Whether you have a great idea or not, if you don’t get eyeballs onto your product or service, it’s going to fail.
In this article, I’m going to cover the basics that you need to build relationships and connections with website owners to get them to link back to your business in order to get some great referral traffic and to rank your websites on Google.
There are a couple of ways in which your outreach will pan out, are you going to pay for links? Or are you going to earn them?
But for the purpose of this article, we are going to cover how to position yourself on earning legitimate backlinks from well placed, authoritative websites.
SEO outreaching: Where to start?
The barrier of entry is certainly higher when you are trying to earn links as opposed to paying for them, more often than not, the piece of content you are trying to promote has to be awesome.
Nobody is going to go out of their way to link to a crap piece, they just aren’t, and creating automated outreach systems that spam people just isn’t going to get you the links you need to move the needle.
Sure you will get links from doing that, I’m not going to pretend that you won’t, but they won’t be great backlinks. So although this post is about how to do outreach, you still need great content.
So you have great content, now what?
So I’m going to break down the process into X steps:
- Finding websites that are worth getting links from
- Contacting the website owner and editor
- Asking for a link
Each of these steps is as important as the other, if you don’t get all the steps correctly, you’re just going to be wasting your time.
1. Finding websites that are worth it
Depending on your market, this isn’t as simple as looking for a certain DA (Domain Authority), or any 1 metric in particular.
The best way to start is to look at competitors if your content is a better version of a resource that already exists, start there. If you are promoting a piece of content about the “Best Shopping Websites”, take a look at what is already ranking.
Let’s what a look at what we see for this keyword:
If I were to have made a list of the best shopping sites, the best place for me to look for backlinks are pages that are ALREADY linking to resources similar that you have improved/ given your own take on the subject.
Not only are all the backlinks your competitors there for the taking, you already KNOW that these backlinks have got their pages ranked.
Sure not all of them will be worth going after, but you now have a list of websites to approach that is already linking an inferior page than yours.
2. Contacting the website owner and editor
This is where a lot of outreach campaigns fall flat on their face. A task like link building is a laborious task, people are going to automate it or to make it as slimline as possible.
This makes it easy for us, to stand out from the crowd. We aren’t going to be spamming these people with spun rubbish, we want to build relationships with these people.
If we open our first email with them asking for them to replace a link in a piece of content, why would they do it? Why would you change a link in a piece of content that you have written some time ago?
Unless it is broken, and that is a whole other type of link building.
The first email should just be about starting a conversation, at the end of the day, you are emailing people not websites. People like to feel valued and appreciated.
You will get a good response if you’ve read the article, and then explained why their opinion would be valuable, something like this:
I just wanted to get in touch to say the article you linked to on the best online shopping accounts was great, it actually inspired me to create my own list where I’ve added a few more.
I know your time is valuable, but I’d love to just get your opinion on a piece I wrote where I’ve gone a little more in-depth.
Let me know if you get a minute.
Not only are we speaking to them like a person, but we’re making them feel important by asking for their opinion on something.
Either they love the piece, or they give you constructive feedback, which you can then fix which will put you in a great position for the final piece.
Now that we have a relationship with the editor, how do we position ourselves to ask for a link?
Following the first 2 steps, we already know that they don’t have any objections to linking out to other sites that they find useful. We also know that they love the content we’ve written.
This is where traditional link request templates fall down, they are that, templates.
Whilst we are already in contact with the editor, we want to drop in that we would like a link. So when they reply to our first email, depending on whether it is good or bad feedback we can go either way with our reply to them.
If it is good:
Thanks for taking the time to read it, I’m glad you liked it.
Do you think this would be a good fit for your article, as you’ve said yourself that it is more comprehensive than the article you are already linking to?
Let me know.
If it is bad:
Thanks for taking the time to read it, I’ve taken your points on board. I can see what you mean about is lacking XYZ, and I’ve gone ahead and added those.
Do you think this would be something you would consider linking from in the future? I do go more in-depth than the resource you’re currently linking from.
Let me know.
The goal of the first email is to start a conversation, it doesn’t have to be a request for them to review a piece you have written. Sometimes this will be too much to ask right off the bat, instead, ask them a generic question about their field/website.
The goal of the initial email is to get them talking to you.
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