15 Experts tell the story of their best outreach link

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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…

Link Building Outreach RoundUp post

Nicolas Straut – Fundera

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a small business finance competitor who has been out of business for a few years and whose product content had become outdated.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!


Dan Fries – Blue Tree


My best outreach link was on the DoD’s official website in the US, the content of which is regularly read by US five star generals and internally by many of the rank and file in the US govt. To land the link, I had to use a persona who was very well crafted, built over several years, and who was sort of an expert on military affairs. The persona got an email from a defense contracting company asking for input on a threat report. I complied and spent a few weeks brushing up on the matter to put together a reasonable response, and the persona’s “employer” (my affiliate site) was listed as a reference/editor on the official post announcing the review.


Brendan Hufford – Clique Studios


In retrospect best outreach I link I ever scored isn’t just one link. It’s the dozens that I’ve received from Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income since 2010. I reached out to him to share with him everything I learned from him and not only was I one of his first 50 podcast interviews on the award-winning Smart Passive Income podcast, but it also kicked off a friendship which is infinitely more valuable than any link ever could be. In fact, I’ll be at his conference (FlynnCon) in a few days where I’m sure I’ll make new friends, which will spiderweb into more relationships and, in the long run, more links. I always explain to new link building to build relationships and consider yourself as being in the PR industry. Making friends NEVER starts with asking for a link but, when you do make friends, and the links will follow. It’s the same way that I’ve, as an after-effect of building a genuine relationship, landed links from a ton of high-DR websites in my industry.


Sara Davis – CanIRank


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 <sara.davis@canirank.com>
Fri, Feb 8, 11:57 AM
to Natalie

Hi Natalie,

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/


Jon Morrow – Smart Blogger


For me, the best links always come from relationships with other authorities I’ve cultivated for years. Not because they could link to me, but because we genuinely respected and wanted to help each other. That’s how I’ve gotten dozens of links in the DR 80s. Many of these would’ve been impossible to get if not for the relationships. And there was no incentive. It was simply a matter of becoming a person worth helping, because you’re doing good work. I think a lot of SEOs tend to have too short term and a perspective. Yes, you should do the short-term techniques like broken link building, resource link building, etc. but more than likely, those links are going to be easy for your competitors to duplicate as well. If you want a real competitive advantage, become capable of getting links others CAN’T get. Play the long game, become well respected in a niche, and then absolutely dominate it for yourself and/or clients.


Amit Raj – Amit Digital Marketing


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!)


Alexandra Tachalova – Digital Olympus


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.


Derric Haynie – EcommerceTech

I wrote an article interviewing 10 agency owners in San Diego. They all featured the article and most backlinked to it. We were able to rank #1 for “digital marketing agency san diego,” for many years.


Adam Steele – Loganix


I teach my team to focus heavily on the metrics, especially monthly organic traffic as per Ahrefs. Obviously, like any other metric, it isn’t perfect and only tells a very narrow story. When it comes to metrics, the more narrow the better IMO. Anyways, normally I would not have reached out to this site on account of their low, reported, organic traffic (<500 organics /mo). We placed an article, and to this day, a year later, it’s referred more $$ than any other placement of its kind. No tool would have told us that. Probably not even manual review. So I think the lesson is two fold: a) metrics aren’t everything b) don’t ignore the little guys.


Robbie Richards – robbierichards.com


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:

94 prospects
23 responses
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:

“clientname” -clientdomain.com

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.


Maria Sereda – Serpstat


The best outreach link I got was from Hubspot. My team has made a unique research full of infographics and our own data and we were looking for a platform to share it with. Targetting Hubspot was close to impossible at that time as we were a small almost no-name company then. Yet I knew that our research was worthy of a decent backlink so I started following the editor on social media. Thus I found out she’s a cat-lover as I am and after I sent her numerous e-mails asking for a review of my article’s plan I finally sent her an e-mail with a GIF of a pleading cat. After it I got a reply very quickly:) We got on very well. But you must remember that there will be a happy-end only if your article really deserves to be published because it presents value to a platform’s audience. Only on this condition your link-building tactics will work.


Inna Yatsyna – Serpstat

The best my outreach links are on Search Engine Watch. I’ve reached out to Kimberly Collins (editor) in LinkedIn asking for a guest post. As a result, I’ve written several articles for this blog and then even become a permanent contributor. Links from this blog improve my reputation as an expert and our company brand awareness, backlinks profile, and bring a lot of traffic and payments.


Hugh Beaulac – MC2


Let me tell you a story about the power of personalization. If you want to get results (and backlinks), think about the person you’re reaching out to and do research to find the blog owner’s name to sound legit. As Dale Carnegie once said, “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Personalization gives great results even if you want to build backlinks. Email: http://prntscr.com/ojc46p


Rachel Cravit – Venngage

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.


Kas Szatylowicz – Nightwatch



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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