It’s been mentioned before, and it’s worth mentioning again: link building is critical for SEO. As you probably know in your heart and soul by now, it’s one of the building blocks for achieving higher domain authority and ultimately boosting your ranking on search engines.
One of the most frequently used tactics to perform this is through SEO outreach, which starts with sending a message to admins of relevant third-party websites. However, it doesn’t just involve that email—there’s so much more to it than that.
Through the process of building links, you learn that not all of them are deemed “good”. Some may break, fall into the hands of low DA websites, or worse. This is why an effective SEO outreach strategy is necessary. The top three choices for link building are blogger contacts, guest posting, and adding a link to an existing article—and all of these begin with a compelling outreach for SEO that convinces your prospects to agree with your request.
Reel Them in The Right Way
Before you start your outreach for SEO, you must first make sure you have a proper process in place. This not only lessens errors and heightens professionalism but is also necessary for uniformity and tracking of your prospects. Here’s why nailing your SEO outreach strategy is essential:
- Broaden your network – Reaching out to different sources will make you discover other helpful brands that you can strike partnerships with someday or even those whose content you can value.
- Build an ongoing relationship – Regardless of whether a contact accepts your link or not, it’s great to stay on their radar to build a business relationship and have your brand be associated with professionalism.
- Get multiple links – If you’ve been successful in having them add your link to their posts before, chances are, they will accept links from you in the future, too.
- Increase brand awareness – In a way, outreach is also similar to promotion. You will have a chance to let other brands, sites, companies, and personalities know about your brand and what it’s about.
- Boost traffic and conversions – More people learning about your website through different outlets and content means more publicity and website visits.
- Improve domain rating – The more active your strategy is, the higher your chances of increasing your domain rating. This will help you rank higher in search engines.
Preparing Your SEO Outreach Strategy
Here are the crucial steps in creating an SEO outreach strategy that works.
1. Understand your business
Get to the backbone of what your business represents, whether it’s your own, a company you work for, or a client of yours. Here are some questions to consider when thinking about this:
- What is your unique selling point? What can you provide to other businesses to gain an edge over others?
- What is your brand’s voice/style/tone? Are you conversational and friendly or professional and traditional?
- Who are you reaching out to? What kind of audience do you want to read your content?
This will prevent your efforts from being just run-of-the-mill outreach emails and differentiate you from other companies who are potentially doing their outreach as well.
2. Define your goals
While getting more links is a great goal to have, you shouldn’t lose sight of why you’re asking a particular website to link back to your site. Are you trying to promote a product or educate an audience on a specific topic? Which buyer persona are you creating this content for? How will this help your company reach its SEO goals? Putting importance into this step will add integrity to your intentions for SEO outreach.
3. Identify your keywords
If you’re creating a guest post, it’s imperative to have keywords ready for you to incorporate in your article. This will help your brand be associated with those phrases, even if they’re found on a different website. Use hyperlinks so you’ll be sure that viewers can easily click through to your site. Pull the best keywords from your previously conducted keyword research for your blog.
4. Find your prospects
Be thorough with link prospecting. To make things organized, you can open an Excel sheet and first start listing out relevant websites, target influencers, and more to your initial outreach list. You can add a different column for identifying the DA and target audience of each so you can narrow down to high-quality prospects. Once, you’re feeling confident with the list you have; it’s time to start researching more about these websites.
5. Familiarize yourself with people and algorithms
Engage in an intelligent conversation with your prospects and let them feel that you’ve done your research about their industry as well. It pays to be attentive to the people you’re talking to, so you don’t come off as templated, inauthentic, or messaging with an agenda. Explain how your content can add value to their business and how it would be beneficial for both sides to have the partnership. One of the most important messages to get across is “What’s in it for me?”
6. Have a tracker in place
To avoid the rookie mistake of sending an email to the same contact person twice or having two different people reach out to the same website, it’s vital to have a tracker in place. In this tracker, make sure to note the status of the message, such as if it’s drafting, received, waiting for a reply, etc.
Make sure also to label those prospects that you’ve had a fruitful conversation with versus those you haven’t, so you know which pool of people to approach for future links and those you can devise a new strategy for in the future. Keep this file private yet accessible to team members who need to see the status of the tracker at all times.
Crafting an Email for Effective SEO Outreach
How exactly do you proceed with your outreach emails? Read on the following tips below.
1. Use a compelling subject line
Your subject is the first thing your recipient will read. If it’s generic like “Outreach Email” or “Request for Outreach,” chances are, they won’t pay much attention to it. However, if you ask a relevant question or present an exciting offer, it will be more compelling for them to click on your email. It’s a good idea to keep email subject lines short, so they can grasp the full content of the email no matter which device they’re viewing it on.
You can already personalize your email content from the email subject alone. For instance, if they have light material, you can start with a light joke poking fun at content that was previously written, but of course, don’t be offensive. You could also ask a question about a post that they’ve already published, which suggests that you’ve been reading their website and aren’t just after a backlink. Last but not least, if it’s relevant, you can mention that you’ve featured their posts in one of your previous content as well.
There are a lot of ways to get creative on the subject line—don’t lose the opportunity to show your prospects your value at this point since this will be their first impression of your company as well. If you don’t get them to click, the contents of your email won’t get to see the light of day.
2. Write a short and direct message
As mentioned previously, the prospects you’re contacting are also running a business. They may not have the time always to check their emails and reply right away to the people who send them messages. This is why it’s vital to K.I.S.S.—keep it short and simple.
Trust us, the recipient of your email will appreciate how you got to the point much quicker rather than having them read large blocks of text that may be irrelevant for them (if you didn’t correctly customize your email). You can still build up to your request, but don’t take too long to get there.
Always include your call to action in the body of your email. This will remind your prospect about the action they have to do, which is either to accept a guest post, add a link of your website in theirs, and more. CTAs are powerful persuaders, and if it ties in nicely with the body of your email, they’ll respond positively to it.
3. Sign off with your name and credentials
This is basic email etiquette, but one that’s worth highlighting. In the heat of the moment, it’s quite easy to forget signing off with your credentials, or not even being able to put your name at all. This is important for your recipient to consider so they know who they’re addressing at the other end of the thread. There’s also a much bigger authority that comes with signing off with your title rather than just introducing that you’re a part of a particular organization.
Your name and credentials will add recall about you. Should deals be made in the future, they would know who to look for at which department in your company.
4. Follow up
Following up is not a crime. By this point, you are highly aware that your prospects have a lot on their plate. They could’ve read your message, liked it, yet somehow it could’ve slipped their minds to reply since they were called to do something else. It happens.
If you follow up, they’ll likely be more inclined to set aside some time to draft a proper reply since they acknowledge that they missed your first email.
However, be careful with the frequency of your follow-ups. It’s ideal for sending a message at least three to five days after your first email. But if you still don’t hear from them after the second one, it may be wise to cut your losses and try a different approach at a later time. Don’t immediately cross them out from your list—go for a different angle and save their details for next time.
Should You Use an Email Template?
To template or not template? That is the question.
There are pros and cons to templates. Personalizing every message for each of your prospects can be time-consuming, but if you send out a templated email blast to them, you may also be hurting your reputation.
It’s much better to send a well-thought-out and customized email when you outreach, to not sound robotic. Your recipient can tell if it’s templated since it will seem unnatural. Instead of using templates that go word for word, you can create outlines or formats depending on the type of prospect you come across. So, instead of a traditional model that looks like this:
Hi, I am reaching out because I love your content and I think I can bring something to the table for your readers. Let me know what you think. Thanks!
You might want to go for something that looks like this:
[Give a brief introduction of yourself and your company.] [Provide a reason why you are reaching out.] [State your goal for the partnership.] [Give them contact details.]
[Sign off with name and credentials]
You can also include previews, offers, and interesting tidbits that can entice them to do business with you. It’s essential to be creative at this stage since they likely receive tons of emails every day, so you must give them a reason why they would want to provide you with their time of day.
Templates are useful because they can automate some parts of the outreach process and save you time from thinking of what to type each time you have to outreach. That said, always remember the importance of added context and personalization.
Build a Smart SEO Outreach Strategy
Creating an SEO outreach process must be strategic, but it also doesn’t have to be overly complicated. The main thing to remember is to personalize your emails. Avoid giving excessive praise as this can make you look like you’re brown-nosing the prospect. Just be persuasive and direct—they’ll appreciate the simplicity of your email!
Finally, don’t forget to include a call to action. A CTA will remind them of the desired action and tie in with the purpose of your email.
By following the steps above, you’ll be able to craft an effective outreach strategy that can target your prospects and spark a good working relationship with them.