your new post with their information is live, don’t forget to send it to them. If they like it, they may share it on their social channels or link to it on their website.
Going forward, build a process where links will organically happen over time. On social media, follow people you want to get links from and keep an eye out for what they’re posting. Bookmark relevant websites for your business and figure out how you can build relationships with them. Meet people in person through industry events, talk to them, and get their information. When you have a new piece of content that they may like, send it their way.
Remember, this is about building lasting relationships, not trying to get a quick link. Don’t just cold email people asking for links. We’ve all gotten those over the years and they are clearly copied, pasted, and sent to dozens of people. They are almost immediately deleted. That’s not the way to build quality relationships!
Long story short: Every person you meet is a possible connection and a potential link. The best possible advice we can give when it comes to building those relationships is to give first. Give value to the other person before you ask for something. Make deposits before withdrawals. Give more than you take.
What’s Principle 3? Link Building Principle 3 is all about Helping Someone Out! See how being nice to someone can lead to more links to your website.
Thoughts? We’d love to hear from you! Follow us on social or reach out to [email protected]