To help you better understand what our outreach link building process entails, we whipped up this post explaining how we get white hat links step-by-step for our clients to increase their website ranking and organic traffic.
Essential parts of the white hat outreach process
We employ natural link building tactics and strategies to provide high-quality backlinks to clients. But to make things simpler, we compiled all these and divided them into two stages:
Preparation – Gather data about your site and prospects to prepare the email outreach campaign.
Outreach – Launch outreach process using social media and custom email sequences to ensure high success rate.
Let’s jump in and see how the magic happens…
In this stage, we lay down all the cards to set up a link building campaign for your website.
But first, we need to sit you down and talk with you about your business so we can prepare a custom strategy that meets your goals. From here, we can better assess the best approach to acquiring links for your website regardless of your niche.
Strategy and onboarding call
We will hold a 30-minute call with you to get a better understanding of your site.
We follow an internal checklist of questions for all clients. This ensures that we hit on all the critical factors related to developing an effective link building campaign for your site.
The goal of the call is to make sure both of us are on the same page. To do this, we hash out all the concerns you may have with our approach before moving forward.
At the end of the call, we decide together the best link building tactic to use for your campaign. Below are some of the link building techniques we have used for clients:
- Skyscraper technique
- Non-paid guest post outreach
- Niche link exchanges
- Link reclamation of unlinked brand mentions
- Resource and broken link building
Then we’re gonna solve all of the additional questions and proceed to the next steps.
Initial keyword research
Once we decide on which method to take, we research your niche and website to find the most relevant keywords for your campaign.
If you have a site about hybrid bikes, we will search for related and long-tail keywords to generate the most relevant search queries to your site. At the same time, we look for entities that help us understand the relationship between hybrid bikes and sports or travel. They have a lower relevance to your site, but will nonetheless help round out our keyword research and determine the different ways to approach the campaign.
Also, our keyword research is dependent on the method we will use for your campaign. Since we’re taking the guest post outreach route, we will choose keywords that help us find the best link prospects to publish the content with a link to your site. Here is a great keyword research piece to check as well, if you’re working in the e-commerce field.
At the end of the research, we will have three keyword indicators that we will use for gathering and filtering prospects.
Tools we use: Keyword Explorer by Ahrefs and SERPs Extractor by Chris Ainsworth
Set up systems
Upon placing your order on our site, we will give you access to our client area. From here, you will share details about your requests, and we will update you in real-time regarding our progress with them.
Next, if we are to use the outreach method, we will create an email account on your behalf.
To do this, we will set up an email account using a mirror domain of your site. For example, if you have website.com, we will purchase website.co and set up your email there.
The reason for using a mirror domain is to protect your main domain account. We will be sending lots of outreach emails that could affect the domain’s email deliverability. With our approach, you won’t have to worry about this.
Also, once we finish the campaign, we will transfer the ownership of the mirror domain and email accounts to you.
Aside from emails, we will use social media to negotiate for additional link placements. To do this, we will request access to the Twitter and LinkedIn accounts of the outreach persona so we can send the messages to our prospects.
Finally, to monitor the progress of our campaign, we will request access to your Google Search Console and Google Analytics. This allows us to monitor campaign efficiency and make necessary changes during the campaign to boost the results if necessary.
Tools we use: Service Provider Pro, G-Suite
Choosing target pages to acquire links
We will analyze your pages with the best chances of getting a backlink from websites.
To determine content quality, you must put yourself in the shoes of your target audience.
Does the content provide value to me as a reader? Does it compel me to engage with the site or buy from it? Also, does the content match the intent of its target keyword?
Once we find a post on your website that checks all the boxes, we will promote this page to get your site more backlinks.
Now, if you don’t have content that meets these standards, then we will create one for you.
Aside from making sure that the piece of content will be top-notch, we will also link to your internal pages like blog posts and landing pages. This way, we circulate link juice across other pages on your site to help spiders crawl them efficiently.
So that you know, we usually don’t consider your site’s landing and service pages for our white hat link building service. These pages have commercial intent and have little value to people other than you making a sale. As a result, most sites ask for a fee to put up a link to these pages. And we only use the non-paid guest post outreach for our white hat link building service to keep costs low.
However, a way around this is by offering an exclusive free trial period or discount codes to people who will link to you on their sites. But this only happens if you’re open to this idea.
If not, I suggest you go to our Guest Post Service instead.
The Outreach stage is where the magic happens. Using the gathered data from the previous stage, we put all of them into action to identify prospective link partners with the highest chances of conversion.
The key to our outreach process is to deliver value first. From here, we will use the goodwill we built with site owners, authors, and journalists and ask them to link back to a page on your site.
Think of this process along the lines of Robert Cialdini’s reciprocity. If you scratch their back, they will be more willing to scratch yours in return.
So, by giving value first, there’s a good chance they will return the favor by linking back to your page.
Below is the step-by-step process of what you should expect from this page:
The objective of this step is to determine sites that will accept guest posts without asking for money in return.
Therefore, we will exclude “Write for Us” and “Guest Post” pages from our search. In our experience, sites with these pages don’t accept guest posts for free.
We’re left searching for profitable sites from industry experts whose primary source of income is not from getting guest bloggers to write content for them.
To begin, we determine domains that are already linking to your site and exclude them from our research.
We can do this by using Google search operators like “allinurl:blog + “your keyword1″ -yoursite.com” to return the most relevant results on SERPs. We will also use third-party tools to add to the list of prospects. Using these tactics, we should be able to extract at least 600 opportunities related to your keywords.
Next, we filter the results by checking the SEO metrics of each. Aside from removing duplicates, we must identify sites with enough total ranking keywords and traffic that qualify for our campaign. The rule of thumb we use is for the domain to have at least 500 total ranking keywords and more than 1,000 monthly organic traffic.
After filtering the websites, we should have 400 on our master list.
Now, using the three keyword indicators from our keyword research, we will search each site and find pages with titles that match the keywords.
Below is the search operators we will use to achieve this:
- site:sitename1.com + intitle:keyword1
- site:sitename1.com + intitle:keyword2
- site:sitename1.com + intitle:keyword3
- site:sitename2.com + intitle:keyword1
- site:sitename2.com + intitle:keyword2
- site:sitename2.com + intitle:keyword3
Replace “sitenamex” and “keywordx” with the sites you scraped and keywords you researched, respectively.
This way, we can determine the most relevant pages from each site to get links in your outreach.
We will use Netpeak Checker with additional proxies and CAPTCHA solvers to conduct the searches on Google in bulk and expedite the process.
At the end of this step, we should have around 200 relevant sites as link partners with SEO metrics that met our standards. Also, each must have at least two pages that match your keyword indicators. From here, we will pull up content that we can use as linkbait on that page.
The 200 sites we indicated above is just an estimate. It’s possible to get more or less than 200 – it depends on the niche and industry.
However, what you should focus on is the quality of the sites that could link back to yours. Getting links from thousands of websites won’t mean anything if they are irrelevant to your keywords and have weak SEO metrics. That’s why we set up this process to ensure that we build links that matter in the end.
Tools we use: Netpeak Checker for scraping Google SERPs, Content Explorer by Ahrefs, Buzzmaker by BuzzStream
Research and validate contact details
From the list, we need to divide them into two groups: top priority and basic.
The former has lots of traffic from organic keywords, on top of them being relevant to your keywords. So, we must secure a link from these sites to ensure the success of the campaign.
For the latter, we can send them the email outreach campaign as is.
Next, we will identify the right contact person to reach out from these sites. To do this, we will check the About section of the websites to find the names of the owners then check their social media activity. This will give us insights on how to approach each personally.
In this part, we pride ourselves on the fact that we research the emails manually. We don’t use tools like FindThatLead that scrape emails from unverified sources and private databases. Therefore, we come up with emails without violating GDPR policies.
Once we find the emails, this is the only time we use a tool to verify them and maximize deliverability rates.
Tools we use: Hunter.io to check emails, Neverbounce to verify them
In this part, our Outreach Manager will upload the master list to our outreach tool where s/he will send greeting emails to 20-30 link prospects daily.
The purpose of the emails is to ensure that they go to the inbox of the recipient and not to their spam folders. Also, we check if the signature correctly appears in the email.
For social media, we will use an automation tool to build up your outreach persona. We do this by liking activities, as well as following and adding prospects on LinkedIn and Twitter.
The goal of doing these is to make your persona visible across social platforms before sending the emails. By acclimating your persona with prospects on social media, getting a positive response from them with our emails will be much easier.
Tools we use: Buzzstream for email outreach, PhantomBuster for social media automation
Create email sequences
Our email sequences contain the initial guest post pitch and two to three follow-up emails. We personalize each email by including the correct names and links to their sites to increase reply rates.
However, what makes our approach different is our treatment of follow-up emails. We don’t just nudge prospects if they saw the first email. Instead, we look at different angles on how to craft our follow-ups for each recipient like offering something for free if they reply.
By providing additional value with our emails, we improve the success rate of our link building campaign.
And if you’re looking for cold outreach ideas, here is a huge A-Z cold email guide prepared by Ilya Azovthsev from Lemlist that you can check for the inspiration.
Launch outreach process
We are aware that people don’t have time for link building pitches. That’s why we make sure that our outreach emails are straight to the point and, most importantly, effective.
To begin, we want to build relationships with our prospects. We don’t start by immediately asking for a backlink because they will just ignore it.
Since the prospects don’t know your persona yet, we need to forge a connection with them first. Doing so allows us to earn the opportunity to get a link from their site later on.
Following them and liking their posts on social media is the initial phase. Therefore, we want to use those as leverage to introduce ourselves to them via email.
For the basic group in our outreach campaign, we individually send the emails. This is to avoid errors that usually happen when sending emails in bulk. Also, we want to ensure that the outreach tool autofills the dynamic fields with the right information from our master list.
For the top priority group, we write the emails from scratch. This way, we create laser-focused emails that target their interests and offer them expert commentary.
Once we get a conversion going with prospects, only then will we proceed with our link building request. They should be much more receptive to our query since we organically established our relationship.
Through this process, we are able to build white hat backlinks to your site through the use of natural and organic tactics. We don’t resort to shady tactics and use spammy words in the emails that only decrease reply rates.
We update you with the status of your order on the client area. This eliminates the need of constant back and forth about your order via email.
Once we deliver all links to you, we will proceed with next month’s campaign. However, if you want to terminate the upcoming campaign, please do let us know days before we complete the initial order. And as mentioned earlier, we will transfer ownership of the mirror domain and email accounts to you.
Instead of CTA
Hopefully, our guide gave you some pointers of how the white hat outreach process is look like. Because we strongly feel that our process is the best way to get white hat backlinks on scale.
There are no tricks up our sleeves or aces in the hole. It’s all about our expertise and know-how in finding the best prospects to do delivers results, plain and simple.
Have something to say or have questions? Leave us know in the comment section bellow!