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)
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
#5 People Ask for Money When I Want Links
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.
#6 People Ask for a Link in Exchange
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.
#7 People Remove My Links
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!”)
#8 Competitors Are Going After My Links
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.