What Do You Really Want From Your Link Builder?

When you set out to hire a link builder, do you really know what you want from them?  That might sound like a stupid question but think about it… are inbound links the only thing you want out of a link building campaign? 

I hope not because link marketing is so much more than just inbound links.  It’s reputation management, it’s email lists, it’s promotional marketing, it’s media exposure, it’s cross selling, it’s lead generation, it’s making you and your business a rock star.  To “just” want links means you don’t have an understanding of basic SEO nor an open mind about developing your business as a whole.   

In the last 18 months, my job has changed more than in the last nine years I’ve been doing it.  I used to focus solely on getting individual links from specific sites but now, I am more focused with making statements and developing partnerships.  Huh?  What does either of those things have to do with building links you ask?  Well everything and more, let’s break them down for simplicity sake and a shorter blog post. :)

Making statements.  

We all know content is king and link embedded content drives ranking moreso than single links sitting in navigation areas, in directories or along the bottom of the page.  But lately, with the massive influx of crappy content from entities like Demand Media and the explosion of blogs and content sites, you  can’t just drop an article here and there and expect the same results.  You need to drop and push statement making content on well known sites to draw links, tweets and media mentions.  

Does that mean the keyword filled articles you’re placing in the directories won’t work?  Nope, that stuff still works just fine but not as well as a piece of kick-ass content that’s being tweeted from person to person and quoted by journalists.  White papers, case studies, tutorials, well done  infographics… these type of things are making an impact and getting the type of attention you need.  Basic algorithmic attention is helpful but viral attention is better.

Developing partnerships

We’re all familiar with partnerships but maybe not the evangelical link type.  Your goal here is to find and cultivate a loyal following of both users and business owners who will be more inclined to host your content and/or link to it every time you publish.  Sounds like a tall order but it’s not if you find the right people and push the right content.

No matter what kind of link building you do, it’s imperative you work to capture email addresses or insert low-key “link to us” calls to action so people become conditioned to promoting your content.  The larger your email lists the more people you have to contact and push content and/or link promotions to. (just don’t over do it)   Pretty soon you’ll rely less on finding host sites to push content and more on your email network of evangelists who will happily republish your content and then tweet, link, and email your offers to others.  Wouldn’t it be great to be successful online and never have to worry about search engine rankings?  :)

So next time you approach a linking specialist don’t ask for 100 PageRank 5 links, doing so shows you really don’t understand SEO or what you want.  Be open minded to building all kinds of  links for a well rounded link graph and maximum exposure.  Ask the specialist to develop email capture opportunities as well as new content sources so you can promote your kick-ass content and secure a loyal following of users who will happily help you rank #1. 


OK – a shameless self-promotion plug here:

I’ve started a new training company which will teach business owners how to attract links doing what I’m suggesting here plus much much more.  We’re not holding anything back,  I’ll share what I know about the media, my contacts and sources plus every little link trick in the book we have–  and we have quite a few.  If you’re interested in being notified about our programs when we launch, drop an email.  Be sure you include your company name, URL, disclose if you’re an SEO, the number of people to be trained and their experience level.  Leave any of that out and we won’t respond. :)   Thanks!


  1. oliver says

    You sooo right! websites need a well rounded and holistic approach to link building. Clients need to understand the link building takes time and the best links may not be the links you think they would be.

  2. Debra says

    @Tom @paris – I have no issues with how people build links, we use a wide range of tactics some even consider “gray” so we’re aware of things and pass no judgements.


    The issue I have with some tactics are the footprints they leave and the work needed to maintain or replace them when they crash. I’d rather have a dedicated base of people to send my content to and ask for help in spreading it than work from scratch constantly.

    @Gareth – thanks for the backup :) I still use the phone occasionally but find people like to be emailed more. Hence the push to caputure and use email in linking.

    @john @ Patrick You’re welcome and keep reading!

  3. paris says

    Great piece. Couldn’t agree more, however spam techniques apparently still work in many niches, as Tom points out.

    Btw, why does your entire background link to seoconsultants.com?

  4. Gareth Rees says

    Hi Debra, you’re going to have those link sellers hunting you down with content like this, but don’t worry, I’ll back you up. What I call “considered” link building is as you say, developing relationships. I’ve been chatting to friends in the PR industry and the crossover is uncanny if only we knew PR and they knew SEO. I think there’s some great “low hanging fruit” relationships to be had too because of the emergence of “phone phobia” – no one picks up the phone anymore and calls someone, using email instead. If you’re “brave” enough to pick up the phone the rewards are waiting.

  5. john shupe says

    I have been jungle hunting on the many sides to link building , pros and cons to it all and why some links are more valuable than others and why this and that! Reading this shines more light into implications of relationships to links. I appreciate the time you put into this so I can grasp what I’m trying to understand.

  6. patrick says

    Thanks for the info. The more I learn about link building the more the mystery deepens…

  7. Tom (parttime SEO) says

    I know a very, i mean VERY successful SEO who runs his private “link farm” with around 10.000 domains which all (or at least the most of them) say “coming soon” and just have some stupid backlinks in their blogroll – and guess what? he is outranking everybody in his niche. So much about “don’t have an understanding of basic SEO” and “inbound links the only thing you want “ – if I don’t need more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.