5 Less Common Link Building Mistakes You Might Be Making


One of the toughest parts about running an online marketing program is remembering all of the things you have to do. There are often so many parts and pieces that keeping it all together can be tough, especially if you aren’t organized. The same thing applies when running a link building campaign.

Between strategy creation, research, outreach, and remembering what to do and what you might get in trouble for, there are a lot of moving parts! It’s very easy to forget a step or simply overlook an element.

While I’m sure you’ve already read about how to avoid common mistakes like over-optimized anchor text or link networks, I want to look at some mistakes that aren’t as common and you might not even realize you’re making.

1. You’re Targeting The Wrong Person

A few months ago we were evaluating a client’s partner list to see if there were any potential opportunities for the companies to work together, marketing wise. We found that many of the partners had blogs so we came up with a few ideas including some cross-promotional blog posts and newsletter features.

We identified which partnership manager worked with which company, we identified the contact at each company and their email, and we crafted outreach emails for each person. The partnership manager sent out the emails and then…nothing. Why?

We weren’t targeting the right person.

While we wanted to use the relationship that already existed, the person we reached out to at the partner company wasn’t invested in what we were trying to do. They weren’t responsible for creating new blog content on their site or finding new ways to drive exposure. What we really needed to be doing was asking our contact to connect us to the person who is responsible for those things and who would care.

After adjusting our strategy and identifying the right people, we received a number of positive responses and were able to start executing some of the opportunities.

Even though this may seem like a silly mistake, it’s easy to look only at the relationship you have and not the one you need. Make sure you’re targeting the right person.

2. You’re Not Following Up

You spent time identifying a site, identifying a person, finding their contact email, interacting with them, crafting the perfect email…and after you hit send on that email…you never hear from them. Did your email get lost? Did it go to spam? Why are they not responding? I thought we were friends.

With the average professional receiving over 300 emails per week, it’s easy to see how an email might be overlooked or simply forgotten about. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve opened an email, responded to it, only to realize a week later I didn’t actually respond at all.

Follow up!

Don’t be afraid to shoot an email over a few days later or pick up the phone and give the person a call. One of the most common responses we get when doing this is “Thanks for following up.” Plus, even if they turn you down, at least you have a response and a conversation started.

As mentioned in my last post, tools like Boomerang and YesWare can help you track opens and automatically resend emails but you have to remember to set those things up when you send the initial email.

3. You’re Looking Too Far Away

“The hardest thing to see is right in front of your eyes.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I’ll be honest, I hate when people say these types of things to me but it’s so often true, I had to include it. As marketers, we tend to overthink things and look past the easy opportunities that are right in front of us.

Use what you already have.

Customer, partners, employees, friends, family …these are the people who want to help you. These are the people who you not only have relationships with but are also invested in your success.

Unsure how to reach them? Here are a few posts to help get you started:

4. You Assume Links Will Come 


Well…they might come. Are you promoting it?

This is one of the most common myths currently being perpetuated by search marketers…if you build a great piece of content, it will automatically drive links. FALSE.

The more realistic scenario is this – if you build a great piece of content and get it in front of the right people, it may drive links.

As my colleague Ryan Young noted in a recent post, “While a quality piece of content should always be the end goal, successfully identifying an audience and a promotional strategy before, during, and after content creation is essential. Without doing these things, chances are, your hard work will be drowned in the content sea.”

Don’t simply assume links will come. Go out there and get them!

5. You’re Forgoing Paid Promotion

The thought of paying to promote content can be frustrating to many. After all, you just spent all this time creating a great piece of content, shouldn’t people naturally just find it? Refer back to the above paragraph.

Paid content promotion is something that can be used for all types of content – blog posts, whitepapers, news articles, etc. The key to paid promotion is knowing what your goals are.

For example, if you’re running a campaign through Outbrain, your goal is likely traffic generation. However, if you are running a sponsored post on LinkedIn, your goal may be less focused on traffic and more focused on driving targeted traffic and perhaps downloads.

New to paid content promotion? I highly recommend giving this article from Andrew Meyer at SEER Interactive a read.

Final Thoughts

Link building is a process and with so many different strategies and steps, making mistakes is inevitable. What are some mistakes you’ve made in the past?

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