Link building is the process of getting otherwebsites to link to yours.
It's not an art.
It's not a science.
It's a game of negotiation and persuasion.
Now, negotiation in link building isn't usedin the same way you would bargain for a car.
And persuasion for links is different fromconvincing your parents to get you a dog.
There's no one-size-fits-all template, whichmeans you need to learn how to execute based on various scenarios.
So today, I'm going to show you how I've usedthese two techniques to get more backlinks from places like Entrepreneur, Inc, Popsugar, and tons of other sites.
[music] What's up SEOs? Sam Oh here with Ahrefs, the SEO tool thathelps you grow your search traffic, research your competitors and dominate your niche.
Now, negotiation or persuasion isn't abouttricking people.
I look at these two things as tools to communicatemore effectively so you don't come off too strong in your first email.
And if you've received any of these kindsof emails asking for links straight away, I'm sure you've ignored the majority, if not all of them.
Yes, I know… you can still get links just by asking, but this tutorial is about increasing your link conversion rates as well as going after bigger links that simply won't get done with a template.
With that said, let's get to it.
Negotiation and persuasion are two completelydifferent things.
According to Professor Bontempo from ColumbiaBusiness School, negotiation is a mutual exchange of resources for a mutual benefit.
Meaning, you're coming to some form of an agreement.
Negotiation is generally explicit, it's fast, and it'llusually come with concessions from both sides.
As a result, it can also be quite costly.
Persuasion on the other hand is more aboutchanging someone's mind.
It's subtle, it follows a gradual process consistingof small movements.
And the idea is to make your end goal their idea.
It generally takes a lot more time, but it's free.
Now, when you're building links, some linkswill come fast, others within a medium timeframe, and others can take months.
So let's talk about each of these categoriesand see how these two techniques fit in.
First are fast links, which usually come within 0-14 days.
This is all about negotiation.
And these would likely include common tacticsyou probably know and use, like the Skyscraper technique, broken link building, and guest posting.
For example, a typical outreach email for a broken link building campaign might say something like: “Hi Sharon, My name is Sam (a fellow coffee enthusiast).
I'm contacting you because I clicked on one of your resources to so and so's blog, but it looks like they deleted that post.
Thought you might like a friendly heads-upto remove this part.
Here's a screenshot of where I found it: If you're open to suggestions for a replacement, I wrote a guide on [whatever the topic is with my unique selling proposition].
[And then I'll add my URL.
] No pressure at all 🙂 Just thought you mightwant to add a supporting resource rather than removing the sentence or paragraph.
Cheers, Sam” Now, this email might be enough to get a few links, but it's very much a “take it or leave it” approach.
And let's face it, most people will leave it.
So even if we tweak the email with one simple line like “PS.
If you ever need a hand with anything, i.
e shares, feedback, or whatever, I'm always happy to help, ” then you're signaling that you're ready and willing to negotiate.
So let's say they respond back with something like “Sure, I'd be happy to add your link, but would you mind adding my link to your website?” This is where the negotiation process begins.
Now, since I don't personally participate in reciprocal link building, this is where you can do a bit of research to get an understanding of what motivates them.
And if you can satisfy their motive, thenyour chances of getting the link increases.
Here's an example response I got when doingoutreach for my personal blog.
He first says that the post I pitched is greatand that he shared it on social.
Then he tells me, he would link to my postif I was willing to link to his article.
I openly share that I'm not going to do reciprocal links, but I mentioned that I have a column on Entrepreneur and I'm planning on doing a bit of guest posting as well.
And naturally, I link to pages that are linkingto my content where it makes sense.
I told him if he decides to link to me to keep me in the loop so I can add his page to my list.
He likes the potential, so he links to me.
And take note of the language he uses: “That sounds like a great deal to me.
” Now, it's important to note that his contentwas actually good, so I would've linked to it had I known about it before.
So I don't recommend making these kinds of promises if you know you'll never look at their article again.
Or if you never intend on helping them out.
From my experience, I'll convert anywherebetween 7-15% on any of these kinds of emails.
We have full tutorials on various link buildingtactics, so I'll link them up in the description.
Next is the medium-speed category.
And this is pretty situational so it can fallinto either negotiation or persuasion.
Let's run through an example of how and whyI switched gears from negotiation to persuasion.
And this is how I got my column on Entrepreneur.
Basically, a few years ago, I blindly reachedout to someone with a Skyscraper styled pitch using a combination of Twitter and email.
The response I got was that she can't addlinks to her blog post because she was hired as a freelance writer for the site.
But she wanted to jump on a call.
Now, a lot of people would have just ignored thisrequest and thought of it as a failed link attempt.
But this person was a freelance writer, whichmeans there was an opportunity to get multiple links for the unforeseeable future.
I just needed to get an understanding of whatmotivates her and then see if I could help.
So I did a bit of research and learned that she was a journalist who had written for places like The New York Times, NBC News, and more.
So we got on a call and throughout our time togetherI learned she was looking for a more stable gig since journalism is tough to climb the ladder.
I also shared my desire to write for somelarger publications, so I asked for her advice.
As the conversation went on, I offered to reach out to some of my contacts to see if they were hiring, and naturally she wanted to extend her help.
So she offered to reach out to her contacts atpublications like The Huffington Post and Entrepreneur.
By the end, I had contact details for theright editor and some helpful tips.
Best of all, I had the opportunity to name-drop in my pitch, which I believe helped me get my column.
The entire process took around 2 months, butthe accomplishment back then felt pretty good.
Now, take note that once you're able to publishon these larger publications, getting other guest posting opportunities at other big namesgets much easier.
Now, on to the longer plays, which tend tobe slow, but super-rewarding.
These will usually be your “best” links andpersuasion will be your best friend and your worst enemy.
Reason being, persuasion is really hard.
And it's not something you can usually doeasily on first, second, or even third contact.
In fact, publishing an article on Inc took me around five months of on and off conversation with another contributor.
And I wish I could give you a step by steptutorial on this, but persuasion is so situational that it'll largely depend on the context of the conversation.
So here's what my approach look like.
The first thing I had to do was find an authoron Inc that writes about similar topics as me.
I don't remember exactly how I found thisperson, but you can basically just go to Google and search for something like site:inc.
com/author and then look for topicsseparated by the OR search operator.
Now, the other footprint will vary depending on the site you want to get a link from, but you can usually find that out by going toan article on the publication you want to write for, clicking on an author's name, and then takingnote of their URL structure.
Now, visit some of the author pages and see ifthey would cover similar topics you write about and that they've published an article recently.
After you find the person you want to contact, you need to get an understanding of what would motivate them to help you accomplish your goal.
For my particular contact, he was buildinghis personal brand, so things like exposure, particularly like mentions of his name seemedlike something that would be worth giving.
But rather than just giving randomly, there was a series of steps I took.
First, I tweeted out some stuff that he had published.
This was simply to be somewhat of a recognizablename and face when I would eventually email him.
He made it pretty easy for me because he followedme on Twitter, so now I just needed to find a good reason to contact him.
Thankfully, that was pretty easy too.
I went to his site and it wasn't working.
So I sent him an email basically explainingthe issue on his site.
He responded thanking me and that was the end of the conversation.
So at this point, it might feel like you'reat square one, but you're not.
They know your name, you've helped them ina small way, and most importantly you have your foot in the door.
This is where you can offer up something thatwill help set the tone for them to reciprocate.
And this is all based around what you believewill motivate them.
Now, rather than asking for something, I wanthim to come up with the idea alone that we should help each other get more exposure.
So I sent him an email asking if he wanted a link.
I said to just send me a few post ideas andif it made sense, I'd add it to a guest post on a decent site I was already approved for.
After a few back-and-forth emails, he sentme a couple potential articles to include in my post, and said: “By the way, if you have any good ideas for an Inc articleand want to work on one together, let me know.
” I had it published and was extended the offerto publish anytime with him.
Now, not everything goes as smoothly as this one went.
In fact, I've tried to collaborate on a piece with someone from Mashable and The New York Times, where neither converted.
And I made the same mistake both times.
I got impatient and went in for a hard ask way too soon.
With Mashable, the person was motivated bygrowing their personal Facebook fan page.
We jumped on a Skype call, and I stupidlyasked to collaborate out of context.
With The New York Times writer, I found theperfect reason to contact her.
And this was around the time of the election betweenHilary Clinton and Donald Trump.
And she had written an article on The NewYork Times talking about retargeting ads, but she had missed out on a lot of thingsonly people doing retargeting ads would know.
So I gave her some good insider information, and she responded with gratitude for the new outlook.
In fact, she wanted to know more.
So I nailed that email and boom.
I went in for the ask way too soon instead ofher coming up with the idea to collaborate or reference me as a source.
But hey, I learned from my mistakes, and wenton to get a tiny niche blog some authority links from places like Forbes, Livestrong and WikiHowto name a few.
Now, you can definitely get links going shotgun styleand sending anyone and everyone templated emails.
But conversion rates are going to be lower, since almost everyone's inboxes get flooded with the same outreach emails.
Now, the advantage you can gain from understandingsomeone's motives and leading a conversation that fulfills that desire can ultimately leadto big links and higher conversion rates.
Now, I'm curious about your approach to link building.
Do you find that sending tons of emails shotgun style is most effective, or do you prefer the sniper approach, where you're building relationships along the way? Let me know in the comments and if you enjoyedthis video, make sure to like, share, and subscribe for more actionable SEO and marketing tutorials.
So keep grinding away and I'll see youin the next tutorial.