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In our weekly link building technique column I’d like to stress relationships again. Connecting with people is crucial as websites do not link, people link. Of course there are automated links as well but most of them aren’t worth it.

The best links are editorial links by real people.

Who you get editorial links from? “Editors” obviously. On the Web there are all kinds of editors. They can be

  1. webmasters
  2. bloggers
  3. journalists
  4. curators
  5. social media users
  6. content creators
  7. business people

Of course many people fit more than one of these categories. Personally I a bit of all of them. Nonetheless I’d like to explain a bit each one of the groups so you get what I mean.

I consider webmasters people who own a static website. They are capable of adding links to these sites on their own without having to ask a “techie”. According to that definition even my wife and my mother are webmasters. Both of them have more than one site after I they learned to use content management systems. So you see, as even my wife and my mother who aren’t working with the Internet like I do have websites you have millions of webmistresses and webmasters to deal with. Many of them already need your products or services. So by giving away them for free or offering a rebate for a link you might already win them over.

Bloggers are fewer than webmasters but by now also tens of thousands of them you can potentially talk to. I don’t even count dead blogs that get never updated. I mean real regular bloggers with active blogs who cover topics similar to your business. Bloggers are always on the look out for the latest trends, weird products or viral videos. They already wait for you to approach them with your latest gadget.

There are less real full time paid journalists these days but many more part timers and freelancers who struggle to make a living. These people often have minutes to decide what to write about and barely more time to research their subjects. In case they know you already or find you when searching for a specialist in your niche they will be glad if you help them.

Who are curators? Blekko is is so called curated search engine. People are hand-picking sites that get used for Blekko’s custom search engines called “slashtags”. These slashtags get used to display searches from the most trusted sources. Curation is wide spread on the Web today, it’s not Blekko. Many bloggers compile lists of daily articles or other resources. Thus they act as curators.

Admins and active users on forums are curators as well. Everybody who is sifting through the incredible onslaught of information and sorting it to find the gems is a curator on the Web. Some social sites like Tumblr are more about curation than content creation or social networking. Curators are always on the look out for new resources. Some even have forms where you can suggest them. Otherwise email is your friend.

Most social media users have the ability to link to you in one way or another. Remember that every vote, tweet or like are links too. Some count less, other may be even more important than a link as they propel articles to the top of crowdsourced current news or “popular” sections. Social media users are more fickle but also quicker to react. They might feature your content on a whim just because thy like the color of your image or the choice of your background music. True social media users love sharing. Give them something to share and they will to do so.

There are lots of people who aren’t webmasters, bloggers or journalists but who create content ion one way or the other. They might post it on Facebook, in a forum or on another third party service allowing user submissions or user generated content. These content creators have less responsibility than webmaster, bloggers and journalists but often they contribute to big and popular sites. Even in cases where the sites only allow “nofollow” links the support of these content creators can help get more links and exposure elsewhere. Content creators sometimes just need a place to publish their content.

Business people have websites and want links themselves. Thus they are already willing to cooperate with you to create a win to win situation. They might not have great content but instead just a site marketing their products or services. They may even have an ecommerce site aka an actual shop. They may be your plumber, lawyer or even doctor. They would be proud to exhibit your positive review or display you in their featured clients list.

There is no one way to connect with the above mentioned editors. Each one of these groups has some interests and typical needs.

You have to find out what they want and how it relates to your site.

Then you offer them what they need and they are eager to link back to you and say thanks. Of course I don’t refer to money. Paying for links results in the weakest possible link between you and them. It’s neither a relationship nor a real connection. Make sure that you have more to offer than just money. It must be something valuable, useful and extraordinary.

CC image by marcosHB