#111 – 9 Common Link Building Roadblocks & How To Overcome Them

What you will learn

  • What to do when you run out of content ideas for your niche
  • How to do efficient email outreach
  • How to prepare for, and deal with inevitable criticism
  • Tips on negotiating links with other sites
  • The importance of follow ups

Link Building is really a topic nobody wants to talk about it seems.

Everybody hates link building, and we totally get that! But to be honest, there are so many things that can go wrong during outreach, we figured to get our hands dirty and do a whole episode on the most common link building roadblocks and the way we deal with them.

#1 – Can’t Find Content Ideas or Guest Post Outreach Targets in My Niche

Problem: I have already reached out to all sites in my niche that take GP, or I can’t find any.

Solution: Expand into other neighboring niches. If you have a site on poodle care, write for fitness sites on working out with dog, or for a productivity blog about the benefits of pet ownership on productivity.

With enough creativity, the possibilities are endless.

Keep the niche’s writers in mind. Some niches are much friendlier than others

Problem: I can’t find good skyscraper topics

Solution: Check wikipedia pages related to your niche. Search for the highest KD keywords. Write about adjacent topics / niches and enlarge your site:

  • Dogs > Health (walking your dog)
  • Health > Productivity (being healthy makes you work better)
  • Productivity > Careers (being productive helps your career)
  • Careers > Dogs (how to care for a dog when working 9-5)

Links gained this way aren’t perfect, but much better than nothing, and they can give you a competitive edge.

#2 – Difficulty Finding Email Contacts

Start out manually

  • Search on the site (contact / about pages – check the footer as well)
  • CTRL+F + @ symbol for fast searching
  • FB page About section (incredibly untapped area)
  • Scrapebox

Hunter.io is best for automated research

  • It can do a full domain search
  • Bulk search from .csv files
  • Keeps a database of all domains that it doesn’t find
  • Expect a low success rate – Around 15% on average

#3 – My Emails Are Bouncing

  • Go for Gsuite instead of a simple gmail: allows for a more branded and real name.
  • Warm up your account to avoid spam triggers.
  • Avoid spammy words/subjects.
  • Verify email lists. Invalid emails increase bounce rate of legitimate emails. (Mailshake offers by far the cheapest solution for this – $10/5000 emails)
  • You can do Facebook messages instead of emails (pages have an incentive to answer).

Note: an Ahrefs + Mailshake combo can cover 99% of what you need for research and link building.

#4 – What Happens When Nothing Happens

Problem: People aren’t replying.

Solution: Follow up

  • 1-2 times (50% of links come from this)
  • A lot of people are just simply too busy and your message can get lost

Are they opening?

  • If yes, either your message or your content or your website is crap
  • Drill down + identify the problem
  • AB test your messages

Identify what type of blog it is:

  • If it’s corporate it probably isn’t worth pursuing.
  • If it’s a personal/small one then politely explain that you don’t have the budget/it can be harmful to both sites.

Try and steer towards a guest post instead.

Don’t even think about this when you’re starting out.

Google doesn’t like you buying links. If you want to hear more about this topic, check out the podcast episode with Matt Diggity from a few weeks ago.

2-way links are not as bad as people think. Just don’t make it the only way you acquire links. If the site’s content doesn’t meet your standards, don’t link.

Offer to intro to someone who may be interested in linking to them. Or just state it’s not very good for SEO and they will probably skip it.

You could make a “write for us” section on your site and select the offers that are valuable. Mark doesn’t recommend this, Gael would risk it with tight quality control.

Don’t jump to conclusions. There’s a good chance there was a legitimate reason or it was simply a mistake.

Follow up in a friendly manner. (You can disguise your real intentions with a fake story e.g “I was just reading through your site again as I wanted to show it to someone and saw my link disappeared. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t because of anything I said or did!”)

That’s just the way it is. Keep your content updated and monitor dropped links in ahrefs and reconcile with acquired link list.

#9 Emotional Barriers


“Have you considered suicide? If so try a hammer, that way even if you fail you will entertain people around you, make sure to have someone video it and upload it to youtube, perhaps then you will actually make money online and won’t have to fucking spam people any more.”

– An actual response –

People can get pretty abusive and knock your confidence, but just laugh at it and move on. Don’t take any personal remarks seriously. It’s the internet and it’s no different from the YouTube comments section, it has its good, its bad and, its ugly.

Take the “you’re breaking the law and I’m a lawyer and I’m going to sue you for $1m” response you’ll probably get once a month with a pinch of salt. These people are keyboard warriors. If they have the time to pursue a small blogger that accounts for 0.000001% of web traffic, they probably aren’t very good “lawyers”.

Scared of Social Interaction

There is nothing to be scared of. If something turns sour, delete the email and you’ll never have to see it again.

NEVER engage with a troll (and yes, they’re in your inbox now too). It can be incredibly tempting but it will never end well.

Template your responses. If you’re not good at writing you can ask a friend to do some of it for you. If English isn’t your native language, or even if it is, consider using Grammarly.


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  1. Great episode guys! thanks very much for this. I face a few of these roadblocks with my outreach campaigns.


  2. Love your blog and podcasts. As far as I can remember Hunter doesn’t have integration with Linkedin anymore. FWIW Oxyleads right now is a better option.

  3. Hi guyes! Thanks for the episode – this topic seems to never fade out :)

    Quick question – for a new website that has no social following, pinterest accounts etc., do you recommend to just ask for the link without any returning value (like – we’ll be happy to share your blog with our thousands of follower etc)?

    How would you recommend to outreach for new websites?

    1. Yup, still go for it.
      Social shares are highly niche dependent and in many cases people will happily link to you without anything in return. Just ensure you’re focusing on creating a high quality piece that genuinely brings something to the table for them and push that instead of a social share.

  4. Hi guys – great episode as always.

    Just wanted to let you know I’ve also been on the receiving end of the exact same response about suicide – it’s literally word for word the same!!

    It’s good to know its just this guy’s go to response for people doing outreach and nothing personal! The funny thing is he runs a podcast so he must be doing plenty of outreach himself…

    Moral of the story = even the worst possible response you can get from backlink outreach is probably just a standard response that gets sent to everyone!

  5. Thanks for this episode! I’m a new listener and I found it helpful and entertaining. The reminders about how to do deal with rejection are fitting. I have a lot of sales in my professional background and that just comes with the territory.

  6. Artem the LinksHero

    Nice list, dudes!

    I would add to that – develop (or just steal) a good system.
    Once you know when to do what and have it written down, you just get into the “doing mode” and just do it.

    Personally, I sometimes reply to ugly emails.
    It’s extremely inefficient, but I need to flush that rage somewhere. After all, I am not spamming them with crappy pitches…why b*tch at me in replies? :D

    P.S. I hated link building a little more than a year ago. I sort of love it now – it’s like fishing; I always think which path to take, how to pitch and so on…love it!

    1. Thanks Artem. Systems are indeed hugely important. We have A LOT of cool new link building systems coming soon to our paid courses :)

    2. Артем, привет из Питера :)

      I’ve checked your blog and it looks like you’ve nailed white hat outreach down perfectly. Did you use something from Ryan at Webris for your systems or you’ve just came up with systems based on your own trial and efforts?

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