The Role of Link Building Outreach in SEO - Pro Summary from Links-stream
If you would like to publish something on the internet or get involved in e-commerce, mastering basic SEO techniques is vitally important if you want your enterprise to succeed or even survive at all. For at the end of the day, we will only discover your content if you manage to find your way to the first page of search results.
In this article, we will provide a general introduction to search engine optimisation and a step-by-step-guide to effective link building strategies.
What Is SEO
The competition on the internet is so high that when your potential customer enters his search request, the engine will have to choose out of hundreds or even thousands of websites that provide the same products, services or online content as you do. The search engine will try to identify pages that best suit the user's purposes, and the trick is to convince it that yours deserves to be shown in the first ten.
Google's ultimate decision will be based on a number of ranking factors, the most important of which we will discuss in greater detail in the following sections. But the first thing it will do is eliminate spam from the list, and most engines have become pretty good at it by now, so there is little use in trying to deceive them. You will achieve better results by learning to implement the basic SEO principles.
The table below shows the results of an empirical research conducted by Ahrefs in 2020 to identify the percentage of websites that find their way to the top one year after their creation, depending on the overall quality of their SEO link building activity:
Backlink profile strength
Rank in the first (%)
Rank in the first 100 (%)
Do not rank in the first 100 (%)
The data speak for themselves, but we would like to draw your attention to the fact that even mediocre SEO link building strategies can boost your ranking above the statistical average. The next question is which criteria the engine uses in the selection process.
Before explaining how search engines rank online content, we would like to point out that these are basically the same criteria that a person you outreach to for SEO purposes will use to decide whether he is interested in your posts. In other words, these are the factors to consider for your link building outreach purposes as well, which will be discussed later in the article.
The most important factor is that your content must be relevant. That is, it must satisfy the user's search intent. The engine will assess the significance of your post for the reader by detecting and counting the keywords in the text.
Simply put, a keyword is the word that users most frequently enter in their search requests when they browse the internet for a particular type of content. So the first task for you is to identify the necessary words and phrases, as well as their optimal quantities, to include them in your posts.
You can do the keyword research yourself or outsource the job to professional digital marketing companies, which you can find plenty of on the internet these days. Either way, make sure you do not overuse them, as keyword stuffing will work against you in SEO ranking.
But even if you use the right words, and in the right number too, it will not necessarily make your content relevant. It is easy enough to get bogged down in this SEO game and forget about the reader or the subject matter of your post. If the reader does not find your material relevant or interesting to read, he will not spend more than a couple of minutes on your page, and the duration of visits is another criterion for the engine.
Suppose your post is relevant to the user's question, technically, but it tells him nothing new, or the presentation format is difficult and boring. He will just close your page and go to the next one. We have all been through that.
For example, you search for "outreach in SEO", and the engine shows you a long list of articles on the subject. You open the first five or six and briefly look through them first. Some of them are interesting and informative, some of them are not, as simple as that. If your material is not valuable, it will have the following SEO consequences for you:
- You lose a reader or a potential customer.
- He will not save your page or refer anybody to it in the future, and your page attendance will be low.
- The search engine will detect that visitors leave your page very quickly, and rank you down for that.
- When you outreach to your prospects, they will do exactly the same thing, and you will most likely never hear from them.
This is another problem with online content that most of us can relate to. For example, you search for some useful and interesting information on a topic that is new to you. The engine gives you options, you start reading the articles and discover that they are all talking about the same thing, and in virtually identical language too.
This is extremely frustrating for the reader and does nothing for your content promotion, link building or SEO outreach purposes. For this reason, if you unleash your creative powers and write a truly original post, it will have a lot more success with the engine, the reader and your potential prospects, even if it does not do too well in other criteria, such as keyword density.
This is what all these ranking factors boil down to, and this is also what you want to achieve, ultimately. The search engine will assess your popularity by measuring the traffic to your site and counting backlinks to your pages.
A link is an electronic pathway to your domain from another page.
When I click on the anchor text, I get redirected to you. As you can see in the picture, an anchor can be:
- Some contextual phrase
- Service description
- Your actual name
You can also speed up the link building process by referring to your own pages, which is called an inbound link.
In other words, to succeed in your SEO project, you need to build as many links as you can, and the best way to do it is to outreach.
What Is Outreach in SEO
In simple terms, outreach refers to contacting other people or companies and asking them to link to your content. In most cases, it is done in the following ways:
- Posting on social media networks
The table below shows some of the most popular and reputable platforms to date.
- Guest posting
You select a busy and reputable platform with the right audience for you and ask its owner for permission to publish your posts there.
- Addressing an authoritative person
Technically referred to as an influencer, it may be a respectable site or famous blogger whose reputation can add value to your content. Very simply, you ask him to link to you and hope that he will agree to do it.
To assess the influencer credibility, you can ask any content marketing company to send you his domain profile, like the one in the picture below, where you will find all the information you need, including his authority score.
Another way is to email the publisher directly, ask him to link to you, and wait for his reply. If you find his message in your spam folder, you know that the search engine finds him unreliable.
Keep in mind, though, that the higher his authority and reputation are, the less willing he will be to jeopardise them. So you should triple-check that your content is relevant, valid and semantically correct before you outreach to him.
- E-mail advertising
This is probably the most common channel for outreaching to potential prospects, but you should be very careful with it or your mail may be classified as spam, either by the engine or the recipient. The best ways to avoid this problem are:
- Do not do mass emailing.
- Personalise your messages.
Effective Link Building Outreach Techniques
In the previous sections, we explained in very general terms how to generate organic traffic to your website. Here, we will provide a list of outreach SEO strategies that many bloggers have found to be particularly effective.
Collecting Dead Links
Commonly known as a broken link, the term refers to a link to a page that does not exist anymore. There may be many reasons for it, but if the page in question is similar to what you have to offer, this is your opportunity to have it replaced. In this case, you:
- Contact the site owner.
- Inform him of the faulty link.
- Tell him that he can refer his readers to your page instead.
Incidentally, the person you approach this way will be glad you have pointed it out to him because it will help him improve his own content as well.
Providing Graphic Data Presentations
Since images and graphs are easier and faster for most readers to comprehend, infographics become a very effective outreach strategy for quality content creation as well as SEO outreach purposes.
Suppose you want to explain the intercorrelations between the number of words in a key phrase, how competitive it is and the consequent number of conversions. Now, it might take about three hundred words and make the reader knuckle his brains.
Or you could just post...
... And no need for words.
This is probably the most straightforward outreach strategy of all. Basically, you select an authoritative site and ask its webmaster for permission to publish your content on his platform. Of course, you will first need to make sure that:
- His visitors are the right audience for you
- Your content is relevant to them
- Your presentation format suits their particular preferences
Actually, this deal will be beneficial for both parties, since you will have an opportunity to promote your content and expand your market, and the website owner will have something valuable to offer his customers.
Outdoing Your SEO Competitors
Admittedly, this is a sneaky outreach strategy, yet there is nothing unethical about it. What you do is:
- Find some great content with lots of links.
- Create an even better variation on the theme.
- Contact its link providers and offer them to link to your page instead.
Befriending Your SEO Competitors
This is a gentle yet potentially very powerful link building outreach method, also known as cold blogging, as it helps you turn your competitors into potential partners. Contact them, tell them you like their posts, and send them examples of your own work.
If they do not reply or do anything about it, so be it. But they might decide to cooperate with you, and you could even create a sort of natural PBN this way. Or at the very least, they might save your link for future reference.
In case you do decide to exchange references to each other, make sure you do not go overboard with it; otherwise you might really start looking like a PBN, which is not good for SEO purposes.
Claiming a Potential Link
Simply put, you find a place where there could be a link to you and ask the prospect to place it there. In fact, there are two variations on this theme:
- Your content is relevant to the potential anchor text
- You have actually been mentioned yet not linked to
In either case, there is usually little risk of the prospect's refusal, provided you approach him on the matter with courtesy.
Reclaiming A Missing Link
This SEO outreach strategy is similar to the previous one, but in this case, you are asking a prospect to restore a link that has already been made and is now missing for some reason. Such things do happen occasionally, and it does not necessarily mean that the website wanted to remove it.
And again, just as in claiming a potential link, you should approach the person in a very friendly manner; otherwise, this tactic could have the opposite effect. Actually, the prospect might even be glad that you have noticed it. This is, by the way, another reason for checking on your backlinks regularly.
Joining a Reference List
Effectively, this SEO outreach method involves browsing the net for some blogs and marketplaces to find the ones that are relevant to your products, services or articles, and asking them to include a link to you on their resource page. When you outreach to them with this request, you should explain why you think a link to your content should be there, as well as how they will actually benefit from it.
Asking for Future References
This SEO outreach technique is virtually the same as the previous one, except that you ask a prospect to link to you in the future. It is also very much like befriending an SEO competitor in the sense that you are basically making a gentle proposition for the future, with no hopes or expectations attached to it.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Outreach SEO
It is, in fact, indispensable for working with most search engines, especially Google.
SEO helps to boost organic traffic to your site.
Outreach strategies enhance your public image and facilitate your commercial and social activities.
It consumes a lot of time, especially in the beginning.
It can be expensive, depending on your business needs.
If misused or overdone, these practices can damage or even ruin your enterprise.
Manual Outreach Link Building
If you feel ready for your first link hunting, here is a step-by-step instruction on how to go about it.
Research Your Target Audience
You cannot know what and how you should write before you know who you will be writing for. This is why you need to identify your potential prospects and analyse their preferences and correspondence styles.
Select Your Prospects
Identify potentially relevant and reliable domains by:
- Evaluating their authority and other scores
- Analysing competitor backlinking
- Researching them on social media networks
Draw an Outreach Plan
Collect their contact details and work out the correspondence schedule, using a table like the one in the picture:
Write Your Letters
You can use templates for your outreach email, but make sure to personalise your correspondence as much as you can.
Do a Pilot Run and Analyse the Results
Now it is time to mail the letters and wait for replies. And when you get them, you can analyse the response to see what you can improve for the next round.
Update, Update, Update
These are the three golden rules of any digital activity. Besides, as you keep track of the ongoing changes, you will be discovering constant opportunities to adapt to these changes in the most beneficial ways for your enterprise.
Digital Marketing Software Providers
Outreach link building can be quite difficult, time-consuming and expensive for beginners. Besides, you might decide that you would rather let someone else do it for you, concentrating on other aspects of your enterprise instead.
The table below shows some of the most professional, reputable and cost-effective online services that you could apply to in such a case:
Ahrefs, Semrush, Ubersuggest
NinjaOutreach, Pitchbox, BuzzSumo
Management Basecamp, Breeze, Monday.com
Summary and Conclusion
- You need to find your way to SERP if you want to reach out to your target audience.
- Search engine optimization is essential for this purpose.
- Link building outreach is the most effective SEO strategy for generating organic traffic to your site and enhancing your brand awareness.
- This article was written to help you understand how you can do manual outreach link building yourself.
- If you ever feel that you would rather apply for professional digital marketing services, there are plenty of reputable and relatively inexpensive online companies to outsource the job to, some of which we have mentioned in the relevant section.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is SEO outreach the same as press outreach?
Yes and no. Both are based on the same fundamental principles, although there are some technical subtleties peculiar to each. It is in their ultimate goals that differ, though. In PR, you outreach to media professionals in order to promote yourself in the public media domain, whereas SEO outreach strategies are designed to boost your backlinks for SEO purposes.
Are there any other benefits from SEO outreach practices, apart from link building?
Yes, there are plenty. They boost your public image, facilitate social sharing, generate leads and increase your sales, to name a few.
Can I practise manual outreach link building by myself, without using professional services?
It is always better to let professionals do the job. For one thing, they have the necessary experience, knowledge and skills to do it more effectively. Besides, the techniques we have described here are potentially quite risky and can actually be detrimental to your enterprise if applied incorrectly.
However, professionals do not have access to some secret tools or esoteric knowledge, and there are no reasons why you should not be able to master the art of link-building and perhaps even become an outreach specialist yourself one day. In fact, one of our intentions in writing this article was to help you to that effect.