Let’s be honest. As link builders we don’t reach out to websites unless it is in our own personal interest. There isn’t a society of web vigilantes out there looking to fix the problems of other websites. People do it to hopefully get something in return, quite often a link to their own website or content. There isn’t anything wrong with promoting your content, and when you can help out other people along the way then I call that a win-win.
What are some effective ways you can help out other webmasters during your link building outreach?
Reporting Broken Links
Let’s address the most frequently used method first. Reporting broken links. In case you haven’t noticed nearly all websites (likely ours as well) have some broken links. The process of reporting broken links on a website has been used for a long time in the SEO world and it doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon.
Check My Links, LinkMiner and Domain Hunter Plus are great options to quickly check and identify the links on a page. Teamed up with LinkClump, it’s a great way to show a website owner something that’s not right with their website.
Help Out Their SEO
Not necessarily doing work for them, but pointing them in the right direction. Do they have nofollow internal links? Are any of their internal links broken? Is their website mobile friendly? Do any 404 pages on their domain have valuable backlinks that should be redirected?
If you’re reading this you likely know a handful of free tools that would be of use to a webmaster, which you can easily mention in your link building outreach emails. For example Screaming Frog is an excellent free tool that website owners can use to cleanup and make improvements to their own websites. Even though they won’t pay for tools like Majestic, SpyFu or SEMrush webmasters enjoy learning about them and the information they provide.
So many small business owners want to help out their own SEO, but don’t understand the means and methods to do so. They can’t afford to hire an 3rd party company to help them, but they also don’t know how to help themselves, so they do nothing.
Links to pages aren’t always the only problem webmasters have. Internal files can get moved around that cause images to break, and if they are using images from other websites, they can also be moved or blocked without them being aware.
Again, Screaming Frog is an excellent tool for identifying broken links throughout a website that can be used for broken link building outreach emails. Because Screaming Frog has a crawl limit Xenu is another great free web crawler with no crawl limit.
Additional content that isn’t your own
When suggesting that a website links to your own website it can come across as a little biased. Sure you think you have the best content out there on a topic, but a webmaster may wonder what else is out there that is related to your website.
If you’re able to throw in a few additional resources in your link building outreach email that would be of use to the website it can help establish trust with someone you have had no prior interaction. Even if you don’t know of any useful resources off the top of your head, you likely have a better chance of finding helpful information from highly trusted sources. For example, “resume writing tips site:.edu” or “drinking water site:epa.gov”
If the additional information that you pitch along with your website will actually benefit their website then they will be more likely to consider linking to you.
Inform Them of Events & Industry Happenings
Similar to the above idea it’s easy to find events and conventions that would be of interest to a particular website.
Say you’re targeting model train interest groups for links. It looks like the Great Midwest Train Show Convention is one of the largest monthly model train events occurring on a monthly basis. Assemble a list of model train websites, export the backlinks of the convention’s website, ID model train websites not linking to the the convention website – commence link building outreach.
You can also do this on a local level with websites like meetup.com and eventful.com. Find events and groups by doing a search like “keyword city site:meetup.com”.
This piggyback approach could be expanded towards many other applications. The idea is that you find something that any website owner in some niche would be crazy not to link to, find out what websites are not linking to this great resource and outreach. As long as your content is relevant to this extremely linkable resource it can help out with your link building outreach success rate.
Suggest Content for Their Blog
On occasion you may have something of use that a writer would want to blog about. I’ve found this to be more useful on topics related to seasons, events or holidays.
If you are a supplier of custom made socks, now might be a good time to reach out to influential bloggers pitching the idea of online sources and ideas for dressing up for the fourth of July. If your July 4 socks are a cool product, and you gave them a cool idea to write about you might get some high value links that you didn’t have to work hard to get.
There’s a great deal of psychology involved in successful link building. The more you can help out other websites during link building outreach the more likely they will help you out in return.