1. Demanding placement. If you’re paying, I can see where you feel that you have the right to tell the site owner where you’d like the link, but don’t be too insistent or else you’ll risk them turning you down. If you’re asking nicely and saying “pretty please?” then, unless it’s truly a disastrous spot, just shut up and move on.
2. Indirectly insulting the site. The site owner may be passionate about his work, so why risk putting him off? No one wants to hear that their site is only worth x because it has a PR of y, or that you can help them drastically overhaul it and make it sooooo much better. How are you going to feel when you say that and learn that the site owner had to use a head pointer to peck out code? Yeah that’s right. You’re gonna feel like the jerk that you are.
3. Offering too little money. This can immediately cause the site owner to never open another email from you again.
4. Offering too much money. This makes you look flash and no one likes a rich boy. Well, some people do…
5. Continually harassing the site owner after the link is placed. If it takes you fifteen emails to get a link worked out, YOU may be better off walking away. If the site owner is trying and you’re just one of those really picky people who orders a no-foam latte with just a dusting of cinnamon, the site owner’s going to get quite tired of your constant demands and just say screw you.
6. Not being honest about risk. If someone asks if what you’re asking is legal or ethical, then be honest and explain it.
7. Approaching a site with the wrong client. A site for addiction and recovery isn’t the best choice for a gambling link.
8. Being too impersonal in your opening email. A salutation of “Hello Site Owner” is a bit off-putting.
9. Making it obvious that you have never looked at the site. Since I run a link building agency, all of my friends enjoy forwarding their one-size-fits-all email requests that come from, apparently, reputable firms.
10. Not paying on time if you’re buying. Stand by your agreement and pay in a timely manner. Otherwise, you could pay late and find that the site owner is pissed off and has taken down your link, then you waste more time working this out.
11. Being unresponsive when the site owner has a question. Doing this can destroy any future relationship.
12. Bad grammar. That is just wrong.
13. Misspellings. These say that you have little attention to detail and can’t use spellcheck.
14. Purple prose.
15. Being too succinct. You risk sounding scripted and robotic, therefore not like a real human being.
16. Not following up quickly. If someone responds to your link request, get back to them asap. Don’t wait a week, or they might think you were scamming them and will badmouth you all over the internet. It’s also just rude to leave someone hanging.
17. Being ignorant about your subject. It’s usually very obvious when you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.
18. Telling the site owner that your link won’t hurt the site, then insisting on moving the link to a “better” page once your page loses PR.
19. Sending an obviously scripted first email, then replying with one that is in a completely different tone.
20. Getting too personal. Yes, a site owner may want to know what color your hair is but avoid getting into the habit of feeding the souls of lonely guys who operate out of Mama’s basement.
21. Asking for a link that is coded to look like regular text. This just makes the site owner suspicious.
22. Insisting that the site owner make permanent changes to the site’s template or structure just to accommodate your needs.
23. Giving the site owner bad code. Chance are that if you screw up someone’s site, you’re not going to end up with that link. This also makes you look like an idiot. HTML honestly isn’t that tricky.
24. Not providing technical help for the site owner when he or she is putting up the link. If you can’t give any technical advice on getting a link up, you should not be asking for a link.
25. Having your name spattered all over the internet as a known spammer. For the most part, if you’re a quality link builder, this won’t be a major problem but even when you’re doing things by the book, you’ll still encounter a few nuts who will immediately accuse you of spamming and will blaspheme you all over the interweb.
26. Having your company’s name spattered all over the internet as a known crap company. See above.
27. Trying to renew a link by making it a completely different link without any incentives. If someone’s having to make a change, offer up something for his or her time.
28. Removing the page a link points to without notifying the site owner or redirecting it. It’s not nice to cause someone to have broken outbound links.
29. Writing copy for a link that is completely unlike the copy of the site.
30. Approaching an SEO with a lame link request.
31. Approaching the highly idealistic with a paid link request. This usually includes any blogger who fancies himself or herself a true artist/writer/poet/pagan.
32. Asking to trade links if you put yours up first.
33. Asking to trade links when what you have to offer is truly a worthless site.
34. Using a name that does not correspond with your email address.
35. Assuming anything. The sports site owner must be male. The guy who runs a fashion blog must be gay. The mom who has a coupon blog must be poor. Don’t assume anything and make a stupid mistake. You have no idea how many people piss me off by calling me Joyce. Yeah, it’s a first name but it’s not MY first name.
36. Using spellcheck but not reading over your email before you send it. Yes, “incontinent” is a word but maybe you didn’t actually mean that “I hope you don’t think that I’m incontinent.” Or maybe you did, in which case you’re fine.
37. Making a joke or pun before you know the style of humor that the site owner has. Bowel blockage may amuse you, but it might not amuse the site owner.
38. Using tech slang that not everyone knows. Just because someone has a web site doesn’t mean that he or she is familiar with technical jargon that you toss about wildly in day to day interactions.
39. Stating that your company is one of the best-known and most successful SEO firms out there when no one in the industry has ever heard of you.
40. Stalking a site owner on any social media platform beforehand and referencing that in your opening email. That is just creepy.
41. Stating that you have references when, in fact, you’re just gonna make them up. A lot of the link building emails that I receive do state this, and I’ve never been arsed to call anyone out on it, but I have a strong suspicion that said references are either made-up or from other sketchy types.
42. Linking to the definition of any technical term on Wikipedia in your email.
43. Having a truly asinine quote associated with your email signature. It’s awesome that you think Buddha was wise but I don’t want to hear about it. I do too but you don’t see me going on about it when I’m building links.This is especially true for quotes attributed to religious figures, Southern authors, and politicians.
45. Using quotes without listing who said them. This is highly annoying as we struggle to determine just who it was that said this asinine SEO quote. Was it someone well-respected in the industry? Was it just your mom?
46. Using FTW, WTF, LOL, LMFAO, or any other acronym that you may be used to using on Twitter or in IM. Email provides you with the space to properly show people that you are not, in fact, an illiterate hack.
47. Cursing. I will be first to board the cuss buss but it’s just inappropriate in a business-related email unless you’re close to someone and know how it will be taken. As much as I love a good cussing, I also know that some people simply lose respect for you when you do it. Feel the person out before you drop the f-bombs please.
48. If the site owner changes your link and it’s still acceptable but not perfect, just deal with it. Maybe you asked for the anchor text for a keyword but they decided to go with the brand name. If you’re paying for it, yes you do have the right to speak up but you should accept that there are no guarantees. If you asked for the link without offering payment, then just keep quiet and move on.
49. Asking for personal details too quickly, before trust is established. Many people immediately think you’re trying to scam them for whatever reason, so be cautious about getting payment information, address, etc.
50. Approaching a site owner who’s already turned you down.