Are Link Requests Really That Bad?

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It’s not hard to understand why link requests have gotten a bad reputation. Whether you receive them as a personal message in a forum, or get them sent directly to your email inbox, anybody who owns a website or is involved in Internet marketing has gotten more spammy link requests than they can count.

The spammy link requests that I am talking about are the ones with a title along the lines of “Trade Links!” and that look like:

Dear Webmaster,

I want to exchange my PR3 link with you. Please link to my website ( with the words Online Poker.

Good day to you!

Whether they are using an automated program to send these requests on a massive scale, or are taking the time to copy and paste this message into each email, as soon as you see this email (if it hasn’t already been flagged by your spam filter), you are going to hit Delete.

Now, although no one wants to deal with these types of emails, that doesn’t mean you can’t ask someone for a link. Whether it is an exchange or an outright request, there are actually effective ways to obtain links via email, and we are going to look at a couple of them right now:

Write a Decent Subject: Since a lot of people automatically delete emails with subject lines similar to the one shown above, you need to write something that is going to make people actually open your email before deleting it.

I could discuss some of the different subject lines that actually work, but Todd from Stuntdubl has already published a great post on this exact topic: How to Write Successful Subject Titles for Link Requests

Avoid Being Generic: So, you’ve used one of the subject lines from Todd’s list and have gotten your recipient to open your email. However, if they see that it looks like all you have done is copied and pasted a request from a template, they are still going to delete your email without taking any action on it.

Whether you find it from their About page or their Whois record, using their name (instead of Dear Webmaster) is a good way to start. Also, kick off your email with something that relates directly to their blog or website. This doesn’t have to be anything complicated (something as simple as “I was reading your post on [insert post subject]” could work), but it will get the person to continue reading your email.

Find Your Angle: To close the deal, you have to persuade the person reading your email to take action. If you are asking for a link exchange, explain how it will benefit their blog or website (without sounding like an SEO snake oil salesman).

If you are simply asking for a link, your best bet is to write a piece of content that will appeal to their audience (if you don’t already have one published), and then explain in your email why they should share it with their audience.

I would love to hear about any personal experiences you have had with link requests (both as a sender and as a recipient)!

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