SEO and Link Building – Make it Personal!

by corycollins · 44 comments

This is a guest post by Cory Collins from

Anyone who’s spent anytime blogging can readily relate to tales of bad SEO. Blog comments that hardly seem to be English, guest post request spam, and a constant stream of content solely designed to build backlinks.

And it’s unfortunate. Because I believe link building, done properly, is more about personal human interaction than anything to do with a search engine—crazy, right? Let me explain.

First you need to understand the reason most people start a blog, is because they’re passionate about something. They want to share their passion with the world. But, maintaining a blog is a lot of work. Often for little or no money.

So, some blogs start looking for content contribution from outside sources, such as guest posts. Or maybe they are just looking to build more of a community. Either way, they want their blog to stay passionate, on point, and high quality. Generically written, bland, vanilla posts written only for a backlink is the last thing they want.

But link building is a difficult process. Because of this, people are tempted to cut corners continually. Many hope that it’s a number game, thinking that if they send out enough emails, write enough articles, or comment on enough blogs they’ll be able to get a link somewhere. But this isn’t how quality backlinks are made.

But how do you build quality backlinks then? Is it worth the time? My answer is yes, it is definitely worth the time, but the only way to build quality backlinks is through hard work and personalizing the process, in order to build relationships with blog owners.

SEO Whitehat Strategies

Outreach Success

The first—and most obvious—way in which personalizing your link building strategies will help is in your outreach success. Believe me when I say blog owners, especially of highly successful blogs, receive an overwhelming amount of emails per day pertaining to SEO and link building. So it’s only natural that they end up ignoring a large percentage of those, especially if they lack any kind of personalization or professionalism.

So, when reaching out to a potential blog owner for link building opportunities—including guest posting, product review/giveaway, or general contacting—make sure to:

  • Introduce yourself
  • Remark upon their blog – they’ve worked hard on it, so show them you’ve actually looked at it!
  • Explain why you’re contacting them, succinctly
  • Thank them for their time and include a call to action (hope to hear from you soon, please let me know if you’d be interested in a product giveaway, etc.)
  • Proof read for any possible grammar/spelling mistakes

But most of all, don’t use this to create a new template! Every email you send out should be personalized. After reading a hundred template emails blog owners quickly get a sense for which emails were actually written and which ones are just generic outreach. And believe me, it makes a difference.

Guest Posting – More Views

Making your article personalized to the blog improves it in the following ways:

  • It better matches the blog’s tone, content, and overall theme and is therefore more likely to get promoted and viewed.
  • Makes the post a lot more readable. Think about the difference between including a personal touch—such as previous experience, a sense of humor, or even just your personality— compared to just another generic one off link building article.
  • Makes the article easier to write—no one enjoys a generic article, including the writer, since writing it is often boring and mundane. So spice it up and include a little personalization!
  • Increases the likelihood of being asked to post again by the blog owner, making it easier to build links in the future.

There’s simply no comparison when it comes to writing a generic post solely for the link at the end as opposed to writing an enjoyable, educational, fun piece that is custom tailored for a specific blog. You can’t build great links without first building relationships.

Increased Link Building Opportunities

At the end of the day, the real reason all link building exercises should be a personalized, human to human interaction, is because it increases your further link building opportunities. How you say? Well, by helping you build real relationships with blog owners!

When you reach out to a blog owner, looking to have an actual conversation and truly contribute to their blog, they’re often grateful. And this gratefulness leads to:

  • Another chance to contribute in the future
  • Increased network within the blogging community
  • Possible increased social presence – the blogger shows their gratitude by going above and beyond in promoting your article
  • Possible new link building opportunities—maybe they recommend you to another blog owner, have another blog themselves, or invite you to contribute in different ways (sponsored post, giveaway, etc.)

Even if you don’t get anything extra out of it, the feeling of actually contributing should be enough. And, if you continually practice solid, honest, personalized link building activities, blog owners will notice, and appreciate.

So quit with the template mass emails.

Because let’s be honest: even if you get links out of it, it’s a losing strategy.

About corycollins

Cory Collins is a writer who is passionate about white hate SEO, link building, and blogging. He is an online content producer for Page One Power, a relevancy first link building services company. They have an in-depth SEO link building blog full of free great information.

has written 1 superb article(s) on this blog

Nwosu Desmond October 4, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Blogging is just not about punching words down on a laptop and posting it online. Every blogger should have a voice and a writing technique unique to him alone. Thanks for your post…thanks for sharing such a nice post.

APNA JAHANIAN October 6, 2012 at 7:00 pm

thanks for valued post, I think content is always king and after that SEO can work for you, if your content isn’t valuable and visitor don’t need that then I don’t think seo can do anything. just research on that what visitors wants or you may say what visitor needs ? just provide with seo optimization that they can search you easily. this is my experience, maybe wrong ….

Svetlana Koslov October 9, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Great post and thought provoking as I’ve tried “quantity” link building with no success. Reading this post reminds me to reverse the process.

jim October 12, 2012 at 10:50 pm

Building back links is the most a difficult process I’ve encountered in promoting my blog. This handwork pays when you write quality blogs especially commentluv blogs as they also give you traffic .

Timothy Dietrich October 17, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Hi guys, this is me ,Timothy Dietrich. I want to say that keep going mad about googles updates and recent trends. We know innocent sites are being murdered but is this because of past link building strategies? Surely with everyone now on a more even keel. This will be better in the long run.

Great post thanks lee

chris davison October 24, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Hi Cory
Does linkbuilding still work in this post panda and penguin world?
We are being told that EMD’s don’t work anymore, thin content is bad, too much of the same anchor text is very bad and it makes me wonder, does anyone really know hat is going on anymore?
Google needs to be firmer and clearer (without giving up the secret sauce) as to what constitutes a great site and/or tactics.
Good and informative post so thank you…Chris

Cory Collins October 25, 2012 at 2:00 am

Hey Chris,

Great question. You’re spot on with you remarks about Google – they’re trying their best to stamp out any sort of spam whatsoever, and unfortunately they’ve never really been known for their subtlety. So, their nets are catching more than spam.

Added to this is that many websites might have used spam tactics that were considered somewhat reliable 5+ years ago (such as comment spam or article directories) and are now being hit for it.

As to whether link building still works in this post panda and penguin world, I would definitely say yes. There just aren’t easy links to build. You can’t go out and get low quality links only designed for search engines. Instead, you have to build links for humans. Links that real humans would feel compelled to click.

Google has always said they want content and links that add value. So, in this post penguin and panda world, you need to be building links based on strong, valuable content, that real humans would value and want to click.

Links are still important – Google themselves have said so.

I hope that helped answer your questions – sorry for the novel.


Joe Clark November 18, 2012 at 10:45 pm

Hi Cory,

I want to add a bit that one should pay special attention to his link building plan, as we all know that bad backlinks are nothing more then a SEO killer for your blog these days, special after panda and penguin updates.

BTW, visited your blog for the first time and hope to stay in-touch in future too. 🙂


Stiri Moldova January 27, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Google always said that backlinks are important, but I will say that no matter their quantity but their quality! The more quality the more they clog numarula than low quality links. Well-chosen words to optimize itself depends on you.

Thanks for the novel 🙂

Aitor - April 8, 2013 at 9:54 am

Blogging 101 tells me that the best way to have a successful blog is to connect to people in a personal level… forget about links! They will come with quality.

PS.: Your author bio has a typo. It should read “…passionate about white hat SEO” not “…white hate SEO” I thought you should know.

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