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Link Building is a Team Effort

Posted by Jon Ball on Jun 20, 2013 1:00:25 PM

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Superman needs the Justice League. He’s invulnerable and super strong, but he relies on the talents of his teammates. Superman can’t handle a crisis in Atlantis as well as Aquaman can, and when Lex Luthor’s running around with a Kryptonite raygun, it’s time to call Wonder Woman. He’s superhuman, but he’s not perfect and he can’t do everything. The same goes for even the most bulletproof link builder. A hardened SEO veteran who’s been in the industry for a dozen years can’t do everything himself, no matter how much he begs to differ. A successful link building campaign can’t be accomplished without a team effort.

Strengths and Weaknesses

The best writers and videographers aren’t always the best strategists. The best strategists aren’t always pushing the bleeding edge of creative content. There are different kinds of creativity, and a researcher’s most innovative ideas might never occur to a writer. You’re not going to succeed if you’re a great researcher and a mediocre writer. You need a strong writer to make effective use of your research, or your content isn’t going to make it on any of the great sites you found.

Similarly, a writer might produce a great blog post, but without brilliant research the only home it’s going to find is on a no-traffic Blogspot site or, even worse, a robotic spam blog/link farm. That isn’t a good payoff for anyone’s hard work, and it certainly won’t increase anyone’s search rankings.

A concrete example—when we’re sending an end-of-the-month report to our clients, one of our team leads tackles that job. They’re great with data, analytics, creating graphs and making sure that every piece of necessary information is in the report. That report usually needs copy editing, which requires a writer. Even the best end of month report package with the most vivid charts and most accurate numbers can end up looking like a joke if the text isn’t up to snuff. That writer can make sure the text is great, but s/he probably can’t do a great job on the data end. It’s something simple but essential for the link building business—you can’t even make a good impression on your clients without teamwork.

It’s hard to build links when you’re sitting alone in a cubicle. You often get trapped in your own thoughts, you start to get tunnel vision and you get frustrated. The act of simply talking to a team member about your problems is often enough to get the ideas flowing again.

Two Pairs of Eyes

Let’s face it—you also need someone around to tell you that your idea isn’t going to work or that your brilliant idea for earth-shattering content is hackneyed. Similarly, it takes a second voice to say “What were you thinking when you found that site?” Even the best link builders have lapses in judgment sometimes, but with the help of a respected second opinion, those little missteps never have to come to fruition. Or damage a link building campaign.

Two pairs of eyes are particularly useful when it comes to outreach. Something as simple as the wrong name, a misspelled name or a goofy subject line can kill a good relationship before it starts. That’s not to say that every email needs to be double-checked before it goes out, but that second person can answer that “Why didn’t they respond?” question with ease.

Creativity, either of the research variety or content-producing variety, inevitably meets with creative block. Link building thrives on innovation and creativity, but human brains get burned out or go blank sometimes. Chopping through that creative block is much easier when you’re working on a team. If a writer is stuck looking for a content idea, the researcher might have something brilliant. Similarly, the writer might think of a search string that hadn’t even crossed the researcher’s mind. Teams feed off of each other, and just because one team member doesn’t normally excel in the research or data analysis area, doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have any valuable ideas for research or data analysis. Those extra ideas don’t appear in a vacuum.

Link building is difficult work, and you need every hand on deck to create effective links.

“Hold Me back!”

Teamwork is essential for actually building links, but having a team is also necessary for moral support. Link building is arduous and without perspective and friendly face to talk to, it can be downright discouraging.

There’s nothing like a few words from a respected colleague to help you gain a little bit of perspective. You can’t force blog owners to accept your posts or link to your content. Your deadlines are a responsibility that you willingly took on; they’re not an ominous shadow. Occasional frustration is a part of any difficult job, and if you’re doing a link building campaign on your own then you don’t have anyone to vent to. It might seem like an inconsequential perk, but having another human being to discuss your obstacles with makes a tough job much more palatable. A successful link building campaign is also much more rewarding when you can celebrate the victory with someone else.

It’s also important to consider anger. Since we communicate via email, contact forms and social media, it’s easy to be snarky or dismissive. Working on a team allows you to take a step back and not put those potentially damaging words into a text field. Negativity and vitriol are never a key component of a successful link building campaign.

Link building starts with researchers, continues with content producers and ends with data analysis. No one, be they Superman or a 15 veteran of the SEO industry, is perfect. Building links with the support of a team ensures that you’ll get the best possible results from your campaign. Team members succeed because of one another’s strengths and weaknesses, and two heads are always better than one. Link building doesn’t work without a team effort.