During the past couple of years, a new trend has emerged in the SEO scene, called outreach. Outreach is actually a fairly old method of getting backlinks, although it was a considered a spammy way of getting backlinks, as you would have to send a lot of copy-pasted emails to webmasters. If you have ever made a blog in the last 10 years than you have probably noticed a lot of these emails which are simply begging for backlinks.
Outreach for backlinks doesn’t work because you will have to send spam emails, oftentimes the emails are not configured for the target domains, nobody cares about broken backlinks, nobody wants to link to a competitor, takes a lot of time, costs a lot of money, you have no guarantees of the backlinks sticking for a long time, it can be risky as buying links is against google TOS, and it is easy to duplicate. The high touch outreach is basically befriending people for personal gain, which is probably the worst kind of SEO strategy.
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Some people focus way too much on outreach without any notable results, getting a couple of backlinks here and there, after sending hundreds of spam emails is kind of worthless. Don’t get me wrong, outreach for SEO purposes does work, but not for you. Usually, the people who are talking about outreach are SEO gurus, there are only a handful of them and they dominate the entire SEO scene, simply put less than 20 people are dominating an entire online industry.
The reason why outreach works for these SEO gurus is that most of them are old-timers with high authority websites, and they often link back to each other’s websites to increase their authority and rankings even more. This is an exclusive club and you are not invited. If you have a website you know that it is extremely hard to get niche relevant backlinks especially from your competitor, and let’s face it why would your competitor want to link back to you.
Outreach only works if you are a well-known person in your niche, and let’s face it if you are an actual authority in a niche than you wouldn’t have to rely on outreach to get backlinks. I see a lot of beginner bloggers making the big mistake of focusing on outreach rather than on content, and then wonder why they are not ranking. Instead of wasting your time on outreach you should build up your domain authority, for more information check out my recent article Why is domain authority important? ( Top 8 Reasons ).
Sending spam emails
Some call it outreach while others call it email spam, if you have a fairly large website then you are definitely thinking of these outreach attempts as nothing than spam. The main problem with outreach is that you have to do it on a large scale, the more emails you can send begging for backlinks the higher your chances are to get a backlink. A lot of people do outreach manually, although some do scale up the process and use automated software.
Generally speaking, most people will use their domain in the email, this way the webmaster who is getting the spam knows that it is coming from an actual website. The problem is that the more of these emails you are sending the more of them will be marked as spam. Sooner or later you will notice that less and less people are actually opening your emails. Not only people hate spam but google also hates them and if your domain has been marked as a domain which is sending spam emails then you are doing far more harm than good. No matter what is your link building strategy, there is always a risk involved in building backlinks, for more information check out my recent article What are the risks of building backlinks? ( Top 11 Risks ).
Emails not configured for domains
As a webmaster, you will get hundreds if not thousands of emails every month, the bigger your website the more spam you will get. This is why a lot of webmasters simply do not even configure their emails for their domains, there is simply way too much spam and sorting out between all that spam just to open an email which is begging for a backlink is pointless. A lot of bloggers and webmasters do have a contact form, but most often than not these simply do not work.
There are services that handle sending out thousands of emails at a time, and most of them will show a stat called “open rate“. This is simply put how many people are opening up the emails, the problem is that this data is extremely misleading. If you are using a paid service than odds are that your open rate will be high, if it would be 0% then you will not pay for the service, so you should probably keep in mind that it is in their interest to show a high open-rate for you, no matter if it is true or not.
Nobody cares about broken links
One of the methods to get backlinks with outreach is by identifying broken links on niche relevant websites. Once you have identified these broken links then you contact the administrator and he will be so glad that you found a broken link on his website that he will link back to you. The truth is that the chances of the website administrator to read your email and actually replace the link with a link pointing back to your site is extremely slim.
A lot of webmasters do not care about broken links, especially if it is on an article that isn’t pulling traffic. There are plenty of plugins out there that check for broken backlinks, and bloggers who have large blogs tend to use them.
Nobody wants to link to a competitor
The last thing which you want to do for SEO is to link to a competitor, and this is one of the main reasons why nobody is answering your outreach emails. Most people who do outreach find websites from which to beg for backlinks by looking at their rankings and authority. The problem is that higher authority websites are getting hundreds of these so-called outreach emails, and the odds of them responding to one are slim to none.
Takes a lot of time
What a lot of people do not realize is how much time it actually takes to make an outreach campaign. You simply can not send the same email template over and over again and not expect your emails to land directly in the spam folder. To increase your chances you will have to make some personalized emails, this usually increases the chances of administrators opening your emails and taking into consideration your offer.
Writing 10 emails a day, each with 300 words is equal to writing a 3000-word article. You might get a backlink at best with 10 emails, but you could get hundreds of natural backlinks with a 3000-word article. If you get lucky some website administrator will allow you to make a guest post on their website and a link back to your site, writing this article will take you a lot of time as usual, they will not allow guest posts with less than 1000 words on their websites. At that point, you are actually working for your competitor, which you want to outrank. If you want to know how to get backlinks organically than check out my recent article How to get Backlinks organically? ( In 12 Easy Steps ).
Costs a lot of money
If you are doing outreach you have two options either spend money to automate it or to spend a lot of time and do it manually. Platforms that handle sending emails tend to be fairly costly, and the odds of making that cost back in the short term are extremely improbable. In addition to setting up email servers, you will also have to buy different email accounts as the email which is linked to your domain will be flagged as spam in no time.
In addition to this, if you get lucky and somebody actually lets you post a guest post on their website they will actually ask for a submission fee, this can be anything from $50-$250. So basically you are writing an article for your competitor, and also paying him for linking back to your website.
There are absolutely no guarantees that your backlinks will actually stick. Some webmasters who allow guest posts and charge a fee for them can and will remove the backlinks after a couple of weeks or months, and at that point, you just gave money and a high-quality article to your competitor without any benefit to you. This is actually a strategy of making money, others giving you free content, and getting paid for making a temporary backlink.
If you are part of some SEO related forum than you have probably noticed a lot of beginners complaining that their backlinks have been removed and in some cases, the administrator will also ask for more money or even for a monthly fee.
Outreach can get risky, especially if you start paying for backlinks. The problem is that most people who have a high-quality website get a lot of outreach emails and if they do not have any alternatives for monetizing the website they will start charging for backlinks. Buying backlinks to manipulate the Google rankings is against google TOS, and you can actually get reported for them.
In the best-case scenario, you will get a couple of high-quality backlinks and you start ranking, life is good. But then a competitor steps in the scene analyses your backlink profile and paid links, and guest posts can be spotted from a mile away. All it takes him is to report your website for buying links and your website will undergo a manual review, these reviews often end up with a penalty or with deindexing of the website.
Easy to duplicate
One extremely problematic issue with outreach is that your competitor can find your backlinks with a backlink reporting tool like Ahrefs and they can simply copy your entire backlinking strategy. If you have been relying on paying for guest posts than your competitor will do the same, and at that point, you are just making the work of your competitor extremely easy. It will be only a matter of time until you will start begging for backlinks from the competitor who copied your backlinking strategy.
High touch outreach
The high touch outreach method is just another buzz word in the industry. The high touch outreach simply means that you befriend a couple of your competitors which have websites in the same niche and after a while, you ask for a backlink. Basically manipulating people for your own personal gain, which might or might not work. In some niches, this strategy does work, especially if there are several blogs that actually have a following.
The truth is that this method is extremely time-consuming, and in the best scenario you might get a backlink, in the worst-case scenario you have spent a lot of time without any getting a single backlink.
If you know a couple of people in your niche which have a blog targeting the specific niche than sure go ahead and use outreach to get a couple of backlinks. On the other hand, if your entire backlinking strategy is based on being for backlinks then you are definitely just wasting your time and money.