Writing a Persuasive Link Request Message

As promised – sorry for the delay – how to write a persuasive Link Request message, a follow up to my post Link Building – the DIY Way.

Remember owners/webmasters of well ranking sites get a lot of these requests and most of them are from spammers looking for links to irrelevant sites, so you need to be more geniune and unique. Make sure you have a good look at the site you are requesting the link from so that you can 1) be sure it’s a suitable link, 2) determine any good networking opportunities between the sites and 3) genuinely discuss the site in your messsage.

As you should focus on sites that are very relevant to your own content and therefore of interest to your visitors, your link building campaign can be a good opportunity to create other networking opportunities and partnerships. From this linking opportunities can arise more naturally.

Guidelines for each section of your email message —

To: Send individual messages to each of the site owners/webmasters so that you can personalize the message by mentioning his/her name (if available) or at least the site name. If you send to multiple recipients you are more likely to get caught in a spam filter.

From: Send you messages from an email address from the domain you are requesting the link for — which make the recipient more likely to feel your request is personal and not from a third party.

Re: The subject of your message is very important.
– If worded poorly it may get you straight into the spam filter or immediately deleted by the recipient. I test out different subjects to see what gets caught in my own, fairly high level, spam filter. What can get you into the spam filter: phrases with “link exchange”, “link request”, “reciprical links”, etc.; a subject that is too short or too long (I am surprised at the number of people that send messages with no subject).
– I hesitate to give suggest a specific phrase to use, but ‘Enquiry from [then list their website address or name] usually gets them to open it as it may be sale. It isn’t really deceiptful as you do have an enquiry. You need to then be genuine in the body of the message so they don’t feel they’ve been mislead.

Body: Now you have to ‘sell’ your proposal to the recipient.
– Introduce yourself (I am Ann Donnelly from O’Mahony Donnelly Chartered Certified Accountants, www.omahonydonnelly.ie)
– Explain how you found the site; i.e. either referred to you by someone, you know of the business locally, found their site researching related sites on the internet (I found your site, www.namethesitehere.com, while researching websites with information about starting a business in Ireland).
– Ask for the link (Many visitors to our site would be interested in the content on your site… Would you be interested in exchanging links?)
– Note where you would place their link and request how they would like their link to appear.
– Specify the link text you would like (As the wording of links can be beneficial to search engine ranking, if possible please use the following wording for our link: <a href=”http://omahonydonnelly.ie” target=_blank”>Accountants Ireland</a> – O’Mahony Donnelly)
– Use this communication for more than just a link — perhaps this would be a wider networking opportunity and you may have other ideas for work or promotions you may be able to do together (i.e. offering a package deal or referring people to each others businesses on a more regular basis, etc.)
– Don’t forget to say thanks and make it clear how they can get back in touch with you.

What to avoid:
– Don’t bother discussing PageRank unless you can see from their site (or previous communication with them) that it’s something they are concerned about. When I get requests that go on about Google PageRank I usually don’t believe what they are saying. Often they are talking about the PR of their homepage and the page they want to link from has none. PageRank can change and links should be more about the relevancy of the content of the site to yours and what it can offer your visitors than about the PageRank.
– Don’t go over the top with compliments on their site (i.e. You have a great site.). Compliment the owner/webmaster if you genuinely like something specific about the site.
– Don’t make the recipient feel under pressure. I get many requests saying, “I’ve added your link to my site and if you don’t add our link in 5 days we will remove your link.” I delete them thinking, “I never asked for your link, buddy! Don’t give me that attitude!”

Following up:
– If you haven’t heard back from the recipient in a couple of weeks, send a follow up message. Just note that you are following up in case they didn’t receive the initial message and just wanted to check back with him/her. Don’t hassle them or sound annoyed that you haven’t heard back. The other party doesn’t owe you anything.