In link building, getting shot down is just part of the game. We know that going in, but we also try to find ways to hedge our bets. Hence, mass emailing and link exchange spam. The broader the net you cast, the better your chances of catching something, right?
That kind of theory does help explain the lack of personalized emails. Rejection is one thing, but the painstaking nature of sending link requests one at a time and getting nowhere is beyond frustrating.
We can deal with getting called names, like “dirty spammer” or having insults hurled at our sites, our profession and/or our mothers. We can even laugh at it and hang some of the best ones up on our office walls.
But silence is painful. When it seems like all of our emails are just being sent into a response-less void, it’s actually more disheartening than being told to “die a miserable spam-filled death.”
High rejection levels and unanswered emails are two of the biggest deterrents for many people who’ve attempted and abandoned this tactic. But sending personalized, well-constructed, compelling link requests can be a highly useful method of building links. That is, if you nail the finer points.
Creating a successful link request is about more than just using someone’s name because you found it on the “About” page. And if “nos” and silence are all you’re getting back, then most likely, it’s not them, it’s you. Here are only a few reasons why even personalized link requests may be declined.
In all likelihood your email got dismissed without ever being opened. With a poor subject line or an email address that triggered a spam filter, your message may never have passed in front of human eyes.
What you put into your subject line matters. A lot.
There are some really dumb red-flag words you can use (e.g., “link exchange”) but it’s possible it’s also just too generic, or vague. Even seemingly innocuous attempts like “Hey There” or a smiley emoticon are kind of sketchy.
Some websites tell you what to put in a subject line so they will know you’re human. But if it’s not that obvious, try responding directly to the title of a specific page, topic, or article. Of course that’s impossible if you’re just sending a mass email from an automated program. And that’s really just comedy for the rest of us anyway, so bully for you.
A Total Lack of Relevance
The biggest reason any link request will be turned down is that it’s just not appealing to your target. Suppose the email does get opened, and the recipient even decides to visit the site in question, what exactly are they going to find? Will they discover that it is, as you claim, “relevant” to their page? Is it really something of interest, value and relevance? If it isn’t, then you pretty much wasted your time and theirs. Drawing cogent connections is probably the most important part of sending a personalized link request.
Obviously the best matches are directly relevant to your site’s overall topic. But most of the time you’ll have to do a little digging and angling to make a convincing correlation.
The best bet is to provide information or resources that support their existing content. Even suggesting new content that will bring value to their readers is a solid approach.