Link building is a huge part of SEO. A solid backlink profile will help you rank higher in search engine results pages, and start getting impressive amounts of traffic for essentially free.

Also, without a backlink profile that is at least comparable to that of your competitors, you will struggle to outrank them for your keywords even if your content is objectively better than theirs. 

So link building is more or less mandatory if you want to get some traction with your website. 

The problem with building backlinks is, of course, the fact that it’s an extremely tedious and lengthy process, at the heart of which lies cold email outreach

Most blogs receive dozens if not hundreds of link building emails on a daily basis, so getting their attention with yours can be quite tricky. On average, only one in every 10 link building emails will get a reply. And that reply might not even be positive. 

In this article, I will be sharing some tips on how you can get more out of your outreach and secure more backlinks.

Authenticate Your Domain

The very first thing you should do (even before starting your outreach campaigns) is make sure that you set up the proper authentication for your email domain. 

The most important authentication protocols are:

  • Sender Policy Framework (SPF);
  • Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM);
  • Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC).

I’m not going to go super into detail on how each one of them works, but in short, all of them increase your trustworthiness in the eyes of email service providers. They confirm that your messages haven’t been tampered with in between your sender server and the recipient’s server, and that the emails come from a legitimate business and not a spammer.

If you rely on mass email outreach for any purpose, not just link building, you absolutely need to make sure that you have these protocols set up for your email domain. Just this action alone will increase your deliverability and dramatically reduce the chance of your messages ending up in people’s spam folders. 

Pitch Appropriate People

Prospecting for your link building campaigns can take a long time. So, it can be tempting, and it’s an amateur mistake, to find shortcuts here and there. For example, assign the first person you find at the company and hope that they will reply to your email. 

I know I’ve done this myself, especially in some larger campaigns with hundreds upon hundreds of opportunities.

And while sure, there is a chance that even if you reach out to the wrong person, they will relay your message to someone who’s a little bit more relevant, the chance that they will not do that is a lot bigger.

So, it is absolutely worth the extra little bit of effort to always look for a person within the company that is the most likely to respond to your pitch. For link building, these people are usually SEOs, content managers, and marketers. If you can find their link builder, you’ve struck gold. 

Only if you can’t find somebody super-relevant, you can message somebody else at the company or even the generic “[email protected]” as a last resort. 

Make Sure The Emails Are Valid Before Pitching

Once you have found the contacts of the people that you want to pitch, it’s a very good idea to validate them before pitching. There are numerous tools that help you validate email addresses in bulk.

“Validation” is the process of making sure the email address is real, and actively being used by someone. There are many reasons why an email can be invalid – from a simple typo to that person no longer working for the company. 

The reason why you want to do this is obvious – of course, you want your email to actually be read. But there’s a second reason that is not so obvious. 

When you send a message to an email that turns out to be invalid, what happens is known as a “bounce”. 

A high bounce rate has a negative impact on your sender reputation. To email service providers, a high bounce rate serves as an indicator that you could be guessing emails. This is considered a spammy tactic, and will cause more of your emails to end up in spam folders.

Not only will this affect your current campaigns, but also any campaigns that you will run in the future, making email validation a must-do for all of your outreach efforts.

Offer First, Ask Second

As I already mentioned, the people you will be reaching out to for links receive dozens of similar pitches every single day.

And it’s on you to make them interested enough to actually reply to your pitch. Most of them start with something like:

“Hello, {first name}

I am Vlad, the Brand Partnerships manager from Respona. 

I just finished reading your article and loved it so much! We actually just released another article that I think would make a great addition to yours, and help expand the topic a little bit. 

Please link to it.”

Let’s be real here. They know that you didn’t actually read their article. They also don’t care that you just released a post even if it’s the most relevant thing on earth for them.

And to be honest, why should they? After all, you’re only pitching them to get a backlink for yourself. 

The most important part of any link building pitch is the value proposition. In other words, what’s in it for them? Even if your article is the best thing in the world, nobody is going to link to it for free.

A good idea would be to push the value proposition to the very beginning of your pitch. A format that we’ve found works really well is as follows:

  • If you’re writing guest posts, start your email with mentioning a site that you’re writing for and say that you wanted to include a link to one of your prospect’s blog posts.
  • Only ask them for a link back towards the end of your email. 

Here’s an example of template that follows this format:

Subject: Can I include @organization in my guest post?

Hi, @first_name

I’m Vlad, the outreach manager from Respona. How is your @day_of_week

 going?

I”m currently writing a guest post for Bulk.ly (DR 69) on video marketing tips and looking to include a link to one of your articles. 

I”m wondering whether you have a relevant post you recommend? Happy to share the draft if you”d like to take a look at the content.

In return, I was thinking maybe you could mention our own article on email copywriting? You”re linking to Grammarly from one of your pieces and I think it”d complement the content nicely.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Vlad

Feel free to grab it for your own campaigns but make sure to tweak it so you’re not using the same template word for word.

Turn One-Off Exchanges Into Long-Term Partners

There are billions of websites on the internet. However, when it comes to relevant link building prospects, that number is dramatically lower. Depending on how saturated your niche is, you may have hundreds of thousands of link building prospects to choose from to only a handful.

Sooner or later, finding new link building opportunities will start being tricky. So it’s wise to start building relationships with people rather than treat everybody as a one-off link exchange. 

After every successful link exchange, you may ask the prospect whether they would be open to regularly providing each other with backlinks. 

If you’re doing guest posts, one good way you can supply your link building partners with new backlinks would be by including them in your guest posts.

In return, they would get you more links from their own site or from their own guest posts for other resources. 

This will drastically increase the efficiency of your link building efforts.

Consider Using An Email Warmup Service

This is another piece of advice that’s a little more on the technical side. It is just the reality that at some point, your emails will start landing in spam, even if your pitches are good and the emails of your prospects are always validated.

Email service providers really don’t like bulk emails, and with link building, you need to send a lot of these. 

So, one trick that can help you get more out of your emails is to use an email warmup service. There are many available, but one of the most prominent (one that we actually use) is Lemwarm.

Once you sign up for it and enable it, what it does is connects you with the network of other registered users. Then, depending on your settings, it will send them emails on your behalf. From their end, it will automatically reply to your emails, increasing your reply rate. 

And, if your email lands in their spam folder, the tool automatically marks it as “not spam”, increasing your deliverability. 

In the eyes of email service providers, this looks like an increase in both deliverability and reply rates that positively affects your sender score.

So, if you have been struggling with spam filters, a warmup can help you slowly build your reputation back. 

It is also a good idea to turn it on for a couple of weeks or a month every once in a while just to keep your emails healthy.

Wrapping Up

One final tip that I have for you is to remain human. When doing mass outreach, especially for link building, it can be easy to view people just as “prospects”, or blogs that have a decent spot for your backlink.

Remember that on the other side of that screen there is always a person, just like you, that lives a life that is as complex and meaningful as yours. Just be who you are in real life and treat people with respect and understanding. 

A lot of the time, you will hear “no”, and it can feel like all of your efforts are in vain, but don’t get discouraged. 

With enough time and effort, you will be able to get tons of links to your site and start securing those sweet rankings in SERPs.

This is a guest post written by Vlad Orlov

Managing brand partnerships at Respona, Vlad Orlov is a passionate writer and link builder. Having started writing articles at the age of 13, their once past-time hobby developed into a central piece of their professional life.

If you want to submit guest posts to Inuidea, check out the guest post guidelines for Inuidea.