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11 Ways to Increase Your Chances of Being Linked to By a Blogger

Today I received what seemed like a fairly generic email from the website Dummies.com. I won’t republish the email (I’m not into that) but it was a fairly generic ‘could you link to our website’ type email asking for a link because they’ve redesigned their site. It even included a suggested link/code.

My reaction was not positive – in fact within a few moments I’d tweeted that I’d had the request and wasn’t overly impressed.

This post is not about Dummies.com – it’s about asking for links.

I have no beef with Dummies – they produce some great books by some amazing authors. This post isn’t about them. It’s about asking for links.

You see I get quite a few emails asking for links like the one from Dummies but they’re not always from big well known brands, they’re more often than not emails from bloggers. In 99% of cases the email ends up in my trash folder in Gmail but occasionally I not only read the emails but I link to the persons site.

Why do some emails generate links and others don’t?

Following are 11 suggestions for those wanting to email a blogger to ask for a link (whether they be big brands or bloggers):

  1. Write something worth linking to – this is a no brainer but so many people don’t get it. In the same way you wouldn’t successfully pitch a TV news service or newspaper a story like ‘I’ve got a newly designed website – it’s got videos’ you’re not likely to get much success with a blogger. The best way to get the attention of a blogger is to write something useful, entertaining, controversial, helpful, informative, intriguing…. etc. Check out my series on LinkBaiting for more ideas on this (particularly the post 20 Link Baiting Techniques).
  2. Suggest a Link to a post not your site – don’t ask for a link to your site – suggest that they check out a link to an individual page or post that you’ve written. A blogger is much more likely to run with a story linking to a post about a specific topic relevant to their topic than adding a link to your site.
  3. Develop a Relationship – cold calling a blogger that you’ve never interacted with before asking for a link is not the best way to start off a relationship. It’s like in real life – would you walk up to a stranger and immediately start asking them for favors? Get to know the blogger, their blog and let the ‘favors’ emerge out of that.
  4. Demonstrate Knowledge of the Blog and Blogger – building upon the ‘relational’ aspect – use the blogger’s name, show that you know what their blog is about. You don’t need to write an epic introduction that proves your knowledge – but a polite and not overly familiar approach can do you wonders. Also – introduce yourself to the blogger you are pitching to. You might feel like you know them but they could be in contact with many people – a quick reminder of who you are and what you do could help.
  5. Research – sometimes it can be worthwhile doing 5 minutes of research before you email another blogger. Look back over their last few months of blogging. What is their topic? Do they link to other blogs? What kinds of sites/posts/topics do they link to? Do they interact in other mediums (ie perhaps Twitter could be a better place to contact them)? The more information you gather the more able you are to tailor your pitch to them appropriately.
  6. Add Value – a blogger is unlikely to link to you unless there’s something in it for them or their blog. I’m not talking exchanging of money or even reciprocal links when I talk about value (although for some bloggers those will be motivating factors) – I mean the page you’re asking for a link for should be something of value that will actually enhance their blog. I can only speak for myself but I know that if someone pitches me a link that I’ll link to it or at least tweet the link in a heart beat if I think it adds value to the lives of my readers or followers.
  7. Stay on topic – this really is an extension of a couple of the points above but it always amazes me how many emails I get for people asking me to link to their ‘golf’, ‘stock market’, ‘book review’ and ‘kids fashion’ sites (they were just 4 requests that I got today alone). If you’re pitching a blogger to link to something you wrote make sure that the blog you want to appear on has relevancy to your topic. For starters it increases the chances of a link, it increases the chances of a reader clicking the link and it increases the power of the search engine juice that you’ll get from the link.
  8. Be selective in what you promote – we all like to think that every post we write is worthy of links from thousands of other blogs but the reality is that some are more likely to be linked to than others. Pick your very best posts to promote in this way and keep your requests to a minimum.
  9. Reciprocate – I want to be clear here that I’m not talking about reciprocal links. ‘Link to me and I’ll link to you’ doesn’t really hold a lot of value in SEO any more from what I can see. What I am talking about here is being willing to be generous TO the blogger and not just expecting them to be generous to you. Shane Gibson described these emails on Twitter yesterday as “we Win you Lose invitations” – I think that sums it up nicely. See the relationship as being like a bank. You’ve got to put in to get something out. If you take too much out the relationship will be bankrupt. I’m not just talking about giving the blogger links – you can reciprocate in many ways including by writing them guest posts, sending them small gifts, sponsoring a project that they’re running, promoting them to your own network…. etc
  10. Build on the Experience – no matter what the bloggers response is – you can learn from and build upon the experience. If they do link then there may be opportunity to deepen the relationship in some way. If they respond angrily, you probably don’t want to send them links again. If you get silence, don’t take it personally and continue to find ways to build relationships with the blogger.
  11. Be Link Worthy – let me emphasize this again. The best way to get linked to by a blogger is to produce a page or post that is link worthy of the link.
About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. On the Money says:

    Spot-on post and point #2 certainly lit up a bulb in my head.

    I had a US site desperate to get on my blogroll (yup, I don’t know why either) and of the 5 sites I was offered as an exchange link, I only had an interest in one … but it turned out my link would be deeply buried anyway and so didn’t warrant a space on my highly-selective roll. I nailed it shut. Point is, had we both thought about post links rather than site links, it could have worked very nicely. So thank you for your post and #2 in particular.

    All the best. 8-)

  2. Good advice, but the approach you’re advocating is ridiculously time-consuming and, I believe, only likely to be marginally more successful than the scattershot approach.

  3. Marija says:

    I could give a link to this post every time I get such emails. :) You’ve written my thoughts.

  4. Sjay says:

    This is nice.

    Why you should visit my blog?

    I think if you have a good reason to convice people to come to your blog. You solve these issues.

    I think after Darrens 31 day to build a better blog I will find couple of good reasons why you should visit my crazzycool blog.

    Thanks darren for all these tips and tricks.

    Sjay

  5. I can totally relate to your post. I used to have a client at my old job that really wanted to generate a lot of links to help with SEO. Unfortunately, he refused to change anything about his site and had no interest in creating (or having us create) useful content that would make the site “link worthy”. Instead, he just wanted my team to cold call and send random emails to related sites asking for links etc… 1,000 emails and 100 cold calls later, we landed 3 links. Not because we didn’t know how to do our job, but because the site stunk and no one wanted to be associated with it.

    From then on, we swore we would never take on another client like that again. It just wasn’t worth our time and effort to help a site that didn’t want to help itself.

    2 weeks later we landed another client in the same exact industry who had great content on their blog and was completely devoted to making it even better. Doing it the right way (developing relationships, commenting on related sites, guest posts etc…), within one month, we generated over 50 high quality (PR 3 or better) link backs.

    Just goes to show you how powerful great content and the right approach is when trying to get links.

    Thanks again for sharing, this post was spot on!

  6. Great post Darren, always love reading your work. I have applied most of these principles within my blog @ http://www.StocksHaven.com I have also applied to be accepted into Finance News on Google, as I saw that it can bring much generated visitors!

  7. Kris Beus says:

    I got to say that point 11 is your best. I know that the old saying if you create they will come is not true, but if you do create a very high quality blog or site there is a much better chance you will get linked to. Very good post.

  8. Solomon says:

    It’s a good coincidence that this post has to do with my current temptation to ask some readers to check out my blog. :) I rant on my experiences in copywriting and journey thus far.
    You enumerated great points here. It’s a tricky issue to ask someone for some favour. It goes against decent behaviour. I’m also guilty of it quite a few times…
    Great reminders on this crucial aspect for all bloggers !
    Solomon

  9. Alex says:

    Wow, great tips and tricks, because most people send mails which are deleted without being read.

  10. Mike says:

    Great guide. I’m new to this and hopefully this will be a great starting point. I’m going to go and read your link baiting article now :-)

  11. Skumar says:

    I totally agree with all your points Darren, its been a treat to follow your blog, you always provide such a useful tips for fellow bloggers, thanks again!

  12. venkat says:

    If a blogger writes quality articles ,ohter bloggers will deintely link to that blog.

  13. Kash says:

    Great Article! Loved it. I guess, they might have got at least 100 direct visits only from this article without a link!.. Lucky Them!.. :)

  14. Agent SEO says:

    @venkat

    I agree. If you write something worth reading, then other bloggers will appreciate and link.

    On another note, asking for links is tough business and most people aren’t very good at it. What makes it difficult is trying to get somebody who is already established to link to you. That is very difficult and I think it all goes back to being worth linking to by creating good content.

  15. Tumblemoose says:

    I kinda hate to sound like a broken record Darren but…

    I really appreciate the stuff you put out. I end up using so much of it as I navigate through these (sometimes) troubled waters.

    Thanks again

    George

  16. Carleen says:

    I have gotten to the point where I ignore all link requests from unknown bloggers. I get many of them and they tend to all seem insincere. I also get a number of requests from businesses who are essentially seeking free text link ads. Those get a copy of my ad rates (including my statements that I don’t run link ads without a nofollow tag).

  17. Wendy says:

    Thanks Darren,
    I’m new to the world of blogging and your advice is really useful. I’m not sure I understand why people would think you would just provide a link without a good reason beyond simply a request!

  18. I think the most important factor from this blog post has to be to make something worthwhile reading. make people want to link to it.

  19. Jake says:

    Thanks for a great post. Start my new blog last month, just the infos I needed.

    I am seeing lots of spams from spammers already.

  20. Reagan says:

    Thanks for the post. I wonder if you can explain more about “develop a relationship.” In the aim to be transparent, I shy away from the idea of cultivating relationships with the idea to promote my brand. As a PR person, not a blogger, how do you suggest I open up the lines of communication.

    Thank you!

  21. I don’t directly “link” to any other blogs from mine, but I use blogger’s “favorite blogs” widget (or whatever it’s called) – it shows a little blurb of the recent content. I think I have 5 blogs shown. None of them asked me to do it – I did it because the blogs are good.

    Suggesting a particular post is also a good entry point. I wrote an article about some good baseball web sites a while back and recently posted it as a fan post on the Rockies blog I read. I got a bunch of people to visit that page. I’m not sure if any of them will hang around, but they might.

    I wouldn’t normally include a link within a comment, but I’ve probably piqued the interest of some baseball fans (my own baseball interest is easily piqued)

    http://somecasualobservations.blogspot.com/2009/02/what-are-best-baseball-sites.html

  22. Write something before anybody else. i.e Be the first to write about something, this way you are the source of the news.

  23. Heather says:

    I wouldn’t be too hard on people who request links. Not that long ago, before blogs came along, sending out link requests was a normal practice. If you visit many non-blogs you will still find a Links page which many webmasters used in those days just as a place for all of those reciprocal links.

    Have link requests fallen out of fashion? Sure, but maybe its just going to take some people a little time to catch up and realize that this is no longer the way to do things.

  24. sultan says:

    Thanks for the tips, it is much appreciated.

  25. Corina says:

    Adding value is a good point. It’s sometimes hard to figure out what is more valuable to people.

  26. asunsun says:

    Thanks for the tips Darren, it is always useful

  27. Barry Smith says:

    Darren,
    Great insight but a little painful. I am NOT good at the whole relationship building with others that I’d like to ‘partner’ with… I share a lof of their ideas or links with my church and/or ministry team… but really don’t ask to connect my site with them. Partly because I’m not real positive on ‘how’ to get connected with them – and partly because I don’t want to be a schmoozer or ‘needy’ etc. Thanks for the info.

  28. Team Nirvana says:

    I presume that LinkBaiting does not necessarily bring out valid links as many suggest. I may be wrong, correct me in case.

    But, when it comes to being linked from other’s blogs, I sincerely think that valuable content which changes the perspective or brings around the thought of the change in the point of view does bring out the expected commotion.

    Another great post Darren. Thanks for sharing.

  29. casinoslot says:

    Ok, so the dummies should have consulted their own SEO dummy before sending out such an inane and senseless email. I can think of at least a dozen reasons they could have suggested to you for linking to them. However, now they will have to be satisfied with the immeasurable benefit they have now derived from you by merely ‘trashing’ them. You and others will now be including a link to them in addition to placing in their name in the forefront of their brains, which they can retrieve when they next require written instuctions in the form of a book.

  30. R Kumar says:

    Interesting post and very valuable points. Why would an established blogger or, website agree to a link exchange with you? It is only if the blogger feels that your blog is a respectable one.All of what is mentioned in this post are things that can help a blog gain respect in the blogosphere. So the bottom line is “earn respect and see links coming to you”.

  31. Karlstadunix says:

    thank for sharing this, im trying to developing relationship right now,,,

  32. marl says:

    This post is very informative, most importantly in building relationships between bloggers. Knowing who to link to is very important if their site is worth being linked to.

    Thanks for this post.

  33. Horlic says:

    I received alot incoming msg to ask me exchange link with them. but i have deleted all of it, cos feel that are spam msg. now a bit confuse about defination of ‘spam’.. anyway, this post do give me alot insipiration on blogging journey. TQ for sharing.

  34. Omar Abid says:

    I got a link from you, just for posting a comment, you did replies for me in your next post and linked to my site with my main keywords :)
    This is another idea to get links, is to write related comments

  35. Kikolani says:

    If you post informative comments on other sites, or have an article with lots of resources from sites other than your own, you will stand more of a chance of having your article linked to by others. Both show that you are a member of the blogging community that freely shares knowledge for the good of the blogging community, which makes you more of an authority on the subject on which you focus.

    ~ Kristi

  36. Kikolani says:

    @Horic, Not all link requests are spam. What you have to watch out for are sites that are not thematic with yours, and ones that do not link back. Or if they do, are they are using nofollow links, can you get to their directory from the homepage, and are they using php redirect links, which has no SEO value.

    ~ Kristi

  37. Horlic says:

    @Kikolani, TQ for your explanation, will take your advices and take action on it.

  38. Fatin Pauzi says:

    Now I understand why some bloggers rejected my request on asking for linking my blog. What you has exposed is very private and I don’t see any blogger do that yet. Thanks!

  39. VlogHog says:

    Instead of asking for a link, give a link to a blogger, Stumble them up, Twitter about the blogger, comment on the blogger’s site, follow them on Twitter etc.

    Do something for someone else first.

  40. tonic says:

    your suggestions is helpful for me,i’m new blogger,and i try my best to Value my new blogger.
    best Article,best review,best blog,so best links will come to your blog

  41. Darth Maui says:

    I’m going to Dummies.com now because you trashed their request.

  42. Moise Levi says:

    I find that bloggers like to team up with bloggers writing about a specific niche ; I wirte mostly about charts (stock market), and tend to prefer linking to other chartists

  43. David Koh says:

    I don’t solicit for links, rather I prefer to offer to do a guest post for them. It’s better this way as I get to promote myself as well as add value to their blogs.

  44. This is awesome, exactly what I was looking for.

  45. titan says:

    ehm. its not easy. But this is really great to have chance to get linkded from others blogger.

  46. B Simple says:

    Thanks for the great post. Those are some really great ideas. Just today I received a generic email asking me to link to there site. At least the site was on in the same niche. But will suggest some of the tips you offered. Again thanks for the great content you provide.

  47. Bruce Elkin says:

    I found this post very useful. It’s really common sense, but so many of us lose our common sense in our rush to get known, now. And to get more traffic to our blogs, sites, … So, I think it’s actually “uncommon sense” — a kind of meta-common sense to help us all reclaim what we’ve ignored. Thanks!

  48. Very coincidentally I am reading your “problogger” book Darren and was just reading this section before I came to read your blog. You added quite a few more points here. I especially like the point about asking for a link to a post rather than your site. I think that might lend a fellow blogger an idea to write a post about referencing your post.

    Great post as always.

  49. Geoserv says:

    Good post but no matter what you do for some bloggers, this one included, it won’t help. No offense, I love your blog but you do very little for anyone else no matter what they do for you.

    I don’t see one reply from you in the comments, doesn’t make you come across like an approachable blogger if you won’t even interact with your commentators.

    I am tired of bloggers telling me what to do when they don’t even have the courtesy to reply to people.

  50. Joe Gelb says:

    Great post. Begging must work if someone robo emails right? Its just a numbers game!