The Art & Science of the Link Request

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Link requests are a bother to us all, they invade our inbox's, take up our time, and nine times out of ten, they appear to be written by a monkey with social issues. But we also have to write them, at least now and again right? So what makes a good link request, and what makes a bad one? Stuntdubl does a great job of pointing out examples of bad link requests with some truly horrendous emails he's doctored to protect the guilty. He goes on to talk about how to write a good link request. It's well worth the read regardless of how successful you think you are at this...

Personally, i'd have some issues with his good example though. I think by the time the request came, i'd see it for what it was, and feel cheated or deceived. Frankly i'd be quite pissed off. Maybe im on my own there though, having been a sales for a horribly long time before i did this stuff, im naturally "looking for the catch". What do you think, would it pass muster with you?

I'd prefer a more direct approach, with many of the elements stuntdubl includes in his post. Particulary:

  1. Be personal
  2. Be relevant

and i'd add to that, be polite, and to the point. There's nothing worse than beating around the bush, i don't have time to listen to you witter on, tell me what you want.

Thoughts on good link requests anyone?


Ive visited your lovely site

Ive visited your lovely site its brilliant, you are such a good webmaster, please link to my 50 spammy domains, here is my webcode. If you dont link back to me within 7 days I will delete your fantastic link from my website as my users might not like your lack of reciprocity.

I dont do them anymore.

I just ignore them too, most are written by arelis or some other template thing, and...well i just cant be bothered really. What with a squillion spam emails a day and what not there really is so little time.

Most of the sites I drive links to, usually have a custom built link page/directory thing, that does the check for reciprocity thing. The page usually has a piece of text that says something like "We dont link to any old tom dick or harry, so if you dont see your link up in 72 hours, its usually a good sign that weve decided not to link to you"...

Otherwise its just so time consuming, ya know?


"one of our clients suggested that we should link to you - we thought that was a great idea as our sites are very complementary - would you consider linking back to us?"

since I tend to stick 'suggest a site to link to' forms on sites (well you can always ignore it) it sort of has the ring of truth :)


I get heaps of these requests, nearly all are complete bullshit, what I do though is respond with my current rates card, occasionally I get an advertiser from it.

Female names

help /ducks...

Usually helps if the email is very short too.

Online Contact Forms

I've found that utilizing online contact forms you are more apt to receive a response. That shows that you've been to the site and that you took the time to locate the contact us link. I've received more quality link requests through online contact forms than anything else. I've also sent a few. ;)

Hello, my name is... with the... Please, do take a moment to read a little further. I do think you'll be interested in this mutually beneficial proposition.

I used this once and it worked.

Hello, we looked at your site, we really don't like it much. But, we need some good links from a big site, so how about it?

The guy told me it made him laugh, so he decided to link... damn good link too.

My own personal pet peeve are people that use whois info to request links. I never give them a link.

Perceived value of paid listings aid link exchange conversion

I also promote a paid listing alongside the link exchange request, e.g.
Paid Listing: $x / month
Link Exchange: Free

I've found it works well. People rarely take up the paid listing option but often jump at the chance to get a listing free, simply by exchanging links as there is a perceived value.

Note, you should have an example of a paid listing or two to show others have paid for them (just pick two quality sites and give them a paid listing for nothing on the hush hush).

looking for the catch

I do agree Nick, and I'm the same way. Most folks haven't sold advertising for a living though and are a little more receptive to friendly banter and compliments with some basis in reality. The request was written "on the fly" yesterday like most requests are. I think I'd go with it again, though there are definitely always opportunities for improvement depending on the scenario of the request.

Direct and to-the-point approach

As a professional link builder I have to send tons of requests. I now start with a straight approach. Like : is looking for link partners. Its relevant. Your link is added here. If you accept link exchange proposal, if you don't pls let me know. And this might not be a classic work of letter writing [I need only a link] but
works well. I read what stuntdubl wrote as "good example". But this will work when I am developing links for my own sites. Most clients want fast result and would be tough to maintain deadlines.

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