Link Building Outreach: The Ultimate Beginner Guide | Get Me Links

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Link Building Outreach: The Ultimate Beginner Guide

Global cta alex

Written by

Alejandro Meyerhans

Published on

12 January 2024

Last Updated on

05 March 2024

22 minutes read


In this guide, I’ll show you how to conduct professional link-building outreach campaigns from A to Z.

We’ll start from how to determine the best link acquisition technique all the way to how to refine your campaign to get better results.

So without further ado, let’s jump right into it.

Key Takeaways

  • There are three approaches to link-building outreach — shotgun, sniper, and hybrid.
  • To launch a successful campaign, you must first set up your goals, identify your linkable assets, and select the right link-building technique for that asset.
  • Link-building outreach is all about convincing webmasters that linking to your website will actually benefit them.

What Is Link Building Outreach?

Link-building outreach refers to the process of reaching out to other blogs and businesses — asking for a backlink.

In other words, it’s the process of convincing bloggers and webmasters to link to your website.

Link-Building Outreach Approaches

Link-building outreach is kind of like going fishing, but instead of fish, you’re trying to catch links from other websites.

And just like there are many different fishing techniques, there are also different link-building outreach methods.

1. Shotgun Outreach

Shotgun Link Outreach is like casting a wide net into the ocean and hoping to catch as many fish as possible.

Here, you don’t worry too much about having the highest response rate or getting the best-in-class backlinks.

You just send a generic template with very little personalization to all your link-building prospects and hope for the best.

Now, you must understand that shotgun outreach is a numbers game.

The more emails you send, the more links you might get.

Even if you get a 1% response rate.

That’s a backlink for every 100 emails you send.

Not so bad.

2. Sniper Outreach

Sniper Outreach is like going fishing with a specific fish in mind — using a special bait.

Here, you target specific blogs or websites, ones that really align with your content.

You research the site owner, understand what they like, and then send a personalized well-thought-out message to them.

This method takes more time and effort, but it usually has a much higher response rate because it helps you build a connection with the website owner.

3. Hybrid Outreach

Hybrid outreach gives you the best of both worlds.

You get to send personalized emails at a scale.


By segmenting your link prospects.

You'll group your link prospects into different segments based on common characteristics, such as the niche they operate in, the type of content they produce, a common page they link out to, etc.

This allows you to add a pinch of personalization to every email while reaching a larger audience.

How to Do a Link-Building Outreach Campaign Step by Step

1. Determine Your Link Building Outreach Tactic

This type of link acquisition tactic you’ll use will shape your link-building outreach campaign.

It’ll determine what link-building opportunities to look for, where to find them, how to write an email that appeals to them, etc.

Here is a quick summary of the most effective link-building techniques:

a. Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is like sharing your knowledge on someone else’s platform.

Find blogs that accept guest authors, pitch them an awesome content idea, write a valuable piece of content, and earn a backlink either in the content body, the author bio, or both.

This way, the host blog gets free, quality content, and you secure a backlink.

b. The Skyscraper Technique

The Skyscraper Technique is about outshining the competition.

You start by identifying an article that earned a lot of links in your niche, create a superior, more comprehensive version, and then contact your competitor’s linkers, inviting them to link to this much better version.

It’s about upgrading existing content and leveraging it for more links.

c. Link Reclamation

Link reclamation is about retrieving lost backlinks.

This involves identifying previously acquired backlinks that have been removed or altered and reaching out to the respective website owners to request the restoration of these links.

d. Claim Unlinked Mentions

Search for instances where your brand or content is mentioned without a link and politely ask the site owner to add one.

It’s turning word-of-mouth into actionable, clickable pathways back to your site.

e. Broken Link Building

Find broken links on websites, create relevant content that matches the broken content, and suggest to the website owner to replace the broken link with your working one.

It’s about providing solutions and improving the web while gaining links.

f. The Moving Man Technique

The Moving Man Technique is one of my favorite link-building strategies. And it works by capitalizing on outdated content.

Identify outdated or relocated content, create an up-to-date version, and inform site owners linking to the outdated content about your newly created replacement.

It’s like offering a more current and relevant resource for old, outdated ones.

g. Link Magnet Link Building

Link magnets are about creating irresistibly shareable content.

Develop content so valuable and unique that other site owners want to link to it organically, such as:

  • Infographics
  • Statistics pages
  • Online tools
  • Ultimate resources

h. HARO Link Building

HARO link building is about helping journalists while earning links.

Register on HARO, respond to journalists’ queries with insightful, valuable answers, and earn a chance to be quoted and linked back to in their blog posts.

i. Testimonial Link Building

Testimonial link building revolves around crafting thoughtful testimonials for the products you use, services you subscribe to, or businesses you collaborate with.

Start by creating a list of all such entities and approach them with an offer to write a testimonial.

This method is akin to spreading good vibes about the products and services you genuinely appreciate, and often, these businesses would be more than happy to feature your testimonial on their site, providing you with a quality backlink in return.

j. Digital PR

Digital PR is like the modern version of public relations for link building.

Create buzzworthy, newsworthy content or stories, reach out to journalists and influencers in your niche, and earn valuable links as your content gets covered by media outlets.

2. Find Your Link Prospects

The success of your link-building campaign highly depends on the quality of your link prospects.

Have a lousy prospect list, and you’ll end up wasting hours without landing a single backlink.

That’s why in this section, I’ll show you three ways to find the right prospects.

a. Reverse Engineer Your Competitors

The easiest way to find high-quality link prospects is to steal your competitors' links.

After all, if they linked to your competitors, there is a high chance they’d link to you too.

Here is how to reverse engineer your competitors:

  1. Identify Your Direct Competitors: You can do this by searching for your main niche keywords and making a list of the top-ranking websites. Alternatively, you can use the Organic Competitors report in ahrefs or semrush.
  2. Conduct a Link Gap Analysis: Plug in your competitors’ domains or specific pages into the ahrefs link intersect tool or semrush backlink gap to find all the websites that are linking to your competitors but not you.
  3. Filter & Export The Results: Filter the results based on your evaluation criteria, such as the DR, traffic, website niche, etc. We’ll get into how to filter the results later in this article.

b. Use Google Advanced Search Operators

Google advanced search operators are a bunch of commands that help you filter the SERPs for better results.

There are over 40 different search operators, but the most important ones for link prospecting are:

  • intitle:Keyword — This command will show all the pages that have your keyword in their title.
  • inurl:Keyword — This will show all the pages that have your keyword in their URL.

All you have to do from there is to use a tool like Apify to scrape the SERP, and that’s it.

You now have hundreds of relevant link prospects.

Agency Tip: Use Google’s built-in time search tool to find active websites in your niche. In the SERP, click on Tools —> Any time —> Past week, and this will show you only the websites that published relevant content in the past week.

c. Use a Link Building Outreach Tool

There are also some link-building tools that can help you find thousands of link prospects without any effort.

The best ones are:

3. Filter Your Prospects

We want links from real websites.

Links that can actually move the needle and help you rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs.)

That’s why it’s super important to set your criteria to filter out low-quality prospects.

Here are some evaluation criteria you should consider:

  • Domain Rating: This is an indication of how powerful the site's backlink profile is. In simple terms, the higher the domain rating, the more powerful a link from it will be. Usually, I won’t bother building links on websites with a domain rating of less than 20, unless they’re truly high quality.
  • Organic Traffic: I’d stay away from any website that gets less than 500 organic traffic per month because it indicates that Google doesn’t trust them enough to rank them.
  • Traffic Source & Location: It’s a lot easier to get organic traffic from third-world country SERPs. Unless I’m doing business in these countries, I’d stick to websites that get the majority of their traffic from countries like the US, UK, Australia, etc. Also, I’d take a look at the keywords and pages driving the traffic. Most of the time, you’ll find websites ranking for useless keywords, such as celebrities' net worth or songs’ lyrics.
  • Inbound to Outbound Links Ratio: This is the telltale of link farms. Link farms are websites that exist for the sole purpose of selling backlinks. You’ll often find that they link out to A LOT of websites, especially in comparison to the amount of new links they earn over time. There isn’t a set ratio you should look for, but if it doesn’t feel right, you should stay away from this website.
  • Spammy Outbound Anchor Texts: Any website that links to gambling, NSFW, or CBD websites is a big red flag. This is especially true if they use exact-match anchor texts.
  • Number of Pages Without Traffic: Another telltale of link farms is having hundreds of pages that don’t get any organic traffic. It indicates that those pages aren’t optimized for SEO, and they’re just created to give out links.
  • Domain Relevance: How relevant the domain is to my website is another factor you should consider, however, my studies show that it’s not as important as people claim because you can still get the relevance signals you need from the page and anchor text. For more information, check my article on link relevance.

4. Segment Your Prospects List

This step is about finding similarities between our prospects, so we can craft semi-personalized outreach emails that appeal to a large number of them.

In other words, instead of manually writing an email to each prospect, we’ll group them into different segments and create an email template for each segment.

When done correctly, this email template will sound super personalized to the receiver — which highly increases both your response rate and your campaign scalability.

Here are a few ways to segment your prospects:

  • Niche: When we’re building links, we often look at page relevance rather than domain relevance. For example, we’re a link-building agency. It makes sense to get links from SEO blogs. But it also makes sense to get links from an outreach software website to our link-building outreach guide.
  • Article Type: Whether it’s a listicle, a how-guide, or a blog post, each article type requires a different outreach email.
  • Your Strategy: How do you intend to acquire this link? Are you offering a free guest post? Are using the skyscraper technique to get a niche edit? Giving away a free infographic? Paying for a link placement? Each tactic demands a unique approach and message.
  • The Linkable Point: Are your prospects linking to an outdated stat? An article with unhelpful or misleading information? Do you think your prospect’s article misses valuable insights that you can offer? All of these could be linkable points that would make your outreach email feel super personalized.

5. Find The Prospect Email Address

Finding the right contact information is your golden ticket in the outreach game.

If you're throwing your line into the vast ocean of the internet, you need to know exactly where to drop your bait!

a. Utilize ‘Contact Us’ Pages

Start simple. The ‘Contact Us’ page is the go-to spot to snatch up email addresses.

Take a quick glance, and often, you’ll find the golden nugget — the email address you need. If it’s there, grab it; if not, let’s move on.

b. About Us & Author Bio Sections

Delve a bit into ‘About Us’ pages and Author Bio sections.

Grab the first and last name of the author, then use this amazing email premutator to get a list of all possible email addresses.

Plug the list into an email validator to ensure it’s legit, and that’s it!

c. Use Email Finder Tools

Tools like and Voila Norbert can find the email addresses associated with a domain — which is perfect for scaling your link-building outreach process.

d. Social Media Deep Dive

Jump into LinkedIn, Twitter, or even Facebook, and snoop around a bit.

There is a very high chance you’ll find a contactable email there.

6. Craft Your Email

Let’s set things straight.

Link-building is about offering value.

If you have nothing to add to the table, you’re not building links, you’re just spamming.

And by offering value, I don’t mean creating a slightly better version of an article and spamming people's inboxes thinking they owe you a link.

The truth is no one gives a flying F about how much better your content is or that you can write them an “SEO-optimized article for free.”

Webmasters get hundreds of these emails per month.

That’s why your pitch must stand out!

And that’s exactly what this section is about.

I’ll show you how to craft an email that stands out and gets the highest conversion rate possible.

a. Start With The Why

You know that age-old saying, "What's in it for me?"

Well, that's precisely what every website owner is thinking when they read your pitch.

This isn’t charity.

Webmasters won’t bother updating an old article or going through the hassle of editing a guest post out of the kindness of their hearts.

You must offer something in return.

You must make them believe that doing that would actually benefit them.


Well, this really depends on your link acquisition tactic and your qualifications.

For example, everyone loves to link to articles with original research, so if your post has new data or a unique perspective, that could be your selling point.

If you’re an electrician trying to land guest posts, your pitch could focus on your qualifications and expertise in the field.

If you’re an SEO or a niche site owner, you could offer them a free keyword gap analysis, and find a few keywords they could easily rank for.

No matter your angle or expertise, the key is to highlight the value you bring to the table.

So start by making a list of what you can offer, and let’s proceed to the next step.

Agency Tip: What you consider valuable, isn’t necessarily valuable to the other person. Try to put yourself in their shoes to truly understand what they need.

b. Write The First Draft

A good link-building outreach email should contain three key things:

  1. The reason why should someone link to you
  2. Social proof to support your claim and add a personal touch to your email
  3. A call-to-action that encourages the recipient to reply

This is better explained with an example, so I’ll walk you through a successful link-building campaign that I ran recently.

My client was in the energy niche.

And for those who don’t know.

This niche is super competitive with lots of high authority sites.

I noticed that although some articles were very technical, there were very few custom graphics to help explain those topics.

That was my selling point.

I looked for pages that got lots of links, made infographics that nicely explained the article, and reversed-engineered those articles to get my prospects list.

So my “why” was basically: Hey, use that infographic on your page to make it better + prevent your visitors from leaving your page to get more info.

My social proof was that I’m an electrical engineer with years of experience in the field + the infographic itself is proof that I know what I’m talking about.

Finally, since I knew that the audience was underserved when it came to custom graphics, my call-to-action plan was to offer the webmaster access to my “cheap, yet very good graphic designers.”

So that was basically my outreach email.

All that I had to do next was to use my copywriting skills to craft the email.

Spoiler alert: I’m a horrible copywriter, so please don’t hold that against me.

c. Refine Your Copy

Here's how to perfect your outreach copy to make it compelling, relatable, and actionable:

  • Prioritize Clarity Over Cleverness: It might be tempting to come up with witty lines or clever hooks, but remember that clarity should be your priority. Your recipient should understand your intent within the first few sentences.
  • Adopt a Conversational Tone: Picture yourself sitting across the table from your recipient and talking to them. Write as you speak. This makes your email feel more like a genuine interaction and less like a generic pitch.
  • Be Personal, Not Generic: Mention something specific about the recipient's site or work that you genuinely appreciate. This shows you've done your homework and aren't just spamming.
  • Short and Sweet: The longer your email, the less likely it is to be read. Stick to the point and make every word count. Eliminate fluff and unnecessary jargon.
  • Inject Authenticity: Be genuine in your approach. If you truly believe your content or proposal adds value, it will come through in your writing.
  • Use Bullet Points or Subheadings: If there are multiple points you want to cover, use bullet points or subheadings. This makes your email scannable and easy to digest.
  • Include a Clear Call to Action (CTA): What do you want the recipient to do after reading your email? Whether it's clicking on a link, checking out a resource, or simply replying, make sure your CTA is clear and compelling.
  • Proofread for Errors: Nothing undermines your credibility faster than spelling and grammatical errors. Always proofread your emails before hitting send.
  • Test and Refine: Not every approach will work with every audience. Analyze the response rate of your outreach link-building efforts, refine your copy based on feedback, and continue to optimize.

Agency Tip: Make AI write the outreach templates for you. Or at least, the first draft.

7. Track Your Outreach

Once you have initiated your outreach, it is crucial to monitor the responses and manage your relationships effectively.

a. Use Outreach Tools

Outreach tools like Pitchbox or Buzzstream can help you keep track of your emails, responses, follow-ups, and link placements, ensuring that you don’t lose track of your outreach efforts.

b. Monitor Responses

Regularly check for responses and address them promptly. A timely and appropriate response can significantly increase your chances of securing a backlink.

c. Keep a Record

Maintain a record of your outreach attempts, responses, follow-ups, and acquired links.

This will help you refine your link-building strategy, avoid contacting the same prospects repeatedly, and measure the success of your outreach campaign.

8. Evaluate and Refine Your Strategy

Finally, regularly review the effectiveness of your link-building outreach strategy.

  • Analyze Results: Examine the number of high-quality backlinks acquired, the quality of the links, the response rate, and the overall impact on your website’s SEO performance.
  • Identify Areas for Improvement: Based on your analysis, pinpoint what’s working and what’s not. Modify your outreach emails, targeting criteria, or outreach methods as needed to improve results.
  • Continuously Optimize: Link-building outreach is not a one-time task but an ongoing process. Continuously optimize your strategy, test different approaches, and stay updated with the latest link-building trends and best practices.

Link Building Outreach Templates

I’m not a big fan of outreach templates.

And honestly, if I received an email that I think is copy-pasted, I’d instantly lose interest.

It just takes away a lot of your credibility and makes you seem like you’re just there for links — which is always an indicator of low quality.

Instead, I encourage you to write your own templates using AI.

To make your life easier, I created a ChatGPT prompt that can help you write compelling emails.

All you have to do is fill in the blanks, and you should get a pretty good first draft.

Feel free to check it out yourself:

Craft an effective link-building outreach email with the following guidelines and inputs:

1. Context about your website and prospects’ content: [Details about your prospects’ page/website, link acquisition technique, and what your page is about]

  • Tip: Showcase genuine knowledge about your content and its alignment with the recipient's audience or platform.

2. Unique value or justification: [Why someone should link to your content]

  • Tip: Clearly state the value proposition early on for immediate understanding.

3. Relevant social proof: [Credibility elements like mentions in a publication or testimonials]

  • Tip: Seamlessly weave in social proof to bolster your claims, without bragging.

4. Witty call-to-action: [Engaging request for the recipient to take action]

  • Tip: Clearly define what you'd like the recipient to do next in a compelling manner.

Best Practices:

  • Conversational Tone: Write as if you're chatting over coffee. Keep it genuine and friendly.
  • Personal Touch: Point out a specific element about the recipient's work that resonates with you.
  • Short & Direct: Avoid lengthy paragraphs. Be concise and remove unnecessary words.
  • Authenticity: Express genuine interest and belief in the value your content offers.
  • Structured Layout: For multiple points, utilize bullet points or subheadings for easy scanning.
  • Clear CTA: Ensure the recipient knows exactly what the next step should be.
  • Error-Free: Always proofread your copy. A single typo can detract from your credibility.
  • Iterative Approach: Adapt and optimize based on the responses you receive.
  • Grabbing Subject Line: Think of a subject that's short, relevant, and piques curiosity.

Link Building Outreach Tips & Tricks

Here are a few tips to take your link-building outreach game to the next level:

  • Test for Spam Words: Before hitting that send button, run your email through a tool like Folderly to identify spam words that can trigger the email provider's security and cause your email to land in the spam folder.
  • Use a Branded Email Address: Sending from an address like feels a lot more professional than a generic Gmail address. Plus, it adds a level of authenticity and trust to your outreach.
  • Warm Up Your Emails: If you’re new to outreach, don’t start by blasting hundreds of emails. Start by sending a few emails to colleagues and friends, then gradually increase the number. This helps avoid getting flagged by email providers. You can also use one of the many free email warmup tools.
  • Find the Right Contact: It’s all about reaching the right person. Don’t settle for generic email addresses. Aim for decision-makers or relevant department heads. This might require a little extra research, but the results are worth it.
  • Verify Before Sending: Use a tool like mailmeteor email checker to double-check the validity of the email. This step is crucial, as bouncing emails can harm your sender's reputation, causing your email to land in the spam folder.
  • Personalize and Be Relevant: Begin by introducing yourself and your organization briefly. Highlight a mutual benefit or explain a specific problem you can solve for them. Remember, it's not about you — it's about how you can add value to them. So, make your pitch concise, direct, and genuinely helpful.
  • Engage Outside the Inbox: Building rapport isn’t confined to emails. Interact with your high-value prospects on social media platforms. Comment on their posts, share their content, or simply drop a friendly message. That way, when they see your outreach email, there’s a sense of familiarity.
  • Always Follow Up: Don’t get disheartened if you don’t get a reply instantly. Sometimes emails get buried, overlooked, or forgotten. A gentle follow-up can remind them of your initial email and show you're genuinely interested.

Best Link Building Outreach Tools

  • Best Free Link Building Tool: Semrush Link Building Tool
  • Best All-in-One Link Building Tool: Respona
  • Best for Influencer Link Building: Buzzsumo
  • Best Email Finder: Hunter
  • Best Free Email Outreach Tool: Gmass


What Is the Outreach Process for Link Building?

The outreach process for link-building consists of:

  1. Determining the best link acquisition technique for your website/page
  2. Finding prospects
  3. Filtering the prospect list
  4. Segmenting the prospects based on common characteristics
  5. Craft your outreach email
  6. Track your results
  7. Refine your link-building outreach campaign

What Is Email Outreach in Link Building?

Email outreach in link building is the process of contacting webmasters, bloggers, and influencers, and asking them to link to your content.

What Are Outreach Methods?

The 3 outreach methods are shotgun outreach, sniper outreach, and hybrid outreach.


To make the most of your link-building outreach, it's essential to approach it as a two-way street.

It's not just about what you can get out of it, but what value you can offer in return.

We have been building backlinks at a scale for over 5 years now.

Each month, we build thousands of high-quality links in over 100 different niches for our clients.

If you want us to take care of all the hard work involved in link-building for you, feel free to book a consultation call with one of our link-building experts.

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