How to Build Links Like Eric Ward (AKA LinkMoses)
It’s not often I get invited to write a guest post by a mogul in the SEO industry that I happen to respect. So, thank you, Mr. Martinez. I appreciate the hot mic.
Let’s jump into it.
Remembering Eric Ward (AKA LinkMoses)
The fact Michael readily agreed to let me pay homage to the late great Eric Ward (AKA LinkMoses), makes this opportunity even sweeter.
Eric’s untimely death in October of 2017 shook the industry hard. To a lot of us, it still doesn’t seem possible he is gone. I miss my friend, and I’ll do my level best to pay tribute to him with this post.
So my game face is on.
What Eric Ward Didn’t Know About Link Building Wasn’t Worth Learning. Period.
Eric was my friend and mentor and saved my SEO agency from destruction several years ago. That’s why LinkMoses had so many friends and fans in the industry.
He saved businesses.
Let me brag him up real quick:
- Jeff Bezos hired Eric personally to run Amazon.com’s first link outreach campaign. Eric was too humble to admit he gave Amazon their start. But make no mistake about it, the links Eric built for Jeff Bezos put Amazon on the map. Millions of new customers found their site when Bezos needed them the most. Eric Ward did that. Think of him next time you order something from Amazon.
- Eric often had campaigns where over 90 percent of his outreach attempts resulted in a link. How would having that success ratio affect your business? Most likely, it would have a massive impact on it. Keep reading to learn how he pulled it off and how you can boost your placement ratio.
- Eric’s link building strategies from two decades ago still work today. Name another link building expert that can claim the same. That person would be a liar. Eric was an OG before there was such a thing as link builders.
- EricWard.com still ranks #1 for “link building book,” #2 for “link building videos,” and #2 for “link building expert.” Not too shabby given Eric died 25 months ago. His style of link building has staying power. And it’s not by accident either.
- Matt Cutts once gave Eric a testimonial and his seal of endorsement. No other link builder has received such an honor. LinkMoses was no ordinary link builder. He was the best. Even Matt Cutts and Google knew it.
When it came to building links, LinkMoses was the real deal.
What’s any of this have to do with you or your business?
Start Building Links like Eric Ward (AKA LinkMoses)
As impressive as Eric was at building links, his success did not come from his sheer talent. If that were true, emulating his accomplishments would be impossible.
That’s not the case. What LinkMoses did, you can too.
Eric espoused several principles, and as I adapted them myself, my business grew.
I’ll share those same principles with you now.
And if you adopt them, your business will grow too.
Is it link building or business development, or both?
You be the judge.
Principle #1 – Treat Link Building as a Subset of Business Development, Not SEO.
In our first call together, Eric asked me what types of links I would build if the search engines went offline forever.
I thought it was a stupid question, but I bit my tongue. I eventually answered that there wouldn’t be any point in building backlinks under such a scenario. Until then, I only constructed backlinks to influence Google. So there would be no need for links.
But why should I build links to my client’s site if the search engines didn’t exist?
The answer blew me away.
Eric Helped Me to See That There Was a Better Way to Build Links
Eric never thought of himself as an SEO. He considered link building a subset of business development or PR, not SEO. He often reminded me of this whenever I slipped and called him an SEO.
The idea of building links to influence Google rankings was foreign to him. He viewed a backlink as a business opportunity — not a ranking opportunity. He thought anyone doing otherwise was mistaken.
And he was right.
I’ll ask you that same question right now that Eric asked me then.
What kind of links would you build if Google ceased to exist?
- Would you quit link building altogether?
- Or would you find sites where your best prospects visited in the highest numbers and then figure a way out to bridge some of their traffic to your website?
The second choice would be the more profitable one.
Those are the types of links Eric Ward taught me to build, and I’ll always be grateful to him because that saved our agency.
Scoring links on websites your prospects hang out in large numbers is business development. It’s also the type of ranking signal that improve Google rankings fast.
Your business will grow once you get them.
Principle #2 – Understand That Links Symbolize Relationships
Do you send outreach templates to prospects before establishing a rapport?
If so, I guarantee you it is hurting your business.
Eric viewed a backlink as a symbol of a relationship between two websites or businesses, and so should you. A link is almost like a wedding ring or a BFF pendant.
Trying to get a link using a mass emailed template is the exact wrong way to go about building relationships with your prospects. Sometimes it DOES hurt to ask. Especially if you’re asking it too soon in the process.
Instead, a backlink is a symbol of something great.
At least that’s how Eric saw it.
And I see it this way now too.
How Eric Ward Started Link Outreach Campaigns
Eric built rapport with his prospects before he did anything else. He often picked up the telephone to call link candidates to speed up that process too. Once he got one of them chuckling, he asked for the link.
He never asked for anything before first establishing a real connection with the prospect.
It paid off big for him too.
It will work for you too if you incorporate it into your outreach campaigns.
Forging relationships with premium prospects isn’t tricky to pull off once you know how to do it. You already have all the skills needed to make it happen.
In fairness to your time, I won’t share how to do that on this post. Just know that it is possible to build relationships with premium cold prospects before pitching them.
If you’re interested, I have three link building courses I created from what I learned from working with Eric. You can access all three here for free. In them, you will learn how to build relationships with premium prospects and not get stuck in the friend zone. The page is an old sales page and still looks like the courses are for sale.
But everything there is free, I promise.
Principle #3 –Earn Stealth Links Every Chance You Get
Not every link Eric Ward earned was on a website. The sly devil was a strong advocate of what he called stealth links.
What’s a stealth link?
It’s a backlink your competitors can’t find, copy, or EXPLOIT.
Will stealth links improve your SEO rankings?
But they will help you grow your business fast. I learned firsthand how powerful they were from Eric himself.
The first stealth link I earned from Eric was when he recommended my link building book in his paid newsletter LinkMoses Private. That same day my book became the #2 best seller for its category on Amazon.
It also resulted in massive sales coming in from his newsletter readers who hired me to conduct their outreach campaigns.
Do NOT ignore newsletters.
Newsletter Links Build Businesses, FAST — Gobble Them Up
Most link builders avoid working on anything they feel won’t help improve their search engine rankings.
It’s small thinking, so don’t fall into that trap if you can help it.
I’ll mention it again. Eric considered link building a subset of business development.
The chances are excellent that your industry is full of all kinds of different newsletters.
Start subscribing to them now — even the paid ones.
Earning a mention on them is as easy as it to obtain any other type of link.
How do you make it happen?
Build relationships with the editors and owners of the newsletters.
Principle #4 –Use Facebook Groups to Grow Your Business Too
Do a quick search on Facebook groups in your niche or industry; the people who can help you grow your business the fastest are hanging out in the open waiting to interact with you.
My first professional encounter with Eric Ward was when I hired him for a consultation to help me find backlink opportunities for a Jeep parts client we had at the time.
Eric Ward Recommended Finding Link Prospects on Facebook
When LinkMoses first sent me to Facebook to find prospects, I reminded him that Facebook links no-followed across the platform.
I was merely looking for link opportunities; and thought he meant earning links from the groups. So, of course, the links would be worthless.
Silly, Eric, right?
That’s when he taught me the value of building relationships with the right people who can help grow a client’s business the fastest. In that particular case, it was admins running Facebook groups for Jeep Owners.
It was a genius at work.
Following Eric’s prompt, I searched “Jeep Clubs” using the platform search, and my jaw hit my desk hard. Right out in the open were hundreds of groups with thousands of members each.
In less than a minute, I had a list of several names and email addresses to contact.
BUT, I protested to Eric still, what was I going to ask these people?
I wanted a template.
A Better Way to Build Links
Up to that point in my career, I was looking to earn a link with a single email and then go to the next prospect and repeat the process.
That’s what I equated to link building.
I was wrong.
Eric taught us all how to act civilized and shake hands with our prospects before asking them for anything.
He also taught us the value of swinging for the fences when looking for referral partners and link prospects.
That’s how Eric Ward (AKA LinkMoses) saved my business. Our agency sucked at getting white-hat links up to then.
Now Eric’s training is our modus operandi in EVERYTHING we do for our link outreach clients.
Prospects are not a commodity. Neither are links. Nor was Eric Ward AKA LinkMoses.
Neither is your outreach campaign.
Did Eric Ward help your business?
I’d love to hear how in the comment section below.
About Matt LaClear
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Unless you want help growing your business, of course, in that case, you can learn about that service and more by clicking here.