Lead Generation

Crush your backlink outreach with these tactics and templates

Mara Calvello
Contributor
Mara Calvello
Contributor

The perfect website isn’t built overnight—but if it were, no one would find it.

It’s not aesthetics that cause a website to rank, or the name behind it, or the platform it was built on. In some ways, it’s not even shoveling money into the Google machine. Websites are given visibility due to reputational networks, and backlinks are a quick and effective way to earn visibility for your site..

And, aside from organic search visibility, backlink outreach will garner more traffic for your site directly as well. 

“How?” the reader asks.

“Stay tuned,” the article implores.

What is backlink outreach?

First things first, a backlink is a link from another website to yours, and outreach is the process of reaching out to other website owners, content creators, or other marketers with the goal of scoring a link from them.

When reputable and quality websites with a high domain authority link to your site, search engines like Google and Bing consider your site more trustworthy. The backlinks to your site, generally speaking, are considered trust signals.

📖 Dictionary time: "Trust signals," broadly defined, are the evidence points that inspire confidence in your brand online. ... Virtually every trust signal is a ranking factor in determining your site's search position. - Trustsignals.com

Link building through outreach can be beneficial to your website’s ranking as it appears on search engine results pages. If your website gets a backlink from quality websites related to what your site is offering, Google and other search engines are more likely to give your content more visibility.

An outreach attempt can look like sending an email asking to write a guest post for their blog in return for a backlink, or letting them know that a resource on your website could provide their readers more insight.

Depending on the size of your company or the department you work in, backlink outreach can be done in-house. For example, maybe your SEO team dedicates a certain amount of hours each week to cold emailing other businesses with various outreach attempts. You could also choose to outsource outreach if your budget allows for it.

Backlink outreach tactics

Ready to try your hand at sending an outreach email? Keep these tactics in mind for the best possible chance of getting a response, and better yet, a backlink. 🤞

Don’t waste their time

Think about the person on the receiving end of your email. Unless you see that their bio lists their title as “link builder” or “backlink coordinator”, they’re probably pretty busy. Also, you’re not the only person sending cold emails on a Tuesday afternoon, so they probably have at least ten emails in their inbox just like yours.

Don’t make the reader of your outreach attempt play 21 questions over the course of a long and drawn-out email chain to figure out you’re interested in a backlink. If you want the reader to say yes, give them as much information as possible upfront… without rambling. 

Be straightforward and purpose the article or piece of content you want a backlink for with relevant anchor text so the reader knows exactly what you’re asking and can work to find a match for the link you’ve included.

Because when you think about it, simply asking for someone to link to a piece of content still leaves a lot of work on your recipient’s end. They still need to find a good spot for it that contextually matches your content, and then edit the website to add you link in.

A message like “I think [this piece of content] would be a great match in [this section of this article] and can be linked to with [this anchor text]” saves your recipient a ton of time, because at that point it becomes a simple matter of yes or no, rather than where they can fit your link, and how, and why.

Actually read their blog

Marketers open their inbox every morning and see the words “I love your content so much...can you link my article” about 30 times a day. This sort of email will not lend itself to a backlink and you’ve wasted their time and your time.

If you’re really invested in developing outreach skills, you need to take the time to read competing content and the blogs of businesses you’d like to partner with.

If you’ve found a place where a marketer can link your piece of content, let them know where. Does that article have a particularly well-done infographic? Let the reader know you think so. Or maybe it has an eye-opening statistic. Whatever the case may be, let the reader know you took the time to read their content and why your resource can be a great addition to it.

Otherwise, your “I love your content” line will only make them roll their eyes.

Get personal

Believe me when I say that the reader of your backlink outreach can smell a templated email from a mile away. I mean emails that look like:

“Hello,

I just got done reading your blog. Wow! So informative. I’d really like to partner with your company as I try to rank my content. Can you link my blog?”

Nothing will find itself in the trash folder sooner. 

Instead, see if you can find out a little about the person you’re emailing (in a non-creepy way). For example, I received an outreach attempt last week from someone who told me they thought my dog, Zeke, was adorable. This means that person spent 30 seconds on my Twitter profile and saw I post multiple pictures of Zeke a week. It also means they made an effort to make a connection.

And while I personally wasn’t able to help them in their backlink attempt, I forwarded their email to my coworker who can. I knew this person wasn’t using a template on me, and I could tell they actually read the blog they were referencing. And that is what made it stand out from the other seven I had in my inbox.

Reminder: Don’t get too personal. If you’re not getting a response, don’t make your next move adding that person on LinkedIn and sending them more outreach there. That’s spammy.

Don’t send too many follow-ups

One email is great. One follow-up email is fine. But anything more than that and you run the risk of coming off needy, annoying, spammy, and unprofessional.

If you’ve followed up on someone you haven’t heard back from and it’s still radio silence—that’s your answer, and it’s a no. Sending them another email that says, “Hey! Just bumping this to the top of your inbox” is not a strategy that will land you links. The reader isn’t going to respond with “Wow, thanks! Unsure how I missed this,” and then give you a backlink.

The more professional you remain, the better, and a constant barrage of follow-ups will not get you to your backlink goal. The only place it’s going to get you is sent to the Spam folder.

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Backlink email templates

Ready to send your first backlink email? I know I said you shouldn’t use a template, and I stand by that.

But, at the very least, check out these examples to get inspired and have a better idea of what to say!

The “relevant article” example

Hi [Name]!

My name is [your name] and I’m the [job title] at [company]. This morning I had a chance to read your article [link/anchor text]. I particularly enjoyed the overall structure as I found it easy to read, and the infographic really helped me understand such a complicated topic. 

I’ve noticed from following your blog that you often write about [topic]. We recently published a piece with a current statistic that I think would be a great addition to your article. Feel free to check it out here and let me know if you think it would be a good value add.

Thanks!

PS. Would definitely share your article on social media if you decided to include our resource!

The “benefit to our readers” example

Hey [Name], I wanted to let you know that I’m a huge fan of your blog. {More stuff about why I like their blog.}

I work on the blog over at [company] and I’m always on the lookout for articles that are relevant to our readers. Our demographic is mostly {this specific segment}, and I think that it would make sense to link to [our piece] from [your article], probably with anchor text like {relevant anchor text}.

After all, sharing similar, relevant content to our readers is our top priority. If you think there’s a better thematic match for a content swap like this, please let me know.

And, of course, please let me know which pieces you’re trying to score links for, and I’ll find a spot for them on our blog.

The “preemptive strike” example

Hello [Name], I’m the [job title] at [company], and I just wanted to let you know I’m a huge fan of the [content] piece you wrote.

In fact, I thought it was so good that I linked to it from our blog [URL]. I think it’ll be a big hit with our readers. Keep up the great work!

Also, if you’d like, you can totally feel free to share my article [URL] that I wrote about [this topic]. I think your readers might enjoy it!

Ready, set, send

Remember that backlink outreach is a marathon, not a sprint. You may send out what feels like hundreds of emails and get very few responses. That’s okay!

Take the time to consider what isn’t working, how you can improve, or if there’s a way you can personalize your emails a bit more. It’s all about building relationships, and remember that people can sniff out lazy outreach a mile away.

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