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The Art of Writing a Good Link Request Part II – Dr. Weaver Revisited

Online marketing information can change quickly This article is 15 years and 312 days old, and the facts and opinions contained in it may be out of date.

It seemed like folks were somewhat interested in how to frame a good link request, so I thought I’d write a bit more on the subject. As a lot of people know, I am a big fan of Seth Godin’s work, and try to apply his take on more traditional marketing methods to search engine optimization. In fact, his view is not so much “traditional marketing” as it is “marketing is all around us”. I plan to finish my review of his excellent “All Marketers Are Liars” in the near future to braindump some of my thoughts on that subject. Until then, I think a couple of the concepts I learned apply to creating a link request.

From the preface of the book:

Don’t just tell me the facts, tell me a story instead.

Be remarkable!
Be consistent!
Be authentic!

Tell your story to people who are inclined to believe it.
Marketing is powerful, use it wisely.

Live the lie.

This a good representation of the content of the book and helps to outline some of the concepts that are important to a good link request. People love to debate the finer points of a link request, and I suppose that is why this topic is interesting. The truth is that every request is different relative to the project and industry. If I know that I need five good strong authority links, the approach will be much different than if I want 5,000 of any type of links. Let’s assume for arguement’s sake that we are only shooting for quality and not quantity. The focus will be on wooing those who are already filthy linking rich, and may consider spreading a little bit of that link love to a viable candidate. That candidate is YOU…let’s ramp up your viability.

I want five good strong links for my underwater basket weaving site that is fairly new. I want to start with a good strong base to get rolling out of the box with my fairly new site.

I do a few creative searches to find the folks that are related to what I do. Basket weaving, crafting, scuba diving, snorkeling, and anything artistic could be fairly relative to my site. Within those niches, I would search the DMOZ or Google directory, use an Ontology tool, Google Sets, Snap, or wordtracker for more keyword ideas and combine those with some phrases such as “advertise, sponsor, or donations among other things”. The words that accompany your keywords for searches can be quite important and valuable.

I happen to find, and know that they would be a perfect candidate for a request. There are some others, but I am going to focus my effort on them first.

Link Request:

Subject: Question about Bamboo Bending Basket Weaving

Hey Melvin,

I’ve been reading through your site, and really enjoyed the information. I got some great ideas for new baskets from your section on bamboo bending that I’m excited to try out. I’ll be sure to send you a picture of it if I am able to weave a bamboo basket underwater. I could potentially even do a small tutorial on the things I learned about the best practices if you think it would be helpful to your readers.

If you are so inclined, I would greatly appreciate a link on your alternative basket weaving techniques page at:

Please feel free to let me know if you ever have questions about the specifics of underwater basketweaving.

Dr. Link Weaver

The response

Hi Link,

I would love to see some pictures of your bamboo bending project and how it turns out. I placed your link on the alternative page. Good luck with your project.



Just a little fix

Thanks a bunch Melvin. I’m really tryin’ to get some good links for the site. Any chance you could change the link to read “Under Water Basketweaving News and Classes”? I know it’s asking a lot, but would be quite helpful. I also noticed that on your twine weaving page you hadn’t mentioned nylon twine which is a product to weave as well. Here’s a couple sites on that subject:

Thanks for your help, I’ll let you know as soon as the bamboo bending project is complete.



Why would this work?

This works because it is personalized and helpful. It is not just a shallow link request. It is time intensive, but a link from a quality site does a lot of good. Keeping the dialogue open is extremely important too. Perhaps when the bamboo bending project is complete, it can link back to several areas of the underwater basketweaving site from within the context of the description or summary of the project. They may also know other folks within the community that they have had dialogue with that can be helpful in areas you may have overlooked. Don’t look for link partners…look for business associates that can help you to be successful through mutually attaining success.

Back to Seth
Frame your request to the worldview of the recipient. Think like the owner of the site you are requesting to and write a story around what they would like to hear. Don’t be a LIAR. Be authentic in the story that you tell. Tell them why your site really DOES deserve a link, and how you can help them make their site better. Their worldview has already been created. You can’t change anyone’s mind of anything in an e-mail. Frame your request around THEM.

If you don’t want to put REAL work into link requests, you can go rent them, or pay for reciprocal or links page links of constantly diminishing value. If you really don’t like work or worry about karma, there is always the the latest dark hat methods

If you are interested in more coaching or consulting on how to frame a link request for your specific site, please contact me (Hey, what kind of salesperson would I be if there isn’t at least a small pitch at the end?)

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