Table of Contents
- The Mindset for Improved SEO Traffic
- Why Most Campaigns Fail
- Type of Link Building Campaigns
- Tools Needed for Link Building
- Keyword Research
- Campaign #1: Competitive Link Building
- Campaign #2: Resource Page Link Building
- Campaign #3: Broken Link Building
- Campaign #4: Google Alerts
- Get Found!
Before we go into the principles and mindset required to increase your SEO traffic, please note that this guide was created for the internal use of my agency. I’ve been running a successful SEO firm, headquartered in Austin, Texas since 2013 and currently use this for training purposes. [/box]
The Mindset For Improved SEO Traffic
There are several principles you must keep in mind if you want to be successful at link building which in turn leads to more traffic via increased search rankings.
Principle 1: The primary purpose of link building is to add value.
Link building is about reverse engineering a key indicator of high ranking websites, i.e., the linking references to a site.
Successful (traffic producing) and thorough pieces of content with large amounts of linking root domains (RD’s) all have one thing in common: they all add value to the end user/reader.
Principle 2: High-quality content is the key to a successful link building campaign.
However, the person who determines if content is valuable is not you, nor is it your client, boss, or readers.
The person granting the link (the “linkerati”) determines what gets linked to and the standards your content needs to meet in order to acquire such a reference to your work.
That means you have to do research to reverse engineer what the “linkerati” deems “high quality.”
Essentially, researching the link profiles of successful pieces of content gives the researcher an idea of what the “linkerati” deems worth of a referencing link.
Principle 3: You cannot cheat the system.
With a little research, you’ll soon see that the “linkerati” have very high standards in determining the worthiness of a particular content piece.
Do not try to bypass this initial process of determining what the “linkerati” deem as link worthy content.
If you do so, your link building efforts are certain to fail.
Why Most Campaigns Fail
There are only a few reasons link building campaigns fail.
- Your content is inferior.
- Your outreach process targeted the wrong people (we’ll get deeper into this later).
- Your first email was too “spammy.”
- Your content was irrelevant.
Note that the first is the most common reason why building traffic to a page fails. If your campaign to acquire referencing links flops, revisit above criteria to determine what went wrong.
Types of Link Building Campaigns
There are several types of link building campaigns that you can run. The most effective are:
- Competitive Link Building
- Resource Link Building
- Broken Link Building
Competitive Link Building is when you look at who is ranking well for keywords for which your site should be ranking. You then dig into your competitors’ link profiles to find who is linking to your competition. When you discover who that is, you reach out to them in the hope that they link to you as well.
Resource Link Building is when you find 100+ resource pages all about a particular topic, such as content marketing. You then reach out to each site owner with a resource page, pitching a link to your resource. A resource can be a blog post, app, guide, eBook, or any other piece of linkable, high-quality content.
Broken Link Building is when you encounter a page that should link to another page, but the destination page is no longer there. You then reach out to the site owner, providing an updated link as a replacement for the broken one.
Tools Needed for Link Building
First, here is the spreadsheet we use to keep track of everything throughout the link building process.
Tools for Discovering Link Quality:
- SEMrush – $69.95/month – SEMrush gives you backlink data, keyword rankings and estimated traffic to a given domain. This information is incredibly important for link building because a quality link drives traffic. SEMrush is the only tool that gives an accurate picture of traffic potential.
- Bulk SEMrush Checker – FREE – This resource allows you to dump multiple URLs to get data. Also, the paid version is extremely valuable.
- MozBar – FREE – This browser extension helps you to understand the Domain Authority of a prospect. DA is scored on a range of 0-100, the highest being the best. It’s best to stay away from low DA websites because they won’t provide much ranking impact.
- Bulk Domain Authority Checker – FREE – This tool allows you to dump up to 200 URLs and scrape their DA, PR, IP and more.
- Majestic SEO – FREE – This browser extension helps you to analyze how many backlinks are pointing to a link prospect and also analyzes the quality of that link prospect.
- SimilarWeb – FREE – This browser extension helps you understand the total amount of traffic flowing through a prospective domain.
- Ahrefs – This is a backlink checker that includes amazing keyword research.
Tools for Finding Email Addresses:
Keywords are crucial to any link building campaign. Keyword research uses Google to filter content with a high number of linking root domains (RD’s) pointing to it.
To build links, you are essentially going to find content with links, as well as ask people to link to your similar content. This strategy is effective because your research will tell you what content is successful.
Campaign #1: Competitive Link Building
When executing a competitive link building campaign, you must first determine the links your competitors have. You then create better content on the same topics and offer it to the people who already linked to your competitors.
Tactic #1: Use SEMrush to See How Your Competitors Rank
Once you are in your dashboard, you will see a search bar at the top, which is where you will enter either your site or your competitor’s site.
If your audience is outside the USA, you can choose to see data from other countries using the menu below.
If you look a little bit lower, you will see a box titled “Organic Keywords.”
This box showing the organic keywords only shows the top 5 keywords. However, if you click on the “Full Report” button at the bottom, you will see the full list of keywords for which your competitor organically ranks.
When you go through these keywords, save any pertaining to your business that have more than 500 monthly searches. Be sure the keywords are relevant to you.
SEMrush shows you the competition of the site you punched in, whether you put in your own site or one of your competitor’s.
You can see the competition by looking at the box in your dashboard titled “Competitors in organic search.”
This tactic is the secret weapon to finding articles with linking root domains.
In addition to saving the keywords you want to rank for, you should also save as many relevant competitive websites as well. Relevant websites are those that are in your niche, have blogs about similar content, have the same audience, or sell the same or similar products. The reason you need to save these sites is because you can use any resource pages you find in the next two link building campaigns.
Tactic #2: Mine Top Blogs for Links
Top blogs are a gold mine. Go to Google, and one at a time, enter in top market defining keywords for your industry + “top blogs.”
For example, let’s say you are a photographer. You would search, “photography top blogs.”
You can also look for:
- “Keyword + top blogs 2016”
- “Keyword + top blogs 2015”
- “Keyword + best blogs”
- “Keyword + best blogs 2016”
You can come up with other variations for your search as well.
As you are searching, you will get results that are list posts.
Take each blog from these lists and enter the websites into your spreadsheet.
Once you have 50+ websites, go to Moz’s Open Site Explorer (OSE). It’s a fantastic free backlink checker.
Start by entering just one of the top blog websites you found.
On the far left you will see a tab called, “Top Pages.” Click on it.
The Top Pages button will show you the most linked to pages on that website.
In other words, these are the most popular pages with links. You can then enter the pages into SEMrush to check the keywords for which they are ranking.
Entering only a couple websites can sometimes yield hundreds of keywords.
Moreover, not only can you steal the keywords but you can also steal the links.
After you have searched for the top blogs in your niche, stay at the Top Pages tab. When you find an article on a specific topic with 30+ linking root domains, you can reach out to those webmasters for links.
Simply look right above the list of links. You will see a button to download all of the linking RD’s in a CSV. Click on the button and download it.
From here, you will simply go through each site to determine whether or not you want a link from it. If so, you’ll find site owners’ email addresses and reach out to the site owners. See the Outreach section for information on how to do so.
Tactic #3: Leverage the Questions Your Readers Are Asking
The best keywords are the ones that come from your readers themselves. There are a couple of options at your disposal for finding readers’ keywords.
Option 1: FAQ Fox
FAQ Fox is a handy little tool you can use to generate content or keyword ideas.
Based on the keyword you enter, FAQ Fox will scrape a list of threads on various forums and aggregators.
To start, enter a keyword in the first text box. Then you can either enter a forum (which might or might not work) or choose one of the pre-made categories of starter sites.
Once you click on one of the categories, the tool will automatically load URLs of relevant forums and subcategories. If you can’t find an appropriate category, choose “Generic.” Choosing “Generic” will search all the biggest sites, such as Reddit and Yahoo Answers.
Once you click the search button, you will get a long list of thread titles and links relevant to your keyword.
From this list, you can start selecting keyword phrases and full questions that your audience has already asked in other places.
For instance, from the results in the above image, I would write down:
- which email marketing service should I use?
- My gmail email is going to junk folders
- What Video Marketing Platform Do Your Prefer?
- how to get a job in advertising
- Taking over a webmastering job
- 21 Free Online Marketing Tools
All of these are potential keywords to target in future content.
Option 2: Search User-Generated Content Manually
Your other option besides FAQ Fox is to search for websites manually for user-generated content and reviews. Examples of such sites would include Amazon, Reddit, and Yelp. Any site where you might find a customer’s opinion about a product is a good place to look.
Tactic #4: Use Pinterest to Create Quality, Traffic-Driving Content
Many are not aware that Pinterest is able to deliver powerful results. In fact, Pinterest drives more traffic to publishers than Twitter, LinkedIn, and Reddit combined.
Start by creating a free account. Once you are in, look for the search bar in the top left. Type in your keyword, and make sure you have ”All Pins” selected.
When you see your results, each pin will display a number showing the amount of repins. A re-pin is like a retweet in Twitter or a share in Facebook.
This pin has a repin count of 5,600. The excessive amount of repins tells us that people really like “how to” tutorials in photography.
The blue box in the image above shows the amount of repins.
Only save pins that have at least 500+ repins. You want a pin that you know people already like.
What you can now do is extract the top beginners or advanced tutorials from the article, list them in order of difficulty, and create an excellent top ten list of photography tutorials. You are thus creating a high-quality piece of content in only a few steps.
Tactic #5: Explore Reddit for Keywords
Reddit can be an incredible source of valuable information for all sorts of topics. Many have used the following technique to find advantageous keywords on Reddit.
You do not need to have prior experience with Reddit to implement this tactic, nor do you need to create an account.
When you go to the site, you will see a search bar near the top right side of the page.
If you wanted to create an article on SEO, you would start by typing “SEO” into the search bar. Your results would look like this.
Next you need to narrow down your search. You will notice a little drop down menu titled “sorted by.” Click on it and select “top.”
Next, select the timeframe of the search. You want to be current with your results and not pull topics people aren’t talking about anymore.
Right next to the “sorted by” tab is a “links from” tab where you can select the timeframe of your search.
After you have set the parameters for your search, look under the search bar, where you will see a lot of subreddits. A “subreddit” is basically a subcategory.
Click on SEO (or the subreddit of your choice) in the top left of the subreddits.
Choosing a subreddit will help narrow your search to give you relevant content.
You will then use these results to get content ideas.
It is possible to get many post ideas from only one search result.
Tactic #6: Search Keywords in Buzzsumo
You will notice that a consistent thread in the competitive link building strategy is using keywords to find successful content, in addition to evaluating the content’s links for the purpose of going after them yourself.
When using Buzzsumo, you are going to look for topics that are relevant to those of your blog or site.
Your first step is to create a free account. Then go to your dashboard, where to the left you will see a list of checkboxes. When you hit “search,” Buzzsumo will search your keyword or website through every type of media you have checked. A medium tail keyword is best because including two to three words makes your search more specific.
In this example, the search parameter is set to look for articles published in the last six months.
Buzzsumo will sort the articles by the amount of social shares to an article on platforms such as Facebook and Pinterest.
For example, if you were in the makeup business, perhaps most of your customers would share a lot of content on Pinterest. If this were true, you would search a keyword in Buzzsumo for the most Pinterest shares.
Once you get your results, the page should look something like this.
These results provide a lot of successful content around one specific keyword. You now simply need to take all the articles that are relevant to you and your niche and run them through your backlink checker: Moz OSE, Ahrefs, or Majestic. You’re looking to see if the posts have 30+ linking RD’s.
Tactic #7: Competitors of Competitors
This tactic complements the strategy of leveraging top blogs.
Enter either a keyword or a competitor’s website into SEMrush.
This time you are going to look at the competitors tab. You are going to take each of the competitors of your competitors and run them through the process outlined in Tactic #2 for when you put top blogs into Moz’s Open Site Explorer. That is, you will find said competitor’s top pages, find those who link to these top pages, and get referencing links from them.
Campaign #2: Resource Page Link Building
Resource link building is somewhat similar to broken link building. But instead of searching for broken links to replace, you will search for resource pages on which to be added. A resource page is any web page with a list of links designed to help people find something.
In the following section, all pink colored boxes in the images are meant to show examples of potential domains from which to get referencing links within the particular search. Some of the results might not have been boxed, but would still make good pages from which to acquire links. The highlighted portions are simply the few that we found quickly by looking at the page and seeing if the referencing links on those pages linked out to external domains.
For example, if you were trying to eat a vegan diet and wanted to collect vegan recipes, you might look for a resource page on that topic.
Use Google to Find Resource Pages
To look for resource pages, you simply need to run searches in Google. You can start by searching for your keyword plus the word “resources” or “links”:
- Keyword + “resources”
- Keyword + “links”
You can also add the words “helpful” or “useful” as extra modifiers before “resources” or “links.”
Because some people perceive that sites ending with “.edu” have more credibility, you can search for such sites by entering:
- Site:.edu Keyword +“resources”
- Site:.edu Keyword +“links”
The same can be done for “.org” domains too.
To narrow your search by looking for your keyword in the titles or URLs of your results, do the following:
- Keyword + inurl:resources
- Keyword + intitle:resources
- Keyword + inurl:links
- Keyword + intitle:links
More likely than not, your searches will turn up an overwhelming number of results. However, if you find that your search is too narrow, then you can look for results related to your keyword by using the ~ symbol.
- ~keyword inurl:resources
- ~keyword inurl:links
Filter Your Results Based on Authority
Once you have gathered your results, you don’t want to waste time on resource pages that don’t have much Page Authority (PA) or Domain Authority (DA). Use the MozBar to tell you the PA and DA of each result and therefore whether or not it is worth your time.
To determine whether a resource page is worth getting, you should first look at your own PA/DA. Then pursue pages that are ranked slightly higher than your own site. As your own PA and DA grow, the authority of the pages you pursue should increase as well.
However, it benefits you to have a sprinkling of sites in all ranges, even the very lowest. A variety of sites helps your link profile appear more organic. If all your pages are ranked high, your link profile will appear contrived.
While it doesn’t hurt to have sites in the lowest range of 0-20, you should only pursue these resource pages if the site and page are pertinent to your topic. A good mid range is 21-35. Pages with authority levels above 36 have very strong authority.
Before contacting people about adding your link to a resource page, you should first be sure that your content is a good fit for the page. If you are pushing information that is irrelevant to a site, why would the webmaster want to accept it? At the end of the broken link building section, we’ll discuss in more detail how to determine which sites are most worth you pursuing them and which are not.
Keep in mind that part of your site might be relevant to a resource page, even if your home page isn’t. In that case, you should obviously suggest a link that is most relevant to the resource page on which you want to be listed.
When seeking to reach out the webmasters, many resource pages will actually have a place where you can contact someone about adding a resource.
If a site doesn’t make it that easy for you, you will need do some investigation to find the page’s webmaster to email him or her.
A quick glance at the registrar data for a domain could be a great way to find a contact email for the person who registered the domain (who.godaddy.com):
If you decide to email the owner, please remember that your email should be concise, polite, and not overbearing. See below for how to conduct your outreach.
Campaign #3: Broken Link Building
As noted earlier, broken link building is when you encounter a page that should link to another page, but no longer does so. You then reach out to the site owner, offering a replacement link.
Suggesting a compelling link as a replacement for a broken one is much more valuable than simply begging someone to give you links.
Tactic #1: Check My Links
When you find a broken link on a page you want to get a link from, you have essentially struck gold. However, finding broken links can be extremely difficult.
This part of the process does take work. But the conversion rate you’ll get from BLB versus entreating someone to give you a link is worth the trouble.
The best way to find broken links is to look for them in the resource pages you discovered when implementing your competitive link building campaign.
For example, here’s a PR4 resource page found using the search string “gardening” + inurl:links.
Note that simply asking for a link on that page would convert pretty well but that you could easily double or triple your conversion rate by pointing out a broken link or two.
The easiest way to find broken links on a page is to run the free Check My Links extension for Chrome.
As you can see, running Check My Links on that page returns a broken link:
Clicking on that link leads to a 404 page pointing to a page that used to have
information about the U.S. Botanical Garden in Washington, D.C.
Repeat this step with all of the resource pages you encounter.
Tactic #2: OSE Top Pages
First, grab the homepage URL of a site you’d like to get a link from and pop it into OSE. Next, click on the “Top Pages” tab, which will sort the pages on that site by Page Authority.
Finally, choose “4xx” from the dropdown menu, “HTTP Page Status.”
You will then get a list of authoritative pages that are broken on that site.
For example, Inc.com has a PA72 404 page that used to contain links to the site’s marketing guides.
Once you find a broken link like this one, find all of the pages that link to this page.
You’ll then get a list of pages that link to the broken link you just found.
Determining Which Links to Pursue (aka, Prospecting)
Deciding which links to go after can be tricky. There are two critical factors you should use to determine whether or not you want a link: site quality and relevancy.
When prospecting, you need to be fast. You can easily look deep into the link profile for data, but you must pay attention to the following core metrics:
- Date of published content
- Date of last updated piece of content
- Spam Score (from the Moz bar)
- Domain Authority (DA)
- Design of site
1. Date of published content
If you want a link that is too old, there is a good chance, 1) you won’t get the link because the site’s readers don’t even read it any more, and 2) it won’t be relevant to your current content.
Because of these reasons, if the content is more than 3 years old (4 max), don’t waste your time on it. Delete it and move on to the next link.
2. Date of last updated piece of content
If the site is not updating its content, something bad must have happened. It could be that the company failed. Its leaders might not know what they are doing with their content strategy or even their SEO. And if the company is in this situation, the link could be spammy.
If you come across a site whose most recent piece of content is 6 – 12 months old, seriously consider whether you need that link. If the most recent piece of content is more than 12 months old, delete that link.
3. Spam Score
When you turn on the Moz Bar in your browser, one of the metrics you will be able to see is the Moz Spam Score. You can break down the score into three ranges: 1 – 5 (good), 6 – 10 (mediocre), and 11 – 16 (extremely poor).
Don’t pursue a link with a spam score of 9 or higher. Those links are disavowed for a reason.
4. Domain Authority (DA)
The higher the DA, the more Google values a link from that domain.
You should send a template email to sites with a DA of 15 – 35. Sites with DA of 36 and higher get a customized email.
Sites with lower DA aren’t exactly that attractive because those websites tend to be newly created or non authoritative sites. However, you should always take the time to look at all niche-related websites because getting a referencing link from lower DA sites might be tougher over time if they have teams of real people behind them.
5. Design of site
Consider the following example as an illustration of the importance of design. A group of people was shown a sales page on a website with old and outdated design. Then the same group was shown a new and well-designed sales page.
Both pages had the same sales copy.
The people in the group were asked to make a purchase with their own credit cards from one of the sites. Almost 99% gave their money to the newly designed site.
When asked why they chose the site that they did, 94% said design was the biggest contributing factor.
Another incentive to think about the design of your site well is that some Google updates give brownie points to sites that take into account the user experience.
Whether or not a site is relevant is of primary importance.
As noted earlier, if you are trying to get a link to your post and you reach out to someone whose content has nothing to do with yours, there is no reason for them to be interested in your offer.
There is a simple and easy way to gauge relevancy. Think of it as “niching up.” The farther away the niche is, the less relevant it will be.
Let’s say your content is about creating homemade organic granola.
If another site’s content is specifically about creating homemade organic granola, we would consider it to have an “A Level” relevancy. A Level content is ideal and the type of content you should be targeting.
If a site’s content is about organic recipes, it would have “B Level” relevancy. B Level relevancy is also desirable.
If a site’s content is about health food, we would consider it to have “C Level” relevancy. C Level is the lowest level of relevancy you should aim for, and sometimes you should not even pursue C level sites. You will have to evaluate for yourself whether or not it makes sense for you to pursue that content.
If a site’s content is about food, it has a “D Level” relevancy. Content of D Level relevancy is not worth your time.
If a site’s content is about the general topic of nutrition, it has “E Level” relevancy. Obviously, E Level is furthest away from your niche and therefore the content that is the most worthless to you.
- A Level Relevancy = Exact match of topic-Great
- B Level Relevancy = Organic recipes-Good
- C Level Relevancy = Health Foods-Maybe
- D Level Relevancy = Food-No
- E Level Relevancy = General Topic of Nutrition-Definitely Not
After determining which links you are going to pursue, your next step is to reach out the sites’ webmasters.
Campaign #4: Google Alerts
Looking for a fresh new link-building tool to raise your brand awareness, increase relevant backlinks and leverage traffic (and maybe sales!) on your website?
Look no further than Google Alerts.
What are Google Alerts?
Awesome. That’s what they are – really awesome.
Google Alerts is a free service offered by Google. You simply type a word or phrase into the Google Alerts setup and each time that word or phrase appears online you get an email that includes a list of links where it was found.
Why are Google Alerts so awesome?
In the world of SEO, backlinks are super important – with relevant backlinks weighing in much more than non-relevant ones. Google Alerts opens up massive opportunities to find links that are relevant to your site, your content and your brand within a quick and easy to use process.
- The links are fresh so you know that the Webmaster has recently monitored the content or the query has recently been made – thus, they are more likely to respond or at least pay attention to your link request.
- Google indexed the links – the alerts picked them up after all. So you’ve got a comprehensive list of relevant links deemed worthy by Google itself.
- You can customize search results to find the most relevant links to your website or business. Filter queries by types of results, how often you receive them and the quality of results.
- It’s free! Yippee!
How to setup Google Alerts
The first step is to head over to Google Alerts. https://www.google.com/alerts
Filter results to your purposes:
- Search queries: What are the keywords or phrases you’ll search for – we’ll get to that later!
- How often: Choose between “as it happens”, “at most once a day”, or “at most once a week”. We recommend the weekly option as well as setting up a specific inbox for the alert mails. This way, you can make searching through the queries a designated once per week activity and you won’t be interrupted or distracted by frequent mails.
- Sources: Choose between “automatic” – which will gives you results from everywhere – or one or more of: “blogs”, “news”, “web”, “video”, “books”, “discussion” and “finance”. We recommend selecting “blogs” and “discussions” rather than “automatic”. Here, you will get up-to-date links to places where people are talking about your brand or relevant content – because you’re specifically looking to build backlinks.
- Language and region: Totally dependent on your target market. Maybe you’re an e-commerce company selling Lederhosen (those famous traditional German leather pants men wear to festivals like Oktoberfest) – you’ll want the search queries to be from English and German sites. In addition, if you’re targeting a specific region, make sure to select that.
Caption: Prost! (Cheers! in German – see you’re getting a language lesson out of this too today.)
- How many: Choose between “only the best results” and “all results”. We recommend selecting just the best results – this will weed out the clutter and send you only links most relevant to your search terms.
How to choose search queries
There are countless strategies to use Google Alerts to capitalize on link building potential – here are a few options to get you started:
1. Monitor your brand
A good place to start is to find sites that are already mentioning your brand online. Even if your recognition it still really small, at some point someone will mention your name, and you can capitalize on this. Plus, if someone’s already talking about you or your site, chances are they would be willing to add some hypertext as well.
Some examples include:
- Brand name
- Domain name
- Brand name misspellings
- Domain name misspellings
- URL misspellings
- Any short versions of you, your brand or your site
2. Relevant questions
Google Alerts provides you with fresh, relevant questions that people are asking about your niche. By monitoring the questions frequently, you can quickly jump in and provide your expert opinion – with a link back to your site. This is a great tool for driving traffic, building authority and loyal subscribers.
If you sell something (say, Lederhosen), examples include:
- “Best lederhosen”
- “What is a good brand of lederhosen”
- “I need a pair of lederhosen”
- “Cheap lederhosen”
- “Where can I buy lederhosen online”
- “What’s the best value lederhosen”
- “Top lederhosen”
Also think about problem queries such as:
- “I need something to wear to Oktoberfest”
- “What to wear to Oktoberfest”
You get the picture.
Set up as many alerts as you want with questions you think may be relevant to open up the maximum amount of link building possibilities.
3. Find new product giveaway opportunities
Some websites often offer giveaways to their readers. This is a great way to increase your brand awareness and get people excited about your product.
Some examples include:
- “Product giveaway”
- “Submit a product”
- “Product reviews”
4. Find new guest post opportunities
Many blogs that accept guest posts have a designated page designed to tell potential writers to get in touch. If they say yes, you’ve got a new platform to spread awareness about your brand. Search for wording that fits these descriptions such as:
- “Write for us”
- “Bloggers wanted”
- “Writers wanted”
- “Submit a guest post”
- “Become a contributor”
5. Monitor competitors
Stay up to date on what your competitors are up to. As well, if someone has linked to other brands in your market, maybe they would also be willing to link to you – especially if you’ve got a comparable or better product offering.
Query examples include:
- Competitor brand name
- Competitor domain name
- Competitor URL
- Competitor brand name misspellings
- Competitor domain name misspellings
- Competitor URL misspellings
- Any short versions of you, your brand or your site
6. Monitor keywords related to your brand
Set up an alert so that each time a person or website starts talking about subjects that may be interesting to you, you’re the first to know. The end goal may be to contribute a guest post, or maybe get in touch with the writer of the site and let them know your company can provide resources or other information for their next article.
BONUS: Monitor site security
Though not specifically linked to link building (no pun intended), Google Alerts can also help you stay on top of hackers on your site. Use the alerts to monitor any suspicious activity, so you can take action before you’re penalized. Set up the alert by typing in your domain name then any potential keywords that the hacker may use.
For example site:mydomain.com casino OR dating OR insurance OR porn OR Viagra – you get the picture.
Don’t just stop at our examples, Google Alerts allows for a limitless amount of link building opportunities. Play around with search queries to see which yield the best results. Okay, now lets dig into the details on how to reach out for link references with any of the above campaigns.
First Build Rapport
Once you’ve gotten your list of webmasters you want to contact, you should dive in headfirst and start emailing them, right?
Most marketers try to tell you that all you need is to use an email template, and you’ll get numerous great results. But the more people who send email templates, the less effective that method will be.
You should instead try to connect with the people on your list before you send them a request to share or link to your content.
One option for building rapport with folks on your list is to leave comments on a few of their posts or social media updates. Don’t merely leave a generic “cool post” comment, but something more personal, like this:
Great article! I agree that sometimes it can be hard to eat healthy while working a full-time job. I like how you presented simple ideas that don’t require much effort!
Anything that allows me to work within my natural tendencies is great!
Which of these worked best for you?
By writing a personal message, you illustrate that you took the time to read the post and pose a question. As a result, bloggers will be more likely to notice. When sending an email, they’ll remember you as a previous connection.
The more you implement this step with each person you’re trying to connect with, the better your results will be.
Choose a Strategy for Sending Your Emails
Now that you’ve got your list of connections and you’ve created some natural dialogue, it is time to start emailing. For this step, there are two tactics you can use. You can reach out before an article’s gone live (sort of like a heads up), or you can send influencers a message after your post has been published.
We’ll leave you to test these two methods to determine which is best for your particular situation.
However, out of the two options, we’d recommend sending emails after you’ve published a post (assuming you’ve built rapport beforehand). Why?
1. It’s less work for the person who will do the favor.
With this option, influencers don’t have to wait for you to post an article. They can check out your work now instead of later.
The truth is, most people are only excited about something in the moment. That’s why it’s good to find contacts who have already shared or linked to something in the first place. This principle is especially true when the sharing or linking happened recently.
2. You’ve already had the chance to get some comments or shares on your content.
Giving your content a bit more street cred means you don’t have to keep influencers waiting and that your post looks active.
Email Templates for Your 3 Campaigns
Doing this kind of email outreach isn’t easy, so here are some email templates to help you out.
This is an example of the type of email to send during your competitive link building campaign.
Just recently commented on an article you wrote. It was a great read on [x].
I especially liked the part where you said [x]. Also, I saw a post you shared about [the topic] from [blog name]. I thought it was a cool article as well! I found a lot of the ideas like [examples] to be helpful too.
In any case, wanted to get in touch with you because I’ve just published an article about the same topic.
Would it be alright to have you check it out?
Here’s the link:[link]
Feel free to share the article if you find it to be valuable to your readers or followers.
For your broken link building campaign, send the following email.
I stumbled on your resource page on [x] today. Awesome work!
Just wanted to let you know that I found a few dead links:
Also, I actually just put the finishing touches on [your link].
It might make a nice addition to your page. Either way, keep up the great work you’re doing with [site].
Your outreach email for your resource page campaign is very similar to the one for your broken link building campaign.
I stumbled on your resource page on [x] today. Awesome work!
Because of your expertise in this area, I thought you might be interested in checking out a post that I just put the finishing touches on. [Brief description of your topic and link]
It might make a nice addition to your page. Either way, keep up the great work you’re doing with [site].
Some Rules to Keep in Mind
1. Don’t be pushy.
This is key to your outreach strategy. No one wants to be told what to do, especially if you’re asking for a favor.
2. Keep it short.
People—especially popular bloggers who sift through hundreds of emails weekly—are busy. Keep the email at five sentences ideally, ten at the most.
3. Don’t be stuffy, but be professional.
Give a little personality to your email, but don’t buy them a one-way ticket on your personal goofy train. Use their first name, be polite, and be confident.
4. Pay attention to timing.
Remember what time zone they are in. It is best to send them an email in the morning or at lunchtime so that it’s the first thing they see when they sit back down at their desks.
5. Follow up.
If you don’t get a response within a week or so, it could be a good idea to send a follow-up email, just in case they missed your first one. Don’t send more than one. If they don’t answer after two messages, they probably are not interested.
There are many practical tools you can use to simplify your link building campaigns. However, never forget that the key is to offer something of value to the people to whom you are reaching out.
Despite the amount of detail involved in explaining link building tactics, your strategies essentially boil down to recommending quality content to the right people in a personal way. If you implement the principles outlined above, you will grow the amount of traffic on your site and increase your search exposure.