habits highly effective link builders

Many resources and articles recommend about effective link building tactics, processes and methodologies that are necessary to provide result-driven link acquisition campaigns. Unfortunately, they don’t often give tips on how to become a better link builder in general.

Last week, I reached out to top link builders and asked them one question:

What is(are) best habit(s) of a link builder?”

Here’s what they said.


 julie joyce
Julie Joyce, Founder of LinkFishMedia

I think that being able to perform a solid competitive analysis is key for any good link builder. twitter-button If you are part of a team and someone else does this, that’s great too, but someone needs to be able to really sit down and critically analyze a profile. In my mind, one of the best pieces about this is from my lovely friend Jane Copland who wrote about it a few years ago. There have been many posts about competitive analysis but this one really sticks in my mind as being incredibly well done.


john doherty

John Doherty, Founder of GetCredo

The best habit of a link builder is constantly reading. twitter-button I think this is an important habit because link builders need to be aware who is writing online and where they write. The Internet has moved away from everyone having their own place to write and instead moved to a place where writers write for many different publications. You don’t go to TechCrunch to read everything – you find a writer there you like and read all of their stuff.


lyndon antcliff

Lyndon Antcliff, Founder of CornWallSEO

Yes they all mean the same thing, but link building isn’t that complex. There are really only 3 ways to get a link. Ask someone for a link. Pay someone for a link. Build some content and hope that the people who see it will link to it (with a bit of promotion of course).

You can mix this up of course, but it’s essentially all the same. I could drone on about various tools and the techniques of the day, but if you ignore the fundamentals you become a slave to those who are marketing tools and techniques.

Link building is very simple and there is no need to complicate it. twitter-button


debra mastaler

Debra Mastaler, Founder of Alliance Link

Setting RSS feeds for a list of terms and reviewing them daily is the best habit a link builder can adopt.  Keep in mind it matters less what you do and more where, and being first can often trump being “best”. twitter-button Know where the sources are and what’s breaking in your space.



John-Henry Scherck, Growth Marketing Manager of DocSend

The best outreach professionals that I know have great focus and discipline. twitter-button They don’t check FB, Reddit, Twitter every twenty minutes. They diligently work through tasks and keep their heads down. They execute. They prospect more sites and send more emails. They are efficient.


devin harper

Devin Harper, Marketing Director of  Nifty Marketing

Understanding how  and where to build links in a Penguin era doesn’t come without consistent reading and studying. Link acquisition is the most difficult aspect of SEO to master and is often a struggle for online marketers. The most important habit link builders should develop is learning something new every day. The more you know, the more you can do. There’s a lot of valuable material out there from Eric Ward, Michael Martinez, Jon Cooper, Garrett French and others who have devoted countless hours to mastering link building and they share their tips and tricks freely in most cases. Successful link campaigns all start with an idea twitter-button – and the more you read and learn about link building, the more ideas you’ll generate when the time comes. A tool I use to stay organized and on top of my studies is Pocket. It allows you to save videos, articles and pretty much anything to read later.


dave schneider

Dave Schneider, Founder of Ninja Outreach

I think the best habit is patience. Link building takes a long time, even if you know what you’re doing (which, most of us do). twitter-button It also comes with a lot of rejection, so in addition to patience add perserverance to the list. We’ve been building links at NinjaOutreach since early last year and we’ve tried a ton of different methods like product reviews, guest posts, and broken link building. In the last few months our traffic has increased 50%, so it pays off!


dev basu

Dev Basu, Founder of Powered by Search

Communicate with empathy: a personalized message that shows that you’ve researched your link prospect will go a long way to getting a positive response. Don’t forget to follow up: in-demand publishers and bloggers get a lot of email. Don’t assume that they’ll get your’s if you don’t follow up. The key is to have value added in your followup and to personalize it. twitter-button Ask contrarian questions: Pretend you switched places with your link prospect. Is the content you’re getting pitched worth enough to link to if it were your own website?



Andrew Shotland, Founder of Local SEO Guide

Bathe regularly so your links are clean. twitter-button Do the things people aren’t talking about. No one is giving away their best link building secrets. Implement your outreach with consideration for others’ failures so you don’t have to fail causing you to resort to expert roundups to attract links


dan petrovic

Dan Petrovic, Founder of DejanSEO

Grow your network of contacts and friends at all times, not just when you need a favour. twitter-button That said, don’t obsess over numbers. I recommend forming fewer, more genuine relationships that stem from a common interest, engagement or conversation. A great way to start would be to help someone out even when they’re not asking for it or sharing their content with your followers.


benjamin beck

Benjamin Beck, Creator of the Link Building Class

There are two common habits I see in some of the best link builders I look upto, they are: always contributing and fun or friendly outreach. Once you contribute to a publication it is much easier to contribute again. Also it makes it easier to contribute to other publications. These link builders have a lot of connections and can easily link to quality content. A lot of outreach I see in my inbox is dry and distant. When I look at the outreach of good link builders they are usually fun, friendly, and have much higher results. twitter-button


marie haynes

Marie Haynes, Founder of His Web Marketing

My number one rule when it comes to link building is to think of whether or not this link would have any value beyond improving rankings. twitter-button For example, a link on a high PageRank resource page that never gets seen or clicked on may not be as valuable as a link on a blogger’s site that actually sends you traffic and clients. Each time I pursue a link I think, “Would I still be going after this link if it was nofollowed?” If the answer is no, then I have to step back and look at what I’m doing to make sure that I’m not straying outside of Google’s guidelines.


moosa hemani

Moosa Hemani, Marketer at SEtalks

This is an interesting question and answers can be different for everyone depending upon the experience they had. If you ask me here are the few habits that I want to see in any link builder within my team.

Attention to details – Link Building isn’t about sending template emails and asking for links. It’s about building relationships twitter-buttonand starting conversations over the email, social media or even on the phone. If a person has an attention to details, he must have an opinion on the subject, which can lead to conversations and later relationship building.

Reading Habit – This one is important. As a link-building you should read a lot. This includes books, blogs posts, articles, white papers and not only related to your own subject but about other industries (especially the one you are working for) as this will give you extra knowledge as well as an edge over others within the game.

Writing – No, I am not saying you have to be a full time writer in order to be a good link building but you should know how to sketch your ideas on paper in the form of words and sentences. This will help you craft the kind of emails (conversations) that help you get links and more.

These are the few things I would look for along with other things like, attitude of learning and growing as without it you can never be a good person in general.


peter attia

Peter Attia, Online Marketing Consultant of Cucumber Nebula

I think the best habit is tenaciousness, even if it’s automated. What I mean by this, is making sure to continue to follow up. twitter-button For our link building process at Modernize, we follow up at least two times with every person we reach out to, no matter where they are in the funnel. So if we’ve been talking to someone and don’t hear back for a while, we reach back out at least two times afterwards to try and keep the conversation going. Overall, this accounts for a significant percentage of our responses.


james norquay

James Norquay, Director of Prosperity Media

  • Someone who knows how to be creative.
  • Someone who knows how to reverse engineer competitive link campaigns.
  • Someone who is not afraid to email people at random to secure links.
  • Someone who is not afraid to pick up the phone to secure a high quality link.
  • Someone who has good work ethic and is keen to secure only the best links.
  • Someone who has great English and knows how to structure outreach emails.
  • Someone who can work for long periods of time to secure the best placements. twitter-button
  • Someone who has good motivation.


steve morgan

Steve Morgan, Online Marketing Consultant at Morgan Online Marketing

A good habit to have is to look beyond the pure SEO value of a potential link twitter-button , such as its DA (Domain Authority) score or whether or not it is dofollow/nofollow. For example:

  • Does it have the potential to actually be clicked on and drive referral traffic?
  • If it’s something like a guest blog post, what’s the site’s social media following? Do they have lots of Twitter followers who might the see and RT the post, for example?
  • Could it open up other, further opportunities? For example, leaving a blog comment (nofollow) on a site once opened up the opportunity to guest post (dofollow), as the blog’s owner loved our comment and wanted to write a full-on post about it.

I’ve actually opted for lower-DA opportunities if I’ve thought that other (non-SEO) benefits could come out of it.


paul may

Paul May, CEO and Co-Founder of Buzzstream

The two things I see people do that typically has the biggest impact on the success of their link building efforts are

  • Before sending a single email, put yourself in the shoes of the recipient and have a clear answer to “what’s in it for me?” Way too many people send emails that asks for a link without thinking through the reasons that the recipient would want to link to their content.
  • Develop a thorough process that includes prospect discovery, prospect research, initial outreach, follow-ups and measurement. twitter-button If you nail down your workflow up-front, you’ll be significantly more efficient and your conversion rate will improve.



Razvan Gavrillas, Founder of CognitiveSEO 

One effective technique that I use is the Unlinked Brand Mentions Technique. I’ve created a habit of checking the cognitiveSEO mentions on a daily basis. Isolating web mentions is important.

From an SEO perspective, a web mention is completely different than a social mention. It’s has a different impact on the rankings. We check all but regarding the link building perspective I will focus on the web mentions. We eat our own dog food and use the Brand Mentions tool for tracking the mentions. From time to time I get mention alerts regarding blog posts that mention our brand and don’t link to our site.

Since the authors of those articles are already familiar with cognitiveSEO, getting a link from them is a breeze. We see response rates as high as 95% on the outreach that we do. If you are interested to know more about this, here is an in-depth article on how I build relationship and links using the unlinked brand mentions technique and not only.

I also don’t build links, directly. I craft content that resonates with our readers. twitter-button Exceptional content gets exceptional coverage. It simply generates exceptional mentions. Those mentions are then converted into links using the technique mentioned above. Link building is mostly brand building these days. This mindset allows me to grow our brand ethically and organically.

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