Today I want to talk about a simple tactic that you should try if you have been working on linkbuilding for a specific site for a while and have had some blog posts written about your site, without links.
At my old job, my coworker had been working on building links to the site for a while. He came up with the idea of doing a blogger awards series, whereby we would give a blogger in a specific industry-related niche an award. They would receive a badge to embed on their site, and sometimes they would write a nice blog post about the award.
For a while, my coworker sent a Press Release with the award announcement email, and asked them nicely to publish it. Many of them did, but unfortunately a lot of them also took out the links back to our site.
Enter Operation “Get Those Links!”
When I was at Linklove London, I heard many speakers talking about reaching back out to old contacts for links. I realized that we had many sites that we had awarded these awards to, yet were not linking to us.
Luckily, we had kept the list of all of the past contacts.
What I did
I went back and found all of the sites that we had contacted. Then, I ran the OpenSiteExplorer backlinks report for the site.
Next, I put all of the award winners into one Excel spreadsheet workbook, and all of the links to our site in another. Then, I got the clean URLs of those sites using this formula (assuming the URL was in column A):
Then, I did a simple VLookup between the two spreadsheets to find the sites that were already linking to us. Here’s the Vlookup formula:
Then I sorted out all of the sites already linking to us, and boom, there was my initial list of prospects.
Next step: Qualifying
Since I also knew the name of the name of the campaign, I was able to put that into Google in quotes. For the sake of anonymity, let’s use the example of “The Werewolf Club’s Young Werevolves Award”.
I ran the following search:
“The Werewolf Club’s Young Werevolves Award” -site:http://www.mysite.com
Now I simply opened the sites that had this text and manually qualified if they were actually already linking back to us. If no, I put an “N” next to the site so I could reach back out to them. (PS: I’m sure there is another way to automate this.)
Important: I also made a note of the sentence in their blog post where I could insert a link. This helped me to customize the link request!
After going through all of the sites, which took a bit of time, I finally had my link targets and could reach back out to them.
Here is how my link request email looked:
Hi [name] –
I want to reach out again from (my site’s brand) and congratulate you for winning one of our awards. We hope that you have found the information helpful. Also, thank you for writing a blog post about the award!
I was wondering if you might be willing to add a link back to (my brand) from your post (insert post link). Doing so would really help us out!
Here is what I would propose:
(Their text with the link embedded)
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
So what happened
I sent out about 30 of these emails. Guess what my response and success percentage were?
Close to 50%
I was building links towards a very competitive keyword as well, with 33,000 local searches a month yet one of the most competitive in the niche.
When I started this campaign, we ranked 18th behind a lot of strong domains. Our domain was strong (700+ linking root domains and a bunch of links related to the keyword phrase I was targeting), yet we were way behind the competition.
So I added 14 links, from old articles, to our page. Guess what happened?
In 4 weeks, we jumped from #18 to #5. These are the only links I built to the homepage during this period.