For example, if you were to walk into Starbucks, make your way to the front counter and ask for a free coffee, what do you think they’d say? They’d probably be confused or speechless. But if you gave them a good reason, like the fact that they’re dumping a gallons of coffee every day or you worked at the restaurant across the street and you’d give them free lunch, I’m pretty sure you’d have a better chance of sipping on some free job.
Now, looking building through outreach is very much the same. If you’re contacting people and asking for links without a good reason, then you will be and should be ignored. Now, before we get into the link building and outreach mistakes that prevent good people like you from getting more backlog’s, make sure to subscribe and click the bell button so you don’t miss out on any of our actionable SEO and marketing tutorials. With that said, let’s get into some of the biggest mistakes I see CEOs making time and time again.
The first mistake is that you’re not doing email outreach. I completely understand that you might feel nervous or feel like you’re bothering people by sending cold emails. But let me ask you this. If you’re not actively promoting your content, how do you expect people to find it or link to it? Email outreach is an effective and affordable way to connect with people who can give you back links. And it doesn’t have to be disruptive. In the same way, it would be impossible to get a free coffee from Starbucks if you don’t go or ask for one.
The second reason why you’re not getting links is because you’re robotically copying and pasting people’s templates. You can Google something like link building templates and I’m sure you’ll find a ton of real examples. But wait a second. If these templates are working so well and consistently, why aren’t they working for you now? I’m not questioning anyone’s moral ethics, but one of two things likely happened.
Number one, they used to work super well, but they’ve lost its effectiveness. So you’re late to the party.
Number two, what works on one person or in one industry might not work in the next. I’m sure you’ve received templated emails like this that are basically saying, hey, I found your site. You linked to my competitor. I published the same article. But it’s going to take you longer to read. But believe me, it’s worth it. Now, can you link to me? Email should sound like they’re coming from a human being. They shouldn’t sound needy or like you’re asking a friend for a favor called outreach means they’re not your friends. So instead adopt the mentality of starting a relationship.
The third thing preventing you from getting links is that you’re sending an email without good reason. In my opinion, stumbling across someone’s article isn’t a good enough excuse to contact them.
Here are a few reasonable excuses you can use to contact someone when it comes to link building. They mentioned you but didn’t link to you. So you’re contacting them to say things. At this point. They know you and probably like you. They published or linked to inaccurate or outdated information. So you want to bring new research to late. They’re passionate about a topic and you have something unique to share with them that they’ll love. They have an issue with their page or website, like a broken link that you want to bring to their attention. This list is by no means exhaustive as outreach is situational, but there are reasons that I personally think are fine. In fact, a broken link building campaign I ran a little while back yielded a fifteen point five percent reply rate on unique contacts where emails that imbalance. So a four hundred and eighty nine delivered emails. I was able to get fifty eight known links, which is around a 12 percent conversion rate. Also at HFS, we ran an online dimension’s campaign a few months ago. Now, if you’re unfamiliar with this link building strategy, it’s when you contact people who have mentioned you but didn’t link to you. So you send an email and ask them to link to you. Throughout this campaign, we send four hundred and six emails and got fifty one known links as a result, which is a twelve point six percent conversion rate. And if you think that you can’t get these results because of brand or experience, then you’re wrong. The broken link building campaign was done under a name that no one knew in the industry. In HFS UNlinked mentions campaign was done mostly by two people who had never worked on a link building campaign in their lives. Watch our video on Broken Link Building to see the steps I took and emails I sent. But remember, don’t copy the template now. A good reason for contact isn’t going to be enough to earn you a link. There are other parts of your email that will impact your conversion rate. Most of the ones I receive in my inbox get ignored because of the next mistake. And that’s your email gives no benefit to the prospect whatsoever. Or, to put it bluntly, your pitch sucks. Now, I’m not saying you have to offer an incentive like money. In fact, buying back links is against Google’s terms of service. In my opinion. If you end your email off with something like So, can you link to me? This can be a factor that makes your otherwise great email not so great. Instead, I found offering something without expectation of getting a link to work best, and this is because of a social psychology principle called the rule of reciprocity, reciprocity suggests that people want to respond to a positive action with another positive action you might offer to share their content on social provi custom images to go with their images post or use your talents to get their attention. For example, I recently received an email from a cartoon artist named Gabe. He wasn’t asking for a link, but simply wanted to connect and show appreciation for my work, since he’s a super talented artist. He sent me a link to a custom cartoon drawing, although much less handsome. Another example was an experiment I Iran trying to convert links on second contact rather than first, I send 30 people in email with the subject line. Is this a good article to share of the 30 people? Twenty seven people open the email and nine responded. The three that didn’t open the email is because it never reached their inbox. The email was simple. It basically said, I’m filling up my Twitter column before I read post X and like, why is this one good to share or do you have a better one on topic? Although the sample is small of just 30 people, three people and to me, closing the experimental campaign at a 10 percent conversion rate. Now, how did I get a link here without asking? That leads us into the next link. Blocher, you quit when they won’t link to you right away. In many cases, people aren’t going to respond emphatically and say that the link to you, they might just say things. Other times they’ll say they don’t update old posts. So what do you do? You negotiate. Negotiation is a critical skill when it comes to link building in the best place to start is to try and understand what they want. For example, are you connected with the person that they’ve written about or follow on Twitter? Do you think they would be a good match for an intro? Now, if they don’t go back and edit old posts, will they accept new content such as a guest post? If you don’t offer anything else that could be mutually beneficial, then you might kill some perfectly good link opportunities.
The next reason why you’re not getting links is because you’re sending your pitches to the wrong people. In order to get linked placements, you need to find people that can make changes or decisions for their site. Generally speaking, you’ll want to look for the most appropriate contact in this or editors authors who work for the company, content marketing managers, webmasters and then generic emails as a last resort. If the person can’t make changes to the site, then they’re probably not the best person to contact. But this often comes down to the size of the company. For example, HFS has around forty five people in the company. If you contact our CEO asking for a link, I don’t think you’d respond with an emphatic yes. He’s busy running a successful software company. Now, if you contact our support email, your message will be sent to our live chat software, which will probably get archived. So in order to find the best person to contact, look through about and team pages and look for editors or people with the word content in their name. If you can’t find anyone appropriate, then look to the company LinkedIn page and search through the company directory. Whereas if you’re contacting a single author site owner, contacting the owner would probably be your best bet. Use your best judgment rather than taking the first email you find. Next up is that you’re sending emails to the wrong email address. Email finding tools like Hunter are great for email discovery, but as far as I’m aware, they often work on patterns, meaning the emails are educated guesses based on other emails in their database. You should always validate emails using a service like Never Bounce to ensure your deliverability is high and that your prospects are actually receiving your emails. Last but certainly not least, you think your content is great when it’s actually not rehashing someone else’s information and making it longer doesn’t mean that it’s great content. Unfortunately, quality content is impossible to quantify since it’s somewhat subjective and it’s also very situational. But I do want to give my subjective view of objectively good content. Here’s my take on the traits that make content great.
Number one, great content solves problems and fulfills the reason why someone visits your page. For example, if a user clicks on your article called Seventeen Easy Productivity Tips to save an hour per day, they’d probably want to know how these tips amounts to 60 Minutes, because that’s what you’re promising. You’re also solving problems and helping them become more productive.
Number two, great content is trustworthy. Let’s say you have an article on investing. Are you and or the sources you’re linking to credible anything that can impact people’s health, wealth or happiness should be thoroughly researched and ideally written by professionals when possible. After all, you could be dealing with a person’s livelihood. I also think this applies heavily to affiliate marketers. Anyone and everyone can look up the ten most expensive or popular products on Amazon and incorporate them into a best of post. But there are companies like the wire cutter who are actually buying these products, sending a list of quantifiable criteria, testing and then reporting the results. In my opinion, this should be the standard if you really want to hit top tier content.
Number three, great content incorporates media that enhances the user’s experience. For example, if you’re talking about the ripening process of strawberries, don’t just throw in a stock photo of a strawberry. Everyone knows what they look like, show a supporting gif like this that really illustrates what you’re explaining. On Jeff’s blog, we often incorporate charts and custom graphics to better illustrate our points.
Number four, great content is unbiased or honestly biased. A few months ago, we conducted a study on which Cecil versus Wordprocessor, rather than allowing my personal opinions to come in play. I asked our data scientist to give me all the conclusions in plain English. Since I had bias, I wouldn’t be the creator. I’d be the messenger. I could easily list off another five characteristics of great content, but I’ll leave it at this. If you’re doing any of these things when sending out emails for links, then take these tips and I highly recommend digging through our link building playlist. We will find additional tips to help you get more back links.