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E-Marketing Performance Blog

Always Be Reading: the Link Builder’s Mantra

Salesman live by the mantra ABC (Always Be Closing), thanks in part to the movie, Glengarry Glen Ross.

I recently read a post, Evolving Sales from ‘Always Be Closing’ to ‘Always Be Helping,’ written by Aaron Aders. In the post Aaron proposes salesman and marketers  should take the approach of being helpful in order to gain new clients, and to instill trust in existing ones. I wholeheartedly agree with his premise.

In fact, I felt the need to create a mantra for Link Builders (or whatever we’re calling it these days), because everyone needs their own mystical formula that inspires them to new levels of achievement. Right, Elves?


“ABC” (closing, cobbling) doesn’t work for link building, and Aaron already used helping. So, I assert Always Be Reading (ABR).

Unlike some industries, the online marketing community has a fostering environment. There are many people willing to share their knowledge, join the conversation and offer help. Here’s a list to get you started:

Joel K – Joel thinks he’s funny, and he is. Not only that but he is smart and good looking. Really, what more could anyone ask for? Sorry ladies, that means he probably has a girlfriend.

Alessio Madeyski – Alessio is as genuine as they come and has introduced me to some great people in the industry through his Meet Your SEO series. He excels at showcasing others, and that is something I aspire to.

Chris Dyson – Chris doesn’t settle for  the industry standard; he goes above and beyond. I appreciate his unique perspective and his willingness to listen to what others think.

Gaz Copeland – Gaz challenges  the community to work together in a way that encourages people with opposing opinions to respect to one another. Here is a great example from his thread on G+, So What is #RCS??, taken from a conversation that was happening on Twitter.

Bill Sebald – Bill is a voice I always look to. He sometimes plays devils advocate just to get people to think outside the box. Even if he doesn’t hold a certain viewpoint, he is willing to talk about it just to add depth and represent all sides.

Anthony Pensabene – Anthony is my go-to for expanding my vocabulary. He is a brilliant writer and I love the way he conveys ideas in his posts. He makes me think I have so much creativity yet to be tapped. Speaking of tapped, he is part of a collaborative blog, The Saloon of Literature, along with two other great dudes, Sean Revell and Patrick Hathaway.

Julie Joyce – Julie has been helpful to me since my first day in the industry nearly two years ago. She set me up with my first official training, and I’ve been learning from her every since. She is always willing to engage in discussion, and I see her comments on blog posts everywhere.

Giuseppe Pastore – Giuseppe contacted me via Twitter when I put together Link Building Secrets Revealed in early 2012. He liked the project and wanted to be a part of it. Since the project was complete, I invited him to write a post for our blog. His post, How To Put Your Link Building on Viagra, earned him some much deserved traction and a mention in Jon Cooper’s industry famous Link Building Strategies.

The list goes on. But my point is this, by reading posts written by these community members, I’m learning to be a better link builder. I’ve become part of the community by observing, taking notes and sharing my own thoughts. I’m growing in my knowledge and making necessary adjustments as I go. The community encourages engagement. If you’re willing to read, you’ll be able to learn.

How Reading Makes Me A Better Link Builder

mantra for link builders, always be reading‘ABR’ could be everyone’s mantra, and I argue that it should be. However, I think it’s a link strategist’s biggest ally. Therefore, ‘ABR’ is my mantra.

Link Building requires making connections to people and resources. In order to make these connections, one must research. In order to research, one must read. Reading helps give our research context. Context provides meaning. And there, my friends, is the circle of life.

In short: reading + research + context = meaning. Reading is an integral part of finding meaning. In order to determine whether something is valuable and/or relevant, the meaning must be uncovered.

Reading also helps me challenge my notions on a given subject. I often look for articles that are well thought out in order to broaden my perspective. In fact, many of the names I’ve mentioned above have challenged me to adapt my link building strategies. Link building is constantly evolving and it’s important to be open to new ideas.

What ideas do you have for a link builder’s mantra? I’d love to hear them in the comments section, so drop me a line.

Image credit


Annalisa Hilliard

Annalisa specializes in SEO at Pole Position Marketing. Annalisa enjoys cycling, running and most other participatory sports. She is also a craft beer and coffee zealot. She resides in North Canton, Ohio but Pittsburgh, PA will always be her home. Read Annalisa’s full bio.

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10 Responses to Always Be Reading: the Link Builder’s Mantra

  1. Alessio says:

    Hey Annalisa,
    thanks a lot for the mention and the kind words!

    And I agree that we should never stop learning new stuff. It’s one of the most exciting thing in a man’s life.

    • Annalisa Hilliard
      Annalisa Hilliard says:

      Indeed, Chris! Thanks for the read. Keep being prestigious. It’s a full-time job being awesome, the commoners just don’t understand 🙂

  2. Joel K says:

    Annalisa, this was too kind of you! It’s nice to know that there is room in the community for a little bit of snark and humor. I think it’s huge to keep reading and learning, but for me the mantra might be “always be testing”. Not every strategy or tactic works for every client, likewise, not every SEO is capable of using every strategy to its full potential. Test, find what works in the real world and keep learning!

    Thanks very much for the mention. Made my day!

    • Annalisa Hilliard
      Annalisa Hilliard says:

      Absolutely! I love snark & humor. They kind of go together like whiskey and drinking.

      I love that mantra! It seems more strategies fail than succeed. The suggestion for “Always Be Listening” was made by a certain Stoney deGeyter. I think that’s a great one too. A lot of people are talking but the sometimes fail to stop and listen. Think I’ll test this one on Stoney in my next review (see if he’s listening). 🙂

      Thanks for the input, Joel! Glad it’s so simple to make your day, I’m sure it won’t be the last time I give you a shout out.

  3. Anthony Pensabene says:

    thank you, Annalisa – such observations inspire me to keep getting better. I am honored to among such company, and i learn from yourself and many people in the space on a regular basis.

    reading this made me smile, and i do enjoy them so 🙂

    • Annalisa Hilliard
      Annalisa Hilliard says:

      Thanks for swinging by, Anthony! It really feels like a community when you have mutual respect for one another, can offer opposing viewpoints and come away having both learned something. Looking forward to such experiences in the future. Keep up the great work!

  4. Annalisa, thanks a lot, I’m honored to be mentioned in this post, and in a such amazing company! I’m not sure I’m a good link builder, but I’m sure you’ve made my day 😀