Are You Being Too Selfish With Your Links?

Manual link buildingAs someone with a website, you have an extremely potent gift you can give to other webmasters: A link. When you link to another webmaster, they’ll often feel grateful, acknowledged and surprised. Yet most people seldom use this gift.

Why do you link to others? By and large, most webmasters do so out of their own selfish interests, rather than to give back to the community at large or to other webmasters.

For example, you might link out to other sites because it’s relevant to your article, or you might link out to other sites in an effort to get a reciprocal link. These both have one primary focus: “Me.”

While being selfish with linking can work, it’s not nearly as effective as linking with a giving attitude. When others see that you’re linking out with a desire to help them up, they’ll want to help you up as well.

What Does a Generous Link Strategy Look Like?

Be generous

Instead of “how can linking help me,” a generous link strategy asks: “How can I help you?”

For example, let’s say there’s another webmaster who’s launching a new initiative. They’re in a slightly different industry than you. For example, you might run a travel site and they might run a travel insurance site.

If you were approaching your linking strategy from a selfish perspective, you might just leave it. After all, it’s not strictly in your topic, the keywords aren’t the keywords you’re trying to rank for and you might not get anything back.

However, employing a generous link strategy means going out of your way to help the webmaster. For example, you might write a special article on choosing travel insurance and embed a link in that piece of content.

The webmaster will see that you went out of your way to help him. He might not reciprocate right now, but you can bet he’ll remember the gesture.

It’s Time to Stand Out

Stand out with valuable contentProviding quality content is an essential part of any link strategy. While you can actively cultivate links, often time’s your links will simply come from putting top notch content out into the world.

Most people create content that they either know how to create or want to create. For example, you might know how to write articles, so you write articles. Or you know how to create infographics, so you create infographics.

Yet the websites that truly stand out employ a different strategy: They ask what kind of content their audience wants.

Create content that your audience has never seen before. Don’t just say things that have been said on the internet in other words already. Instead, say things that are original and offer real value to people.

Go out of your way to create content that provides so much value that it actually surprises people. If your audience has troubles with a calculation, create a piece of web software to solve the issue. If they’re having problems with performing an action, do a high quality video showing how to solve it.

The #1 Question to Ask

The most important question to ask when you’re putting anything on the web is this: “If I was a stranger to this site, would I share this content with my Facebook friends?” Build Trust

Remember – Getting a link or getting a share requires enormous trust. People need to truly feel that your content is above expectations.

Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. What would blow them away? If you weren’t you, would you still share that piece of content? If the answer is yes, then you’re probably sitting on a winning piece of content.

Stop focusing on yourself. Instead, focus on how you can help your audience and how you can help other webmasters. As counter-intuitive as it is, that’s how you get the best results for yourself.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.


2 Responses to “Are You Being Too Selfish With Your Links?”

  1. Nick Stamoulis on March 16th, 2012 1:56 pm

    You need to look at linking and social media sharing as a two way street. If people are linking to you, you should try and return the favor somehow, as long as it is relevant to do so. If it is all take and no give, people will stop helping you out.

  2. Peru And Arts on March 17th, 2012 4:14 am

    Most important in social media is sharing, if people links you, sure you have to return the favor in some way.

Leave a Reply