In marketing, it's all about perception.
In link building, it's all about authority.
So how do you mirror the two for links?
If you've ever done any link building you know you have to either ask for or create something to attract links, they just don't drop out of the sky. Regardless of what method you use, in order to secure links you have to develop some content to arouse interest and stimulate action. The million dollar question then becomes - what's the best line to use to get a link?
If you owned a company that manufactured "Smarte Cars" and wanted to launch a promotional campaign where securing inbound links was one of your objectives, which approach do you think would net more links in the end?
- Paid links: "I'll give you $20 if you place my link on your page"
- Reciprocal links: "Let's trade links, I'll put yours on mine and you put mine on yours"
- Paid Reviews: "We'll pay a fee if you write a product review with my URL in it.
- Promotional product placement: "We'll pay you to place our branded link on your webpage and list you as a promotional partner in our sales collateral.
- Incentive promotion: "Trade you a smart car for a link on your home page"
- Content development: "Hey there Miss blogger, you write what we live. We'd love to be part of your audience would you consider posting my article on Smarte Cars? Even if you can't, please keep our article and the $10 gasoline coupon enclosed."
Which set of tactics do you think are more effective algorithmically when it comes to link building? Which set do you think will experience higher response rates?
Let's look at the relevancy factor first. Can't say one set will benefit algorithmically over the other, both sets of tactics should draw the same amount of relevance since both sets are placing links on pages thematically related to yours.
Can't say anchor text because the power behind the keyword works for either set of tactics as well. From a link popularity standpoint both the relevancy and anchor text components are duly represented so algorithmically either set would work.
And you can't say one set of tactics is sanctioned by the engines over the other because really, the principle behind both sets is the same. So which one do you think is more effective and why?
From my experience, the second set results in more responses and links secured. Why? Because the second set of tactics sounds more professional, conveys authority and gives the perception the end user is getting the better end of the deal. Waving incentives and reinforcing benefits will usually result in more open and response rates.
That old saying "it's not what you say, it's how you say it" is spot on in this situation. If you send out the old "swap with me for PageRank" type letter you'll find lower results than if you offer an incentive to act and develop your inquiry to sound beneficial for both parties.
Bottom line? Throw out those old letters and boring articles and incorporate incentives to your link building content. Extend a great gimmick, show them the benefits and make them an offer they just can't refuse.