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I asked 15 of my friends to share how they earned their most valuable backlinks through outreach. In this post you’ll learn how to handle rejection, how important partnerships are for link building, the power of round up posts… and that when nothing works a GIF of a pleading cat can make wonders…
My favorite outreach links were from a 77 DR personal finance website. They had linked a few times to a small business finance competitor who has been out of business for a few years and whose product content had become outdated. I did some simple outreach to an editor at the site explaining the situation and why our replacement content was superior. There was no incentive other than our content being up-to-date and the competitor’s HTTPS certificate having expired. They replaced all three links to our product pages!
My favorite was landing my piece on Search Engine Land’s featured blogs, on this round up – https://searchengineland.com/searchcap-bing-ads-targets-google-ama-location-search-311997
Here was my pitch: Chuck Norris Style Link Building (Roundup content)
Sara Davis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Fri, Feb 8, 11:57 AM
Good morning! We just added a new piece to our site and I wanted to send it your way for potential inclusion in your roundup. http://www.canirank.com/blog/how-to-get-backlinks-like-a-boss/
Actually got a resource page link from CancerResearchUK once. It was for a client in the funeral services niche.
Particularly proud of it due to the relevance of it. But also because they had a lot of sensitively written content around arranging funerals, dealing with grief, etc. Which is something unfortunately, that cancer sufferers and their families have to think about at some point – so made sense for them to incorporate the link.
Also a valid lesson on having the right content. When you have great content and are targeting the right prospects, you don’t have to be pushy or oversell.
They know when it makes sense to link to it.
This was the email (nothing amazing, but they saw it, saw the value of it and linked out!)
I recently acquired an unexpected link on Forbes that I’ve never asked for. I was chatting with one company about partnering up on a link building side, and at some point, they liked a research piece that we delivered to one of our clients. But some time later, they emailed me to share that their founder had a column on Forbes where he had allocated a link back to our client’s research. To be honest, I had never really expected them to allocate any links, especially not on Forbes. It’s good to mention that links from Forbes are quite useless from an SEO perspective since they’re using a redirect scheme to avoid any sites that might be dangerous. That said, outreach is like gambling. You never know when you’ll win it all or when you’ll lose everything. Even though you’ve delivered solid research, you must know the rules inside out and be extremely experienced.
One type of link building campaign that has been working well lately is reaching out to claim “unlinked brand mentions”. i.e. anywhere online where a site is mentioning your brand name, but not linking to your site.
This type of campaign works great for businesses that have an established brand and have got a decent amount of press over time. I just did this for a client in the B2B space and here are the results:
11 live links
Average Domain Rating: ~60
Hugely successful campaign considering the authority of those links, and the fact that we only invest $100 worth of VA prospecting time.
The process is quite simple. We enter the business domain into the Ahrefs Content Explorer and look for instances where the domain is not linked:
Have a VA run through the list and verify that they are in fact unlinked mentions. Then, reach out and thank the person for mentioning the business, and ask for a link to be added.
It’s a very simple strategy that can deliver some BIG links to deeper pages on a site.
The best outreach link I received came from rejection email. Up until that point, I hadn’t been paying much attention to rejections. I just assumed the senders didn’t want anything to do with my content, and moved on. This time, however, I was encouraged by the fact that this person responded to my email, rather than ignoring it. She said no to the initial backlink I was asking for, but when I replied with an alternative suggestion — after coming through her website in further detail and getting a better picture of what might be a better fit — she said yes.
Now, I don’t want people to read this and think “you should never take no for an answer”, because often times, you absolutely should. Some folks just don’t like your content, or it doesn’t fit with their website or they don’t want to hear from you, period. But other people might be receptive to alternative suggestions, even if they turn down your original request. Don’t write off every rejection email you receive, because there could be some potential there to pivot and make it happen.
Our best link acquired using outreach is on the AddThis blog (DA 93). We got this link by starting a collaboration with Ryan Robinson from RyRob.com. It was a simple process of providing value for Ryan first — we managed to include many of the links to his resources in our guest posts. And Ryan reciprocated the favor by linking back to us from a very high DA blog, which was a very pleasant surprise.
The simplicity is the magic of this approach of a) asking and b) providing value or helping our first.
Since that, we’ve reached out to many more bloggers and websites owners to whom we’ve linked in our guest posts. The majority of them was more than happy to reciprocate the favor and in result we acquired more than 300 high quality backlinks in about 4 months. We still collaborate long-term with many of them.
I suggest that you write down some of the creative tips from the examples above and try to apply them in your outreach. And remember: showing a creative approach can help your outreach but nothing beats studying your target carefully and building relationships!
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