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SEO 20 min read October 11, 2022

Link Building Outreach: How to Run Successful Outreach Campaigns

Link Building Outreach: How to Run Successful Outreach Campaigns
Link Building Outreach: How to Run Successful Outreach Campaigns
Graham Grieve
Graham Grieve
SEO Consultant with over 7 years experiece at A1 SEO Glasgow, helping local businesses get more traffic and leads through search engines.
Hi there!

If you are reading this, you have probably tried and failed to conduct a successful outreach campaign. But do not despair!

The following post, supplemented by the comments of our experts from Twitter Chat, will give you the proper powerful techniques to dominate your line of business.

So, let's begin by introducing our genuine experts who continually share valuable insights with our audience:
Alexandra Tachalova
Link Building Specialist
Founder of DigitalOlympus.net
Olena Prokhoda
Social Media and Community
Specialist at Serpstat
Remco Tensen
Digital Marketing Consultant
Founder of RemcoTensen.nl
Debi Norton
Internet Strategy Consultant
Founder of BRAVO
Joey Trend
Co-Founder of Hum JAM
Lyndon NA
Internet business consultant
SEO & PPC, CM & SMM with UX, CRO & ORM

1. The Art of Link-Building

Every year, the art of link-building changes. However, its goal remains the same — gaining authority within a domain and an industry.

Some websites still rely heavily on directory links, PBNs, and paid links. Are these methods effective? Sometimes, if done correctly. Does it pose a risk to use these methods? In fact, yes.

It's hard to deny that these link-building methods are frowned upon. When it comes to PBNs, it seems to me that Nathan Gotch's summary is pretty accurate in this regard:
1
Make sure you understand the risks associated with PBNs.
2
If you can get ROI from PBNs, then do it.
3
Don't fully rely on only one method.
4
The cost involved in setting up a blog network can be spent elsewhere, usually for much better ROI.
It's then time to engage in "White Hat" link-building.

Before Penguin, websites gained natural links the same way they do today. Link-building has not changed for these sites; they create content and reach out to suitable bloggers for relevant links.

A Complete White Hat SEO Guide: Google-Approved SEO That Works

What types of links are bringing the biggest SEO benefits?
I'd say an "ideal" link would be:

  • on a recognized topical authority site;
  • that rarely links out to other sites;
  • that has complete editorial control;
  • with the link in the content;
  • with link-text that (closely) matches the destination page title/topic;
  • without "nofollow" (or "ugc" or "sponsored") attribute;
  • that is on a page that is crawlable/indexed;
  • which is good quality, topical content;
  • that ranks well for the primary term (or a close variant);
  • that is frequented by your target audience;
  • that has "stable" internal links.

Not a lot to ask for, really :)
Lyndon NA
Lyndon NA
Internet business consultant. SEO & PPC, CM & SMM with UX, CRO & ORM

2. Why Is Outreach Vital for Link-Building?

While some sites rely heavily on directory links, PBNs, and paid links, these methods are becoming riskier and riskier. Google constantly detects them, and the consequences are not always pleasant.

Editorial links gained through outreach have always been safe from regular Google purges, and there is no evidence to suggest that this will change.

All of that raises the question, "why doesn't everyone use outreach?"

Well, it is pretty hard to answer that question. The trick is to find websites that will find your content worthy enough to promote it. That's a challenge, and we are going to learn how to handle it!
You should always look for the sites of a legit business with a positive organic traffic trend. Google relies heavily on positive trends, and if you can get links from sites that are right now in the active phase of growth, this will help you see results way faster.
Alexandra Tachalova
Alexandra Tachalova
Link Building Specialist & Founder of DigitalOlympus.net
Ensure that the sites that you're going to get links to will perfectly match your expectations and requirements.

When the content of the page is so relevant that the link is of benefit to both parties — that is when it is perfectly matched.
Debi Norton
Debi Norton
Internet Strategy Consultant & Founder of BRAVO
I always try to ask myself one question — does the website I’m trying to get a link from have similar content as mine? If it does, then it will be of value to gain a link from that website.
Joey Trend
Joey Trend
Co-Founder at Hum JAM

3. What Are the Challenges of Outreach?

Every outreach campaign, regardless of how successful it was, will eventually hit a brick wall. You can face a variety of problems, and here are a few tips for overcoming them.

#1: Small Pool of Websites

You might simply run out of websites when it comes to very tight niches. Don't worry. The obvious solution is right in front of you! Don't limit yourself — expand your horizons. Maybe your content is relevant to a broader range of websites.

For example, let's say you specialize in a specific type of flooring. Consider expanding your niche to include all types of flooring. You can even include sites with different home improvement products.

You should be as specific as possible. Nevertheless, if you don't get much traction within your industry, don't be afraid to broaden it.

#2: Time Investment

Finding potential links, filling in gaps in the internal content, and sending out emails take a lot of time. Be prepared for this and take your time.

I've run outreach campaigns where I have sent over 50 personalized emails, received six replies, and ended up with two links. I spent just under 15 hours on that campaign. Still, those two high-quality links I ended up with were editorial mentions from the high DA sites in an incredibly competitive online market that we now dominate.

#3: Dealing With Rejection

Nobody likes to be ignored or told no. But if you want decent results from your outreach campaigns, you have to be prepared to meet many people saying no to your idea.

Consider my last case as an example: I sent 50 emails and received six replies. Do you think two high-quality links were worth it? Hell yeah!

#4: No Suitable Content

Sometimes you can find the perfect site in your line of business.

I learned the hard way. Through burning bridges like this, I realized that link-building is a process vital to SEO success. It's not something you can accomplish in a few hours on a Friday afternoon.

I advise planning a gap in the prospect website's content and reaching out once you are fully armed with your excellent content.

4. Why Outreach Fails?

Now that we have discussed the brick walls you can face when running an outreach campaign, let's move on to why your outreach campaigns ultimately fail. Outreach mainly fails because SEOs simply do not understand that outreach is a sales pitch and should be treated as such.

Too many webmasters are spammed with, 'hey, check out this content that I am sure you will love.' These emails get deleted as there is no effort or accurate content behind them. So the outreach ultimately fails because of poor email quality.

There are two main reasons why your emails are not good enough:

  • Trying to get the job done quickly and spamming inboxes with generic emails.
  • Not properly researching a blog or website enough before emailing.
As an example, here's an email I received requesting a link to one of my websites:
an example of email
Do not be lazy to create a professional-looking email if you work hard on your content. I am pretty sure that the email above was done in a template fashion like this:

"Hello,

I had a look at your post [insert post name]
[insert post URL]

We have a similar article that goes into a lot more depth. Check it out here:
[insert post URL]

Please link to this if you think it is valuable.

Thanks,"


This example had minimal effort, and we may assume that the sender focused mostly on quantity rather than quality.

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5. How to Find Link-Building Opportunities?

Like any good salesperson, you need to do your research. Find a "hook" that makes your pitch relevant to someone's current strategy.
1
Read a few blog posts. This is how you can get to know the person writing the blogs and their personality.

For example, is it a casual/light blog with a conversational tone? Great! Then a more lightweight approach might work better here. Or, it may be a very severe blog full of accurate facts and figures. This is where you can take more of a formal approach.
2
Find a "hook" to grab the site owner's attention instantly. Find out what makes your content unique and linkable. Could it be a gap in the other website's content? Or maybe you have a guide or more in-depth information on a subject previously covered in a past blog on the prospect's site?

If you are a website owner and someone reaches out to you for a link, you don't want the hassle of finding a place for the link in your content. That's why a "content hook" is essential — find information that will help you nudge the website owner toward where your link will fit in.
3
Make sure you find out the correct email and name if it's available.
4
When you reach out to a website, they will often accept guest posts. And reading the guidelines can give you a good understanding of how to approach the site owner.
  • Visit the site: check the homepage and identify the focus of the site.
  • Look through the blog: look over a few blog posts. Check the links the site goes to. If the site is linking out to a lot of sites that are not relevant to the niche, this is a warning sign.
  • Moreover, you should always check the site with an SEO tool: an SEO metric that a lot of people consider when identifying sites to guest post on is Domain Authority (DA). The Domain Rank (DR) is similar. The score must be at least 40, but it depends on the niche and website.
Olena Prokhoda
Olena Prokhoda
Social Media and Community Specialist at Serpstat
Don't be lazy — look at the things. Ask about their assets and network. You shouldn't rely on promises and tools alone. The same basic principle applies when you're evaluating link profiles.
Remco Tensen
Remco Tensen
Digital Marketing Consultant & Founder at RemcoTensen.nl

6. How to Write the Perfect Outreach Email?

Now that you are armed with all your research, it is time to craft your link-winning email. These steps will help you write awesome emails quickly:
1. Delete your email templates! Instead, write a personalized email that grabs the reader's attention.

2. Assess your content. What unique research or relevant blog posts do you have for the prospect?

3. Find an opportunity to show them that you read and appreciate their work. Are there any blogs you are genuinely interested in?

4. Try to add a relevant question. This will increase the probability of a response. In this case, even if you don't get a link, you can create some dialogue that can lead to a relationship and cooperation in the future.
You will have the opportunity to reach out like this next time you email this potential link:
"Hey [Name], You might remember we spoke about [subject] a few weeks ago ..."

5. Make sure you ask for a link. Most webmasters know an outreach email when they see one, but outlining your intentions means there will be no confusion.

6. Re-read your email. The number of outreach emails I receive with spelling mistakes is ridiculous. I don't care about spelling mistakes in emails, but some webmasters are picky about this, especially if the email is about "high-quality" content.
Don't hesitate to use your research and sell your content, idea, or services. Make each email unique, quality, and flexible.

Even though I'm not too fond of templates, HubSpot has 9 Link-Building Email Outreach Templates that are effective. You can use these, but I'd recommend you use them only as examples, not simply copy and paste.

Here is an example of an email I recently sent out that got me a solid link:
an example of an email
Here I have properly researched the website, asked a direct question, and found direct relevance between my content offer and the website. It would have been good to shorten this email a bit, but it worked.

Here below, check out an interview, where Ann Smarty, a former Editor-in-chief at SEJ, tells about the main points editors of popular blogs pay attention to while reading the guest posting request and how to make your letter stand out of hundreds of other requests.
Q&A With Ann Smarty:
Discussing Influence Marketing With a Real Marketing Influencer

7. Important Tip: Following Up

Make sure you follow up. I have nearly missed a few solid link-building opportunities by reaching out on a bad day.

When it comes to following up and securing links — I can recommend using a Boomerang. Many people use it to schedule a reply if the receiver does not respond. I instead change this to send me the email back if I have not received a response. This way, I can craft a more personalized response.

To use Boomerang for Gmail, install the extension on Chrome and follow the steps below:
1
put the recipient's email, subject and the main text of the mail;
2
click the red "Send Later" button;
3
tick the box "If no reply";
4
pick the time you would like the email sent back to you;
5
hit the button "Confirm".
How to use Boomerang for Gmail

8. How to Find Relevant Domains for Link Exchange

Link-building should start with an assessment of site quality. This can be done using the Serpstat Backlink Analysis tool.
1
To check the basic data about several domains, you should open the "Domain batch analysis report" and add the list of domains. Then you will receive the data on:

  • Domain Rank;
  • Referring domains/pages/IP-addresses/subnets;
  • Redirecting/Text/Image links;
  • Nofollow backlinks;
  • Site's traffic and visibility;
  • Data on keywords and ads.
You can click on any of the sites and see a detailed report for each of them.
2
Serpstat Links Intersect report helps find common donors for several websites, check donors who link to your competitors but not to your site, and create a visual graph comparing the reference mass for the analyzed domains.
Serpstat Backlink Analysis tool
Serpstat Backlink Analysis tool: Links Intersect report
Such reports will help you to make a mass link analysis of the competitors and check the quality of links. This will determine which sites would link to your domain and vice versa.

Serpstat Backlink Analysis Tool: A Comprehensive Guide

Want to know how to find relevant domains for link exchange with Serpstat tools?
Click the button below, sign up and get a free 7-day trial! Using the service, you can see even more valuable reports.

9. Final Thoughts

All SEO specialists know that link-building is essential for climbing the ranks and dominating Google. Although link-building techniques come in and out of fashion, outreach remains one of the most effective (even though it can be time-consuming and challenging).


Use this guide to make sure you are getting the most out of your outreach campaigns. And feel free to contact us at any time comfortable for you!
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