Backlink Outreach – How To Do It Right
Are you in the SEO world and sending countless backlink outreach emails? We get it. Backlinks are still gold when it comes to SEO, and if you don’t have them, your website is likely not ranking very well.
There are hundreds of articles out there about link building and why it’s essential. But what we want to talk about today is the sheer amount of “outreach” emails that are being sent by so-called “SEO Experts.” We’re sure you’ve seen these emails trying to sell you guest posting and other services related to link building.
Most of these emails are BAD – they lack personalization, focus only on helping themselves and not the recipient of the email, and are entirely focused on SEO metrics rather than customer or user metrics. If you’re getting spam emails that don’t even come from an actual website (all Gmail accounts or similar), then you can trust your clients are getting them too.
This post gives a little backlink outreach etiquette so that you can do a better job with your next outreach emails before you send them out.
Backlink Outreach Etiquette and Things To Consider
We don’t want your efforts to increase search engine optimization to be in vain or to come across as cheap and spammy. So read on for some tips to help you make sure your hard work isn’t being wasted.
Does The Site Your Targeting Even Accept Guest Posts Or Link Inserts?
This is pretty basic. Do a little bit of research before shooting over emails asking for backlinks. Does the website you’re targeting accept guest posts? As a white hat SEO company, it’s really annoying to be pitched about buying links constantly.
One tip – if you have to remind people how high quality your content is, it probably isn’t.
Are You Adding Value To Your Recipient?
Here’s a line no one wants to read in a pitch email, “we feel like your website is a perfect match for us.”
The recipient of your backlink outreach email doesn’t care that they are a good match for you. What they want to know is WHY they should link to your site. Asking for backlinks requires work on the recipient’s end, so you need to make a strong argument about why it’s a good idea and how it would add value to them, not just you.
Is Your Email Going To The Right Person?
This is another basic, but one thing you need to make sure is that the person you’re pitching to owns the site or is actively posting there. Do some research and make sure that they are still relevant to the website you want to link with.
This is also important for people who own or work for multiple sites. Don’t pitch to someone’s personal email account if you’re hoping they will link your site to their business site. It’s just not good manners, and it comes off as a little tacky.
Do You Deserve A Link?
Ok, this might be a little harsh, but have you done the work? Does your website or article actually deserve to be linked out to? Plus, does the email warrant it?
If you’re good at SEO, you know that most of the advice about link building, outreach, and email marketing involves personalization, which means using first names and actually mentioning the website.
The best backlink outreach emails don’t feel like a pitch. It’s not about reaching out or hyping the recipient up. It’s about spreading value. If you have something of value and want it to be shared, then shoot that over to the person who has the power to share it. Ask them to take a look and if they like what they see, share it with their followers. When you simply share valuable content, they’ll likely use your content later down the road because they’ll remember it and want more people to see it.
Try To Follow The Skyscraper Method
Have you seen Brian Dean’s Skyscraper method of building links? It’s a simple outline:
Step 1: Find link-worthy content
Step 2: Make something even better
Step 3: Reach out to the right people
Though that seems pretty straightforward, a lot of people skip step two altogether. It’s easy to find content with lots of links, but it’s not so easy to make something better so that it’s worthy of being linked to.
We’ve seen so many emails that say, “if you liked that, then maybe you’ll like our content too.” There’s not much value in that, and it might just create more work for your backlink outreach recipient.
What if you tried adding more substance?
“Hey, we saw you linked [instert written piece]. We loved that content too, but we spun it with new data and new perspectives. Did you know that [insert something interesting and meaningful]?
Let me know what you think; we’d love your feedback. If you think it’s as good as we do, we’d love it if you’d mention it here [insert link]. No pressure, we just thought it might be worthwhile for both of us!”
Don’t you think that seems more effective than an impersonal email that will likely go straight to spam? We know it’s more work to do the research and take your time, but isn’t it better to get 10 links with only 20 emails than maybe getting 5 links after sending 200 under-researched emails?
Can You Take Pride In What You’re Promoting?
The problem with most backlink outreach emails is that they aren’t getting sent by real people. Is the email you are sending worthy of putting your own name on it with your actual email address? If you’d rather hide behind a program, then you should maybe rethink your entire strategy.
Enough With The Spam
One thing we think is significant when it comes to backlink outreach is to stop sending them when you are asked to. If you’ve sent multiple emails and you’ve received any notice that they would no longer like to receive emails from you, then stop sending them! You’re only making yourself and the company you’re representing look bad.
If you didn’t read all that and you skipped to the end to see if we summarized, you’re in luck. The point is that lousy backlink outreach cheapens the entire search engine optimization industry. Sending spam emails and only giving a 50% effort makes outreach less effective. Don’t set up false expectations for people who don’t know better that link building is cheap or easy and can be done by anyone off the street.
As someone who has been in the SEO game for many years now, I can tell you that link building is hard, time-intensive, and can be very expensive. Creating content that is worthy to be linked to is not cheap and shouldn’t be attempted by just anyone.
We know that we all have to start somewhere, but the best outreach doesn’t look like outreach. Don’t do a bad job and contribute to the cheapening of a very important industry. The SEO industry has enough challenges already, and now that it’s finally getting the recognition it deserves, it deserves better than a generic email sent to hundreds of people.