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Are your chances of getting quality links diddly-squat?

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You probably don’t need me to remind you of the 6 major benefits of link building because we covered them last week when we talked about how link building is a marketing priority.

But perhaps you didn’t see last week’s article? OK, a quick reminder of 3 of those fantastic benefits (you can check the rest here later). We’ll put them in bullet points for emphasis:

  • You get increased search rankings ... so you get the chance to sell to more people!

  • You get direct clickthroughs to your site ... so strangers arrive at your site already thinking positively of your company.

  • You establish yourself as a leader in your market ... so more people trust buying from you!

Not bad benefits for any business to achieve - because they all impact your bottom line and bring you increased sales and profit.

But no matter how much you might drool over these benefits, if you’re like most businesses you’ll accept that your chances of getting such quality links are diddly-squat, zero, not in a million years.

Well that’s just not true - you have every chance of getting links from quality sites.

And the business of building links has changed dramatically over the years. Now, more than ever, it is quality links from quality sites that are important. Anything else is probably a waste of time.

So why should a top blogger, the owner of a popular site, an industry expert or a journalist write about and link to you? Of course, you can’t just ask for links from quality sites, you’ve got to earn them.

And every day, many businesses large and small do earn links from quality sites.

So how do you earn quality links?

You’ve got to do three things:

  • Think about the person who might give you a link.

  • Think about your potential customers, the needs they have and the information they want to help them make their decision.

  • Think about how you can create quality content that will attract potential customers and persuade them to buy from you.

Let’s look at each of them in turn.

Think about who gives out links

Remember, it’s a person, not a website that gives you a link.

Just think about that person, let’s make them real, let’s give them a name - say, Sue.

So what can you know about Sue?

Well, since she is writing for a quality site, it is quite probable that:

Sue loves writing about, sharing and linking to great stuff:

  • She’s probably pretty knowledgeable about your industry.

  • Sue’s open to new people, new ideas and websites to write about.

  • Sue’s inundated with the same kind of junk every day and longs for something to make her eyes pop.

  • Sue’s pretty busy with deadlines to meet and has no time for time wasters.

Add to that, if you do catch her attention, then she has work to do to give you the link you’re after. She has to look at your website, check you out and then write about you, create the link, test it and then publish it!

That is a chunk of work.

So if you can help Sue, she’ll help you. Don’t waste her time with poor quality, repetitive stuff. Invest time in creating quality content that stands out and says something real about your business. Recognize the pressures she’s under and give her what she needs to meet her deadlines.

Next think about your potential customers

This requires a classic marketing approach. Rather than talking about the features of your company and products, talk about the needs of your customers and how your company services those needs.

Content that clearly addresses customers' needs is going to be attractive to third party sites.

And finally, think about what will persuade people to buy from you.

The ultimate objective is to get people to buy from you, so for a piece of content to be really useful, it has to service that end.

One company that does this extremely well is ClifBar.com Their site is full of quality content like the video below, but it never loses sight of the need to promote their products.

And here’s a great example

One of my favorites comes from Sean D’Souza of Psychotactics.com (and a frequent contributor to this site

Here’s the email I received from Sean:


Psychotactics surprise gift body detail

I can see that Sean is really thinking about me and offering me a gift to give to my clients. Nice!

And when I open the email, Sean delivers on his promise:


Psychotactics email subject line

So not only is Sean giving me a present, he’s also very nicely asking me for a link, which I’m very happy to give. You can get Sean’s excellent guide at http://www.psychotactics.com/why-headlines-fail

And he delivered real value to the readers of the report - who are his potential customers:


Psychotactics headline book

And of course, he got real value for his own business by getting email sign-ups that he can promote his products to in the future!

Some final words

Building links from quality sites is not easy, but it’s not impossible if you approach it in the right frame of mind and get started. If you’ve been thinking about doing this and haven’t yet got around to it, don’t beat yourself up.

Let me share a great quote from Chris Guillebeau, author of ‘The $100 Start Up’, “The best time to start was last year. Failing that, today will do.”

About Ken McGaffin

Ken McGaffin is a writer, speaker and trainer in online marketing. He provides webinar and video training in link building, online PR and content marketing on his site at LinkingMatters.com You can join him at Google+ or on Twitter

He wrote The Definitive Guide to Successful Link Building with Mark Nunney, and has created two in-depth online courses, 'Get Links: 7 Weeks to Link Building Mastery' and 'Broken Link building Video Course', both with Garrett French.