If you've been doing SEO for a while, you've probably heard this over and over again. Back links have a big correlation with rankings and traffic from Google. But acquiring legitimate backlinks from authoritative websites, or even small ones, is becoming harder and harder each day. You send out hundreds, if not thousands, of cold emails but often, less than 1% of the people will link back to you. So what should you do?
Link building boils down to three things.
One, link building's about value exchange. You'll get backlinks as long as you're enough value for the other party to link out to you.
Two, finding the right person to contact to is super important. If you contact the CEO of a big company, he's not going to waste his time linking to you. You need to find the person who's writing the content, managing the site. Ask them to link to you.
And three, crafting relevant, personalized messages in your cold outreach is the key. Any generic messages will not work anymore.
So let's dive into how you can accomplish those three things.
1. Creating value
How do you go about creating enough value to get people to link back to you, right? It's all about your pitch. A simple way of doing this and offering value is by fixing something wrong with their website. If you help them do this, there's a good chance that they're more likely to link to you. Another way to add value is tell them that you have infographics or guides that's related to content on their website and can provide value to their readers as well. This helps serve their audience better with more relevant and up to date information.
You might find that their website is linking to outdated, lesser versions of an article that they've written. And what you'll find is, hey, if they link to a more relevant one, it benefits their readers and makes them look better not to just their readers, but also to Google. It helps their user metrics which helps their rankings increase overtime and that also helps yours as well.
So, action step for you. Choose one value added angle and start building a list of websites that you could target with the angle. And then send them personalized emails to each site that you want to pitch. As it turns out, just creating regular old content won't always do justice and you're probably not going to get results from that. So, some quick type of content that you can create that'll help you with this is any sort of visual diagrams, how to videos, infographics, charts, interactive maps. You can also do things like provide original research and data studies. So, anytime you're connecting your own research, your own studies, it's easier to get links.
Some of my best articles on Neil Patel that have generated over a hundred backlinks are the ones where I have charts. Such as 17 charts showing where content marketing is going or where SEO is going. People love linking to those kinds of things.
You also want to create ultimate guides. The same old two thousand-word guides won't work anymore. I'm talk about five, 10 thousand words. Super in-depth, not with fluff. You also want to offer templates, checklists. This helps people get action when they're strapped for time throughout the day. So those type of contents are also easier to get links from.
3. Find the right person to contact
Sometimes finding the right person to contact is really tough and you're just like, wait I go to the contact page, I can't find the right person. They don't have their email, they just have a form. I've tried that, it's not working well. Well, there's some other methods that you can use to find the right person to go after, other than just the contact page.
The first thing I want you to try is take a personal approach. If you're going through pages like the contact page or generic email, ask them. Who's the right person that you should be in touch with? Let them make the introduction. When you do that, it's much easier to go out there and convince them to link to you.
If you can't find that, you can also use sites like LinkedIn. At LinkedIn, go look for people in charge of content or marketing. That's your best shot at finding the right person to get in touch with.
You can also go check out author bios on their blog. This will give you idea because either that person's the right person to contact and you can go research them on LinkedIn, or they'll know who the right person is because they got their content published on that site.
You can also use Chrome extensions to find the right information of the prospects that you're going after. So, Chrome extensions are a really easy way to find the correct email address. Instead of manually looking up pages and spending hours, there's a few extensions that make life easy for you. And here are they. They're hunter.io, VoilaNorbert, and you can use Find That Email. These are all three extensions that work really well, and they're easy to use. They also all have free versions so you can find some emails for free.
If you don't want to use extensions or use any of those processes, you can also take advantage of mutual friends. There's a good chance you're already connected with someone who is second degree or third degree is connected to someone at their website. Getting introductions, going through that process is a little bit work. It's harder than using the Chrome extensions, which is what I usually do. But, it'll get you in touch. And that introduction usually has a high conversion point because it was an intro versus a cold outreach.
3. Craft a relevant, personalized message
Based on your value added angle, compose a message and see which parts that it could be personalized in a unique way that'll help get peoples attention. It can be as simple as,
I noticed that your article dives into recycling and here's an instructional infographic that my team created about the Lifecycle of a Recycled Bottle.
I want you to create a spreadsheet that you're going to fill in with the details of all the people that you're going to hit up, as well as the message that you use for each website. You're going to keep track of who responded back, who ignored you, the follow-ups once you respond to them, giving them the link, did they actually add the link? All this is really important because you know where to follow up. Think of link building as sales. It's all about the follow up.
Here's a script and breakdown. First sentence needs to grab their attention. Point out the issues that you notice on their site. Second sentence, provide a solution backed by stats. Let them know how it can help them. Third, ask for a connection. Let's connect about getting this taken care of. Following this process helps.
You can also use tools like Mailshake where you can create and merge fields so that way messages can be much more personalized without you having to take all the time out there. And they can automatically start adjusting phrases and sentences and company names, especially when you have your spreadsheet that you're going through to start hitting up each of these sites.
Look, the big takeaway is getting backlinks is never easy, but if you follow this structure, it'll give you an edge over the competition who's just being like, hey, can you link to me? I saw that you link out to other people as well. We all know that doesn't work.