Link building is a very time-consuming process.
This is why I always start my campaigns with stealing…from my competitors. 😎
And in this 7-step guide I am going to show you exactly HOW I do it.
[pullquote align=”normal”]Here is the VIDEO walk-through of this entire article. It covers vital bits that I don’t mention in this guide. The same applies to the guide, so if you “want it all”, I recommend you read AND watch: [/pullquote]
Step 1: Have a Linkable Asset Ready
A lot of SEOs just try to analyze their direct competitor’s backlinks and “steal” those.
For example, if you are running an authority supplements e-commerce store, you will find yourself checking your local competitor’s backlink profile. They might have 100 referring domains linking to them, but you will only steal a fraction of those. Is that enough to outrank your competitor? Ceteris paribus, no way 😉
This is when linkable assets come into place.
These are pieces of content that would naturally attract links. At LinksHero we always use them combined with blogger outreach in order to generate a beautiful white hat flow of backlinks all year around!
What’s a good linkable asset? Any piece of content that is remarkable and outstanding in some way.
It actually deserves a post on its own, because there are few caveats to creating a powerful linkable asset…this is why I will go directly to my example.
Here is an infographic that I create for my affiliate site – 7 Yoga Poses that Help to Release Psoas:
It looks pretty and simple. On top of that, it’s useful and fairly remarkable because I also amplified it by adding helpful information on the subject.
This is my linkable asset and here is what I do with it now.
Step 2: Look for Popular Content That Has Links
Now its time to log into Ahrefs. It’s a lot easier to do it using this awesome SEO tool (you can use Google and Moz’s site explorer, but it only gives a limited amount of backlinks).
I log in there and go directly to Content Explorer…this tool will show me great content that received a lot of traction (Buzzsumo is very similar to Ahrefs’ Content Explorer). I will be interested in the number of Referring Domains, but that’s taking it a bit too far too fast.
First of all, what do I plug into the Content Explorer?
Here is my thinking:
- I have a cool article and an infographic on releasing the psoas muscle;
- I know that I need to find articles that are on the same subject, but have a different angle (this is the best excuse for the outreach);
- I need to find the URLs that have the most relevant links pointing to them and this means that I need to be targeting pretty generic keywords;
With all this in mind, I type in “psoas”.
Ahrefs does the job and now I need to organize things a bit. I only care for the URLs that have 50+ referring domains (see the video above for the reasons why). I also “Sort by” the number of RDs (referring domains).
This is what I see:
Step 3: Weed Out the Blurb
Now, I need to take some relevant “competitors” I am going to steal from.
Remember my thinking from above?
Here they are:
Time to check their individual backlink portfolio. I take each of those articles, plug them into Ahrefs and see all those competitors backlinks.
What do I look for:
- DR > 10***
- Not a forum, web 2.0 and generally not a news article (I said that I never outreach to the news articles, but that’s only true to a specific type of link building campaign)
- Nothing spammy/scammy
Here is what it looks like:
Follow the 5 steps I put out for you before actually going into analyzing each of those Referring Pages.
Once you do, the 4 rules that I listed above apply. Yes, you will need to look at every page manually, because it’s the only way to know whether it’s truly relevant & quality.
*** I am writing this a few days after Ahrefs changed the way they calculate their DR (aka #Ahrecalypse). This is why I say DR > 40 on the video, but DR > 10 in here. Tbh, this is very subjective. For example, if your site is DR = 20, then I would probably target anything DR > 30, but if your site is DR = 10, then anything DR > 20 is okay to go with.
Step 4: Get Their Contact Details
One of the lessons that I learned doing link building at scale…sh*t must be organized or you will get lost.
This is why I use Google’s Spreadsheets to keep everything in place (if you want the Excel template, get in touch with me 😉 )
Now is the time to grab their contact details.
Usually, you can either see their email or their contact form (I always prefer the email though) right on the “Contact Us” (or whatever) page.
If I can’t see it right away, I use the following advanced search operator:[code]contact site:domainquestion.com[/code]
Basically, I tell Google to look for “contact” only within pages of the domain I am investigating.
Once I find their contact details, I record them in the spreadsheet:
Btw, I recommend you do that using this specific sequence, which helps to batch things together (it is a lot quicker that way).
Remember that link building is a game of numbers. You know what I mean, right? 😎
After you have, at least, 50 qualified leads (that includes their contact details), it’s time to move on to next step…
Step 5: Use Blogger Outreach to Get in Touch With Them (+ Template)
Now – the hard part.
I didn’t promise it would be easy, right? But remember that it doesn’t have to be fun…to be fun 😉 (Mark Twight’s words).
Sending emails 1-by-1 is crazy inefficient.
This is when email merge systems come in handy:
All of these can make your outreach life a lot easier!
I use Mailshake, because it gives me the best value at this stage. (I tried all of the above before except for Pitchbox).
If you don’t use Mailshake try Gmass it’s the cheapest alternative..and it allows you to send 50 emails daily for free (that may well be more than enough for your campaign).
Alternatively, you make use Streak for Gmail or even Gmail’s canned responses. I am not going to go into the detail with that now because that’s really up to you.
All you need is to send emails and…follow up!
What to send? Here is a template that I used (I always tweak something, so it’s never the same – you can just steal it 😉 ):
My name is [name] and I am reaching out from [website].
I’ll go right to the point.
We just pulled together [your linkable asset] and I thought you might be interested to check it out since you are linking to the outdated article here [the URL of the article you found them linking to from Ahrefs (it should be in your Excel table)].
Our [linkable asset] is very [thourough/researched/some other way it’s remarkable].
We even reached out to [amplify the uniqueness of your linkable asset once again]…
In other words, it’s pretty much the best one out there.
Let me know if that’s of interest and I will send you the link directly.
[Name Surname] [Company Info; including your phone number]
Looks simple, right?
On top of, that it is very honest and genuine.
Notice that I don’t use their name because I didn’t find that affect the conversion rates at all. It kind of makes sense – if the thing you offer is awesome, that name thing is not going to affect their decision to place your link on their website.
Also, note that I use the company’s info and the phone number in the signature. The theory is that it makes your email to appear more legit. Personally, I think, it depends on the niche. Sometimes you want it, sometimes you don’t.
Generally, I follow up every 2-3 days. I send a total of 3 emails as a result.
Following up is as important as sending the 1st message, so you might as well not send anything if you are not going to follow-up.
What to write in the follow ups?
Please feel free to steal these templates.
Follow up #1:
Hi,[Name] here again…
I am following up just to kindly remind you of my previous email. I also wanted to let you know that I am not some kind of Artificial Intelligence 🙂
Btw, this is where you mention the outdated resource – [URL of the page you found to be linking to your “competitor”].
I think our 2018-ready [linkable asset] can fit there quite well.
Hope to see your reply soon…and thank you for your time.
Follow up #2:
It’s [name] again…
You must be very busy. 🙂
Nevertheless, I wish to see your reply, even if it’s a no.
This is it…and this is when you should start seeing quite a few people replying.
I don’t know what’s magical about it, but that’s kind of it. 😉
Step 6: Follow Up!
I know, we just spoke about following up, but I really want to make my point.
You must (!) follow up if you want any response. Really! 😎
Step 7: Scale 😉
Trust me, it will take a good while to figure it all out.
When you learn something, you first learn the rules…and then you learn how to break them because you inevitably come up with your way of doing things.
Now that I am done with “psoas articles”, I can shift my attention to something that is also relevant, but a bit more subtle.
What could it be?
Yes, I can now use Ahrefs’ Content Explorer once again and find articles that have a good number of referring domains and talk about stretching.
I can then find everyone who links to them AND scrape all those websites, so to steal some of those backlinks.
As you can see, one linkable asset quickly creates a myriad of angles and opportunities for link building. This is how white hat link building works in the nutshell: great content + a ton of blogger outreach = quality links pouring in.
Sounds simple, but it takes a lot of labor, focus, and concentration… 😉
And this is it!
Tell me – do you steal your competition’s backlinks? Comment below!
P.S. Share this link building guide, but ONLY if you found it useful. Best to you 😉