Thousands of link builders have found success with traditional techniques: blogger outreach, guest blogging, broken link building, and many others. Digital PR is another proven way of acquiring links, but its methods are quite specific. As effective as they are, these techniques are very, very time-consuming.
A lot of people would tell me right now: so what, Alex? Good things take time, SEO for that matter. And link building is definitely worth investing time into. While I completely agree with this argument, there’s another one to be considered: there are a lot of untapped backlink sources which allow you to build links in days, if not hours, so why not take advantage of them?
In this post, I want to share with you how you can find those sources and build links that don’t require ages to get.
Good link building practices rely on meaningful relationships with the right people
And as you know, relationships can’t be built overnight. When you’re connecting with people who have never heard about you before, they are super cold. In sales, you might buy a contact database. Or you use LinkedIn Sales Navigator and make your salesforce contact as many of them as they can. In link building, that won’t work.
Link building is trickier because it requires more ground work. That starts with putting together a list of prospects who are potentially interested in working with you. That’s the idea that you are selling to them — working together. If your company is not well-known in the industry, it might be hard to persuade your contact that working with you is worth their time.
Moreover, you need to make sure that these people are the right ones to contact. For example, they would be in charge of content promotion, related to SEO, or they are writing content regularly, etc.
And of course, you need to find good enough of a reason to reach out to them.
Relationships start–and grow–through relevance
Have you ever wondered why the majority of cold outreach emails are so ineffective? It’s because their authors don’t invest time into researching the person they are contacting. They don’t read about their business, they don’t look into their social media accounts — they simply found an email worth adding to their database. Additionally, avoid cliches like “I’m an avid reader”or “I read your recent post”(without describing what stood out). Even plain flattering lines like “you are a brilliant writer” don’t help to break the ice or improve the response rate. And this is so important: re-used, all-purpose templates make an email feel spammy.
Make better connections to get links
When you add up the time to research, prospect, and create a relevant hook, this takes a big chunk of time. It could even be the biggest part of link building.
Luckily, there are plenty of backlink analysis tools you can use to spend less time on link prospecting.
For example, SpyFu can assist you with putting all your link prospects in one place as well as finding contact details of people associated with a particular site:
Still, ff link prospecting can be somehow automated, there are no hacks to speed up the process of crafting your pitch. Broad automation is annoying to most, and it chips away at your reputation. People can smell it from a mile away (and it smells of disrespect). That’s not how you want to start a relationship.
The only thing that can help you get a few quick wins is to contact people who are potentially more interested in your pitch than the others. These are the untapped link building opportunities that I want to talk about.
Here’s how you can find them.
1. Connect with companies that are among your current clients and blog subscribers
This is a pretty straightforward technique, but here I’d recommend to check up a few things before writing them an email with any cooperation/collaboration requests:
- Do they have a blog? And if the answer is “yes”, do they add content regularly?
- Do they care about content promotion? Do they at least promote their content across their social media channels?
- Who’s in charge of content publishing? Do they have an editor in chief? Do they have individual contributors? Is there an author’s name under each post? The latter can be easily uncovered with the help of BuzzSumo:
The biggest plus of connecting with the people who already know you is trust. If they trust you, you don’t need to break the ice and persuade them to collaborate with you. If they know who you are and what you do (and they like it!), you can get a link pretty quickly.
2. Connect with people that are following you or your company on social media
This group is not as warm towards you as your clients are, but they know who you are. Also, you don’t need to justify reaching out to them — they are already following you on social media which implies they are interested in what you have to say.
I’d recommend kicking things off from your LinkedIn connections. It’s more convenient for reaching out than Twitter or Facebook, and it notifies you once your message was read. Facebook and Twitter also have this feature, but they are not suitable for outreach. On Facebook, you’ll soon get banned if you start sending unwelcome messages. On Twitter, DM pitches have become so common that people filter them out. LinkedIn is the best choice.
Additionally, you can download the list of your followers with the help of Followerwonk and dig it for insights.
Parameters like account’s Social Authority, the number of followers, the age of the account, etc. (which Followerwonk accumulates in one place), should be good signals for reaching out.
3. Connect with people in the same Facebook closed groups
Here’s list of members of a group about SEO/SEM in Wroclaw (and nope, I don’t speak Polish, but I’m a part of this group because our next Digital Olympus conference will take place there):
Prominent groups take moderation seriously, and if you’re accepted, it’s a good sign for other members that you are a proven professional.
Also, if you want to reach out to them, you have a shared connection.
I want to share one quick hack that will help increase the response rate from those people:
- Make yourself more recognizable by joining the most engaging conversations. Thanks to Facebook’s algorithm, users get notified when someone drops a comment to a post which they have also commented.
- After this, connect with the users who were also leaving comments and are relevant to your link building strategy. You can simply drop them a message stating that you saw them leaving comments in the same conversation on Facebook group and would like to talk business. Quick note: better use LinkedIn to get in touch, not Facebook. As I said before, Facebook can ban you for the slightest sign of spamming.
In case you haven’t yet been a part of any group, you can easily find them by checking what kind of groups your friends are a part of:
4. Leave comments on blogs that already have many comments from other people
First of all, I’m not the only one who’s using this strategy and I’ve learned about it from Michael Pozdnev that did a terrific how-to spiced up with his own results.
Basically, what you need to do is:
- Find blogs within your industry where people are leaving comments. This can be done by searching for the most engaging content with the help of BuzzSumo. The chances that such content also has comments is pretty high. Otherwise, you could use SpyFu — it shows what kind of pages are currently top ranking in SERPs.For example, below is the list of URLs that appear on the first page of Google for the keyword “best backlink tool”:
All of these blogs have comments (except for SEJ that at some point decided to switch off commenting functionality on their site). By the way, it’s quite a surprise to see that Robbie Richards outranked Brian Dean.
- Get the list of commenters with their sites. If you hate boring and repetitive tasks like I do, then you should give a try to Scraper extension. It will help you get this job done within a few seconds.
- Finally, you need to find those users’ contacts. That’s where you can use SpyFu outreach tool: it will automatically find the users’ email addresses once you upload the list of the websites to it.
Are there any other hacks that you know?
Once you create a “warm” link prospecting list, reaching out should not be as time-consuming. As I’ve mentioned before, when you’re reaching out to a person who has never heard about you before, it is really challenging to attract their attention and establish trust. But if you have common ground, breaking the ice of the first pitch is far easier of a task.
Let me know if these techniques worked for you. And if you know of other untapped link building sources, I’d be glad to hear about it!