Sending out link requests is a time-consuming business. So wouldn’t it be wonderful if other sites linked to you without being asked? Sound impossible? Well, it can be done and in this book, we’re going to show you how. With link requests, you first have to find target websites, review them to decide if asking for a link is worthwhile, identify the contact person and send them a customized link request. If you can do all that in 15 minutes per request, you’ll be doing very well. On that timing, you’ll be able to send out 160 requests in a 40 hour week and with a success rate of say 10%, you’ll get 16 links for your efforts. 40 hours for 16 links - perhaps there is a better way to spend your time? Sometimes the best way to get links is not to ask for them. That doesn’t mean you should sit back, do nothing and wait for links to appear. Spend time creating content and making sure your site is attractive – with content others will want to link to. There are lots of things you can do to build your link popularity without sending out link requests (though, of course, the carefully targeted link request that is impossible to turn down does have its place – more of that later). Here are some of the approaches we’ll be exploring in this book: 1 - Play an active part in online discussion groups, forums, blog comments and other social sites. Not only will you learn, you’ll also become known, spot the movers and shakers, and if you post good opinions and helpful advice then people will link to you. 2 - Create relevant profiles on the large generic social sites (like Facebook, Twitter and StumbleUpon) and on smaller specialist social sites that serve your market, eg, WAYN for travel; RecipeZaar for cooking; stylehive for fashion and style. Build a network of friends on these sites. 3 - people to link by asking, “if you’ve enjoyed this newsletter, you can link to the permanent version at (insert URL)”. 4 - Publish articles on other websites – blogs, ezines, information sites, media sites, even article banks. You can find sites to submit articles to by doing a Google search, eg, intitle:”submit an article” business and this produces over one million results. 5 - Find niche blogs, sites and newsletters that serve your market and that you would like to link to your site. Study the type of content they publish and adapt your writing to their style. 6 - Create an interactive tool. My favorite of old was ‘The Longevity Game’. You answered about 20 questions and the tool predicted at what age you would be likely to die. Irresistible – I still remember that my prediction was 83. The test was designed and published by an insurance company – could they have been trying to sell me a pension? A little bit of creativity in thinking about such tools will be time well spent and a good programmer will be able to create a tool in just a few hours. 7 - Create great content. (OK, it’s an old trick, but it still works.) Just keep publishing great stuff. One of the best at this is online marketing expert Sean D’Souza’s PsychoTactics. His site and newsletter are models of consistency and genuine value to readers. 8 - Submit your website to legitimate award sites like Mike Corso’s Cool Site of the Day. The emergence of sites like Digg and Reddit means that such ‘pick of the day’ sites will struggle long term but meanwhile they offer a quick, free link and traffic opportunity. 9 - Praise and link. When you find genuinely useful resources, write a short, complimentary review together with a link. Then publish on your website and click on it just to make sure it ends up in your target’s referrer logs. Larry Chase of Web Digest for Marketers publishes a monthly newsletter that reviews about 10 web resources. A few days later he writes to each reviewed site and allows them to quote his comments in return for a link. 10 - Become a source of quotes. Provide sharp, useful, timely quotes for the media. You can get yourself known and you’ll find journalists will seek you out. Sign up for services such as PR Leads ($99 per month) which can put you in contact with journalists looking for experts to quote.