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Link-Building Campaigns: 8 Common Mistakes in Link Request Emails

Link-Building Campaigns and Link Request EmailsIn any link-building campaign, the link request email is one of the keystones. Without a well-written, thoughtful link request, you can’t expect to form meaningful relationships with website owners and get great links coming to your site.

Although writing a link request email isn’t rocket science, chances are if you’re just starting out on a link-building campaign, you might be making some mistakes that are getting your emails ignored or deleted (along with that forwarded message that contains pictures of puppies). Firing off an email that says something like “Hey, can we exchange links?” just won’t cut it.

So how can you avoid having your emails ignored or deleted? Let’s look at eight of the common mistakes found in link request emails:

  1. (No Subject). Don’t forget to use an eye-catching subject line. Believe it or not, your link request is a form of email marketing for your business, and you must make a good first impression. Start off with a solid, engaging subject line—it will catch the site owner’s attention as he muddles through the other link requests.
  2. ReallyWeirdEmail@NotMySite.com. Don’t send an email from a confusing, inappropriate, or irrelevant email address. Emails that come directly from your company or your website will look much more credible. To encourage trust, send your link request from a professional email address.
  3. To Whom It May Concern. This is one of the biggest mistakes that cause many link request emails to get rejected. Why should a site owner care about linking if you haven’t even taken the time to learn his or her name? Don’t deliver a canned greeting. Know your link request recipient’s name and address that person accordingly. To keep a more conversational tone—and to get the reader’s attention—use the person’s first name throughout the request.
  4. Let’s Talk About Me. Your site sells this, you just introduced this awesome new product, you’re really great, etc. Talking too much about your site and your products and services will leave the site owner bored and a little bit annoyed. You don’t need to tell them the whole story behind your website; you just need to get them to check it out. Spend more time in the message telling the site owner how valuable their site is. Talk about what you find interesting. Comment on a recent blog post on their site. Before contacting the site owner for a link, make sure that you’ve actually taken the time to look at the site.
  5. What Did You Want Again? Be clear about what you want and what you’re requesting. Don’t dance around the subject. Site owners may get hundreds of link request emails every day. Be clear, concise, and to the point when you ask for a link or an exchange.
  6. We’re Not Related. Relationships are important when it comes to link requests, and if you and the site owner aren’t connected in some way, chances are you’re not going to get a response. You wouldn’t want someone to crash your wedding, right? The same idea goes for link requests. You have to be related to the site owner through industry, interests, or even geographic area to increase your chances of getting a response. Only send requests to relevant sites—not just those with a high PageRank™.

    Also, it’s a great idea to connect with the site owner on social media before you send a link request. Follow his or her site on Twitter or Facebook. Connect with the site owner on LinkedIn. Establishing a social media relationship that can be mentioned in the link request can definitely boost your chances for getting a link.

  7. How Do I Contact You? Forgetting contact information is another big no-no. Besides using a professional email address, make sure you include your full name and a phone number. This makes the message much more credible and shows that you genuinely want to connect with the site owner.
  8. No Thanks. Don’t just sign off your letter with a request for a link and your name. Thank the site owner for his or her time. It’s polite, thoughtful, and an effective way to show that you want to establish a relationship.

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    1. Worst of all, offering a link back on a throw-away domain. No thanks.

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    2. Agreed! It’s never nice to reach out only to give little or nothing of value in return. It’s called a link “exchange.” :)

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    3. Ben said on May 13, 2010

      Exchanges are nice. If the site you are trying to get on has high SEO value for you, it can benefit your ranking even more if you offer to pay for the placement in lieu of exchanging links.

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    4. That can be a great strategy for some sites. There’s also success in offering samples, free products, guest blogging opportunities, or other incentives that can help establish and build on a partnership.

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