Backlink Building Hacks & Secrets Revealed: 12,000 Backlinks in One Year

Backlink Building Hacks & Secrets Revealed: How We Got 12,000 Backlinks in One Year

In the world of SaaS, marketing can be a key differentiator between a product that sells and one that flops. However, marketing in SaaS is becoming more difficult than ever before, with every brand doing PPC, SEO and social media. Our tool of choice for making Better Proposals stand out is SEO, specifically backlink building.

Besides high-quality content, we make sure to grow our traffic and customers through great SEO efforts, including backlinks. In 2020 alone, our total was over 12,000 backlinks. Today, we’ll show you exactly how we achieved these numbers, through a mix of PR, guest posting, partnerships and community participation.

1. PR activities

Public relations is one of the most important aspects of marketing in general, but it’s not primarily used to earn backlinks. However, as most marketing pros know, every time you get attention from the press, it’s only a matter of effort to turn that attention into a link. We use several platforms for backlink building through PR: HARO, SourceBottle and JournoRequest. These are platforms where journalists create requests for pitches and companies and individuals respond with their pitch to get published and eventually get a link.

Using HARO, we got featured on leading industry websites, as well as some major news outlets.

Using HARO the right way

HARO, or Help a Reporter Out, is not a new way of earning links. A lot of our colleagues from the industry use it every day. However, there are certain tricks to get the most out of it and make sure that you’re not wasting your time in vain.

The first thing is to pick your requests carefully. Instead of opting for the Master HARO list, opt in to receive only requests from your own industry or list of interests. That way, you won’t get hundreds of requests and emails per day. You will still get quite a few, but it’s easier to filter through them effectively.

backlink building through HARO Help a Reporter Out

Speaking of emails, you’ll get them three times per day and each will have at least a dozen queries. The best practice is to answer each journalist’s request as soon as possible for the best results. Of course, we don’t answer requests three times per day – we do it once daily. The general rule of thumb is that the sooner you respond once a request is posted, the higher the chances of publishing and getting a link. Journalists are usually in a pinch and they’ll appreciate a quick response.

Writing great HARO pitches

Once you see a journalist request that you want to respond to, it’s time to write a great pitch. You can respond to the email sent in the request and my suggestion is to write in the name of someone significant from your company. You want to make sure to meet the journalists’ requirements in the requests. If they need insights from a CMO, you won’t respond as the CFO or sales professional, etc.

{Hi there :)

I’m [Name], [Title and Company]. I came across your HARO query and would like to share my insights on it. Hope you’ll find them useful:

____________________

[Your expertise].

_______________________

Please find the additional information below :)

Name and surname:
Author bio:
Title and company:
Website:
Image link:
LinkedIn profile: 

Could you please drop me an email to [Email address] if you decide to include my quote to your article?

Thanks for your attention and time!

Kind regards,
[Name]}

The second thing to keep in mind is that short pitches in general perform better. Journalists have a short time to review pitches and they will get dozens to hundreds for each HARO request they publish. The pitches that we send that get published are usually under 200 words long. In other words, don’t write novels and keep it short and sweet.

On a similar note, make sure to only respond to the journalist’s query and follow their instructions closely. Don’t add extra information and don’t write about what you want to write. We submitted a request of our own and we had to discard a good portion of pitches because they didn’t follow our instructions.

Getting published

Once your successful pitch comes through, the journalist will (in most cases) reach out to say that they published your pitch and ask for shares. In some cases, they will publish your quote but not give out a link. It is worth emailing them and asking for a link anyways. Other times, journalists don’t let us know that they published a post but we can see the links come in through Ahrefs.

Rinse and repeat

HARO is a daily activity that can take an hour every day if you plan it out the right way. It may not always work, but our success rate is around 10%. If you send 10 pitches per day, that means one link per day – which is definitely worth the time.

SourceBottle and JournoRequest

HARO is not the only journalist source website out there. SourceBottle is built on the same principle and the main difference is the frequency of the emails you get. You can expect to get emails once per day so it’s a bit less time-consuming than HARO.

SourceBottle

JournoRequest is actually a hashtag on Twitter, #journorequest. It’s often used by journalists looking for a source for their new story so it’s worth following it every day to see what kind of requests you stumble upon. We were published quite a few times through this outlet as well.

PR is a daily activity

As you can see, it takes a daily effort to catch up on all of our PR opportunities. To make this happen, we have an outreach manager who compiles all of the opportunities in a single document every day, after which our staff writer takes care of the responses. That way, we make sure not to miss any opportunities that may come up.

2. Guest post activities

We pitch about 30-50 blogs for guest posts every month with a pretty high success rate. We do this by focusing on blogs in our niche (SaaS) and sending relevant topics as our pitches. Considering that guest posting is incredibly difficult due to the amount of spam we see, this is an excellent result – and here’s how you can do the same. Email example:

Hi [Name of the main Editor/Content responsible],

Hope you’re doing well! I really enjoyed your latest blog post on [X topic]. Seeing that we’re both interested in [topic of mutual expertise], I’d love to share useful insights on [topic] with [Website name] audience. Are you open to receiving guest posts at the moment?

I’m [Name], [Title and Company]. We are one of the leading [Niche] platforms. I try to write several guest posts a month. I’ve written for sites like [Website name] and [Website name]. If you are open to accepting guest posts, I’d love to pitch some ideas or hear about your editorial or keyword focus for this quarter.

Thanks, and I look forward to hearing back from you.

Don’t spray and pray

When it comes to guest post opportunities, we only target websites in our own industry (SaaS). The companies we pitch are not our competitors but they are usually in the same category (marketing or sales), which is important if you want to pitch a relevant topic. Don’t spam just any blog out there just because they accept guest posts. The more relevant the target it, the more likely your pitch is to get accepted.

Research your target

In most cases, it takes just a few minutes of research to find out what type of content is usually posted on that website. You can find the topics they prefer, the format (shorter or longer posts), the angle, the style and everything else you need to know. Once you get a feel for what they usually publish, you’ll know what topic and angle to pitch. 

Personalize your pitch

While we do have some templates for guest blog pitches, we always personalize our emails depending on the company we’re emailing and the topics we are suggesting. We get quite a few pitches as well, and we can immediately tell when someone is sending an email blast. Take a few minutes, do your homework and write something that stands out. This will show your effort and help build a quality collaboration.

Closely follow the bloggers’ instructions

One of the biggest pet peeves as a website owner/manager is getting a guest blog submission and having to spend hours fixing it up. Every serious blogger will send you a list of their guidelines. This includes rules on the article length, the number and type of images, the number and type of links allowed and much more. 

sample guest blog post editorial guidelines

Write precisely according to these instructions and you’ll reduce the time it takes to get your guest blog published. Also, you’ll reduce the chances of having the article returned for more edits.

3. Network and build relations with fellow marketers

Besides guest post outreach, we also collaborate with a number of marketing professionals, agencies and teams, and help each other in the mutual promotion. Since guest posting on its own can be slow and it can take weeks (and months) to get published on HARO, it’s always helpful to have friends in your field. We’ve been working with quite a lot of businesses throughout the time and have built friendships with people behind them.

“If you want to go fast, go alone – if you want to go far, go together.”

This speaks not only about life but also about the business world.

Sometimes, we’ll ask our SaaS friends to write something about us in their article, and we’ll also give a shout-out to them in ours, where it’s relevant. 

Guest post partnerships

Every time we write a guest post, we have an opportunity to include a few links besides our own. Occasionally, we use this opportunity to mention and link to some of our own SaaS friends. You can also find communities that offer this kind of link collaboration. 

looking for guest post links

The more connections you have, the easier it is to find one that fits into your target guest post. Instead of trying to cram in irrelevant links, include only the links to content that’s relevant to the post. That way, you’re adding an additional value to your article and not adding links just for the sake of adding them. Just like you support your friends, they will naturally be glad to support you when possible and mention you in their guest post or on social media.

One of the most common ways of backlink building in already published content is to suggest a quality contribution to that piece of content. For instance, if there’s a blog post about proposal software tools and ours is not on the list, we’ll contact the author and ask to feature our software as well. It’s often necessary to create certain graphics or attach screenshots of the product, so our designers jump in to help and ensure the smooth feature. In this scenario, our contribution is relevant as it matches the topic 100%, and it also helps us get a mention (and a link) in return.

Remember to think in terms of long-term partnerships rather than just an opportunity to get a link. How can you support that platform and their audience? How can you collaborate with their editors in the future? Could they become affiliate partners one day? Always find ways to support others and provide value, and you’ll see the good come back to you.

4. Following marketing communities

As part of our social media marketing plan, we participate in discussions in various Facebook and LinkedIn groups, as well as Twitter. Besides getting to pitch our product every now and then, we get to monitor opportunities for roundup posts.

If you join the right communities, you’ll notice quite a few bloggers, writers, marketers and journalists looking for a source for a piece which they are writing at that moment. In most cases, you’ll need to add a few sentences and that’s all it takes to get featured in a new article.

B2B Bloggers Boost Group backlink building

The key is finding the right communities. Once again, relevance trumps everything else so try and find communities in your own industry. We are fortunate enough that there are lots of groups for the SaaS industry so finding opportunities for a roundup post or comment is not difficult. Through these roundup posts, we were able to find most of the partners that we have today. In other words, you can forge long-lasting relationships.

Building links often seems like a tedious job that never ends. With so many paths to take and none of them guaranteeing certain success, you can get paralyzed and not know where to start. These four tactics enabled us to get to over 12,000 backlinks in a year and with some adjustment, you can apply these methods to your own business and marketing strategy. Remember to be authentic, do your research and treat every person you contact as a potential long-term partner in the future – and you’re good to go.

Author Bio

This guest post was written by Petra Odak. Petra is a Chief Marketing Officer at Better Proposals, simple yet incredibly powerful proposal software tool that helps you send high-converting, web-based business proposals in minutes. She’s a solution-oriented marketing enthusiast with more than 5 years of experience in various fields of marketing and project management.

Hero photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

An incredible backlink building case study of how one company got 12,000 backlinks in one year. All of their hacks and secrets are revealed.
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