What It Takes To Become an Effective Link Builder

Good link builders are a special hybrid of SEOs. There are a lot of good SEOs in the industry, but effectively building links is very different from just keyword research, copywriting, or technical analysis. I’ve been thinking alot about what makes a good and effective link builder.

Whether you’re an SEO expert looking to improve your own skills or a marketing manager looking to hire a new link builder, here are the characteristics of a good and effective link builder.

Internet Culture

SEO is one of the few industries where my history as an awesome video game player, an epic geared raiding Wizard, forum admin and hacker supreme became a marketable skill.

I’m an awesome marketer online, not because I have  marketing training, but because I understand online communities properly.

A link builder should read Reddit daily, keep on top of memes, , use StumbleUpon,read Hacker News , and engage on Twitter. They should follow analysis on these communities.

Internet Culture

Real creativity is one of the things that is difficult, maybe impossible, to teach. It can be encouraged through culture, because everyone has a level of creative genius, but creativity is something I would hire for.

Sea, especially link building, is moving closer to being inbound marketing, which is starting to become difficult to distinguish from pure traditional marketing. Creativity is a driver of holistic marketing strategies.

The Search engine optimisation creative process can also be inspired.

At Digital Online Strategy, we have a structures in place which help inspire creativity. It’s important to establish boundaries and kinds of thinking that help creativity. Having the ability the stop,  drink a beer, and invest full mental power allows your brain to free itself up creativity.

Analytical Skills

But creativity isn’t enough for an effective link-builder. Technical skills are also a requirement. Digital online strategy carries resident math, computer science, and computer engineering majors. Before leaving college to pursue a career in SEO, I was studying computer engineering and worked at Vanderbilt where I did pharmacology research and development.

A good link builder should have an understanding of data analysis to conduct competitive link analysis, to dig deep into a website’s information, to perform research, and to bring insights out of large sets of crazy information.

This also includes good skills on using the right tools, such as Excel, and Google Analytics.

Good analytical skills allow a link builder to do 2 things really well:

  1. Readily scale processes by evaluating data effectively.
  2. Recognise changes & trends, which can be reapplied to your digital marketing efforts.

Technical Skills

Although a not so technical link builder can build links through the process of content creation, business development, PR and outreach; they don’t have the ability to develop products or agile tools without leaning on another team.

Technical Skills a Link Builder need to Have

  • Knowledge of (X)HTML/CSS
  • Understanding of at least one modern programming language (no need to code, but hack at least)
  • Knowing how to build agile tools in Google Docs
  • Knowing how to upload files via FTP
  • Knowing how to execute 301 redirects using .htaccess and how to develop robots.txt files
  • Knowledge of sufficient coding skills to “get” tools like Firebug

Sociable Geek

A link builder is not the same as a technical SEO, and must be a social geek. The SEO who loves crawl analysis may absolutely hate talking to people. A link builder must be happy talking and engaging with complete strangers about links.

I do believe being sociable is a skill you can learn. By nature, I’m very introverted, so I find people describing me as a “ personable search marketer” a bit odd. I have improved my skills as a link builder by constantly presenting, facing clients all the time, going to networking events, and talking to strangers on the tram.

Sales Experience

Very few job experiences taught me more about link-building than the 3 months I worked in-house as an internet marketing intern and was placed into the sales department. I worked on a 15 person cold calling sales team and was exposed to their culture during my time working with them.

Recommended Sales Reading for Link Builders


By ingenuity, I mean something totally different from just creativity.

Ingenuity is intellectual hustle.

Ingenuity allows link builder to develop well thought out, systematic & clever solutions. Ingenuity is seen in careers like developers, scientists, artists, engineers and musicians.

Ingenuity also leads to agile toolsscrapers, and custom search engines. Link building ingenuity leads to building great indexes of the internet & also scalable link building tools. Effective link builders are willing to intellectually hustle to get a solution.


A link builder isn’t just putting links on websites, they are building businesses. They’re creating the difference between a good business and its competition. As a link-builder, you should always be bringing hustle to your work all the time. A link builder with hustle can dominate big brands and companies with huge budgets by simply outworking them all.

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