As you may already know, we are a successful professional outreach team. And while we’ve helped grow numerous sites in multiple niches to achieve triple-digit increases in traffic and exposure during our time, we weren’t always the knowledgeable and effective link building team we are today.
How did we master outreach?
Table of Contents
One important thing to notice is that none of us is born with the skill; we just need to dedicate the time that others don’t to try and fail until we become good at it.
In essence, outreach is simple and uncomplicated. Anyone willing to try it and learn the right strategies will succeed. It’s just that there is a significant amount of nonsense flying around online, which makes outreach and link building sound way harder.
So, in the same spirit, we will keep this guide simple and streamlined. Even if you’re completely new to SEO with zero experience or already have advanced SEO skills, you’ll be able to follow along with no issues.
OK, here’s what you’ll need to get started:
- An email or Gmail account: You can sign up here.
- Content to be placed (we recommend a minimum of 500 words for a guest post) with all your target anchors already placed. For this, you can write the post yourself or hire a writer.
- An Ahrefs subscription (Optional): This is not free. Still, you need to analyse metrics such as authority, organic traffic and RD for the links you are trying to build; that’s where a tool like Ahrefs comes in handy.
Prospecting and emailing
We first have to look at the keyword we’re trying to rank for, check the competition, possible anchor texts we can use, and how many links we’ll need to build.
Let’s say we’re building a single link for this page: https://searcharoo.com/link-building-for-ecommerce. And our anchor text is “best link building strategies for eCommerce”.
Our preferred way to get contacts when prospecting is to scrape Google by Googling keyword-based terms and checking what pages are there.
The Ahrefs Toolbar can help you check the metrics of every site when scraping, so you can decide which ones you want to outreach right off the bat.
The most important thing to remember when prospecting is to think outside the box for your keyword research. Keep in mind that you’re targeting the right ‘audience’ of sites that have the biggest potential to drive traffic and authority for your target site.
Seeing them as an audience is the key to thinking about these sites. For example, we’re outreaching for our site Searcharoo.com, so we should look for keywords around the specific article topic we’re using or our site’s niche. Meaning terms concerning “link building”, “seo”, or “ecommerce”, etc…
For this part of the process where we need to pick niche keywords, we use a web-based tool called AnswerThePublic.com.
Here you can type your root keyword, and it will give you other long-tailed topics you can search around that keyword. Here’s you can see how Answer The Public looks when you enter a root keyword:
We always target informational-based keywords for link building rather than your typical money keywords. We’re looking for blogs with high authority that make money from advertising or remarketing. We don’t want to outreach to sites that are commercially selling products.
We can use advanced search operators to find our target sites which work very well if we want precise results. However, this will mostly give us the same results that every other outreach service targets for guest posts. So, we prefer using the keyword scraping method to find sites that others can’t find as easily.
But if you’re struggling to get started, you can use the search operators below to find better targets:
- “Guest Post” + keyword
- “Write for Us” + keyword
- “Submit Content” + keyword
Using search operators is by far the easiest route for prospecting. Just be aware that if you’re looking for the best target websites, you need to search for niche relevant keywords.
After this, we build our list of sites. We’re only building one link for this guide, so we can choose about 20 contacts to make our initial outreach to. Before we continue, there are no precise numbers as to how many outreach emails will get you X links, as the numbers will always vary.
How well redacted your outreach email is, and your negotiation skills will significantly influence your conversion rate. It’s up to you to test your systems and see how many emails you’ll need to send to get X back.
Now we create a simple list where it shows the following:
Target URL – Email.
And once we’ve got enough outreach contacts, it’s time to send our emails.
The email account you use won’t make a massive difference. But using one other than your main account is recommended since you’ll probably be getting much spam as time goes on.
Before we make our initial outreach, we need an email template. Here’s one of our most effective if you need a reference:
“Subject: (Important) Advertisement question about [target website name]
Hi [contact first name or ‘there’],
I’m [your name and company].
I came across your website: [target website name] and saw that you accepted guest posts, and I was just checking in to see if you were still accepting them?
We could be interested in this service. The advantage for you would be adding topically relevant content to your site, written by me and completely free of charge! So, could you let me know the best price you can offer for a service of this nature?
Here’s some of the content that I’ve written in the past:
[3 previously well-written article URLs]
If so, I’d like to hear what your requirements are.
Follow up is important, too. A significant 60% of our responses come just from our follow up emails! You can do this manually if you’re just starting. Still, eventually, you’ll need to incorporate tools like Mailshake or Pitchbox to automate this process for you:
“Hi [contact first name or ‘there’],
I reached out to you a few days ago. Did you get a chance to see my previous email?
Hope to hear from you soon.
We recommend you send this email as a forwarded message since it’ll give you better results. Also, this can sometimes help you get out of spam boxes even if your initial email landed there.
After this, we wait for our responses, but don’t panic or give up if you don’t get any. Just repeat the prospecting process and outreach to more sites.
Negotiation is one of the key factors that separate good and bad link builders, so here’s what you need to keep in mind:
- When replying, your negotiation strategy should be an extremely high turnover approach.
- Don’t spend hours negotiating deals with individual sites or pushing and pushing until you get your desired result.
- Sit and talk just with the opportunities that matter or have real potential.
- For the rest, just ignore them; you don’t need to be polite.
Now we’ll take a look at some of the most common responses we get and how we deal with them every day:
“We’ll be accepting guest posts in the future, but we’re OK for now.”
Most of the time, this means the site is brushing you off. If it’s a really good link that you had an eye on, you might want to follow up, but generally, we wouldn’t bother.
“Our fee for a placement is X.”
This is ultimately down to your budget as to how much you can pay the site, but if you’re going for link exchanges or free placements, it’s worth ignoring these sites. It’s almost impossible for a site with fees for link building to back down on them and give you a free placement.
“You can upload your placement here.”
Not that there’s something wrong with uploading a guest post, but this very often means it’s a link farm style site, and we recommend you to keep away from these.
“You have to apply to become one of our writers.”
These are 50/50. Becoming a writer for good sites means hard work, and sometimes you’ll have to pass an application process before you can make a placement. However, it can also mean you get to work long term with a great site that not many get access to.
So, it depends on how much effort and time you want to put into an individual placement.
“You need to take this to so-and-so; I’ll cc them in.”
Most likely, you got in touch with an inexperienced office worker who doesn’t know how to handle your email properly. They might put you in the right direction, or they might send it to their boss, who can direct or ignore your email.
We think it’s worth a few follow-ups suggesting to be put in contact with an editor, someone from marketing or sales. Ultimately, your ideal reply is going to come from someone interested in taking your article, whether for a fee, link exchange or completely free of charge and publish it in a matter of days.
We tend to do the smart thing and seek out the contact that will give us the result we want in the least amount of time. We suggest you take this approach as well.
Getting your placements live and scaling
Being successful at outreach is not hard or complicated. Still, it does require vast amounts of trial and error and a thick skin to persevere through negative and draining negotiations. Suppose you can work through that, keep your eyes on the goal and identify the areas where you excel at outreach and the ones you need to improve. In that case, you can certainly become a successful outreach expert.
And if you’re looking to learn more about scaling outreach link building. Then we recommend that you take a free strategy call with us. We’ll analyse your site and niche. Together with you, we’ll work on effectively scaling your outreach link building strategy in more detail.
Thank you for reading!
Database Management & New Link Acquisition at Searcharoo. Also, self-taught content creator, community manager, and marketing researcher/reviewer, savvy in SEO, product marketing and brand conceptualization, social media and communication campaigns.