Link Building Guide – How Not to Approach Webmasters for a Link

Getting on with the link building guide serial, this time we are talking about how not to approach webmasters for a link. Now this was planned in advanced as a two part post, how not to approach webmasters and how to approach webmasters, but it was by coincidence that my company held a video seminar (webinar) this morning about this very subject, which just gave me more to write about, lucky you.

So let’s start with an example, a bad example, I get this kind of spam requests in bulk each day. So here it is, one that most of us have seen already:

Spam Link request“Dear Sir/Madam,

I have a website similar to yours and I would like to propose a link exchange. I’m sure your readers will benefit from a new resource and useful information that my website offers. I can also give you a link from other websites if you are interested.

As you are probably aware, reciprocal linking benefits both of us by raising the search engine rankings and generating more traffic to both of our websites.

If you would like to do the link exchange with us, please place our link on your website with the following details.

Title: bla bla bla

Description: another bla bla bla

Link: network site with 100 of outbound links from casinos to forex and online dating

Then, please inform me by replying to this email with your details (title and description) or use the following links to post your details. Your links will be shown once we approve them within a few days.
Look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

I Believe Spam Works”

Now let’s first analyze this email for a second before we start talking about how to do it the right way. The first mistake is that the sender didn’t even bother to check my name, and it is written under every single post. So “Dear Sir/Madam” simply calls for delete/terminate/incinerate reaction from me. Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention the classic title of the mail “Link Exchange Proposal”. Now, mostly I delete these without fail, I open one or two every week because I need a good laugh.

Next thing this guy/girl did wrong was to offer me a link from a website “similar” to mine, (failed to do the research or simply doesn’t know how much 2+2 are, or goes through a list of sites and contacts that was premade by God knows who) but when I followed the link I saw that his website was selling reviews of products. Yes, selling reviews very cheap, in other words, if you want to have a product reviewed you contact him and he does it for you, or his fuzzy spamming “SEO” company! I have no idea how SEO tips and product reviews are similar, especially because my tips are for free and he runs a paid service. To make it even worse he is advertising that he is a spammer by offering me links from other sites, with no reference to which sites. And to top it all, he gives me a quick tutorial on how reciprocal link exchange helps my site. Well, hello, this is an SEO blog for crying out loud!

I won’t even mention the fact that it would be more polite to place a link on his blog and then ask a link from mine, no, he asks me to place a link and send it to him and then he will link back to me! FAIL!!!

Ok, so you know these link request mails, you probably delete them too; you know what is wrong with them. But, when it comes the time to send our own link request that is when our inspiration goes out the window. Well, Jason from SEO Strategies sent me a perfect mail for link exchange, short, to the point and with a good title, one thing he had going for him is the basis of every link request, he knew me from before! And this is what we will be talking about in the next post, How to Approach Webmasters for a Link.

About The Author

is the founder and CEO of Practical SEO and also a passionate blogger. All of his free time he dedicates to his Practical SEO blog and giving free advice as well as participating in the blogging community.

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8 Response to Link Building Guide – How Not to Approach Webmasters for a Link

  1. Tweets that mention Link Building Guide – How Not to Approach Webmasters for a Link -- on February 18, 2011

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by tedster, Realty Blogger and Zarko Zivkovic, Practical SEO. Practical SEO said: Link Building Guide – How Not to Approach Webmasters for a Link: Getting on with the link building guide se… #seo [...]

  2. Mark @ TheBitBot SEM Blog on February 18, 2011

    Nice read Zarko. You described exactly what I get…request for reciprocal links from websites that are not in any way shape or form related to my theme. I mean, honestly, what in the world can a link to and from a travel site do for an SEO site? I have personally found that relevancy is of utmost importance and these days, that is what I focus on…except for commenters, I tend to get pretty generous in that area.


  3. Zarko on February 18, 2011

    Hi Mark,

    thanks :) I agree, and about the guest post you mentioned a few days back, sorry for not replying immediately, I was piled up with work at the moment. The answer is yes, I will be glad to write a guest post for your blog, so I’ll contact you when I write it up!

  4. Aswani on February 20, 2011

    Hi Zarko, this is really useful and informative. Honestly, I haven’t been into this link exchange from long. I occasionally get such requests for link exchange and most of them look quite similar to what you have explained here. But at times, I do get offers from legitimate sites. But still, I am saying “NO” to most of the requests.

  5. Round Up – Needs your Help on February 20, 2011

    [...] Link Building Guide – How Not to Approach Webmasters for a Link- Getting on with the link building guide serial, this time we are talking about how not to approach [...]

  6. Zarko on February 20, 2011

    Hi Aswani,

    well this is not only for link exchanges, you will see in the next post, I will write about general link request mails and how to go about it. And based on this example and the example I will give you can clearly see the difference. This one looks to me like pure SPAM, and I have seen even worse! So you might want to read up just in case you ever want to ask for links in the future…

  7. Alex@gifts for wife on February 21, 2011

    It’s probably like you said, he took a list of blogs and ran through them sending the same mail to each one. And i believe the method works pretty well, most blog owners would feel glad when someone acknowledges their site as worthy to post a link on.

  8. Maria Pavel@CNA Training on February 22, 2011

    Hi Zarko,

    I never thought from this perspective, there indeed is a good way of requesting a link exchange and a bad way. Well, in order to get a link exchange you need to show your ‘next-partener’ why you should link-ex, what could he benefit from the link-exchange, I suggest making link exchanges (at first) with the websites that are on the same level as your website. And I agree with you Zarko, it is much polite to add a link and then ask for the backlink, not the other way. Thank you for sharing this, excellent content! Keep up the good work, Zarko!

    Best regards,


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