Everyone knows that backlinks are the key to good rankings in the current state of SEO. Any business or marketing team that wants to claim the top search results on Google should be placing some effort into building a portfolio of high-quality backlinks from relevant websites.
But even though most of us know about the importance of offsite SEO and building a strong link portfolio, it’s hard to know where to start. If you’re looking for advice on how to ask for a backlink, you’ve come to the right place.
How to Ask For a Backlink
Acquiring high-quality backlinks for your website requires a much more nuanced approach than most marketers realize. Sending mass emails to a list of editors isn’t going to get you what you want.
If you really want to reap the SEO benefits of backlinks from high-quality websites, you need to treat it like any other business transaction and provide value at each interaction. Here are some tips on how to ask for a backlink:
- Build a relationship with the blog owner
- Offer something valuable in exchange
- Create original and unique content
- Promote the content
1. Build a relationship with the blog owner
Your chances for success will be much higher if you have an existing relationship with the person you are emailing. This doesn’t mean you have to be old friends. Sometimes all it takes is a few tweets back and forth, some Facebook interactions, or leaving a few comments on their blog.
Website owners know how valuable their domain is and will protect it at all costs. They get tons of spammy link requests all the time. You need to find a way to break through the noise if you want to get a response when asking for a backlink.
When you finally get around to crafting your backlink request email, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind:
- Mention a specific blog post that you enjoyed reading
- Elaborate on why you found it exceptional
- Mention specific point that resonated with you
- Ask for additional resources
- End on a positive note with some words of encouragement
Notice that you aren’t asking for a backlink just yet. The goal of your first email is just to get a response and begin a conversation. It can feel like a bit of dance, but if you really want that backlink you are going to have to work for it.
2. Offer something valuable in exchange
Now that you’ve got a conversation going – and it may take a few back and forth emails – and there is a genuine connection happening, you can finally ask for a backlink.
But you still want to be careful not to come off as one-dimensional. When you go in for the ask, position it as something that will benefit the other person. Scour their website first and look for ways you can add value, such as:
- Identifying broken resource links and offering to replace that content
- Identifying outdated resources and offering to replace that content with something new
- Identifying low-quality sources and offering to replace that content with something better
The angle here is that you are doing them a favor instead of the other way around. Of course, the other person will know what you are up to, but now it’s clear how they will benefit from the exchange.
3. Create original and unique content
Now that the other person has agreed to give you a backlink in exchange for valuable content, you will need to create that content. If you already have the content, be sure to review it and give it a refresh if needed.
Remember that you are trying to provide value to their readers as well as your own. Make sure that the content is worth linking to and provides original data and insights.
Here are some examples of content that is ripe for linking to:
- Original studies/research
- Canonical posts
- Case studies
No respectable business owner or blog editor is going to send their visitors to a low-quality or irrelevant web page. The content you submit should be so good and unique that it would be a mistake not to link to it.
4. Promote the content
Good content creators know their job isn’t done once they hit “publish.” After you’ve secured your coveted backlink and your site is reaping the benefits, it’s good to go the extra mile.
Promote the article that is linking to you on your social channels and monthly newsletter. This shows that you are a good business partner and will increase your chances of securing additional backlinks in the future. It also benefits you by increasing page views and boosting the authority of the page that is linking to you.
Start Building Your Backlink Portfolio
When it comes to building your backlink strategy for SEO, the golden rule is quality over quantity. It may take more time and effort, but you will be better off in the long run and your website will be better protected from Google penalties.
There is no shortcut to building an effective long-term SEO strategy. Whether you need strategic guidance or just a few extra hands on deck, WEBITMD is here to help. Download your free SEO guide below to learn more about the types of support we can provide.