When it comes to link building, our goal is always to “build” links that are going to stand the test of time. Yes, we still use the term “build” and “building” when referring to what we do – although the truth of the matter is that we never build or place links anywhere ourselves. In fact, any links that we’ll be able to build for you, will be placed there by those who have editorial control of those sites.
In order to contact those who have editorial control and are able to add links on specific websites, we primarily reach out to them through email. This allows us to connect and build relationships with webmasters and editors with a personal touch, but also allows us to scale our efforts and talk to many sites simultaneously.
While there are lots of websites and people doing “link outreach” these days, many of them are offering very little value to the sites they reach out to and are doing little more than “begging” for links.
We strive for a value-oriented approach where the value we’re offering in exchange for a link remains front and center. In addition, we make sure we spend the time necessary to always find the proper person to reach out to, rather than pulling up a large list of email addresses from automated tools.
All of this ensures that we’re writing targeted emails to those who will care most about our value proposition and helps to increase our chances of success.
In order to offer value to websites and ask them for a link, we first need to evaluate your site to determine whether any of your content or tools is of high enough quality to be outreached on merit alone.
The important thing to remember is that the type of content or tool that will work well as a “linkable asset” may be quite different from the type of content or tool that your site visitors or users may be the most interested in. Often, there is plenty of overlap here, but it’s important to recognize that just because your site visitors particularly like a certain article, doesn’t mean that article will work well as something we can outreach for links.
If you have really great content that we recognize has great potential for outreach, then we can move right onto preparing that content to be outreached for links. However, if none of your site content is adequate, we’ll provide you suggestions for content that you can create – or that we can help you create.
Once we’ve been able to identify pieces of content that would work well for email outreach, then we need to identify the best link building strategies that we’ll use to promote those pieces of content. While creating and setting strategies, there are a two main “approaches” we’ll use to garner links.
- Outreach pieces of content that we’re confident will result in successfully securing a lot of high-value links to your domain in order to improve the overall site authority and relevance of your domain.
- Outreach pieces of content that may not be as easy to garner links to, but where the value of the links and the overall search potential of those pages is very high.
These two strategies can sometimes be at-odds with each other, so we do our best to follow a balanced approach. We try to equally build links to pages that will have a big impact on your business, but also reach out to content that we’re confident will earn a lot of links. By doing both approaches equally, we do our best to insure that your overall site authority is increasing, but that we’re also always focusing on what pages are the biggest priority and recognizing that they should always be a point of empahsis and focus as well.
Decide on Link Building Strategies
Once we have identified the top priority pages to build links to, as well as the best “link magnets” that we can use, then we will hone in on which link building strategies will lead to the best results overall for each piece of content.
While there are many different link building tactics we can and do employ, we find that we’re most successful by continually improving our approach and execution of a few core strategies, rather than continually reinventing ourselves with a huge list of 20+ link building strategies.
The strategies that we’ve found the greatest success with and that we continually execute are:
- Unlinked Mentions: Finding mentions of your brand that already exist online and reaching out to those websites to ask them to link back to your site for proper attribution
- Broken Link Building: Find broken pages on the internet and then reach out to the sites who are linking to those broken pages to let them know and kindly suggest your site as a resource.
- Resource Pages: Find pages that compile a list of resources and reach out to suggest your resource as a possible addition.
- Content Promotion: Outreach blog articles or posts where we can genuinely add to the conversation by including a link to our client’s page or resource.
Now that we have decided on the strategies we will use to build links to our target pages, we then start by compiling a list of targets that we can outreach. There are two main strategies we use to compile this list of target sites, namely:
- Pulling up a list of sites that are linking to a particular page. This works well if we find a broken link with many links pointing to it, or we find a page that has used a certain strategy and we think we can emulate that strategy.
- Using Google Search operators to find relevant pages. Whether looking for unlinked brand mentions or resource pages, Google search operators are a great tactic to help us find very targeted pages.
Once we have compiled a large target list of sites, then we manually inspect each and every target page in order to evaluate it for quality and ensure it meets our quality guidelines. The quality guidelines we will rely on vary from client to client, but the main things we look for are:
- Is this page relevant to the outreach strategy and would it make sense for our link to be placed on this target page?
- Is this website current? Does it appear to be actively managed and edited?
- Is this website run by a real person or does it appear to be part of a PBN or link farm?
- Does this website get real traffic by real visitors?
After manually inspecting and verifying that each of these targets are relevant and of high enough quality, then we move onto the next step in our process.
Personalization & Finding Emails
Even if we have a solid strategy and we’ve put together a highly qualified and relevant list of prospects, if we don’t reach out to the right person from each website, then we’ll have very little chance of success. And who is the right person to reach out to?
Well, this differs a lot from site to site. It could be the managing editor, or the person in charge of marketing, or the content strategist, or the writer, or the CEO. In larger companies it can be even more challenging because there are lots of departments and each department has hundreds of employees. Finding the right person can sometimes be like finding the needle in a haystack.
But, it’s extremely important, which is why we don’t cut any corners. We don’t upload a list of sites to a tool and then download the emails that the tool finds for us. No, we manually seek to understand each site and the organization behind it, and then methodically identify the person with the highest likelihood of linking back to our site.
Only once we’ve found the absolute best person to contact can we move onto the next step and send them an email.
Craft Outreach Template & Send Emails
At this point in the process, we sit down and write out an email template, doing our best to make it sound as natural as possible. If you manage a site that gets decent traffic, then you’ve probably received plenty of emails from poorly constructed templates. Those are interesting emails to get, because they teach us a lot about what NOT to do.
We’re writing emails to real people, and the goal is to connect with them and develop a relationship that can lead to that person successfully linking back to us, or for some other opportunity or collaboration to come out our interaction. So, with that in mind, we write email templates that are direct, straight the point, and easy to read.
But no matter how good of an email we’ve written, most of us are busy, which is why we follow up. If we don’t receive a response, we’ll always follow up a time or two more, just to make sure the person received our initial request. And if that person doesn’t respond, then we may reach out to one or two more people who we also identified as good contacts. We don’t want to leave any stone unturned in our effort to get a link.
Talk to Prospects & Record Links Obtained
Once we get a response from a contact, we engage with them and do our best to encourage them to link back. Some people require a bit more persuasion, while others may link back after our initial request. Either way, we’ll keep track of those that need a bit more persuasion and follow up and keep in contact with them until we can successfully get the link we reached out for.
Then, once we’ve finally had success in getting someone to link back to our site, we’ll record that in a spreadsheet. As the client, you’ll always have access to this spreadsheet to monitor our efforts and to see the links we’ve been able to successfully achieve. In addition, we setup email alerts so that you’ll be instantly notified anytime a link is obtained. We’ll send you an email letting you know where the link is from, what anchor text was used to link back, and some of the core authority metrics like DR, DA, and estimated organic traffic of the site that linked back.
And that’s our process! At the end of the day, our goal is always to do our best to do what is in the best long-term interest of the client. We want to get links that will benefit your site for the long term, which is why we’re not willing to short cut the approach required to get links that will have the greatest impact on your site and your organic traffic.