Back To All Articles

How to Build Links the Way SEO Agencies do not Want You to Know About

Business owners and marketing departments are unanimously baffled.

What is link building and how in the world do you do it?

In contrast to other straightforward digital marketing strategies, this technique is infamously complex and elusive, yet very promising and alluring.

Its benefits are stories told far and wide.

Treasure maps promising a chest full of golden, high-authority links can be found just a click away.

Unfortunately, seldom are business owners and marketing professionals able to decode the obscure depictions of how to acquire these links.

For anyone who has tried link-building, you may start to question reality.

"Why is this so hard?

Is the information I am reading right?

What is really going on here?"

Maybe there's a reason it's so hard… Maybe no one wants to give up their secret sauce.

Well, we're here to give it up because we pride ourselves on transparency. We truly want what's best for our clients, and we're ready to put our money where our mouth is.

This guide will tell you how to build links the way link-building agencies do not want you to know about.

Why?

The truth is, link building is possible, it isn't so cryptic, and yes, you can achieve a whole new level of success by doing it right.

In this guide SEO agencies do not want you to know about, we will cover three link-building techniques that work.

link building strategies

How do we know they work? Because we use them, we're not regurgitating recycled content on the internet, and they work for us so they'll work for you.

We will prove it, so let's dive right in:

You Will Need These Tools to Help You Build Links

Below are the 3 techniques, and before diving in, we need to set the stage.

These techniques are 3 different versions of shotgun guest post outreach strategies, meaning we will be sending out mass emails to multiple prospects at the same time.

Think of this as throwing a bunch of sand against a wall and seeing what sticks.

In order to do this, you will need a couple of tools to help you out. Manually gathering thousands of emails and making sure they work isn't realistic.

Below is the list of tools you will need in order to accomplish all 3 link-building techniques:

Gmail

Gmail is compatible with the tools listed above. If you use a different email provider, like Microsoft Outlook, there may be other tools that perform the same function, but unfortunately, we don't know what those are.

Hunter.IO

One of the most important points to remember here is to be as authentic and personal as possible.

This means:

  • Using first names
  • Introduce yourself
  • Have manners
  • Talking about content unique to the website you are in communications with
  • Using causal language
  • Keep it short and to the point (no more than 300 words)
  • Not being afraid to call yourself out
  • Make jokes at your own expense

You may be asking yourself how this will be possible when you are sending out a campaign with thousands of emails in it.

Very fair question.

Using an email scraper tool like Hunter.IO is recommended here.

Not only is it able to scrape thousands of URLs for emails within seconds, but it also has a built-in email management tool that allows for dynamic insertion of attributes. 

This means you can pull in data from each individual contact and insert them into their respective individual email; such as something like their first name.

building links with hunter.io

So instead of sending emails to "Mr or Mrs Business Owner," you are talking directly with "John."

Just like Dale Carnegie said, the sweetest words a person can hear is their own name.

SEMrush

SEMrush is an all-in-one tool suite used to discover marketing insights. 

For link building, it will allow you to scrape competitor link profiles. With this list, you input it into Hunter.IO and voila! You have a list of email addresses associated with the sites that link to your competitor.

By creating a list of sites that have linked to your competitor, you are essentially identifying email prospects that have linked to a page in your niche once already, why not try to get them to do it again?

building links with SEMrush

Note: as many of you probably already know, there are plenty of all-in-one digital marketing tool suites like this. They all have the capability to deliver on the competitor scraping function. So no sweat if you use a different one.

Bulk Email Checker 

When dealing with thousands of emails at the same time, you will need to vet your lists. 

email checking for link building

Hunter.IO does an awesome job at scrapping sites for emails, but some sites do a poor job at updating their emails.

We get it though, business can get crazy. Once you update an email address, you have to update in a million other places, and some get forgotten. 

On the other hand, sometimes sites just don't care to have an active email listed. That means fewer people trying to contact you.

The bottom line is, you will want to eliminate dead emails because incomplete emails sent are tracked by Google.

To put things into perspective, we're talking in the thousands of incomplete emails a day.

But if you send enough of them, they will flag your email address as spam, or just kick you out of their club altogether.

No bueno.

Bulk Email Checker does a great job at naming itself because it does just that. It's super simple to use, and pretty effective. It just takes a little bit of time. Expect to wait around 45 minutes for 1,000 emails checked.

building links with bulk email checker

Oscraper

This tool does something super simple but will save you loads of time in the long-run. 

It scrapes the SERPs and places all the URL results in one document. 

Let's say you search "best vinyl player" on Google. You can have all 100 results placed on a sheet for you in a matter of seconds.

building links with Oscaper

It's pretty cheap (around a one-time purchase of $20) and you can use it as a browser extension.

It's a super handy tool for one of the techniques we will cover below.

Now that the table has been set, let's move on to the good stuff… the actual techniques themselves:

 

3 Ways to Build Links & Start Growing Your Business Exponentially

 

1. Building Links Using Google Advanced Search Operator:

 

To start:

Think of a keyword related to the page you are trying to build links to. Let's say you're an SEO agency, and you want to build links to your homepage. Then going with a keyword indirectly related to your vertical will give you the best chance at success.

For instance: "digital design blog"

Why is this a good keyword? 

  1. It gets searched.
  2. It's a service complementary to SEO but not directly in competition.
  3. Websites ranking for this keyword will have tons of content and most likely tons of links. 
  4. The blog designation significantly raises the probability that the site will accept guest blogs on their blog page.

 

After choosing a keyword:

Open Google and then your Oscraper tool. Select "100 results'' in the extension. 

In the search bar on Google, use a Google Advanced Search Operator to hone in on really good results. 

Different versions of these will get you places. Here is an awesome resource on Google Advanced Search Operators if you're interested in learning more. 

Below is a great starting point related to the example above:

inurl:"blog" intext:"keyword"

After submitting the search on Google, use your Oscraper tool to capture all 100 URLs that are displayed. This will only take a couple of seconds.

Once you have your folder, go to Hunter.IO > Bulks > Domain Search > Create New Bulk (button at the top right of the page) > and then upload your document of 100 URLs.

vetting links with Hunter.IO

Hunter.IO will have some options for you to choose from; the tool is very intuitive, you will be able to follow the step seamlessly.

After uploading the document, let Hunter.IO do its magic for a minute or two, and boom, you have a golden list of emails to reach out to!

This list will be your guiding compass to link heaven. But your journey doesn't stop here.

Be sure to configure your list with the appropriate header designations. This step is paramount in getting your dynamic attributes right. See image below:

dynamic attribution with Hunter.IO

You definitely don't want to reach out to 1,000 people plus and accidentally address them all by John. 

Without getting too much into the weeds about customizing your campaign, you will need to come up with an email.

The art of link building lies here.

What are you going to say to a total stranger to entice them to allow you to write for them?

Remember, these are shotgun guest post outreach campaigns; the goal is to get them to publish a guest post on your behalf.

So how do you do it?

Remember this first. As many of you have already experienced, emails are flooded with people trying to get links, offering 0 value, and coming off as impersonal as possible. 

If your initial approach is off, you're going to repel prospects like there's no tomorrow.

As a reminder from above: 

  • Using first names
  • Introduce yourself
  • Have manners
  • Talking about content unique to the website you are in communication with
  • Using causal language
  • Keep it short and to the point (no more than 300 words)
  • Not being afraid to call yourself out
  • Make jokes at your own expense

art of link building

People are smart, they know what you want. If you are trying to finagle a link, your intentions will be sniffed out within a matter of seconds. So be genuine!

So back to the email itself. Under "Templates" in the "Campaign" section, write your email out. 

I'm going to be honest here, you're going to have to try different versions of an email out.

Check out this example of an email we've used in the past:

link building email template

This email killed it. Notice the usage of the first time, we introduce ourselves, we reference a piece of content on their site, it's casual & authoritative, and we make a joke at our own expense at the bottom.

Using something like this will get you places. Don't expect everyone to answer, even a 10% response rate is fantastic; but 10% of 1000 emails is 100 responses you can work with. 

After the initial email:

Be sure to be attentive to the emails. Offer to include metrics and examples of how you are going to provide value in return, always be clear that you are going to include a link pointing back to your site in the content, and accommodate edits from the prospect. 

They are your client at this point and you want to make them happy.

Eventually, if all goes well, you will have a shiny new link from a website related to your vertical with a link pointing back to your site. 

If you got to this point, congrats, you've essentially decoded the obscure treasure map!

In the end...

Take your method that worked and rinse & repeat. 

For the following methods, I won't go into great detail on how to use Hunter.IO as I did above. All three of these methods are very similar, the difference being how to source your list of emails:

With that being said, let's dive into method number 2!

 

2. Building Links Using an Email Scrape Technique:

For this method, you will need SEMrush to do the leg work. 

First, choose a competitor that has a juicy backlink profile. To check this, input a competitor into SEMrush's "Domain Overview" and look for the "referring domains" section. 

A competitor with 500 plus referring domains is plenty to work with.

Once you have this section opened up, you can download the list of referring domains onto a sheet.

referring domains from SEMrush

You should start to see a common theme there between these techniques; Getting a list of domains to input into Hunter.IO to scrape for emails (refer to technique number 1 for more details on how to do this).

Once you have your list, craft your email. The process stays the same.

Once you find something that works, rinse and repeat.

For the last technique mentioned below, you will simply be using the Google search bar and Oscraper. Instead of using a Google Advanced Search Operator, simply input a keyword related to your vertical and scape those URLs.

Let's dig into it below!

 

3. Building Links Using a Google SERP Scrape Technique:

For this last technique, the magic lies in the keyword you choose. Since you will not be using a Google advanced Search Operator, you will have to be strategic in the keyword you use.

Just like with the first technique mentioned, think of an industry that related to yours but not in direct competition.

I'll give another example. Let's say you are working in the car industry and you are building links to your company's homepage. Finding related verticals like off-roading would be the perfect place to look. 

With that in mind, using a keyword like: "best off-road mods" would be a great way to tap into the vertical. 

Why is this a great keyword?

The subject matter isn't in direct competition with car sales, otherwise, why would they link to you if they risk losing traffic to your site?

The search intent behind "best off-road mods" implies blog-style content, which means the sites that show up in the SERPs will most likely have a blog section.

After determining the appropriate related vertical and your keyword, input the search into Google and scrape the top 100 results. 

I won't bore you with duplicated content from here; refer to technique number 1 for the remaining steps. 

One final note with your vetting process to be aware of. 

Sometimes using Bulk Email Checker isn't enough to prepare your list of prospects. In some cases, it's worth looking at the list yourself and checking for any sites you blatantly don't want to reach out to. 

Examples of sites you don't want to reach out to include: Wikipedia, Facebook, WebMD, etc. 

You are basically wasting outreach emails on these sites.

 

Closing Thoughts...

Building links can be really, really hard. It's complicated and confusing, yet so promising and rewarding if done right.

Many guides you'll find on the internet will promise you great results, just like we do here.

Eventually, the true point of our guide is to get you to a spot where you understand the mechanics behind this digital marketing tactic so you can adapt and tailor it the way you want in the future and still be successful.

 

Certain pillars are paramount when it comes to link building that I hope you came away with after reading this, including some of the following points:

  • Be authentic
  • Be respectful
  • Be personal
  • And offer true value in return

We are convinced that if you are truly able to check all of these points off the list when doing an outreach campaign, you will be successful in some form or fashion.

If you are having a hard time (which will happen), just fight through it, and keep on trying. We guarantee you that your efforts will yield ripe results.

Happy link building!

Start a Project

Thanks for your interest in working with us. Please complete the details below and we will get back within one business day.

What can we help you with?

What's up ! Select all that apply

Tell us about the project

Right on! Tell us more.

Got a budget?

If you are able to share with us your budget, it will help us understand how we can best help you.
Not sure? A range is a start.

Almost done

Our project managers had one more question.

Have a date in mind?
X Close Project Planner