Through the Spyglass


Five Reasons Your Link Building Campaigns Aren't Working

Perhaps you've heard a little tip about how getting other websites to link to your website will help you show up more often in online search engines. It's not a new theory, but how you go about getting links and what kind of links are helpful has changed over time. There are a number of "link builders" out there with their strategies and tactics. But if you've tried to get links to your site, and haven't succeeded, here are five reasons this is likely the case.

Image Credit: Haria Varlan Image Credit: Haria Varlan

You have no content to share.

Are you reaching out to people asking them to link to you or otherwise reference you on their websites and social profiles, but you have no content for them to share? If you have a simple website with no blog, white papers, ebooks, newsletters, or other shareable content, then you have missed a crucial step in link building. 

To be an effective link builder in today's environment, you need to have content that influencers can share with their audiences. Legitimate influencers are unlikely to reference you without having something shareable and valuable to their audiences. 

You have bad content people don't want to share.

Perhaps you didn't miss the first step of actually having content that people can share online. But have you thought about whether it's actually good content? Do people besides your mom want to read it? Are you answering people's questions and solving problems they face on a day-to-day basis? 

In addition to solving problems, is your content easy to digest? Do you have a mix of long-form and short-form content? For instance, if you only have in-depth ebooks and white papers, you'll limit your sharing ability just like you'll limit yourself by having only short blog posts. To reach a variety of influencers, you want to have a variety of content types. 

You are reaching out to the wrong linking candidates.

Not every online influencer is the type of influencer you should connect with. Relevancy is increasingly important for ranking well in search results. 

If you are a clothing designer, it will be a waste of time to reach out to a local dentist hoping she will link to you. Not only will the dentist probably ignore your request, thus wasting your efforts, but even if you did receive a link from the dentist, it probably would not help your SERP ranking. 

Search engines are placing ever more emphasis on relevancy for links, so focus on this to improve your likelihood of getting a link and to improve the positive effects of the link.

You aren't doing enough background research to compel linking candidates.

If you keep reaching out to people for links and aren't getting the responses you hope for, or any response at all, then you aren't doing your research. If you research a linking candidate, get to know their content, what they share, and what they like, then you will have a better idea of what kind of content they would like to receive from you. Follow their blogs and social media profiles. Comment on their posts so they are more likely to know who you are. 

When you ultimately reach out to them about linking to you, then you can reference their past work and highlight your content that aligns with what their audience responds to. And hopefully since you have engaged with them before on their blog and commented on their social media posts, they'll recognize your name. If they give you a bit of extra attention because they know you're a fan, and you've lined up your content with their interests, then you are much more likely to receive that link that you're hoping for!

You aren't following up with people.

If you're applying for a job and complete an interview, you send a follow-up note. The same goes for link building. If you send an inquiry to an online influencer asking them to share your content, and you don’t hear back, follow up! People are busy and inboxes get cluttered. Sending a simple "did you receive..." email will graciously remind influencers that you are serious and it will help them out if your first note simply slipped their mind.

So remember, as you seek to get links to improve your visibility in search engines, focus on providing quality content that the market will value. And before sending mass emails to anyone and everyone asking for a link, first research the right people to get links from, and know them well enough to make a meaningful case to link to you. If you follow these recommendations, your efforts will be much more fruitful!