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SEO is dead.
Link building is dead.
How many times have you heard that? Ever since Google’s Penguin and Panda updates rolled out a few years back and demolished most of the sites doing SEO at the time, people have been claiming the death of SEO.
But is SEO really dead? Does link building not work anymore?
No… Not at all. SEO is stronger than ever (for those who do it right using white hat SEO), and link building still is, and will continue to be, the single biggest ranking factor. So, NO. SEO isn’t dead. The link building methods that people were using to “game the system” are dead.
The strategies being discussed all over SEO forums… are dead.
Blasting your site with article directory links, wiki page links, web 2.0 links, comment links, etc…
Ordering link packages that give you thousands of links by next week…
Throwing up websites with 5 pages with nothing but fluff, and stuffed with affiliate links…
If you’re new to SEO, you might be surprised to hear that that kind of stuff actually worked in the past.
You could throw up a 5 page site, order a few thousand links created by software that spam the web, and be ranking on the first page in a week or two.
THAT is what is dead.
SEO doesn’t work like that anymore. It’s not so easy to game the system. And as a result, Google’s search engine results have gotten a lot better as well.
You might have read what I just said and consider it a bad thing.
But the thing is, it’s a better time than ever before to get into SEO – White Hat SEO.
The search engines reward strong websites, and weed out everyone else looking for shortcuts.
My main income source comes from building and growing websites. And my main traffic source is organic search traffic from Google.
That means… yes… I do SEO. And I’m pretty good at it, I like to think.
Over the past few years, I’ve grown 2 sites to over 100,000 readers per month, and another past the 1 million visitors per month mark using outreach link building. Of course, solid on-page SEO was also a factor.
And if there’s one thing I can tell for sure, is that SEO is now a more sustainable source of traffic than ever before.
In the past, people were scared of Google. They were afraid of being wiped out, like so many sites were in the Panda and Penguin updates.
That’s because spam worked, and people took advantage of that. The search engine results sucked. They were full of thin affiliate sites.
Seriously, you would search for something like how to potty train your child, and get results full of sites created by internet marketers pushing a poorly written potty training ebook from Clickbank.
= low quality results providing no value.
These sites are spam. They build links with spam. Their sites provide no value. They hold no authority or trust in the search engines. They were simply ranking by gaming Google.
And they were wiped out.
People became scared of Google’s search algorithm updates. And they had every reason to be. Their businesses were slapped out of existence in a matter of days.
You know… the ones building quality links, sending the right signals, and NOT “gaming” the system with shortcuts?
In this guide, I’m going to show you how to build links that get rewarded with Google updates.
Google updates are meant for one thing: To increase the quality of their search results.
I’ll show you how to build links so that your sites are one of the ones that receive major traffic boosts as spam sites are obliterated.
Today, the game has changed… in a good way.
High authority sites are now given more weight than ever before in the search engines.
In the past, to rank a page, you would usually have to link build to that page specifically. Today, the authority and trust that a domain holds is given a ton of weight.
For my own sites, once I’ve built up a certain number of links, new pages I publish jump straight to page 1-2, and then slowly climb to the top 5 positions in about a week or so (depending on the difficulty of the keyword).
That’s the power that authority sites hold in the search engines today. And things are only going to get stronger in this direction in the future.
So what do we need to do? Create a high-authority site!
And the main way to do that is by building POWERFUL backlinks with white hat SEO.
If you picked up this guide, you’re miles ahead of the majority of SEO’s out there. Not many people know how to link build properly. A lot of people call themselves SEO experts, but don’t have the skills to really rank a site for competitive keywords and increase traffic.
It’s the biggest ranking factor. If you know how to link build effectively, you have an amazingly valuable skill set that’s hard to find in the industry.
Put simply, if you know how to build links you will always have a way to create income for yourself. Whether it’s by creating your own sites, growing a blog, sending leads to a business site, or even getting a job at an agency.
Link building is what makes web pages rank. It’s what drives traffic.
And, it’s the difference between building a blog that makes a few dollars per day and one that makes hundreds per day.
In this guide, I’m going to explain to you HOW to build powerful authority to your site through outreach link building.
I’ll teach you strategies where a single link can have a major impact on your site’s rankings.
And then, I’ll teach you some creative link building strategies you can use to go out and build your own links.
In the final chapter, I’ll guide you step-by-step through a simple outreach link building campaign that you can get started with today.
That strategy alone is responsible for hundreds of links to my site, including some very powerful EDU links on actual college websites.
The best part about this strategy is that the supply is unlimited. You can go out and build links for years to a single site using the strategies in this guide.
Let’s get started!
In the SEO community, there are some people who are deemed as great link builders.
But have you ever wondered… “What the heck is a great link builder? What are they doing differently? What kinds of links are they building, and how are they doing it?”
Here’s a little secret: Link builders are hustlers. They get **** done.
Link building is more about hustle than it is about some “secret tactic” that only they know about.
Of course, you do need to know strategy, but what I mean is… it takes work to acquire the links that really affect a site’s rankings. It’s not about learning some “secret tactic”.
And knowing how to implement the strategies you’re about to learn, and mastering them, is worth a lot of money.
For yourself, and to anybody else who needs help with building traffic and authority online.
It’s difficult to find people who know how to do this well. If you’ve ever tried to hire a link builder, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Link building through white hat SEO is all about networking.
Now… networking isn’t the same thing that you might think it is when it comes to SEO.
It doesn’t mean you go out to networking events, or have coffees with a bunch of CEO’s and business execs.
In SEO, networking means communication.
The ONLY WAY to obtain links on most high authority pages is to communicate with the webmaster who owns it.
Essentially, you need to ask for it.
And there’s a very specific way that we link builders approach this, and it’s called outreach.
In the past few years, I’ve built links to my sites on HUGE websites, including a handful of EDU sites.
I don’t mean the spammy EDU links that you could go out and buy for a few dollars on Fiverr. I mean… links on their official faculty’s resource page.
These links are…. POWERFUL. Extremely powerful.
Just a handful of links CAN change your entire site’s traffic volume. Because Google gives so much weight to authority, by building a white hat backlink that passes on a ton of authority to your site, your rankings for pages on your entire domain will increase drastically.
Here’s an example of what outreach links can do for your traffic:
This is a site that I own, but don’t work on.
As an experiment, I built just a handful of links using outreach, and it increased my overall traffic by 46%.
Rankings for my major keywords weren’t affected, but long-tail traffic increased drastically.
All because of a few links built.
How did I build these links?
It was all through outreach – using the methods you’re about to learn in just a minute.
Essentially, I asked for them. It’s that simple.
Now, obviously, I have a very specific way of outreaching that increases my chances of obtaining a link quite significantly. Without outreach, I never would have gotten these links. There’s just no way.
Outreach is the single most powerful link building strategy. And there’s no denying that.
You can build an unlimited amount of links.
You don’t need to “manage” the sites they’re on, like you would for a PBN link.
You don’t need to pay for it. They’re free.
And you don’t need to hide anything from Google. You’re doing nothing shady. In fact, these are the links that you want Google to know about because you’ll be heavily rewarded.
In its simplest description, outreach might sound simple: Email the webmaster asking for a link.
But there’s a wrong way and a right way of doing it.
Doing outreach the right way is about 4x more effective than doing it the wrong way. Meaning, do the same task, but build 4 more links for every 1 link you build doing it the wrong way.
Let’s learn how to do it the right way first, and then I’ll go over the wrong way and other things you should avoid doing.
Let’s say that you’re in the golfing niche.
You have a blog about golf tips, and have just written an article about how to improve your putting game.
Now you need to build links to it so you can start ranking for your keywords. There are many, many different ways you can do outreach.
In this tutorial, I’m going to go over one of my favorites. I use this strategy to build links for all of my sites because it’s just so easy and works extremely well.
Let’s dive straight into step 1. I’m going to try to explain this as simple as possible so it’s easy to understand.
The first thing that we’re going to do is locate our competitors.
I don’t mean every competing website in our niche. I mean pages who are already ranking for our keyword.
Who’s currently ranking on the first page?
And we can do this with a simple Google search. Just go into Google and enter in your keyword.
In our example, it’s “how to improve your putting game.”
Which gives us the following results…
We’re just going to focus on the first page for now. Usually, I like to go even as far as page 5.
Let’s move onto the next step.
The next step is to analyze the backlink profile of each site.
What we want to figure out is what pages are linking to their page that’s ranking.
To do this, we can use any backlink checker:
I’m going to use Open Site Explorer since it’s my tool of choice, but they will all get the job done.
TIP: If you don’t have a paid account to any of those tools and want to stick to a free account, I recommend using Open Site Explorer since it gives you the most results for free accounts.
So first, let’s take the #1 ranking page in the search results. That’s this page from golf.com.
Open Site Explorer shows us that this page has links from 3 pages.
One of them is a re-direct, and the other is nofollow, so let’s skip straight to the last one in the list, which is this page.
If you visit the page, you’ll notice that it’s a simple article about how to improve your putting.
Here’s a screenshot of the page below.
After some quick digging around, it looks like it’s also a personal blog of a man named Robin, rather than a huge publication.
That makes it easier for us to get the link since huge publications tend to have more editorial steps before something can be edited/published.
Now that we found the link, it’s time to move onto step 3.
Now that we’ve found our prospect, now comes the most important step: acquiring the link.
The very first thing is to find their contact email.
That’s easy. Every website has either a contact page or a contact email listed on their site.
In this case, there was a contact page easy to find.
Here’s where we’ll reach out to him.
THE WRONG WAY TO REACH OUT
This is where people always go wrong. They just go straight in for the kill.
This is how they’ll usually write their outreach email…
I am emailing you to ask if you would link to my webpage: www.yourwebsite.com/improve-putting.
It is also about improving your putting game, and I think it is the perfect fit for your page: bogeylounge.tv/top-recommendations-on-how-to-improve-yourputting/.
Please contact me if you have any questions.
Do you notice what’s wrong with that outreach email?
For one, remember that we’re writing a cold email here.
The webmaster doesn’t know who we are. And an email like that is pretty much considered as spam.
We don’t give any impressions at all that we even took a look at his website or know who he is.
If you received an email like that would you respond to it? Would it make you want to go in and add a link to the sender’s website?
Most people who hear about the power of outreach link building and decide to give it a try, will make this mistake.
Inevitably, they get horrible results and brush off outreach as a “difficult” strategy or one that only the big agencies are capable of doing.
SO HERE’S THE RIGHT WAY TO REACH OUT
For outreach to work successfully, we need to provide value or personalized communication.
In this case, we’re going to send two emails so that we can get personal with the webmaster instead of just spamming him with a “request” email off the bat.
The first email is the introduction. The second is the ask.
Here’s the first email:
My name’s Chris, and I run the website over at mywebsite.com.
I just stumbled upon your site, and I’ve been enjoying your articles. Great stuff! It’s nice to meet another golf addict 🙂
Anyways, I’m just finishing wrapping up on a huge blog post about how to improve your putting game. I saw that you had a guide about it yourself, and was wondering if you would be interested in taking a look.
Would really appreciate some pro feedback on it.
Let me know if you’d to see it, and I’ll send you over the link right away!
P.S. What’s your handicap? I’m a 15 *embarrassed*.
The beauty about this method is that we’re not really asking anything of them. We’re just asking for them to take a look.
In reality, it’s a HUGE first step towards acquiring our link. But to Robin, he doesn’t know that.
The whole email is friendly in nature and is in no way asking for any favors. We’re just saying hi, and introducing ourselves, and asking him, since we share similar interests, if he would like to be one of the first to see the guide.
Secondly, we ask him a question at the end. This is in order to help get a response. Again, there is no reason for him to ignore us unless he’s just not into replying to emails from his website.
But in order for him to respond, he’s got to say yes to taking a look at our guide. He can’t respond and ignore that.
These small psychological “moves” that we make are VERY EFFECTIVE.
When he replies, we’ll respond with our second email:
Here’s the link: www.mywebsite.com/putting-game.
BTW, I think it would make a great resource for your already awesome guide: bogeylounge.tv/top-recommendations-on-how-to-improve-your-putting/.
If you could share it with your readers, it would make my day 🙂
That’s really all there is to outreach link building. It’s beautifully simple, while being absolutely powerful.
It’s all about communication. And while there’s clearly a wrong way of doing it, there isn’t ONE SPECIFIC right way of doing it.
You can be versatile. It’s all about communicating with your prospect, and acting accordingly.
If you can master this skill, you have a very powerful weapon in your arsenal. For my own blogs, I have built a ton of super strong links, including links from EDU domains. These aren’t the spammy EDU domains you can purchase on Fiverr either. These are links on actual college websites in their faculty’s resource page.
This stuff works!
There is no other way I would have gotten backlinks on those pages except by using outreach.
It’s powerful stuff. Learn it, master it, and go out and start ranking for the competitive keywords you thought were impossible to compete for.
Now, outreach link building might be new to you. Or you may have lightly tried it before, but didn’t really consider it a serious strategy.
Let me tell you that outreach is THE WAY that the top SEO agencies around the world build links to their high-paying clients’ sites.
In the next chapter, I want to show you some cool examples of outreach to further illustrate that SEO ninjas are all about creativity and HUSTLE.
Let’s move on.
In this chapter, I want to show you some real-world examples of some creative link building strategies.
It’s all done through outreach.
But like I said before, outreach is so versatile, and creativity helps drastically.
You’re about to see just what outreach really entails of at the professional level, and the effects of building links in this way.
By the end of this chapter, you’re going to have a solid understanding of how outreach works, as well as learn a ton of new strategies on how you can start building links to your own sites by copying them step-by-step.
One of the ways that I love to improve my link building strategies is by learning HOW other SEO’s acquire strong links – the links that are tough to get.
I like to always say: the harder it is to get a link, the more powerful it is.
I want to start things off with an example of probably one of the best link acquisition stories I’ve ever experienced personally.
Back when I worked at an SEO agency, we had a sister company who did PR and marketing for sports companies. We worked together on projects since SEO is a large part of PR and marketing.
The director of that sister company just landed a huge client that seemed to be all he ever talked about when he visited our office.
My job was to find link opportunities for the site and present them to the team.
One of the things that I noticed was a gold mine of an opportunity on a USA.gov page linking out to external sites (non-government related sites) because the government didn’t have their own resources for that information.
DOFOLLOW LINKS from a .gov site = extremely powerful and worth the time, effort, and cost to acquire it.
USA.gov has a domain authority of 96, with over a million total links pointed at their domain.
And the page the links were on had a page authority of 79.
Getting a link on this page would be the strongest link I’ve ever built. But it was impossible.
There was no way a typical outreach email would work for government officials, who are so protective of their website, and very meticulous about who they link out to.
So I presented it to the team anyways, and here’s what ended up happening. I was given the task of finding one of the sports-related links on the page, and drastically improving it. I created a huge resource on our client’s site that seriously blew away the page that they were linking to at the time.
More sources, more information, more up to date.
The next step wasn’t outreach to let them know about our page. For a link on a site like this, we needed to get a strong “in” with the webmasters.
So the PR director did his thing and worked hard to develop connections with the people responsible for the website. Through his networking, he discovered that there was a conference that he could potentially speak at.
We pitched his presentation to them, and was later invited to speak at their conference!
After the presentation, he had earned all the trust he needed to confidently pitch our client’s page.
He reached out to them, mentioning our new resource, and in about a month, that client got a link from USA.gov.
This single link skyrocketed rankings and traffic on our client’s site.
This is the perfect example of how link building works at the highest levels.
It’s all about quality. It takes a little more work to build them, but each one can really make a huge impact in your site’s traffic and earnings.
Remember: A site with 5 links can outrank and get more traffic than a site with hundreds of links.
A link building strategy with one of the highest rates of success is interviewing professionals.
It works in any niche, and best of all, it’s something that can easily be implemented into existing sites.
One of our clients was in the editing and book publishing market. Not a huge company by any means, and really needed a lot of work to boost traffic and rankings in Google.
One of the link building strategies we decided to try out was interviewing professionals.
Most writers have personal websites where they blog and promote their books. And a lot of them have big social media followings. So this was the perfect niche to target.
We created a new section on his company website, where instead of a blog, we dedicated it specifically for interviews.
Then, all we did was reach out to writers and asked if we could interview them. It worked amazingly well.
Writers love promoting themselves, so we were essentially giving them free advertising.
After each interview, we would email them when it went live on our site. In the email, we included a link to the page, as well as one-click share links so that to share it with their audience, all they needed to do was click that link and confirm it.
As the interviews piled up, we got a lot of traffic just based off of the writers’ audiences. Every single writer we targeted, we made sure they had a big social following, and a personal website.
And every single interview that was published, the writer that we interviewed would tweet, share, and link to our page so that their audiences could check it out.
This will happen in almost every niche.
People love showing off by nature, and being interviewed is a huge compliment. If they have an audience or a website, they’ll likely share it with others.
Remember that this was a business website. It wasn’t a blog, they had no blog. The only thing on the site before were pages that explained their company and services they offered.
They were only getting about 4000 visitors per month through Google. We grew the interview section of the site alone to over 50,000 uniques per month. And it established their company as one of the leaders in the space. People started to know them by name, because of the interviews we were doing!
Right around when I left the agency, we had built roughly 80 new links to the site, with over 5000 social shares, which increased rankings drastically to their main service pages.
This is a clear example of how link building works today. To rank a page on your site, you don’t always need to build links to that page specifically. Links that point to your domain now affect the other pages across your entire domain more than ever before.
With proper internal links, we can drastically boost rankings, and drive a ton of long-tail traffic for all our pages. All the links we built were to the interviews pages. We maybe built less than 5 links to the services pages themselves, only doing on-page SEO changes. But the links we built to the interviews pages boosted this client’s rankings to the top spot for their main service related keywords.
This is probably one of the link building campaigns that I’m most proud of in my SEO career.
It was a brilliant idea with excellent execution. And best of all, it was easily scalable.
The client loved what we were doing, and the results from this campaign were amazing.
Seriously, their rankings chart in SerpBook (the tool we used to track rankings) was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Nothing but #1’s. Almost every strong link that was pointed to their site was on high-traffic, high-authority blogs.
It’s actually quite ingenious, and was more of a “let’s experiment and see if it works” kind of thing.
The client was in the media production market. They made explainer videos for businesses, much like the ones you see in Kickstarter.
What the team and I came up with was to create free audio versions of giant ultimate guides that were ALREADY published on the web.
At first, the idea was to create free videos, but due to how much longer it takes to create a video, and how much faster it is to create audio, we decided to do audio.
This was a brilliant idea, because not only did it allow us to get links on huge blogs, we were getting links on their giant ultimate guide articles, which were usually the ones with the most backlinks pointed at them and had the most traffic and social shares.
Best of all, we could target just about any niche and it didn’t just have to be related to media production, which gave us almost an unlimited supply of prospects to choose from.
We would simply target one niche at a time, starting in big markets such as finance and education.
Then, we would search Google using key search operators. Here’s an example.
That means, we’re looking for articles about personal finance tips with the words “ultimate guide” in the title of the post.
We would quickly run each site through a backlink checker just to make sure that the site had a ton of links and would pass on a lot of link juice.
Then, we would record the entire blog post in audio format, and reach out to the blogger.
Here’s an example of an outreach email we would send out after we produced the audio version.
Just wanted to reach out and say awesome work with the blog. My name’s Chris and I’m the video director at Company X (URL of our website)
The team and I absolutely loved your guide on personal finance (URL of ultimate guide).
We decided to create you an audio version of the entire guide 🙂 I think it would be a great addition to your already awesome guide so people can listen to it on the go.
Anyways, I’ve attached it to this email. Hope you like it!
Feel free to use it however you please 🙂
Usually, we’d get an excited response along the lines of:
OMG this is awesome! Thanks a ton for doing this.
I’ve added it into the blog post, and gave you guys some love as well 🙂
It was like magic. It was that easy.
We didn’t need to ask for any link or share or anything. Because we did the whole thing for free, people just felt obliged to pay us back with at least credit next to their audio download link.
I would estimate that maybe 80% of the people we did this for ended up giving us a link back to our site with a byline credit on their page.
Keep in mind, these ultimate guides are one of the biggest, and most popular pages on these bloggers’ websites. They had a ton of links pointed at them, and a ton of social shares as well.
This strategy was working extremely well.
But due to time constraints, we only did this for about 30 ultimate guides ourselves before deciding it would be smarter to outsource the work.
Each audio production cost about $100-$200, and it allowed us to target more blogs at a time, and really ramp up our link acquisition rate.
It was awesome.
This is by far one of the most successful link campaigns I’ve ever been a part of.
It’s important to note though that the reason this worked is because of the execution. The client was a professional in this space already. As a result, the quality of the audio versions they created were absolutely top notch.
They sounded extremely professional.
This strategy will usually only work once you’re an authority, either professionally or due to a strong online presence.
For instance, you either already work in the field professionally, or you have an authority site that’s large and credible in your niche.
This is not something I did for clients when I was working at my old SEO agency job. This is something I tried for my own blogs. I wouldn’t say it’s as effective as other strategies that we went through, but it’s worth mentioning.
And it’s super easy to do.
First, enter in keywords that you target into Google.
What you’re looking for are long-form articles about your topic.
For example, let’s say that we’re in the career niche.
To start, I’m just going to start entering in some simple keywords into Google:
That gives us a bunch of results from authority sites.
What I’ll do next is simply reach out to all of them with the following email template.
Here’s a perfect prospect #2 in that list that we can use as an example: http://career-advice.monster.com/job-interview/interview-preparation/boost-your-interview-iq/article.aspx.
I just saw your article on interview tips (URL of post).
I must say it’s very well written. I’m a professional in the career industry and I write at (URL of your site) and I have a lot of experience in this myself.
I would love to add in a quote to your article that further explained the process of X (X should be a subtopic that they touch on in the article), if you would allow it.
I think it would help readers understand the process a little better. I know first hand that most people get it confused with Y, and I have the perfect little tip that will help them out a ton.
Let me know any time you’d like, and I’ll send it over to you asap.
Thanks a lot, and keep up the good work!
To get a link on Monster would be absolutely amazing. Probably one of the best links we can build for a blog in the career niche.
It’s an editorial link from a powerhouse website that’s totally related to our own site.
This strategy works very well, because a lot of people are interested in letting others help them improve their articles for free.
Plus, like most high DA sites, the article itself is pretty thin. Not much info, and merely ranking due to their domain authority.
Note the way I wrote my outreach email.
I’m just offering help here. I’m not asking for anything in return. And I gave them my URL as proof that I’m an authority in the niche (and so they have it for reference later).
In most cases, you’ll usually receive a response that sounds like this:
Thanks for getting in touch with us. That article really could use some improvement.
I’d be happy to review your quote for the article.
And after sending it over, you’ll receive a second response that sounds like:
That’s fantastic, Chris. I’ve added your quote into the article.
And that’s the end of it. Quoting someone usually implies that there’s a link along with it already.
And it’s always the case when using this strategy. We didn’t need to ask for a link or any credit for using our quote. These people are webmasters and writer/publishers (obviously since they published the article on the website).
They know how to properly quote someone. You don’t need to mention it.
NOTE: This link building technique will have varying results depending on your industry.
This is another outreach link building strategy that I absolutely love doing, and I continue to use this for almost every site I build.
I call it The Second Barrel Guest Post.
Why? Because we’re not actively looking for guest posting opportunities, and only using it after we get rejected.
The best part it, it works amazingly well, and can be used alongside any of your other link building campaigns.
Like I mentioned before, outreach is all about communication, and there are so many different ways you can do outreach.
Guest posting is one of the most effective ways to get a link from a large blog, and it can drive a ton of traffic as well.
Don’t listen to anyone who says guest posting doesn’t work as an SEO strategy. It still works extremely well. I can say this firsthand based on experience.
Guest posting on its own – contacting webmasters and asking if you can write on their site – is a great strategy that’s pretty simple and easy to pull off.
But if you’re ever doing other forms of outreach, you should try using The Second Barrel Guest Post strategy.
Like I mentioned, this strategy works alongside any of your other outreach link building strategies.
So let’s say that we were just doing the most basic form of outreach: Finding resource pages and asking for them to include a link to our site as well.
What’s a resource page? It’s any webpage that contains a list of links/resources to external sites.
A ton of sites have them.
Resource pages are perfect for outreach link building simply because of how easy it is for the webmaster to add a link to your site.
All they have to do is add another link to the list – they don’t have to change up their article or create a new article entirely just to link to you.
To find resource pages, we use these search operators in Google combined with our keyword.
Here’s an example.
Let’s take the first one in that list, and use it to fine a resource page in the careers niche.
We’ll use the same keyword as in our previous example, “interview tips”.
This is what our search query would look like:
Google pages about interview tips with “Useful Links” in the article’s title.
A page with useful links usually means that they’re going to be linking out to external sites that are “useful” for other people to visit.
Here’s one from the search results that we can take a look at:
Let’s take a look inside.
This is a perfect resource page example.
Now all we need to do is ask for a link to your own site to be included inside this list.
This is why resource pages are so easy to get links from. The webmaster simply has to add another link, and that’s it. Done.
For our site, we’re going to try and get a link under the category of “Job Search Tips”.
All we need to do is find the contact info on the site, and reach out.
And here’s what the outreach email might look like:
Was visiting your site, and stumbled upon this page (URL).
What a great list of resources for people on the job hunt! I’m going to be recommending this to my friends and family who are currently seeking employment.
I have another page you might want to consider adding to your “Job Search Tips” section: (URL of your own page).
I think it’s got some great modern advice, especially for younger college grads.
Anyways, just wanted to say hello and thanks for the awesome resource!
Notice I didn’t even mention it’s my website. It’s optional, and doesn’t really matter.
A simple mention of the page is enough. I’ve had quite a high success rate with this method.
Resource pages are everywhere. That’s why resource pages are a link builder’s secret weapon.
Let’s say that we were working on this link building campaign, reaching out to sites asking for links in their resource page.
Some will say yes, some will say no, some will just ignore you.
For the ones who reply yes and add your link, awesome! That’s all you need to do.
But what if someone says no? …
For the longest time, when someone said no I would just give up and move onto the next link prospect.
But then I realized, we just formed the first step in communication with this webmaster. And they replied, which is a good thing.
So what if we can fire a second barrel while we still have them engaged in the conversation?
So this is what I started doing – I sent one more email.
No worries. Totally understand.
I noticed you have a pretty cool blog. I would love to have the opportunity to contribute an article.
I actually had a few topics I would love to write about:
1. Blog post idea #1
2. Blog post idea #2
3. Blog post idea #3
What do you think?
By the way, I just come up with the blog post ideas right there on the spot. Whichever topics I think will be a good fit for his site.
Now obviously, for this method to work, the site needs to have a blog or a list of articles. If it’s something like an official government site, it’s not going to work.
It’s a win-win situation. They’re getting a quality article for free, and you’re getting a link + exposure to their audience.
I can’t believe that I wasn’t doing this sooner, and I can’t believe that I have never heard about this strategy before from other SEO blogs.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably only one of the handful of people who know about this strategy.
When you start link building, I strongly recommend you use this alongside whichever outreach strategy you’re doing.
This is really what being a link building ninja is all about 🙂
You’re being creative, and versatile, and maximizing on every opportunity.
There are a lot of different SEO tools out there. But for just getting started with outreach link building and building your first few links, you don’t need many tools. All you really need is an email account set up under your domain name.
For example, like the one I have set up for myself at RankXL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Now, that’s the most basic tool that you need, but there are a few others as well to help speed up the entire process.
I’ll go through each one here, explain what they’re used for, and let you know if you really really need it.
These are the tools that I use and recommend for building powerful links with outreach.
This is an important step so let’s not skip this.
The first thing that we need to do is connect our email that we set up under our domain name to our GMAIL account.
Why do we do this?
For convenience. So that we don’t have to log into our hosting or domain provider’s website every time we want to access our email. Gmail is much easier to use, and will save you a ton of time and get you better organized. You’ll also get a better view of your past conversations.
I have my email@example.com email connected with my GMAIL account.
By connecting it with my gmail, I’m able to send and receive emails from my @rankxl.com domain directly from my GMAIL.
As a result, I can use all the wonderful features of GMAIL.
Setting it up is fairly straight-forward.
To connect it with your GMAIL, just follow this guide.
To connect it with your HOTMAIL, just follow this guide.
And of course, if you run into any problems, just contact your website hosting company as they may have slightly different instructions.
The second thing that you’ll need is a backlink analysis tool.
There are 4 major ones you can choose from.
Which one is best?
All of these will give you different results.
The one that most SEO’s love to use is Ahrefs. I personally prefer Open Site Explorer since it’s the tool that I’ve been using the longest and am most comfortable with. But at the moment, Ahrefs is climbing way ahead of everyone else.
SEO Spyglass can be purchased as part of a suite of different tools, so that might be more attractive to some people looking for multiple things.
Backlink analysis software aren’t cheap. Any of these tools are going to cost about a hundred bucks per month.
But if you’re serious about SEO, they’re a must have in your toolbox. They’re more than worth the money.
If you don’t feel ready to invest that much money right now, then they do have free versions available. Your results will be limited, and you won’t get to make very many searches, but you’ll still be able to use them and get some good results.
A backlink checker is used for so many things in SEO.
1. We can run our competitor’s sites into these tools and see who’s linking to them. This is the strategy that we went over in part 1. We can then get these same links to our own site.
2. We can run the websites of link prospects into these tools to see which ones are strong and which ones are weak. This will tell us which ones we should be trying to get links from. Without a backlink checker, we’re building links in the dark.
3. We need it to research niches. We can’t just enter any niche without analyzing the competition. How competitive a niche is is directly related to how strong the link profiles of our competitors are.
4. We need it to analyze the link profiles of our own sites. These tools will also tell you the dates the links were found, and will also show if they’ve been deleted. Analyzing your own profile is important, as you need to know how your site’s SEO is coming along, as well as monitor links that you haven’t built yourself (i.e. negative SEO).
These two tools pretty much do the same thing, except that Buzzstream has a lot more features, and is more popular at the professional level. Ninja Outreach seems to be used more by individual marketers.
These tools were built specifically for outreach. Think of them as outreach dashboards. They help you find contact info of websites, as well as keep track of your communication with prospects.
You can set up your email to be able to send and receive emails directly from within these tools.
Are these necessary?
It’s up to you, really. A lot of people like doing things themselves manually without keeping organized records of everything.
One of the things I do like about these tools is that you’re able to create and save email templates.
This is super helpful since you don’t have to write a new email every time you start a new outreach campaign.
You can just load up existing templates, and change around things like the name, email, and URL. But even that, I prefer to do it my own way, which I’ll go over in the next tool.
Like I said, the Buzzstream and Ninja Outreach tools are optional. You could try them out and see if you like them, but you might find it more comfortable doing things manually.
And Canned Responses is one of my all-time favorite tools.
The best part? It’s free and you can install it in just minutes to your GMAIL.
What is Canned Responses?
Canned Responses is a little tool in GMAIL that allows you to save email templates.
It makes it so easy because you’re able to just pre-load up your existing templates when you’re doing outreach rather than write a brand new email every time. It saves you so much time, and allows you to send more emails faster.
First, go to your GMAIL account and go into your settings.
You can find the settings by clicking the gear icon in the top right-hand side of the screen.
Next, click on the tab that says, “Labs”
If you scroll down to the bottom, you’ll see the Canned Responses option.
All you need to do is enable it.
After that, you’re done and you can start saving and loading up your templates.
To save a template, just compose a new email like you normally would.
And fill it in with your email template:
Then, click the down-arrow in the bottom right-hand corner and click on “New canned response”
Once saved, you’ll be able to load it every time from the menu, and all you’ll need to do is change up the variables like the name and URL’s.
SEMrush is a fantastic tool that allows you to spy on your competitors. It’s my favorite marketing tool in my arsenal.
You’re able to see exactly what keywords people are ranking for, and how much traffic it’s sending to their site.
i.e. how much traffic are they getting from Google?
By knowing this, you’re able to gauge the size of the niche. When you’re doing niche research, you can take the top sites in that niche and enter them into SEMrush.
If you can see their organic search volume, it gives you a good idea of what you can expect to receive to your own site if you were to grow as large as them.
This number isn’t very accurate though and should just be used to get a general estimate.
You can also see the top keywords that they’re ranking for
By knowing this, you’re able to see which keywords are driving the most traffic to their site, letting you know where the big SEO opportunities are in the niche.
It gives you a good idea of which keywords you should target for your own site.
Like all the features in SEMrush, you’re able to click on View full Report to see the entire list.
You can also see a huge list of all competitors in the niche (what competitors are also ranking for similar keywords?)
This allows you to see which sites are the major players in your niche, as well as give you even more sites to research through SEMrush.
SEMrush also gives you the full backlink profiles of each site. So if you’re hesitant to spend money on so many different tools, you can essentially not pay for a backlink checker and just pay for SEMrush. You should note, however that SEMrush doesn’t specialize in backlink crawling and grading. They index fewer links compared to the other tools, but seem to be improving.
Open Site Explorer, Majestic, and Ahrefs is much better at providing this data.
These are the most basic tools required for effective outreach link building.
You don’t need to get all of them.
For me, I use a backlink checker (Open Site Explorer), SEMrush, and GMAIL (connected with my domain email).
That’s it 🙂 That’s the killer combo there.
Can you do everything for free?
Yeah, you can. You’ll just be a little limited in what you can do. You can use the free versions of backlink checkers and SEMrush.
They won’t show you the full results lists and will limit the number of searches you can make, but you can still get the job done at a basic level.
The lesson there is: Don’t get too worried about getting all the subscriptions if it’s a little big of an investment at the moment.
You can still get by with the free versions, and then decide to invest in them one at a time once your site starts to make some money.
Now that we’ve learned how to do outreach, and learned a bunch of new strategies on how to go about using it get links to our site, I’m going to share one of the simplest ways to get started with outreach link building.
It’s awesome because:
1. It works in any niche.
2. It’s incredibly simply to do, and doesn’t require much work.
3. It’s very effective, and you can build powerful links using this strategy alone.
4. There’s a huge supply of link prospects so you’ll never run dry.
Using this strategy, I was able to get links on very high PA pages, including a few EDU links – and I mean actual links from college websites in their faculty’s resource page.
And I’m going to go through this step-by-step, and then I’ll give you the EXACT email outreach template that I use.
You can literally just copy my template, change up the wording just a little bit, and then use it to start building powerful white hat backlinks to your own site.
Let’s get started!
This strategy works with resource pages.
We learned how to find resource pages using search operators (#5. The Second Barrel Guest Post in Part 3 of this guide).
Here they are again:
Remember how to use these search operators.
Place your keyword into Google and then copy and paste any of these phrases after your keyword.
What you’ll end up with is search results full of nothing but resource pages – pages with lists of links.
Like I said, resource pages are super easy to get links on, and the impact of acquiring a link from a strong resource page can really boost your rankings.
When I’ve found a resource page that turns out to be a good prospect, I’ll just send them an email that looks like this:
SUBJECT LINE: A big thank you!
I stumbled upon your page (URL of resource page), and I just wanted to thank you for putting this together.
I’ve been looking all over the web for (topic that resource page helps with) and your page provided me with all the resources I needed 🙂
Thanks a ton!
I also found this page during my search. I think it would make a great addition to your list: (URL of your page).
Thanks, again and keep up the great work 🙂
And that’s it!
Doesn’t get much easier than that does it?
Outreach is kind of like golfing. The pros make it look so easy, but when you try to swing a club for the first time, it’s impossible.
Okay, so maybe it’s not that extreme. But outreach is all about testing your wording.
Every word in this email has been strategically selected, and refined with a bunch of testing and experimentation.
The result is a buttery sounding email where every line has a purpose.
This is one of the most effective outreach emails that I use to build links to my site and it works extremely well.
It’s very broad and general and can work in any niche. At the same time, it’s specific enough to not be considered as spam.
Furthermore, it doesn’t seem like an “ask” email at all.
We’re not asking for anything. We’re thanking them, which is always a welcoming email to receive.
At the end, we’re simply recommending another link to add to the page.
But because the recommendation is coming from someone who’s clearly visited every link on the page already, and did their research, it seems like a genuine contribution and the webmaster is likely to check it out and add it in.
It just works!
With this strategy, we’re able to scale. Scaling outreach link building is almost an impossible task. Simply because outreach requires communication and personalization.
Sending only ONE email to a stranger and asking for a link is a difficult thing to do.
You need some warming up first. But this email accomplishes that through the angle we use to recommend the link.
Now let’s take a look at the template again:
TITLE: A big thank you!
I stumbled upon your page (URL of resource page), and I just wanted to thank you for putting this together.
I’ve been looking all over the web for (topic that resource page helps with) and your page provided me with all the resources I needed 🙂
Thanks a ton!
I also found this page during my search. I think it would make a great addition to your list: (URL of your page).
Thanks, again and keep up the great work 🙂
Note how broad and general this is. This was done for a specific reason: so that we can scale up.
We can save this template into a Canned Response in GMAIL or as a template in Buzzstream or Ninja Outreach and just send it to a bulk of people fairly quickly.
All we need to change is the URL of their resource page. And that’s all. This is so much easier than other outreach methods where you get personal, and go back and forth with multiple emails before finally going in for the ask.
With this strategy, you’re able to jump into a numbers game, simply because it’s possible to do so.
You’ll usually get about 10% of the people to link to you. That means that for ever 100 emails you send, you’ll get about 10 links.
Based on your industry, you might find it higher and you might find it a little lower.
Now 10 links might not sound like a lot, but it is. Trust me.
Note the TYPE of links we’re getting, and the WAY in which we’re getting them.
These aren’t some spam web 2.0 links here. These are links on relevant, existing pages, most of which will have a high authority that can pass on a lot of link juice to our site.
Based on my experience, building 30-50 links TOTAL to a website using this strategy can be enough to build up enough authority to start ranking for a bunch of keywords.
So you can see just how powerful even getting 10 links can be.
And 100 emails? That’s nothing. It’s very easy to send 100 emails using this strategy.
Remember, we already have the template loaded. All we need to do is open it up, change the URL of the resource page, and then send and go off to the next one.
I bet building high quality links never sounded so easy, but it really is this simple if you’re using this strategy.
I’m sure now you can see why this is my go-to strategy when I’m link building.
You might be wondering… this sounds like it’s the best way of link building through outreach. Why even bother going through the other strategies when they take longer and require more communication?
The more personalization and communication you have with your prospect, the higher the chance you’ll be able to get a link.
That’s a pretty obvious rule in outreach.
So when should you go for more personalization and communication over using this strategy?
ANSWER: When you find a SPECIFIC link prospect that you REALLY REALLY want to get a link from.
For instance, if during your link prospecting you stumble onto a very strong page with a ton of links pointed at it, and seems like it would be fairly easy to get a link on. In that case, I would go out of my way to make sure that I get a link from this site.
Rather than send an email like the one in this strategy, I’ll start off by saying hello, and figuring out ways I can get an “in” with this webmaster. Whether it’s by helping them with something or it’s by getting a conversation rolling.
But otherwise, use this strategy that I just taught you. It’s the perfect way to get started with outreach, and you’ll see some quick results (and some really powerful links).
It’s a different feeling of achievement when you acquire a link through outreach.
When you get that email response saying they’ve added the link, and then you go into the page to see that there is indeed a link to your site, it’s an AWESOME feeling!
Because there is absolutely no other way that you could have gotten a link from that site other than by outreach. YOU made it happen, and YOU got the results to help improve your site.
When you start building links in this way, and get good at it, you can consider yourself a white hat SEO link building expert.
This is how they do it in the pros. Of course, they use sophisticated communications tracking tools, are able to scale harder, and are more meticulous with their processes.
In this guide, you learned how to build white hat backlinks with outreach. We went through basic campaigns that you can start trying out yourself right away, and also examined some high-level campaigns I ran at the highest levels when I was working at an agency.
But whether you’re doing this for clients, or for your own sites, the conclusion is the same.
The result when you build links to a site this way:
A truly long-term, sustainable website that won’t be penalized in Google updates for spam link building.
I consider my own sites as businesses. And a link profile that’s weak or full of spam, or full of links built with black-hat techniques can never be considered a business.
Why? Because it’s too high-risk. You will inevitably be caught by Google and your business can come crashing down in a matter of days.
But not with outreach.
White-hat SEO is difficult to do, which is why most blogs you see for sale in marketplaces like Flippa don’t have link profiles like this – links from real websites built from outreach.
A link profile like this is extremely valuable, and will seriously increase your website’s value if you ever decide to sell it in the future.
There are just so many long-term benefits to doing outreach and building white hat backlinks.
Hopefully, you learned a lot from this guide and I was able to open your eyes to how link building should be done to really turn a blog into a business.
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