Link Building Strategies: Apprentice Edition

In my last article, I outlined seven basic steps to create a link building campaign. In response to my article, Arnie Kuenn from Vertical Measures wrote: “I think #6 [Create a Schedule” might be the most important point. I’d say 99 percent of the people who know they need to do link building just don’t schedule the time or commit to the effort.”

This hit home to me. Let me tell you my woes:

  1. I run a Web marketing firm.
  2. I just started a new division focused on training and education at my firm.
  3. I write this article every other week.
  4. I create and produce more than seven videos a week.
  5. I’m constantly scouring the Web marketing news world for the latest news.
  6. I speak fairly often.
  7. Clients want me to visit them, which involves a lot of travel.
  8. I try to spend time coming up with the vision, future, and goals for our company.

And that doesn’t include my family duties.


As you can see, not one of those things include:

  1. Participating in online communities and blogs.
  2. Digging and Sphinning people’s articles.
  3. Asking people to look at the content I create and consider linking to it.

A Lonely Drive

This is a major mistake. You can create the greatest content in the world. But if you aren’t actively involved in the communities, you’re lighting gunpowder outside of a barrel. You’ll get a little explosion, but it’s nothing like putting the stuff in a gun.

I know this is the case because of an experiment I ran a few years ago. Like many people at the time, I loved the show “The Apprentice.” I watched it religiously, so I decided to blog about the entire third season. My goal was to be the best season three blogger.

I recorded every episode so I could rewind and get every detail. I almost dictated the show. I followed every nuance and innuendo. I linked to every sponsor company and special guest.

It was awesome. I know it was awesome because my visitors told me it was awesome. Sure enough, they all agreed it was the best blog about the third season of “The Apprentice.”

All five of my visitors, that is.

I was hoping to get visitors from good search engine ranking and word-of-mouth promotion. Sure, I had a decent search ranking — I was in the top 10 results for “The Apprentice Season 3” — but I didn’t even rank for the phrase “The Apprentice.”

A Look Back

I can’t believe how naive I was. Did I actually think people were going to tell their friends about “this awesome blog about ‘The Apprentice'”? Who does that? People go to a site they like and then leave. I rarely share a site with my friends because I’m not sure if they would like it, and they’re super busy people.

I should have hung out at all the other “The Apprentice” blogs, participated in their comments, and contributed to helping make their sites better. In doing so, I could have occasionally mentioned my site. That would have been a huge help in getting more traffic. After all, there were several much more established blogs. Some dedicated (insane?) people had been blogging about every season of “The Apprentice.”

I also know from past experience that I get traffic from people who read my posts when I participate in online forums. Often, you can’t promote your own site in a forum; however, you can usually link to your site from your profile.

So, you’re right, Arnie. The sixth step is the step most people fall down on. In our panel on getting authority links at SES New York, the panel felt that upwards of 50 percent of your time should be spent on getting links. That means 50 percent should be spent creating content and 50 percent should be spent getting the word out.

Decision Time

I declare a new resolution! If I spend 10 hours a week on creating content I’m going to spend at least half that amount of time again on participating in communities and building links. I realize that’s not 50 percent. But at least it’s a start.

The question is, where does that five hours come from? I’ll let you know.

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