When it comes to link building, people tend to overestimate and over-analyze the entire process. Although the dozens of link building tools out there definitely can be useful, and many advanced factors can come into play, the essence of link building all comes down to answering one single question;
Why? Image via Jody Miller
Yes, it’s that simple. If you can answer the question ‘Why should I link to your website?‘ without hesitation, you’re good to go. However, answers like “because our websites are relevant” or “because it’s relevant for your users” are not good answers. Most links on the web are placed out of emotion, and relevance does not trigger any emotion.
Think of all the link requests you have received yourself, and about which ones you have actually accepted, and why. Think of all the websites you have linked to yourself over time, and why you have linked to these sites.
There are many good answers possible to this question, but the most common ones are:
- because I love your website/ images/ article/ etc.
- because I like you
- because you have offered something in return
- because I think I will be missing out on something if I don’t share your website with others
Ask yourself this question before any link request you send out. Before you start creating another link bait concept. Before any brainstorm session you run.
If you can’t answer this question properly, there are basically three things you can do:
- proceed nevertheless, and deal with demoralizingly low acceptance rates
- offer something in return (content, money, services, etc.) to persuade people
- improve your content (or your pitch) in such a way that it does answer the question
Now if more people would ask themselves this question, it would make my inbox a whole lot cleaner…