The best links come from relationships

Last week I offered 10 Bullet Points for a Successful Company Website and it once again brought up the issue of link-building. I only suggested that you set a target to arrange one good link a week to your site, but even so, I bet most of you conveniently avoid even doing that. One reader was happy to admit defeat and asked who I thought they should subcontract the task to. My answer is nobody.

Here’s why. The best links to your website, the ones which will start to help your ranking in Google, come from people, companies and organisations with which you’re probably already familiar. However, an external service wouldn’t be. I’m thinking of websites belonging to distributors, suppliers, academic departments where you have contacts, initiatives which you sponsor, events you attend …and those are just a start. Then there’s the task of actually asking for the links, once you’ve come up with some ideas. Again you’re at an advantage, because the request is far more likely to be acted upon if it comes from you, rather than some third party. You may even have had agency requests yourself: “Hello, I’m acting on behalf of the Blue Widget Company, and I think you should link to our website” – to which the answer (if you even get that far) is always: “Why?” and “No thanks”.

On the other hand, the request stands a substantially better chance if it’s something like: “Hello, this is Fred here from the Blue Widget Company, we met the other day, and I wondered if you might be able to run a small piece on your website about us if we supplied a few words for you. I hope it would be useful to your visitors to be able to find out a little more about the equipment you’re using” (or whatever).

So I’d always say that effective link-building is best done in-house, even if it is a bit of a chore and possibly even daunting! The best few dozen links you can get are normally going to be down to relationships. There are many great places to contact (our Insider Programme members get a list!). But the type of unrelated sites from where third-party link building agencies will get you links aren’t going to be nearly as good.

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