SEO requires links, and a good diverse mix of them, in order to experience success in the organic search results. Often times the best way to acquire the most desired links for your campaign is through outreach.

I see a common problem when it comes to outreach, and it’s preventing a lot of companies from securing the links they want to add to their backlink profile.

What is that?

It’s using the same cookie cutter pitch for every website and blog and for every approach. People are sending a generic pitch with zero thought behind it and that just doesn’t work.

You have to be creative and stand out and the only way to do that is to adjust your pitch angle according to what type of link you are going after.

Pitches need to be direct to the point. Top websites, and even unknown blog as well, receive pitches and inquiries every single day. If your “ask” isn’t direct you will be ignored. The easier you make it for them to say “Yes,” the more links you will secure.

What a crazy concept, right?

I’m going to talk about several different outreach situations and tell you the best way to approach each one. These are the same strategies my agency uses to help secure links for our clients.

If you want to see results from your link outreach strategy, you need to pay attention and implement these methods.


Guest Blogging Requests

This is probably one of the most frequent outreach requests, as landing a guest blogging column can lead to a lot more than just one link. It can result in several links as well as exposure for your business and referral traffic.

Because of this, websites and blogs receive pitches daily. You have to stand out if you want to be considered, and there are two major things people don’t do when pitching a guest blog, regardless if it’s a one-time post they are after or a column.

They don’t provide examples (or if they do they are garbage) and they don’t tell them what value-add they can provide. So, first, learn to write well. Start a blog on your website or a column on Medium and get writing. Then a simple pitch would be:


“I have an article that would be a perfect fit for your blog. You can see examples of my writing here: (link) and I would also share my contributions to my social media following of 35,000 people, which should drive some instant traffic to your site. Mind if I send you the pitch?”


That is direct and lets them know you can give them value. If they reply you can easily close them and secure the spot.


Adding an Image Resource to an Existing Article

Know how many people approach blogs with the same, ”Hey we have an article that is similar to yours. Want to link to it?” pitch. And guess what? That doesn’t’ work.

Let’s use common business sense. A website is a selling tool. There is a cost associated with driving traffic. Why in the world do they want to link to you and potentially have their traffic click over and leave their website and go to yours?


Seriously! Think about how ridiculous that sounds.

Instead, find a way to create a very nice custom image, graphic or even custom header image for the particular page you want a link from. Then pitch them on using it and just giving you a small image credit link. You can even say it can be located out of view and in the smallest H6 tag.

This way you get the link and they don’t risk losing traffic. The key is to really create an image that they cannot pass up. Spend some time on this and think of how you can add value. This approach works very well.


Product Review and/or Testimonial

You have to spend money to make money in business, and if that means buying a product or service in order to help your success rate of landing link placements, then so be it.

Are you trying to score a link from a SaaS company blog? Think of how many guest blog pitches they get every day? An endless number of them. What is their goal? They want to sell. They need sales to survive.

So, buy what they are selling. Then, approach them and tell them that you love it and you have written an in-depth case study and review and you are offering it to them to post on their blog.

You will be hard pressed to find a company that wouldn’t want to post something from a third-party reviewer that is praising their product. It can’t be a fluff piece and the more technical and in-depth you can get the better.

For example, if I was using this approach to score a link on the blog of an SEO tool’s website, I would buy it and use it, then create a review/case study full of images and a complete how-to along with the results. This takes time, but can help you get links from websites that otherwise would never entertain your pitch.



Sponsored Post

This is the exact same strategy as the guest blogging pitch outlined above, except for this we are offering money from the start. You want to use this approach on websites that you know for a fact accept paid post or ones that undoubtedly have hundreds of pitches being sent to them each week.

Money gets people’s attention. They are at least going to consider the offer. Now, you can’t have a spammy or low quality site. Nobody is going to link to garbage. So, an aggressive and direct pitch would be:


“I have an article that would be a perfect fit for your blog and we also have a nice budget set aside for the right publishing partner. It’s fully edited and ready for publication. We can send it over to you for a quick read if you would like and if you think your audience will connect with it we can arrange for payment immediately. Also, we can share it with more than 80,000 social media follower once published. Mind if I send it over?”


Broken Link Campaign

We have all read about the broken link method, and it used to work amazing, but now everyone is firing up campaigns and publishers get annoyed for two reasons:


  • They are getting pitches to replace broken links with a link to something not even remotely similar.


  • They are getting bombarded with requests, because if one person found a broken link on their website then hundreds did, because they are all using the same broken link discovery tools.


So, you need to stand out and make them want to actually drop your link as a replacement rather than the other 10 pitches sitting in their inbox. We accomplish this with a double-punch bribe:


“Hey, I am sure you are well aware that you have a broken link here: [URL]. Unlike the other pitches, we actually have a replacement link that will add value. I know your time is valuable, so if you end up replacing it with our link shoot me an email with your PayPal and I will send you $50 as a ‘Thank You.’


That is all. Watch the response you get.


Creating a Unique (and Irresistible) Asset

Years ago you could create a half-decent infographic and get a bunch of great links. Now it’s much harder because everyone is going that. Also, many sites will just download it and post it without linking to you.

The trick is to create an asset that has to live on your website. It cannot be removed. Think of a tool or widget that you integrate into your server and display on your blog.

Let me give you an example. If we were trying to pitch health blogs, we could create a daily macro tracker that would be a calculator, allowing the visitor to enter their sex, height, weight, fitness goals, etc. and it would kick out a recommended daily level of protein, carbs and fat they should be consuming along with some food and meal recommendations.

It needs to look amazing, have a lot of bells and whistles and blow people away. If you do that, you will have blogs wanting to link to it because it’s new and unique. It also allows them to show their readers something different.

This is a great strategy to use to help you score link pitches from very niche blogs. It comes down to creativity. Your asset cannot suck. It has to be dripping with the “Wow” factor.



Conduct and Host Expert Roundups

Roundups are still a great way to build links and if you go big you can score big.

But you need to be sure it’s a good fit for the niche you are targeting.

Let me explain a niche that isn’t ideal, using the SEO industry as an example.

There are SEO roundups posted all the time. Most of them are fluff. It’s a long list of people saying the same things over and over. Look at some of the massive ones that are posted, containing “50 SEO Experts” or even more. Look at how many links are pointing to the roundup.

Little to none at all.

Whoa! Why?

Because the SEOs will reply to a roundup inquiry because they want a link, but they are going to be hard pressed to give one back. They don’t want to link to another SEO website and pass juice to a competitor.

But, if you think intelligently, you can leverage a roundup to make your pitch very well received.

Create the “roundup” before you contact the targets. Let’s pretend you have a local food blog and you are building out a lot of content with the hopes of monetizing it with AdSense and affiliate offers, like Amazon.

So, you could create a huge content piece, like “The Top 100 Pizza Places in the U.S.” and then reach out to each, letting them know they made the list. Now, create an award and host it on your website. Make it simple so you just have to change the name of the pizza place for each, and include that in your email. Make it look amazing and special. You will see many will add it to their website.

This is a very effective way. When you pitch this way, you are inflating their ego and giving them a way to show off that ego, via the widget you created. Spend a few dollars having one professionally designed. Make it pop. The more legit it looks, the more websites will display it, getting you a niche link each time.


Competition One-Ups

This involves using a tool like BuzzSumo and finding the most popular pieces of content in terms of social shares and earned links and then making an even better piece of content, essentially one-upping the original creator.

You can do this for long-form blog posts and infographics. For infographics, you can take basically the same content and just make it more visually appealing. Think about this: a lot of the most popular and successful infographics were designed 10 years ago.

If you make one more visually appealing you are going to find a lot of blogs (especially those that have adapted a more modern and flat design) are going to be more than happy to replace the only infographic with your new eye-appealing one.

Your pitch needs to be direct and not beat around the bush:


“I see you have published the following infographic: [URL]. It’s a great topic and one that we actually felt needed a re-fresh. You are more than welcome to replace that outdated and stale design with ours: [URL]. Copy and paste the share code under it and it will take you two seconds to have a much more eye-appealing infographic for your readers.”


That is it. Short. Sweet. Direct.



These are all pretty cut and dry, right?

There are no top secret methods. It’s a combination of common sense and a hard work ethic, which are two things many people lack. So many people want the reward without the work, and it just doesn’t work that way.

If you poll 100 people and ask them if they would rather put the work in and create different outreach approaches for several different situations like above, or fire up automated “outreach” software that spams, 95 out of 100 are going to opt for the software.

For those that are willing to put in the time and effort, take the tips above and get to work. For those that want the easier approach, hire an agency to handle your link building. But please, stop using spammy outreach software and the same templates every other spammer is using.

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear what you think of outreach, as well as your personal experience and/or additional tips and strategies you have found work. So drop a comment below and let’s get some outreach discussion cranking.

Tommy McDonald

Tommy is an SEO professional with years of experience running highly successful SEO companies, founded SerpLogic after noticing there was a major void when it came to options for SEO agencies needing a reliable and professional one-stop outsource solution.You can read all about me in the “About” page here on our blog!

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