SEO is anything but a “one size fits all” strategy. What works for one website may not work for another. And what worked for you in the past may not yield the same results in the future.
From startup companies to enterprise websites, SEO is critical. Taking this one step further, there is nothing more important than high-quality inbound links. Aka backlinks.
But here is the million dollar question: what is the best way to build backlinks without drawing the ire of Google?
While there are lots of ways you can try to build backlinks – such as content marketing, inbound marketing, social media marketing, and influencer marketing, there is one tactic you might be overlooking.
Cold e-mailing. Yes, you read that right. Sending cold e-mails is one of the best ways to generate backlinks. The response rate may not knock your socks off, but as this study shows, an open rate of nearly 50% is possible.
Here are five examples of cold e-mails that will get you closer to the 50-percent open rate:
1. Introduce Yourself
Disclaimer: This type of email is less likely to generate immediate results, but it is the first step in building a strong relationship that will eventually pay off.
Try this example:
I wanted to send you a quick note of introduction. As a marketing professional, I love what you are doing with your website, [website].com.
Being that we work in the same industry, I was hoping to connect via e-mail and stay in touch.
If there is ever anything I can do for you, feel free to reach out. And as always, I will continue to read your blog and stay current with news about your business.
You aren’t asking for a backlink. You don’t even allude to the fact that you have a website. This is nothing more than a basic introduction on which you can build off of in the future.
2. Send a Link to Your Best Blog Posts
Maybe the recipient is familiar with your blog. But maybe he or she doesn’t even know it exists. Why take the risk?
With this approach, send a link – or two – to your best blog post and let the content do the talking. Try this on for size:
As I’m sure you’re quite busy, I’ll be brief. I am a big fan of your company, and wanted to share some of my work with you.
Recently, I published a blog post entitled [blog post name]. In it, I discuss a variety of strategies for [the topic].
If you have a minute, I would love for you to read the post and let me know your thoughts. It is always nice to receive feedback from somebody with as much industry experience as yourself.
Thanks again for your time.[your name]
It’s a bit more direct than the first template, so your goal (and hope!) is that the person reads the post and likes it enough to do one of two things:
Add your blog to their regular reading list
Link back to this particular post, or another, in the near future
You can’t guarantee that this will generate a backlink, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. If nothing else, the person is now aware of your blog. At that point, it’s up to your content to do the selling.
3. Point Out a Recent Mention
Moving forward, this strategy is a bit more direct than #2. Here is how it works:
Publish a blog post in which you mention a particular company (or maybe several).
Reach out to the appropriate party, via e-mail, to let them know about the link.
There is a fine line between being helpful and sending spam. You need to know where to draw the line. Here is an example that you can customize to fit your needs:
As a fan of your brand, I recently mentioned your company in a blog post entitled [blog post name]. Not only do I love what your company has to offer, but I am positive that my readers feel the same way.
If you have any time, it would be an honor for you to read the post and provide your thoughts. It’s always helpful to hear from people in your position.
Once again, thanks for everything you do. I hope my recent post sends some qualified traffic to your website.
Hope to hear from you soon.[your name]
This is a big step forward and is getting you even closer to directly asking for a backlink.
The biggest advantage of this strategy is that you have already demonstrated to the recipient that you respect their company. What this person doesn’t know is that you published the link, to a certain degree, in an attempt to generate the same response in the future.
If you are lucky, this approach will result in traffic to your site and an eventual backlink.
4. Suggest Where Your Website Fits In
Do you have reason to believe that your website should be included on a specific resource page? Do you think that your content could be of great assistance to a particular audience?
There is nothing wrong with reaching out to others and suggesting where your website fits in. Let’s take a closer look at how this can be done:
I recently came across your resource page that lists all the best marketing strategies for 2018. I love everything tool on the list, especially [favorite strategy 1] and [favorite strategy 2]. Both of these are used by my team on a regular basis.
I am hoping you will consider adding another strategy to the list – [your idea]. My company has developed this to help marketing professionals work in a more efficient manner.
If you have time to review the tool, need access, or simply have questions, feel free to reach out. I would be happy to provide you with more information.
Thank you for your consideration.[your name]
This takes all the guesswork out of the equation. You are giving the person a clear idea as to how they can link back to your website. Now it’s up to them to decide if this is the right decision.
5. Just Ask
If all else fails and you don’t want to beat around the bush, it may be time to take the direct approach. This is when you e-mail a specific person who can provide a super valuable link, and simply say what’s on your mind.
This is easier said than done, as you don’t want to come across as yet another spammer. This e-mail template will help increase your conversion rate:
I know that you are very busy. I also know that you receive a lot of e-mail. So I’ll be quick.
My blog [blog title] chronicles a variety of subjects, many of which are related to your business. The reason I am e-mailing you is simple: I hope that in the future, when applicable, you will consider linking to my website or one of my hundreds of blog posts.
Yes, this will help drive traffic to my website, but just as importantly, I think the information will be useful to your audience.
Of course, if you have any questions, please let me know. I would love to provide more information and stay in touch in the future.
Thank you for your time.[your name]
This is just about as direct as you can get without going overboard. Here is the most important part of the e-mail:
“Yes this will help drive traffic to my website, but just as importantly, I think the information will be useful to your audience.”
With this, you are showing that you aren’t looking for a handout. As long as your content backs up your claim, as long as it truly provides value, you have a good chance of the person providing a backlink down the road.