The Exciting World of Link Earning

The Exciting World of Link Earning

Link Building | Blueprint

Please Don’t Make Me Build Links!

If you ask search marketers what gives them the sweats about their job, they’ll tell you it’s earning links for their clients. Here’s the thing: link analysts, link earners, link builders exist in a vacuum. They know what they’re doing, and unless they work within a larger link building “farm”, they don’t pass on their knowledge to their coworkers and industry colleagues. Let’s change that.

In my last post we went over what linkbuilding is and today we’ll go over some tips and tricks to demystify link earning.

Wait, What’s Link Earning?

Let’s get this out of the way first: at Blueprint, we’ve decided to call ourselves link earners. Why? Link builders received a bad rap after Google’s Penguin update in 2012. That update ensured that black-hat link builders (and their clients) suffered. Unfortunately, the perceptual association hit us white-hat linkbuilders’ hard.

And in the end, what we do here is earn. From our video and content teams, to our web design and development squad, to our link earners and search marketers – we out earn the competition every day. So us link analysts refuse to let “the conversation” shape our hard work.

Alright, Mr. Link Earner…What Do You Got?

What I’ve got is a secret. Let me tell you what it is –

  1. Work Hard
  2. Be Creative
  3. Work Smart
  4. Be Nice

These four tactics are necessary to successfully land links for your clients.

Work Hard

This is the “boring” stuff. You need to work diligently to identify the websites or blog that would accept content your clients care about. You have to not only find the appropriate niche your client will succeed in, but you must also identify the quality of the site you are reaching out to (PR, mR, social followers, no duplicate content) in order to ensure your client’s content is going to places that deserve your time and effort.

Be Creative

Question time!

What kind of content are you looking to produce? Will you focus on straight article/blog production, or create microsites that indirectly drive traffic to your client’s site and create buzz? How will your listicle on “10 Lightsaber Duels We Wish LucasArts Would Film” manage to promote your client? How will your video on “Traffic In Georgia” be able to be shared on dozens of sites throughout the web, across the nation?

The answer is as simple as it is to execute. You have to get creative!

Any piece of content – for any kind of client – can find a home somewhere on this crazy set of wires and signals that we call the internet. You just need to get creative.

Work Smart

This is one of the moments where you start to say “Oh no! I’m turning into my mother! D:”

We’ve all heard the adage “work smarter, not harder.” But why not do both?

You’ve done all this hard work searching and creating, now it’s time to curate a plan. How will you approach your link earning? You could talk to influencers through social media as your client. You could offer regular content help to blogs in exchange for a link to your client in your author’s bio.

One approach we take at Blueprint is targeting influencers through social accounts that actually matter to your brand. Don’t just go to Facebook because they have the largest audience. Identify what platform is best suited for your business, and instead of dividing time between 4 or 5, focus on one or two and consistently push. If this sounds like social media strategy, you’re right! But if you build relationships with influencers in your category, you can easily get a link onto their site when you have something right up their alley.

This is working smarter.

Be Nice

What? Why?

Because it matters. It matters in our personal relationships, it matters to the person serving you food, and it matters when asking a person to do something that benefits you or your brand.

Bloggers, site owners, etc. are real people who pour themselves into their work – just like you do. Yes, you are creating content that they would otherwise not feature on their site, but the only reason you are doing this is to leverage your site and create buzz around your business.

Exchanging pleasant phone calls, Twitter DMs, emails, or even smudgy, cheap hand-written thank you notes is not only a courteous gesture – it’s a means to an end. These site owners and blog operators will know who to recommend next time a colleague needs help with content for a month or two.

Be nice because it matters.

In the end, what matters is that you land a backlink for your brand or your client’s website. You can do that by content milling and spam, or you can do something creative, inspiring, and fulfilling. Don’t build; earn.

By: Blueprint
  • Nathan Taitt

    Absolutely LOVE this outline. Hard. Creative. Smart. Nice. It’s absolutely true and without any of these 4 principles… link earning simply will not succeed. Great post Alfredo.

  • Aaron Ward

    very easy to follow, nice breakdown.

  • Naima

    Link earning can be hard, but very simple and rewarding when you know how to earn links without investing too much time and effort. Great tips Alfredo!

  • Rebekah Faucette

    Creative indeed! Writing link building posts can be a challenge, particularly on the less “glamorous” subjects. But it’s often one of the most fun parts of content, as you get the chance to expand beyond the narrow subject and find ways to work products or concepts into broader ideas. Great post Alfredo!

  • Elizabeth Weaver

    Great post, Alfredo! I remember the first conversation we had about link earning and I asked you a question along the lines of, “So, we’re going to be providing content here?” And you looked at me all crazy-like and said, “AS OPPOSED TO WHAT?!” Of course we will be. And GREAT content at that! I think that’s what sets us apart at Blueprint. We are, in fact, earning not building.

    I completely agree with the four tactics that you’ve outlined here. Also, I’m proud to be a part of a team that can follow them so well. Thanks for sharing some of your link earning expertise!

    P. S. – That link high thoughhh! 🙂

  • Joshua Bains

    Link building is just like pitching your freelance writing – I think we complicate it by approaching the field from an SEO, digital marketer’s perspective. You’re trying to get the best content onto a third party site. “Best” includes making sure the links within your piece are appropriate.

    Look. This is the problem with Marketers.

    Rather, Barketers:

    If everything is about the end result – about getting the link to my client – then I, as a marketer, am going to have to figure how to create the content that will feature my client and might still be accepted by an external blog. But if I, as a writer, want simply to create a great article then I’ll have appropriate links that are a natural part of my content because that’s all I would ever allow in my writing.

    The irony is that link building marketers are mimicking the writing and pitching process, but seeing it from beyond the looking glass.

    That means backwards.

    Except for Mr. Rodriguez. His tips about being hard, creative, smart and nice are like the maddening pitch of a dog whistle to a Barketer. They’re plain as the sun to a Brand Journalist.

  • Chuniq Inpower

    Being creative is definitely an important aspect of link building, but relationship building is key to long term success as well. When you are firmly connected to other writers and leaders in your field, you better leverage your contacts and make more avenues for your content to be shared. People enjoy doing business and having personal interactions with people/brands/companies they “like”. Make friends and you may very well make business.

  • John

    I was involved with a link earning effort back in 2013. I was using video as the content, and it was nothing too great, but I found it cool how willing most people were to give out a link for a decent quality video that meant something to them and their company. White hat tactics really work, as long as you are willing to put in the time and effort to do it right. I like how you laid out the overarching philosophy of a good link-earning strategy so clearly. Great stuff!