Lately I’ve gotten quite a few emails from spammers asking me to link to their site because “we have so much in common”. These sites have included hotels, pharmaceuticals, and even a coffee site (I really considered that last one). The only real thing my site has in common with these sites is that, we are both websites. In addition to that the comments in some blogs recently have just really stunned me. From lame comments like “Good blog” to “Hey just putting it out there, if you guys ever need a yacht cleaning crew I recommend XXXXXXX” (the last one was on a site about SEO). So I thought to myself what goes through their minds when it comes to building links?

I’m no link building expert, but I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on how it (link building) works. I’ve had some success with it, and experience has shown me it’s a thought process. Nothing difficult, just a series of steps to take when approaching possible sites to gain one way links. Knowing this I’ve taken a step back to try to gain some perspective on the process ‘spammers’ take when sending out requests for links. And I’ve come to conclusion my cat, Tiger (pictured above), puts more thought into begging for food than spammers are when requesting links. Here’s why:

When Tiger sees his food dish empty he does the following:

  • Recognizes it’s empty and knows it needs to be filled with food (1)
    • Knows that the purple Whiskas bag has his food in it (2)
    • Knows that I’ll pour him the food when I know he is hungry (3)
  • Tiger pushes his food bowl to wherever I am in the house at my feet (4)
  • He then sits and watches me until I see him (5)
  • He meows once then runs to where his food bowl originally was (6)
    • Problem solved, he gets fed

Now lets compare Tiger’s process to that of a *spammer looking for links:

  • Knows they need links (1)
    • Doesn’t care where they come from (2)
  • Sends out a generic email to hundreds of purchased email addresses (3)
  • Doesn’t wait for a response, moves on to the next set of emails (4)

My brother-in-law’s cat (a *special* kind of feline) even places more thought into getting fed than spammers do for links:

  • Boots sees her bowl empty and knows it needs to be filled with something (1)
  • She sees the purple bag, assumes it’s her food inside (2)
  • She looks around in her current location for someone to cry at to feed her (3)
  • When no one is found Boots then tears into the bag to get at the food, or whatever it contained, and eats it (4)
  • After consuming the contents she then hides to avoid being found in trouble (5)

From this comparison it’s easy to see that Tiger puts more effort and thought into getting fed than spammers do in gaining links. So what exactly should the process look like? For me it goes something like this:

  • I know I need to get some links (1)
    • I’d like them to come from quality, relevant sites (2)
  • I look for sites to contact either by: (3)
    • Using our database of clients/partners
    • A tool from SEOmoz.org called, Juicy Linkfinder
  • Draft emails specific to each individual site (5)
  • Search for contact information on the desired site, or use the contact info on file (6)
  • Send out the final version of the emails to each contact person (7)
  • Reply to any responses and begin negotiating terms of the links, i.e. payment (O_o), placement in newsletters, mention in press releases, etc. (8)
  • Follow up with a thank you email for linking to us (9)

There may be a few more or less steps in your link building process, but as long as it’s more effort than cat gives when begging for food, you’ll have more success at it. Felines aside, do you feel more or less thought should be given when chasing links? Should we even care where we look for links? Why or why not? Thanks for reading.

*spammers in this post are defined by those mentioned in the opening paragraph