When it comes to building a fruitful SEO campaign, having a successful outreach and link building strategy is instrumental to finding success and climbing Google's rankings. There are five key aspects to quality backlink outreach: The Client, The Prospect, The Content, The Follow-Up, and The Closer. Each of these categories is just as important as the next, and one cannot exist without the others. If used correctly, all of these aspects can help develop an extremely successful link building strategy.
The Five Keys of Successful Backlink Outreach
The client should always be the main point of concern when developing an email outreach campaign. This can be broken down into two aspects: maintaining communication and transparency with the client.
When working on putting together a successful outreach campaign, communication is key. It is imperative that we have a thorough understanding of what pages and/or tools our client wishes to build links for. While we will have recommendations tailored specifically to each client's needs, it is ultimately the client's decision as to which pages they would like us to build links for.
Keeping the client informed is critical. Maintaining an open line of communication is key to keeping the client informed on any progress made or issues that have arisen.
Almost as important as the client, the next aspect of link building is the prospect. Whether the prospects are journalists, bloggers, or reporters, each prospect needs to be vetted thoroughly and cross-referenced against what the client wants and needs out of a prospect. To develop a truly successful link building campaign, you must take into consideration the prospect's relevance, filter out sub-par prospects, as well as ensure the prospect's page or site is relevant to the client's target keywords.
While this may seem obvious, it is crucial to ensure that our outreach prospects are relevant to our client's needs. The prospect's content does not need to be perfect, but must be relevant enough to bring some value to our client's page. Some points of similarity can be:
While there are a lot of prime websites to build organic links through, there are pages that, if they were to link back to your client's page, could potentially hurt your client's ranking. These are considered "Blackhat Links". Google will see these links as "Pay-to-Play" backlinks and could penalize your client's site for the use of them. It is crucial to build backlinks organically and ensure that your client is receiving "Whitehat Links" to their site. This will promote purely organic growth and will help to increase your client ranking for the particular keyword we are shooting for. There are also several Ahrefs resources and metrics that we take into consideration when reviewing a prospect:
A large portion of prospecting is using a particular keyword to discover a site that might be a good spot for a backlink to your client's page that is attempting to rank for that keyword. Keyword research is crucial in determining which keywords your client should be shooting to rank for
What I have found to be the most severe hindrance to successful SEO outreach strategies is a lack of quality content in an email outreach campaign. A great prospect can choose to ignore your pitch if your email template does not include the correct Language, Personalization, or something to create interest, such as a hook.
When it comes to drafting an outreach email template, your use of language is instrumental to increasing your response rate. If the prospect reads your outreach email and determines it to be spam or a targeted solicitation, they are most likely to dismiss the email and not respond. The outreach email needs to include language that displays understanding, interest, and expertise in the field. The email also needs to be clear and concise, as even a small typo or discrepancy could lead to a missed opportunity.
The Hook / Creating Interest
Grabbing the prospect's attention is extremely important. This can be done by using a hook or explicitly stating what we can offer and bring to the table. This will open a dialogue that will hopefully lead to collaborating on a guest post, a blog post, or building quality backlinks. It is crucial to express to the prospect that we can provide value to their website.
When drafting emails to be sent out to prospects, an extremely helpful strategy is to personalize the emails. Below I have listed a few items that, if added to an outreach email, could greatly increase the chances of a response:
The Follow Up
Sometimes even the best email templates get discredited or ignored, which can leave a website with strong backlink potential overlooked or forgotten about. This is where the follow up comes in. In terms of link building strategies, following ups on initial outreach emails can help maximize the leads you have, while relying on the initial outreach email may cause you to leave business on the table. To ensure this email has the strongest effect, it must be personalized and it must reiterate the potential benefit we could bring to the prospect's website.
Personalization of the "Follow-Up" email is crucial, as it shows that, not only have we taken the time to follow up with the prospect, but that we have researched their page and shown interest in their material. This leaves the prospect more open to collaboration and less likely to pass our message off as spam. Something as simple as including the contact's name could show the prospect that we have in fact done our research.
This follow-up email should remind the prospect of what potential we are bringing to the table:
All of the hard work devoted to prospecting, filtering, and content creation is pointless if you do not put an equal effort into closing the deal with the prospect and getting the best possible outcome for your client. Rather than putting in all the above-listed work just to get a link, you owe it to the client to take a deeper look into the potential that each collaboration could bring. In order to do so, you must be willing and able to negotiate, establish relationships, and maximize the potential of each collaboration.
Negotiations are extremely important when attempting to land the best possible backlink for your client. While some prospects are hyper-critical about their collaborations, some are more willing to work with you to find the best possible outcome for all parties involved. Whether you are looking to land a guest post, blog post, or a different form of content, there is always a better outcome if you take the time to ask or look.
We always make sure we do our absolute best to maximize our potential with each prospect we get in touch with. Whether we are collaborating on a guest post, a blog post, etc., we ensure our clients that we will provide the best quality content and will not waste any resources on something that wouldn't directly benefit them. Another way to maximize potential is by choosing the best possible anchor text for the backlink.
Once we have collaborated with a prospect and have developed some backlinks, it is crucial to remain in contact and maintain a positive relationship with the prospect. Firstly, if we ever run into an issue with a broken link, we need to be able to promptly reach out to the prospect to correct any issues with broken links. Secondly, the prospect very well may be an asset in the future. The same prospect may bring several opportunities to us over the course of several months, which could easily be missed if the relationship isn't maintained or if it is left on bad terms.
I have listed here what I have found to be the most important aspects of building a successful outreach campaign. Each and every client we work with has specific needs and requires custom-tailored outreach strategies. Going through all of the above-listed aspects with each client and putting together a custom outreach format and schedule will help ensure a successful SEO campaign, as well as help our clients outreach their competition.