Let's cut to the chase. SEO doesn't work the same way it used to.
Nope, not by running article submission campaigns, social bookmarking, building blog networks and ScrapeBox-ing the hell out of blog comments for the sake of hitting a target volume of links. There are no shortcuts to doing SEO anymore, and the only effective way to earn links is the hard, organic way. Through intentional outreach.
That said, here are five outreach strategies that work for us, which you can also apply to your own link building strategies. Let’s get started!
We discovered this through our own weekly roundups. Ever since we began posting weekly roundups on the blog, we started receiving emails from online marketers and bloggers who alert us of their related posts.
The idea is simple: Bloggers who do "roundups" look for other relevant content in their industry to include in their weekly curation. What if, instead of waiting for them to find you, you approach them first? It’s a win-win for both parties, as they won’t have a hard time looking for a content source, and you’ll get a chance to earn a link.
- Find websites in your industry that post regular roundups. Go to Google.com and manually search them using these search parameters: “Keyword” inurl:roundups“Keyword” roundups
Using SEO Quake, pull out the SERP data and filter the websites, get only the relevant ones.
- List each website’s contact information, could be a contact form or an email address.
- Email each website and ask for your content’s inclusion on these websites’ roundups. Here’s the email template you can use for this strategy:
Subject: Awesome Article Roundup OR You might want to check this (topic) out
Hi, Website.com team!
I bumped into your site and saw that you make excellent roundup articles. First off, awesome... I love the roundups that you guys share!
(Your Name) here, a (Job Title) at (Your Company). We recently put together a piece about (Topic) that I think you might find useful.
Here’s the link: (URL of the blog post that you want to include in the roundups)
We’d be thrilled if this article made it in your roundups.
By the way, we also update our blog about (subject 1) and (subject 2) regularly. You might want to check it out: (Blog URL)
This is my favorite outreach strategy of all time. It usually works when you’re in the industry for a long time and people already recognize your brand. Website owners/Bloggers tend to mention your name or brand on their website and there’s a chance that they don’t link to you. This is where you reach out to them to get that link!
You’re going to need tools to track your mentions. You could do a manual search on Google, but that process might take some time. So, I suggest you use Google Alerts and Moz’s Fresh Web Explorer to accomplish this task.
- Get a list of the websites who mentioned your brand using the tools above.
- Gather their contact information. Tools like BuzzStream can help you with this.
- Email each website and ask for the link. You can use the template below:
Subject: Oops! You're missing a link in your article
I was reading through (URL) and saw that you mentioned [YOUR BRAND] in it. First off, awesome! It made our day to see our brand featured in a great resource like yours.
Just quickly: I was wondering if you forgot to link out to the article you cited in addition to mentioning our site (http://www.website.com/?). I think a link would make it much easier for your visitors to find the article you cited.
If it's any help, here's the direct link to the article, for your convenience: (http://www.website.com/)
Either way, thanks and have a wonderful day! Oh, and keep up the great work!
The main reason why we sign up for newsletters is to get daily access to every blog post/news article on a website. Take advantage of this by aiming to build links through the newsletters you receive.
- Subscribe to websites in your industry
- You can use a separate email address if you don’t want to get tons of newsletters in your inbox. But make sure it's on your domain as well. If you use a regular Gmail/Yahoo account, chances are they will think the account is spam.
- When you get a newsletter email, make sure you reply to it. This is the part where you actually build relationships with them. Don’t mention anything about your website or don’t ask for a link yet. Be patient, my friend! Just compliment the blog, give a few tips or thank them for their existence.
- Chances are they won’t reply right away, you have to wait for a few days to pitch your blog post. If they reply to your email, you can go ahead and pitch! Ask them if you can publish your content on their blog.
In addition to this, we've also added Widget Outreach to our strategy. We pitch a helpful widget to different websites/blogs in the industry. It is very effective when done right. Here's an example of what a helpful widget looks like:
Here's how you reach out:
1. Gather resources from the industry
2. List down the contact information of each website
3. Pitch the widget using the template below
Subject: Here's a free widget for your website (no strings attached)
I hope that this email finds you well. I know you are busy, so I won’t take up a lot of your time.
I’m [Your Name], a Content Contributor at [Your Website]. I’m reaching out to offer our FREE horoscope widget. It is an embed code that can be added anywhere to your website (sidebar, posts or a specific page).
We are also open to building FREE Guest Post content for your audience.
If you are interested, just let me know :)
This strategy focuses on building a relationship with the webmaster, so if they are unresponsive, it might not work. Instead, you can reach out to them via other channels and apply the same technique.
Building on the Widget Outreach strategy above, there’s also the ever-popular guest posting tactic that’s simple and straightforward: Letting the website know that you can offer value to their site.
Finding the perfect sites to post to are usually those that overlap the same audience as yours but is not a direct competitor. For instance, you might be promoting an SEO tool for marketers. You won’t want to pitch to another SEO tool brand, but rather an SEO and digital marketing blog that dishes out tips regularly.
Here’s a sample email you can write to them:
Subject: I think we should collaborate!
Hi [Website Name],
I’m [Your Name] and I write for our blog at [Your Website].
I’m looking for guest posting opportunities and have an article that would fit perfectly with your blog’s audience, called [Blog Title].
You can take a look at what I’ve previously written here (blog URL) to see if my writing style is a good match.
Would you like to hear more about the pitch? I’m happy to work together to discuss potential topics.
With guest posting, it’s important to be direct so that your recipient’s time doesn’t get wasted. Plus, if you’re pitching a topic already, make sure it’s unique and hasn’t been covered before.
Make your subject lines compelling, too. Since guest posting is popular, you have to realize that website owners get a ton of requests regularly. Make yours stand out from all the automated emails and give your message a personal touch!
Just Keep on Reaching Out
Outreach strategies take time to work. Most of them rely on having good standing relationships within your industry’s network or presenting a valuable addition to the webmaster’s content roster.
Don’t be discouraged if results don’t shoot up right away. Instead, take note of what you’re doing and check if you can improve. If you don’t get responses, consider a different angle. Try other portals, like email or social media channels.
Once you’ve got your groove, you’ll be unstoppable.