Alright, let me know if this sounds anything like yourself.
It’s the unfortunate chain of events that happened to ALL of my earliest websites.
Day one: The birth of something awesome
Hop into Namecheap, toss in my clever brand name that I’ve been brainstorming over my entire commute to and from work.
“Will this be the idea that takes me from regional account manager to business magnate?”
And… it’s taken. Of course, some domain squatter bought it back in 2007, hoping for a big payday. Bastard.
Two hours go by and I am finally the temporarily-proud owner of a .ly domain name that sounded great at the time but in reality, is hardly pronounceable and cost me three grand.
Some WordPress action commences and before I know it, the site is open and ready for business.
Day two: Give me traffic or give me death
Traffic is the game and SEO is the name. It’s time to make my 10th grade English teacher proud and woo the world with my words.
Let’s blog until it hurts!
Day 365: Not a single towel wasn’t thrown in that day
I wrote better articles than Hubspot, Inc. Magazine and all of my competitors.
Isn’t that what Google wants? — The best content available. Apparently not!
The key ingredient I was missing: Authority. And how has Google always measured that? Backlinks. Quality backlinks.
In this article, I will teach you how to take your tadpole of a website and turn it into a beautiful golden frog that stands six feet tall...with lasers on its back. — ie. Killer link building tactics to grow your new site.
Tactic #1: The PROPER Guest Post
Guest-posting is free to start out with, effective, and equally beneficial to both parties.
To get started, you need to be able to prove you can write a high-quality article for your industry.
You can either have a writing portfolio or a blog.
Next, it helps to have experience or credentials in your industry.
- Programming? Do you have any projects or apps you can show off?
- SEO? Have you had any success ranking sites?
- Advertising? How well did your last campaign perform?
- Healthcare? Better have a medical degree, certification, or some sort of tangible proof that you know what you are talking about.
It’s time for outreach. You need to put together a spreadsheet of all of the different blogs you’d love the opportunity to contribute to.
There are many different strategies to compile a list of blogs. Pick one and move on to the next step.
Now you’re ready to send that email. Keep it short and sweet, don’t insert a million links, and before pressing send — please, oh please — ASK YOURSELF IF THE EMAIL READS LIKE SPAM.
Dealing with heartbreak
You have to be very up-front and clear about why you are guest-posting.
“I want the opportunity to empower your audience with my years of industry knowledge. I will link to a resource of mine in a relevant location within the article.”
This is important because you will encounter dodgy editors that remove your links without giving you a heads up.
You will also have times where they will turn down your piece after you spent all the time writing it simply because of a link to your site.
This is why it is crucial to be upfront about your intentions.
If a link of yours is removed, do not freak out and get angry. Simply send a kind message inquiring about the reason it was removed— Sometimes they’ll say it was an accident and they’ll gladly add it back!
“But what content should I link to?”
If you’ve read other link building articles before, you know that there are endless ideas of content you could create to get links — Big guides, infographics, little software tools, research findings.
As a new site you don’t have to worry about any of this. At least not yet.
The name of the game is branded authority, as covered in bucket #1 of my guide to link building strategies.
This means that your goal is to get links to your home page with branded anchor text.
Tactic #2: The Skyscraper
Next on the list is the skyscraper outreach technique.
I personally am not a fan of the name. I’d go with the “Operation: Improve the Web” but that’s just me.
Here’s the lowdown:
- Find blog posts in your industry that are bringing in muchos backlinkos. You know, the popular posts that blogs all around the web are linking to. You may use a tool such as Ahrefs or SEMRush to find this information.
- Many of these posts aren’t that great. They might have outdated information, are short and un-descriptive, or have become a terrible reading experience full of broken images and broken links. Create a blog post that blows it out of the water.
- Reach out to everyone that linked to the particular post. Tell them you have been hand-crafting a badass, up-to-date version and would love to know if they have any feedback or additional information to add.
- Kindly ask if they’d be interested in linking to it in their article.
That’s all there is to it!
One thing to note is that when you are looking through all of the websites that linked to a popular post, many will be low-quality and nofollow.
A worthwhile backlink must be:
- Relevant - Is the site in a closely-related industry to yours?
- Authoritative - Are you posting on somebody's Tumblr blog or a real influencers’ that have real readers and real clout?
- Dofollow - Both nofollow and dofollow links are a part of a healthy link profile, however, it’s clear that dofollow links are the ones that pass on authority down to your site. Go for these.
Tactic #3: Utilize Your Connections
Do you know anyone who blogs in an industry similar to yours?
Maybe your buddy doesn’t even have a blog. He’s a personal trainer but his site has a section for educational resources. That’s a great spot for him to mention your health/fitness-related blog!
And remember. Your friend might not have a good placement for your link, but your friend’s friend might. If you ask nicely, you could get referred to that amigo.
Closing Thoughts: The Outreach Funnel
You ask for a link. You’re told no. Most people quit here.
As long as the person does not currently hate your guts for emailing them and still remains mild-tempered, there’s an opportunity for collaboration in the air.
Maybe a skyscraper outreach attempt pivots into a guest post.
Maybe it pivots into a simple social media share.
Maybe they’re not into the idea of giving you a link for free, so… instead, you help improve their on-page SEO, tweak their CSS, or perform some other reasonable task.
If you have an email list and they have a product that would appeal to your audience, you could promote a special discount in exchange for that juicy link.
Remember that successful cold-email outreach boils down to creating a mutually beneficial offer and forming a relationship that will continue to bear fruit down the road.
Written by Ajay Paghdal, The founder of OutreachMama.com, a link building and blogger outreach service.