Backlinks are one of the best assets in your SEO strategy. Plus it's one of the most important factors in the Google algorithm to discover your content and rank it high.
On the other hand, backlink outreach is also one of the most difficult topics in outreach campaigns.
In this article, you'll learn how to facilitate links with 8 different backlink strategies and link building email templates to inspire your next backlink outreach.
- Why are backlinks important
- How to identify quality backlink opportunities
- What templates you can use for your backlink outreach
What is a backlink?
A backlink is a link from another website to yours. For example, this blog article mentions one of lemlist blog articles with the anchor text "follow-up".
Why are backlinks important
First, if you place your backlinks on relevant websites in your industry, you build credibility and bring qualified traffic to your website.
On top of that, each backlink sends a positive signal to Google that your content is credible and useful. Think of it as other people putting in a good word for you.
Down the road, each backlink helps you improve your rankings and drive more traffic.
To truly understand the dynamics of backlinks, you need to understand what types exist out there. Starting with...
Do-follow & no-follow backlinks
Do-follow are ones that will get you the SEO juice you're looking for.
No-follow links won't bring SEO benefit, but they can still bring qualified traffic. If placed strategically, of course.
From an SEO standpoint, you should always go for do-follow backlinks. However, keep in mind that you need both types of backlinks to win in the long run.
So if somebody can offer a no-follow backlink only, take it. They're still meaningful for traffic and reputation.
To verify the type of backlink, you can inspect the element directly on your browser with a right-click.
If you see a rel=”nofollow” attribute in the HTML, that link is a no-follow. Otherwise, you got yourself a do-follow link.
Also, keep in mind that not all backlinks are good. The ones coming from untrusted and questionable sources can impact your SEO negatively. Especially if they've been penalized by Google (or other search engines) in the past.
The best way to defend and keep your website healthy is to run a quick backlink audit from time to time, filter new ones and keep an eye on who's linking to your real estate.
Keep an eye on:
- Low Domain Authority, Trust and Citation Flows
- High Spam Score
- 100+ outbound links to one single page
- The domain isn't indexed by Google
If you identify such, and they will come like winter does, don't sweat about it. Delete them by following Google's Disavow Process.
Internal linking strategy
Internal backlinks are links from one page on your website to another. In other words, both pages belong to your domain.
Do they have an impact on SEO?
Yes! And they are quite important as Google discovers new content thanks to them when they crawl pages already known.
Internal linking also assists in putting a hierarchical structure of a website, thus allowing the spread of link equity around websites.
Like for any other backlinks, anchor matters, so choose them wisely.
The pages without any internal links are called orphan pages. To identify them you can use an SEO tool, but you also have a free option in Google Search Console.
Just go to Links section in the left menu and choose internal links list. Then, organize the list to show pages with the lowest number of internal links first.
Ahrefs put together a wonderful piece on the ABCs of internal linking, if you need an in-depth guide.
How to identify quality backlink opportunities
Truth be told, it's super simple to identify high-quality backlink opportunities, but it's hard to get links placed there.
But first things first, how do you learn to identify such backlink opportunities.
Here are the high-quality backlink characteristics you want to pay attention to:
- High domain authority
- Decent website traffic
- They've given do-follow or no-follow backlinks in the past
Domain authority is pretty straightforward. As for website traffic, you want to watch out for organic traffic trends. What's their traffic volume and are there any significant drops in traffic?
Besides that, analyze the specific page you want to get a backlink from. How's that page performing on Google and how much traffic is it generating.
Another suggestion is to also assess the types of backlinks they're giving and how many outbound links are there on a page. If the target website is giving no-follow backlinks, it would be extremely hard to avoid the same faith.
On top of that, too many outbound links on a page mean less authority is transferred via each external link.
Get backlinks through guest posts
When it comes to backlinks, a good way to facilitate them is by writing guest posts.
Use the quotation marks to indicate which exact word you want and get more accurate results from Google.
For instance, you can type YOUR KEYWORD + "guest posts", or "write for us" + advertising.
The good thing to do next is to use filters and list recent ones.
You'll get freshly baked stuff. 😎
You also want to assess how authoritative and strong a website is.
Domain authority is a good piece of information to have in your spreadsheet. My suggestion would be to use Ahrefs' Chrome extension. Super simple stuff!
I took this quick little Google Sheet from Webris, modified it a little bit and I'm now giving it to you to help you with search queries.
It will save you time, plus it's free. So TAKE IT! 😉
Use link building search operators
Check broken links to get backlinks
People hate seeing 404 links on their website. It's a bad experience for the visitors.
So, once you've identified interesting websites for your business, see if they have 404s on their domain. I know, I know, it's an already seen SEO tactic.
It still works if you do it in a cool way and don't send generic emails. We'll come to the templates later. ;)
Tools like Ahrefs can help you to find broken links on any website.
Then, get in touch with the owner of the website, tell them that they have 404 pages, and suggest one of your links to replace it.
Create backlinks with high-quality content
Quality content drives organic backlinks and shares. It makes other people want to get links from you.
To make your content stronger, promote it like your life depends on it. Share it on Social Media and send it to people from your network who might be interested.
Also, you can contact people or companies who are mentioned in your content. For example, if you're mentioning a tool, you can notify them as:
"Hey, I just published this article about [topic], and since I love your tool, I mentioned it in the part X. Thanks for being awesome!"
To me, the content that gets shared the most, are guides, tutos, or checklists.
For example, this article from Backlinko... Copywriting: The definitive guide has 1.81K backlinks.
How did Brian Dean succeed to reach such results?
First, he knows that "copywriting guide" is the main keyword he wants to address. So he puts it clearly in the url, in the first title, and also in the first paragraph.
He also uses top related keywords for his headlines, such as "what is copywriting", "how to become a copywriter".
Moreover, there's a very clear structure so that anyone could find his specific need when checking the article. This makes content writers more willing to share this article with their audience because they'll find clear answers.
Also, when a question is asked in a title, he answers at once before going into more details. This is great for 2 things: the reader doesn't get lost, but also, it can give SEO snippet opportunities (great SEO tips here 😎).
Overall, with a hot topic with high search intent, a clear structure, smart use of keywords, you have good materials in your hand to create content that'll be highly shareable, and hence receive a lot of organic backlinks.
Leverage your competitors' backlinks
Many SEO tools can help you nail this process. I prefer Ahrefs. After lemlist, it's one of my favorite tools.
Here are the exact ways in which I like to use it to find backlink opportunities.
Go to "Best by links" option under "Pages" in the menu on the left. You'll be provided with a list of best-performing pages and all the backlinks linking to them.
Click on dofollow or nofollow numbers and analyze EVERYTHING and you're golden. Here is an article to help you to find email addresses.
Check groups and communities to find backlinks
There are hundreds of groups filled with content and SEO people. It can be on Slack, Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, anywhere. You just have to find them and start the conversation.
Here are my favorites when it comes to backlink building:
- Scale Math SEO Community
- Game of Content
- B2B Bloggers Boost Group
- FirstSiteGuide this is not a community, but a good website with resources about backlink building
Identify the mood of the community and then you can either
- Publish an announcement to say you're open for backlink discussion
- Identify interesting profiles and contact them directly
- Find previous posts mentioning backlink exchange proposition and identify those who were willing to participate.
Find backlinks on Twitter
Rarely do I turn to Twitter, but in some scenarios, it might come handy. The trick here is to type a query in the search bar, like "link roundups". Switch to the latest tweets and let Twitter know you wanna see everyone's updates.
Recommended read: How to get and build connections on Twitter
Get backlinks by being creative on LinkedIn
LinkedIn posts can be a great way to find backlink opportunities. For example. Daria ran a really nice campaign.
While figuring out her backlink strategy, Daria started building a solid list of contacts.
She sent them a campaign and suggested becoming a part of a list that she'd share with her network. And BOOM, she got a super attractive lead magnet.
This is the post she published.
After that, you can scrap the info with Phantombuster to get the contact info of the prospects, and contact them via an outreach campaign.
8 backlink outreach email templates
Now that we've learned how to get backlinks with different link building strategies, the next step is to create great outbound campaigns.
Here are some backlink email templates to get inspiration.
Genuine backlink request email template
Sometimes, the simplest thing to do is to ask.
By first politely asking if the prospect is the right person, he makes sure not to make them lose their time, plus it make the outreach smart.
Then the genuine approach comes naturally.
We all know that backlink outreach is one of the toughest, so be transparent.
And that's what did Alan with 69% open rate.
How to find potential backlink partners
In your cold email, you can also suggest exchanging something... giving a win-win situation in the process.
Here, the lovely puppy picture of Lara makes the email too cute to resist.
Plus, she put herself in their shoes and think about what can be interesting for them, and what they'd consider as a win.
Daria used humor with her dog to launch her campaign.
And that's not all. She also added a follow-up to improve her reply rate. For this purpose, she put a 2-day delay between first and second email.
This campaign brought a 92% open rate to Daria and a 44% reply rate.
From 84 emails sent, she managed to build relationships with 36 people.
If you wanna know more about follow-ups, this article gives you 9 follow-up email templates.
How to build backlinks after a LinkedIn post
Ok now comes what everyone is waiting for... Daria's story about using LinkedIn as her lead magnet to do some link building.
Here is her email:
She sent this email a few days after her post was published.
People will see Daria's face. Since they already engaged and indicated they are interested in the collaboration, they might read the mail until the end.
And she did it well since she had a 86% open rate.
You could also go one step further and add a personalized video to a landing page.
You can check this video for more details.
How to get backlinks to your website with unlinked mentions
Depending on how strong your brand is, various people will inevitably mention your brand or company from time to time.
The game plan is straightforward. As soon as you receive an update that somebody has mentioned your company, you reach out to them to turn it into a high-quality backlink.
How to know when somebody mentions your name? Check Mention or a similar tool.
Here's the email template we like to use:
If you end up knowing the author or you can be referred to them, it's even easier.
Create backlinks with broken backlink opportunities
Here's the process for this broken backlink opportunities strategy:
- find a certain page and run it through Check My Links to see broken links
- alternatively, run a backlink report on Ahrefs to locate them
- track down your piece of content that would fit in there instead
The broken link strategy relies on you telling a website owner that there's a non-working link on their page. Not only will you make them aware of an SEO issue, but you'd also do the work for them by recommending a link that fits in instead.
It's assumed they'll be grateful for it and replace the broken link with yours. In other words, the difficulty and the prospect's mindset are a bit easier here.
How to create backlinks with guest posts
The process consists of five phases, more or less.
- Finding guest post opportunities (discussed earlier)
- Set up a .csv file and gather emails/form inquiries
- Send a pitch
- Write the article
- Make sure it gets published
However your process ends up looking, I'll at least help you out with the email template. I've been guest posting a few years ago, after which I hit the pause button.
If you want to put all the chances on your side, you have to do your homework and do your research on your prospects.
Because the more you'll show them that you understand their goal and top priorities for their content, you'll assure them and they will be more willing to discover what you're suggesting.
Getting featured on podcasts to get backlinks
Although most of these don't bring any SEO value, they are still gold. Remember, it's about generating quality traffic too.
Whatever the word "conversion" means for your business, it's always a good idea to have whatever links in places where your audience spends time.
Here's my pitch in my backlink outreach...
A bunch of videos and interviews were recorded in both English and French up until this day... you can check it out with a simple YouTube search for Guillaume or me.
I've already published a case study on how to get featured in podcasts. Just go there and you'll see everything, including my high-performing email template.
You can find some of our podcasts on our lempire's podcasts page too.
List your tool to create backlinks
Basically, you segment out all the articles that list specific tools under different categories. You probably know how popular posts such as "Best X tools for Y" or "Z tools every sales team needs" are.
Have a spreadsheet with these contacts ready, scrape down their emails and send them your pitch. My advice is to have a blurb and a screenshot ready for them to include it asap, with your backlink and anchor text. This way, there's no heavy push on their end to make it happen.
You've done it for them.
Here's the template...
This image will be automatically updated with the website of my prospect.
If you need more details on how you proceed, Charlie made a tuto video to help you out.
If you've followed me until here, you now have more keys to get backlinks and bring more traffic to your content.
Create great content, promote it, find opportunities, launch our email outreach campaign, and - don't forget - if someone asks you how to get backlinks, you can always begin with "it's all about creating relationships 😉".