Respecting Authority Links

Since quality is typically better than quantity in the link building game, most link builders will work hardest to obtain links from authority Web sites. There are many types of authoritative links, and different sites require different approaches for getting the link.

Often, the best approach for getting a link from an authority site is to use a relationship building process. Sites are run by people, after all, so it’s best to remember that a little respect and good old-fashioned networking skills can go a long way.

The process is labor-intensive, but the added effort is well worth the reward. The approach below has proven effective in my experience, and if your objective is to build your site into an authoritative domain itself, it’s a great way to help you get there.

Without further ado, here is a simplistic summary of my (non-scientifically proven, possibly patent-pending) 9-step process to getting authoritative links through relationship building:

  1. Build a list of authoritative sites that you would really like to get a link from.
  2. Review the content and tools you currently have, or can easily develop. Find the places where you have a good match between your content or tools and authoritative domains. Now you know how to prioritize your campaign for a link.
  3. Take your highest priority targets and do some research. Really understand what the site is about. If there is one key individual behind the domain, see if you can discover his or her personal passions related to their site. The best scenario of all can emerge when the site owner has stated a need or desire for something in particular that you may be able to provide.
  4. Make your first contact totally focused on helping them somehow, such as solving that stated need you discovered earlier. Something as simple as pointing out a broken link on their site can open the door, or pointing them at someone else’s site that has great related resources they may be interested in. But at the end of it all, simply make the first move with a sincere effort to help them, and ask for nothing in return.
  5. Offer similar help to the contact in the near future in an effort to keep your name top of mind, and perhaps offer help several more times, without being a pest.
  6. Along the way, make sure that they are aware that you have a related site (perhaps the site name is in your signature, for example).
  7. After you have established a dialog with them, and they are responding to you, send them an email that introduces your site and the killer content and/or tools you think they may be interested in. Don’t ask for a link, ask for an opinion, and ask for suggestions.
  8. Respond to their suggestions. It’s absolute gold if you can get them to suggest some tweaks that are easy to make. After you have made the changes they begin to feel some ownership in what you have.
  9. The stage is now set; and the exact timing of the link request (if they have not linked to your site already) is a judgment call. But now you are in a good position to make the request.

Once you have successfully created this new relationship, be sure to keep up your correspondence from time to time. Perhaps in six months’ time you may have something new to share with your new-found link buddy. Or take a few minutes to review their Web site for new sections or interesting content you can link to as well.

If you do find something of interest, be sure to follow up with them and let your contact know that you are staying updated on their activities, and congratulate them on a job well done.

The age-old adage, “you catch more flies with honey” truly applies in link building scenarios that take into account the person behind the site, and treat them with respect.

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