In this article, you’ll learn how to ask for backlinks.
Below, you’ll find a step-by-step guide for asking for backlinks in a way that will get the most positive responses for your outreach emails.
You’ll also get a set of email templates that you can copy and use for inspiration for your link building pitches.
The ultimate goal here is to help you secure more backlinks for your website when asking for links from site owners you do not have a relationship with yet.
Table of Contents
How to Ask for Backlinks
1. Pick the Sites You Want Backlinks From
Before you even think about asking for backlinks, you first need to pick the sites you want to get a link from. You can do this manually by searching through your content published in your industry or using an SEO tool to uncover good quality sites in your niche.
But remember the three R’s for a quality backlink:
Relevancy is important because you want other sites in your industry linking to you. Also, when you choose a relevant website for backlinks, it increases the chances that website visitors will actually click on your link in the content to go to your website.
Reputation of a site is an important factor when asking for backlinks. You only want links from reputable websites on the Internet, otherwise, Google may penalize your site if you’re getting backlinks from too many low-quality sites.
Having a realistic expectation is also a driving force before we get into the rest of this guide for how to ask for backlinks. Trying to pitch a major brand or fortune 500 company, for example, most likely won’t win you a link. Your email will probably get deleted or ignored.
The best strategy is to choose websites that are on the same level as your business or close to it. If you’re a new blogger, look for other new bloggers to ask for links. If you’re an established website, look for other established brands for links. And so forth.
(See my guide on how to build backlinks for free if you need ideas on how to find such websites.)
2. Look for a Good Backlink Opportunity
After you’ve picked your website targets, the next step is to find a good backlink opportunity on the site. You don’t just want to get a link from any page.
The more relevant the content is to your website, or target URL, the better it is for both SEO and getting quality website traffic.
You can find good web pages by manually browsing through the site or using an SEO tool like Ahrefs, Semrush, or KWFinder to get a list of the URLs that have the most inbound links and/or traffic.
Look for these three types of opportunities:
- Better Content: Is there a linked URL in an existing article that you think can be improved upon? If so, you can create a better piece of content to hopefully get the link replaced to your site.
- Outdated Resource: Is there a linked resources that’s severely outdated? For example, is the site owner linking to statistics from 2015 rather than the current year? If so, you can produce updated content that can replace that link.
- Broken Link: Is there a link that’s broken on the web page? If so, you can bring this to the site owner’s attention and offer a good replacement for it to score a backlink.
3. Send a Friendly Outreach Email
Here’s where the rubber meets the road for email outreach for backlink building.
You’re going to send a friendly email to the site owner. However, you are NOT going to ask for a backlink in your first outreach email. That’s a mistake many beginner link builders make and it reduces your success rate.
The fact is no one likes unsolicited link building emails.
For your email outreach to be successful, you want to build a small connection with the webmaster before you ask for a backlink. Which we’ll explain more in step 4 below. But for now, just send a simple email to the website owner that offers a word of encouragement about the article you want a backlink from.
If you can find the first name of the person you’re contacting, using personalization is a great way to start this connection. Also, be friendly and personal, and never ask for anything in this first email.
Here’s a good first outreach email example you can copy or use for inspiration:
I just read your article about the top SEO trends you see happening this year. And already shared it on Twitter for you.
I definitely agree with you about the new trend of writing short-form content instead of long-form posts. It’s a great way to get more skin in the game faster than writing epic posts that may or may not rank.
Anyways, I wasn’t sure how to incorporate IndexNow protocol like you mentioned in the article. Is there a good resource for that you can point me to?
What you’re doing on SEO Chatter is great!
There are five attributes that make this a good initial email for link building:
- It mentions a specific article on the website.
- It shows kindness by sharing the article on Twitter to help increase exposure for the content.
- It displays like-mindedness by mentioning a part of the article that the outreach person agrees with.
- It poses a question that encourages the site owner to reply.
- It ends with a positive comment about the work the site owner is doing.
4. Ask for Backlinks In a Follow-Up Email
After the site owner responds to your first email, you can then have a few more back-and-forth emails with each other to show that you’re not just gaming for a backlink.
Once you feel like a connection is made, then you can bring up a good opportunity for a backlink that you found on the website from step 2 in this process.
- You can provide better content than a linked source.
- You can help replace and outdated resource.
- You can supply a good replacement for a broken link.
5. Create Valuable Content for the Backlink
Once you get confirmation from the site owner that you can get a backlink from their website, the next step is to create a valuable piece of content worth linking to.
If you already have a good web page for the backlink, then you can skip this step.
Just remember that the more value you provide in your content to your own readers, the more value your link can have on another website. And the better chance you’ll get this link insertion approved by the site owner.
No serious business owner wants to be asked for a backlink and then a link to poor quality content. So do your best to make your web page exceptional. Also, read my article on how to use keywords in backlinks to avoid over-optimization and get the best incoming link equity.
6. Promote the URL for the Site Owner
After you’ve gotten approval for the backlink, and created the content for the site owner to link to, you should then tell the person you’re going to promote the URL for them.
This step is the icing on the cake that most link builders skip. However, it can offer tremendous value for both you and the linking website.
Once your backlink is live, share the URL on your social media channels and link to it from your own website. Then do anything else you can think of to drive more traffic and awareness to that page.
The more links you can generate to the site owner’s web page, the strong that backlink becomes for your own site. If you look at the About page for SEO Chatter and the SEO blog section, you’ll see that I link to every website that’s featured me or the brand on their website. I also share this content on Twitter for even more exposure.
Again, when asking for backlinks, you want to set yourself apart from the hundreds of other link builders on the Internet by offering a lot of value to the site owner. And promoting the URL as much as possible is a good way to do that.
7. Ask for More Internal Links
The last step in the process for getting backlinks is to ask for more internal links to the page. And if you follow tip 6 above, you’ll have a higher success rate of this happening because you’ve proven to be an asset to the linking site owner.
When it comes to on-page search engine optimization, the more internal links a page has, the more important you’re telling Google that content is for your visitors. And, it’s been proven that well-optimized internal links can help increase the ranking positions for a target page.
Also, you don’t want a backlink on an orphaned web page because this can dilute the passing PageRank SEO value. So after you’ve promoted the URL for the site owner, it’s a good practice to go back to that person and ask them if they can create some new internal links to that target page.
You can speed up this process by finding good content on the website and offering suggestions for where an internal link can be placed, along with keyword-rich anchor text for that page.
Email Outreach Templates for Asking for Backlinks
Below are some email outreach templates you can copy or use for inspiration when asking for different types of backlinks.
Remember, these “asks” should only come after you’ve made the initial connection with the site owner and have a back-and-forth rapport with them if you want the highest success rate.
Template 1: Better Content
In your article on [specific topic], I noticed you mentioned and linked to [website link]. I’m actually creating a web page on the same topic that’s more in-depth. Would you like to link to it as a resource for your readers when I’m done with it?
Here is this email template in practice:
In your article on getting Wikipedia backlinks, I noticed you mentioned and linked to the WikiGrabber tool. I’m actually creating a tutorial web page on how to use that tool for finding dead Wikipedia links. Would you like to link to it as a resource for your readers when I’m done with it?
Template 2: Resource Update
I was reading your post on [topic] and saw that you were referencing [website link]. Did you know that the content is a bit outdated? This actually gave me the idea to create my own web page with fresh information on the same thing. When I’m done with it, would you like to see it and possibly consider linking out to it instead?
Here is this email template in practice:
I was reading your post on the benefits of long-tail keywords and saw that you were referencing a quote from Search Engine Land about 70%of all searches performed online consist of long-tail keywords. Did you know that the content is a bit outdated from 2019? This actually gave me the idea to create my own web page with fresh information on the same thing. When I’m done with it, would you like to see it and possibly consider linking out to it instead?
Template 3: Broken Link Replacement
I really liked the section in your post on [topic] about [relevant point]. But I noticed that you had a link to [website] that’s broken and longer exists. Instead of trying to hunt down where that URL went, could I send you a link to my own web page that covers the same topic and is just as detailed?
Here is this email template in practice:
I really liked the section in your post on finding trending SEO keywords about using social listening software. But I noticed that you had a link to Buzzfeed that’s broken and longer exists. Instead of trying to hunt down where that URL went, could I send you a link to my own web page that covers the same topic and is just as detailed?
How Can I Get Backlinks Without Asking?
You can get backlinks without asking by producing high quality content that gets found organically on the Internet or through social sharing sites. You can also get backlinks by uploading content to other websites that allow you to link back to your site.
If you want to learn more about these methods, read my guide on how to build high quality backlinks which includes ways to do link building without asking.
Asking for Backlinks Summary
I hope you enjoyed this guide on how to ask for backlinks.
As you discovered, the process for asking for backlinks to achieve a higher success rate depends on you establishing a relationship with the site owner. By turning a cold outreach email into a warm lead, you can secure more links to your site without getting ignored.