3 Habits to Make Your Link Building More Productive

One of the hard­est things about link build­ing is man­ag­ing sev­eral spin­ning plates at the same time.

With so much going on, it’s easy to let oppor­tu­ni­ties slip off the radar. It might just be from not fol­low­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties up, not get­ting feed­back or spread­ing your­self too thinly.

The fact is, get­ting links live requires per­sis­tence. It needs the per­fect blend of being both proac­tive and reactive.

Here are three tech­niques I have found have helped me have a more pro­duc­tive day’s link building.

Tomorrow’s to-do list, today


This is actu­ally a sales tech­nique I stole from Cold Call­ing for Chick­ens, which is effec­tive for any­one who needs to get things done on a daily basis, not just sales­men and link builders.

It is impos­si­ble to get every­thing done you need to do everyday.Often, just by proxy of com­plet­ing one task, you imme­di­ately cre­ate at least one other.

Some peo­ple write their to-do lists first thing in the morn­ing; I guess it serves as a nice, gen­tle intro­duc­tion to the day.

I’ve found there is a prob­lem with this though: tomorrow’s most press­ing tasks look dif­fer­ent in the morning.

I hate start­ing each day with a blank can­vas. It’s eas­ier to get in, know what needs doing and get on with it.For good link building you need to understand search operators, they will make your life easier.

Writ­ing down tomorrow’s most impor­tant tasks serves as a com­mit­ment to putting them into action.

Each day then, I work off two to-do lists. The first one:

  • fea­tures the tasks I have iden­ti­fied as pri­or­i­ties from the pre­vi­ous day
  • is allo­cated to parts of my sched­ule to my sched­ule and worked through systematically

The sec­ond list is for the next day and:

  • is dynamic; I’m con­stantly adding to it as the day as a con­se­quence of my work that day
  • fea­tures tasks num­bered by their pri­or­ity and whether or not it has to be achieved the fol­low­ing day

Obvi­ously, it requires a bit a dis­ci­pline, but when you sit at your desk each morn­ing know­ing the bare min­i­mum of what you want to achieve, it makes it a lot harder to pro­cras­ti­nate daunt­ing phone calls, or what­ever else you’d rather put-off.

Work out value and do more of it


Most peo­ple will be aware of the Pareto prin­ci­ple; that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

Under­stand­ing this can help you be more effec­tive and work at the things that really make a dif­fer­ence to your results.

In the words of Bob Etherington:

There is a huge dif­fer­ence between being pro­duc­tive and being busy”

With link build­ing, the value comes in the con­tact; the back and forth of e-mails, phone calls, and the work that needs doing off the back of this.

As soon as you start to over­com­pli­cate things, you lose sight of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

Per­son­ally, I’ve found the idea of link build­ing being a num­bers game as a bit of a myth. It’s a qual­ity game. What mat­ters is the num­ber with which you have success.

Don’t delude your­self into think­ing you’re engag­ing in pro­duc­tive behav­iour, just because you are keep­ing your­self busy.

When you spend pre­cious time putting together clever Excel tables, or sat in meet­ings, or com­plet­ing other admin­is­tra­tive busy­work, then you are avoid­ing your most impor­tant func­tion: talk­ing to people.

Think about the work you do that actu­ally pro­vides value and moves the nee­dle. Focus on this.

Sep­a­rate proac­tive and reactive


I’ve already men­tioned the impor­tance of bal­anc­ing time spent being proac­tive and time being reactive.

If you under­stand the dif­fer­ence here, you can actu­ally sep­a­rate the two when plan­ning your daily or weekly schedule.

Proac­tiv­ity is defined as:

As opposed to reac­tiv­ity, which is defined as:

They’re both impor­tant. On one hand, you need to be con­stantly drumming

The dif­fer­ence between the two is that being reac­tive is the time spent deal­ing with the con­se­quences of being proactive.

The bet­ter you get at being proac­tive, the more time you will have to spend being reactive.

You can define time spent being proac­tive as:

  • Drum­ming up lists of poten­tial leads
  • Mak­ing fresh, cold con­tact with people
  • Work­ing old or inac­tive leads
Com­pare this to reac­tive activities:
  • Respond­ing to the con­se­quences of proactivity
  • Push­ing it through to the next stage — con­tent writer, design­ers, etc.
  • Deal­ing with required byt non-value adding tasks

The rea­son you need to sep­a­rate the two is that if you don’t there’s no focus to your approach; you’re not work­ing as effec­tively or as efficiently.

You’ll end up sat wait­ing for e-mails to come in, des­per­ately hit­ting F9, paus­ing what­ever you were doing to respond to every­thing as and when it happens.

Per­son­ally, I don’t like to slog it out for hours and hours.  I like to work in spurts; short, sharp, force­ful streams of energy.