In this post, I’m going to share one of the processes that we’ve used in the past to build white hat SEO links successfully. This process is actually useful for a small organisation that wants to successfully gain tactical placements and automate their link building process. Especially if they have a busy schedule.
If you are a solopreneur or have a small team, then this is a handy process to use to scale up your link building efforts without investing alot of time. In fact, you can setup the entire campaign upfront (front-loading the work) and then scheduling the outreach process over months or years to successfully gain placements.
What tools will you need to successfully implement this process?
You can sign-up to a Gmail account for free. You will need Gmail as the plugins/extensions work with Gmail.
This is an extension for Gmail that will allow you to schedule and even merge mail, as well as manage the follow-up process. There is a free version or a paid version for $12USD a month. You can click here to learn more or sign-up to Gmass.
The main reason I opt for the paid version is because I can send and schedule emails on a non-shared IP, which almost guarantees the emails getting into the inbox. The free version risks the emails only reaching the junk mail folder. Given the importance of the first impression, I’m prepared to pay the extra amount to get the emails in the recipients inbox.
The other thing is that with the free version, you can send 50 emails max a day. Whereas the limit is lifted for the paid version.
This is a Pipeline CRM extension that you can use to track your link building process and success rate. You will be able to see where you are in the pipeline and work on moving the opportunities through the link acquisition pipeline.
You can install it for free. There is also a paid option with Streak as well.
There are other software programs that do this, however I prefer Streak due to the way it connects within Gmail and populates the fields once you start to secure opportunities. You can click here to get Streak.
The main types of links that can be acquired using this process includes:
- Guest posts
- Resource links
- Influencer outreach
- Journalist outreach
Why do I like this process?
I like this process because it allows the link building process to remain on all of the time. Instead of doing a blast and trying to secure the link acquisition opportunities all at once, you can automate the outreach opportunities everyday and then arrange to work on or secure the opportunities as they come in.
Firstly, you are going to setup your Gmail account to have Streak and Gmass. You will be using them to send and track your outreach process.
Setup your Streak pipeline.
You will need to create a link building pipeline in your Gmail account with Streak. These will define the stages of the outreach process. Your goal will be to move the site opportunity through all of the stages.
Below is a sample of the stages that you should include. Please add or amend as necessary for your campaign.
- Link prospect
- Prospect rejected
- Writing/Content creation
- Link in review
- Link accepted
- Link rejected
Create your list of prospects.
As a rule of thumb, it’s common to have a 2% success rate with your link acquisition success. Depending on your niche and the value proposition that you provide, you may be able to secure links with a higher conversion rate.
You need to identify and qualify the prospects that you can reach out to.
If you want to secure 200 links, you will need to find 10,000 websites that you can reach out to.
(This is based on a white hat organic approach. If you plan to pay for links, there will be a higher conversion rate for securing media placements)
How can you get a list of prospects?
You can search for them manually using different search queries. There is a good post that you can follow to manually find these opportunities.
You can hire a virtual assistant to find and qualify these opportunities. Should they do it manually, they should be able to qualify 100+ sites a week.
You can use lists that have been curated by other websites.
You can use tools like Scrapebox with proxies to help you find sites that provide outbound linking opportunities. Scrapebox can do the hard yards with finding sites that have a footprint, however you will still need to have the site’s checked and qualified manually.
If you are doing resource link building, you will need to reverse engineer those content resources that are gaining links and you will need to build an outreach list.
You can create a list of influencers and content publishers that you can reach out to. These may be social media influencers, journalists, editors, bloggers or even offline people with their own following.
Crafting your pitch.
You only get one shot to make a good first impression. So you need to ensure that your email pitch gets opened and motivates the recipient to respond to your email.
The first thing you need to do is understand your audience by knowing the motives or desires that they have with their content platform.
Are they motivated by:
- The need for new content submissions for their audience.
- The need to monetise their platform.
- The need to network.
- The need to share useful resources.
Once this is identified, the pitch message will be structured around it.
Mail merge functionality.
Something that is really cool about Gmass is that you can use Google Sheets as a mail merge. So if you want to customise the outreach with the recipients name, blog post or references to any personalised publication of theirs, you can do so as long as it is in the spreadsheet.
I have found that I’ve been able to acquire opportunities without the personalisation and that it has allowed me to scale outreach quicker. However, I would encourage personalisation as much as possible to improve the rapport and make a good impression.
I have found through the outreach process that the personalisation factor can be incorporated successfully throughout the other interactions in the funnel.
You can see a snippet from the video below to see how the mail merge works.
You want to increase your chances by creating a follow-up sequence. You can achieve this with the follow-up sequence in Gmass.
You can schedule a follow-up email with the message of your choice to be sent to the recipient if they haven’t responded to your initial message. Ideally, you should not have to do more than 3 follow-ups. However, you will need to test things with your recipients to see what will get you the best response rate.
You can see a snippet in the video below.
Succeeding with the pitch and creating the content.
Once you engage in the correspondence with the prospect, you will need to negotiate an outcome that is a win-win for both parties. Usually, this will involve creating content on either side.
The content must meet or exceed the expectations of the publisher. Otherwise it will come back for amends or the piece may be rejected.
This is a tricky one as alot of the link acquisition gets stuck in the review phase. It’s very easy for the opportunities to get lost and the efforts or investment that was put into developing the content can easily get lost.
With Streak, you can see exactly what is in the pipeline and if anything is stuck in a certain area.
That way, you can make the decision to follow-up with the publisher or to find another publisher who is prepared to publish the content that is stuck in the pipeline.
There will be cases where your link acquisition efforts will be rejected. However, you can manage to create new opportunities by managing your pipeline in Streak. You can set delivery dates for the link prospects and if you can see that the links aren’t acquired by a certain day, you can reach out to new prospects to secure more link placements.
You can actually track your link acquisition KPIs easily in Streak by managing the list of links that have been successfully acquired. You can also download a Google Spreadsheet of your pipeline, which can be configured to your reporting.
Repeat the process at scale.
This process works successfully and as you continue to secure more links, you will realise that you will need to find more qualified prospects for your campaign. Ultimately, you will need to focus on having enough inventory to secure links from. With a good link prospecting process, you will be able to do this successfully and continue to acquire links regularly in your link acquisition campaign.
Do you have any thoughts about using Gmass or Streak? What are your thoughts? Share them in the comments below.
Thank you for reading.
*There are affiliate links within this post. However, the opinions and process are my own.