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How Not To Make A Link Request

Updated on September 28, 2009

As a writer, I have a few sites on the Internet, and, as anyone knows, the lifeblood of a site is the visitors who go there. How do people find your site? Usually, either through search engines or through links. Major search engines famously use links as part of their algorithm to decide what sites are worth showing in their results, and this has made a lot of people incredibly link greedy.

Site owners of even moderately popular sites (myself included,) often end up receiving a bunch of “link please” begging emails on a daily basis. These emails are almost always written by people who are either entirely socially inept, or who have forgotten that there are other real, live people reading their words. 

To give some insight as to how I approach linking, here's my linking policy:

  • Every link I place on my site is a link to someone I know. I've had contact with them, I've chatted to them or emailed with them and there is some kind of relationship between us.

(The exception to this rule is with product reviews, where I generally won't know the designer or manufacturer, but I will genuinely like the product.)

  • Every link goes to a place I like, if I don't think the site has some value I don't link to it.
  • Every link is freely given. I don't accept payment for links and I don't expect reciprocal links. It is nice if people give them, but I don't ask and I don't expect them.

So, how do you make a good link request? Ideally, you don't. If you want to be associated with a site, strike up a conversation and see if you can get to know the person behind the site. Links will then naturally come. Sometimes, if you're friendly, don't pressure people by demanding a link or using the guilt trippy 'I linked to you, you should link back to me,' spiel, then one email might maybe get you a link, but don't count on it.

To send one email to a stranger asking them to do you a favor for no reason whatsoever (and a link on your site doesn't count as a 'reason',) and to expect it to actually work is to be so incredibly lazy and indeed, insulting that in my opinion, you don't deserve any links. If that's the effort you put into relationship building, your content probably isn't all that excellent either.

Remember, if your site is any good, links will come naturally. I didn't promote my first site at all for two years and still don't and there are links to it because people come to the site, like what they see, and let their friends and communities know about it.

Make something worth coming to, and people will come. That's the trick. Unfortunately, on this great world wide web, most things have been done already, so you need to really get your thinking cap on and be original, innovative and as Seth Godin would say, remarkable. Focus on being worth linking to, not begging for links, and your marketing will all but do itself.


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    • Hope Alexander profile image

      Hope Alexander 7 years ago

      I guess it depends on who the people were, tprinty, if they were spammy type people, they may not have been working for themselves and may quite literally have been going through the motions. Link requests like that do you no good, and I wouldn't advise you to accept the offer. If it is an email from a real person being genuine, I don't think you'll have the same problem.

    • abbas73 profile image

      abbas73 7 years ago from hubpages

      nice advice, thank you.

    • profile image

      tprinty 7 years ago

      I have had two link requests in the last week for one of my sites. I was willing do exchange links with the author and responded. However they never wrote back. Why do people go through the motions?

    • bayareagreatthing profile image

      bayareagreatthing 7 years ago from Bay Area California

      Really well put!

    • Hope Alexander profile image

      Hope Alexander 7 years ago

      There's nothing inherently wrong with asking if you have struck up some kind of relationship, but it is better if you can really offer something. Offering to guest blog is a good way to get a back link without begging.

    • profile image

      Tamarind 7 years ago

      Thanks for the advise. I was wondering about linking educate.

    • Helen Cater profile image

      Helen Cater 7 years ago from UK

      Great advice. I have read a few hubs that say go ask. I much prefer your approach which is sit back and wait for the good things to come to you.

    • Hope Alexander profile image

      Hope Alexander 7 years ago

      Thanks everyone! I wrote this as a result of receiving yet another irritating link request that was so laden with entitlement as to be almost sickening. Here's hoping this finds its way into the hands of those who make bad link requests and makes them act more like humans ;D

    • EWealthGuide profile image

      EWealthGuide 7 years ago from Vancouver

      Agreed with the previous two comments! well said

    • profile image

      Louidam1 7 years ago

      Great hub and well said!

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 7 years ago

      Well said!