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How to get backlinks from bigger and more important sites
I have a PR5 site. It actually used to be a PR6, but it must have been a weak 6, because a few years back it fell to 5 and never went back up.
If you have no idea what that means, consider that a large part of the web never gets above PR1. Many people are very happy if they reach PR3, never mind anything higher.
It is true that Google is not caring as much about this measurement as they used to, but if you see a PR7 site, that site is very big and very important. It gets a lot of traffic and has a lot of other sites linking to it. Even a PR5 site like mine is still pretty big and pretty important.
If you are a PR2 site and hope to become a PR4, you need links. The bigger the site that links to you, the more likely your rank will increase. For example, I have at least eight links from Wikipedia. That's huge, because some of the pages that link to me are PR6 and Wikipedia itself is PR8.
If you are thinking I am about to tell you how to get Wikipedia to link to you 8 times, I am not.
The best links come gratis
You see, I had nothing to do with any of those links. I didn't ask anyone to put them on Wikipedia, I didn't put them there myself (and people who try that usually find them deleted almost instantly).
No. I just wrote some useful stuff that people who wrote the Wikipedia articles liked and decided to link to.
That's probably the only way you are going to get on Wikipedia and stay there, sorry.
But don't despair. Other sites, maybe not quite so big and powerful as Wikipedia, but still bigger than you are, might be willing to link to you. Heck, even I might be willing to do that.
Don't hold your breath.
We get mail
As I said, I'm a PR5. I get link requests almost every single day, sometimes multiple times a day. Imagine how many the PR6 and PR7 sites get. I delete almost all of them instantly and so does everybody else that matters.
Why are we so mean? Mostly because you (a generic "you") are so clueless.
Do you know me?
Most of the emails are obvious form letters sent out in a shotgun blast to everyone under the sun. I use some extra email addresses that these are often sent to; if I see it addressed to one of those, I know the sender never visited my site at all.
That's instant deletion. If you haven't visited my site, your email gets deleted. No response, no interest, it's just automatic.
I don't trade
Next to go is any offer to trade links. I don't care that you put my site on your useless little PR1 "link partners" page. I don't want it there, and it isn't worth anything anyway. More to the point, if you did link to me for whatever reason, I don't need you to tell me and I don't WANT you to tell me. Trading links is against Google's policy; I am not going to participate.
So the reciprocal offers go right to trash also, again with no reply.
I don't sell
Once in a while I get people offering to pay for links.
You don't have enough money.
I mean that in all seriousness. The only way you can buy links from me is to buy the website itself. The price as of August 2010 is $2.8 million. Still interested?
I do give freely
Actually, there is a way you can get a link, Three ways, actually. One is to buy advertising from me. Those will be "no follow" links, though. The other way is to submit a guest post. If I approve it, you'll get an author link. That is IF I approve your article, of course. The third way is if you provide a consulting service and want a free listing in my Unix/Linux consultants directory, but those are no follow also, so aren't part of this discussion..
But if you had ever visited my website, you'd know about all of those things, so I'm not going to waste my time with you.
So, how DO you get my attention?
OK, so here we are. You didn't send to one of my honeypot email addresses, you didn't send a form letter and you didn't offer to trade or buy links. You are getting very close to the point where you might get the courtesy of a reply.
I said might. Don't count on it just yet.
Your email needs to immediately show me that you know something about my site. If you don't instantly mention a keyword that is relevant to what I do there, you are in the trash.
If you include verbiage that explains how beneficial this link will be to me, you are an idiot and are going to the trash for just that. I don't have time for either the hopelessly stupid or people who think I just rolled off a turnip truck.
Next, you have to tell me about what I am linking to. Don't expect me to go look it up. Tell me. Tell me why it is relevant and why I should link to you.
Oh, you did all that? Good job. You did so much better than all the other people.
You aren't getting a link.
Yes, I said you are not getting a link
What? Why not?
Because I don't have a link directory. Well, I do, but it is ancient and hasn't been updated in years because nobody does link directories anymore. I leave what is there untouched out of laziness and possible historical interest, but I'm not going to add anything to it now.
You should know that. If you had any concept at all about how the web works once we get above the picayune sites who happily add each other to their meaningless PR0 or PR1 link farms, you'd know that. Since you don't, you don't get a link and you don't get a response.
Is there ANY way to get a link?
Yes, of course there is. Would I bother to write all this if there was not?
What MIGHT get my attention is an honest email from someone who knows what my site is about and can tell me why I should link to theirs. That is maybe one a year, if that.
It's usually a person who can point to a specific place that the link would be useful:
"I saw that you mentioned XYZ at your blah-blah article and thought you might be interested in my detailed look at how XYZ works in our environment".
Notice they don't even directly ASK for a link? They don't need to ask, but the chances are good that they will get one.
Why? Because that WILL get my attention. I will go look at my article that mentioned XYZ and I am very likely to go look at the article they want linked. If I agree that the link would be helpful to my readers, I will add it and he or she will get an email thanking them.
But what if I don't agree?
Well, all hope is not lost. I might know a better article where the link would make more sense. If so, that's what I'll do. If not, I will at least send back an email explaining why this just doesn't make sense for me to do. No hard feelings and you are welcome to try again.
Do you understand now?
Do you see why that is the way to get me to link to you? Do you see why you don't even need to mention the backlink? Do you see why it is even better that it was not mentioned?
If you want links from bigger sites, you need to do your homework. You need to present them with something they WANT to link to. Something that will help them help their readers.
And if it turns out there they are some sleazy place that wants to trade links, I'm sure they'll let you know. Not that it would be of any lasting value to you, of course.
Doing it right
This week I received a link request done right. I asked the sender if I could use her email of an example of how it should be done. Her email appears in the picture to the right. Click on it to make it larger.
She got the link she wanted.