Complete Advanced Link Building Course by Ahrefs

Last updated: May 18, 2023

The video is an advanced course by Ahrefs on link building, focusing on breaking away from traditional tactics and improving processes to create a highly effective link building team, with lessons on finding prospects, crafting personalized outreach emails, validating link building campaigns, and managing and scaling link building operations.

The video is an advanced course on link building by Ahrefs.

The course aims to help viewers break away from traditional link building tactics and improve their processes to create a highly effective link building team.

The course covers topics such as:

  • finding prospects,
  • crafting personalized outreach emails,
  • validating link building campaigns,
  • managing a team to maximize efficiency
  • scale link building operations.

The video emphasizes the importance of content in link building and explains why people share and link to pages.

The video also provides tips on how to bake value into informational content to increase success rates in getting links.

  • The course focuses on improving link building processes to create an effective team.
  • Prospects can be found using the seed and lookalike approach, Ahrefs' Site Explorer, Content Explorer, and Link Intersect tool.
  • Personalized outreach emails should be short, benefit-rich, and include a clear call to action.
  • Understanding how links were built helps to replicate link profiles and form angles of attack for link outreach pitches.
  • People link to things to prove credibility, trust, and to look good.
  • Competitor analysis helps to understand how similar pages got their links and infer why.
  • Validating link building campaigns involves understanding the context of links and replicating linkable points in content.
  • Managing and scaling link building operations involves setting goals, tracking progress, and outsourcing tasks if needed.
  • Content and link building are inseparable, and content type matters in terms of success rates.

Complete Advanced Link Building Course by Ahrefs - YouTube

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Introduction

  • The course is designed to help break away from traditional link building tactics and improve processes to create a highly effective link building team.
  • Learn how to find prospects with the seed and lookalike approach, craft personalized outreach emails, validate link building campaigns with minimal effort using a blitz list, and manage and scale link building operations.
  • The course will not cover common link building tactics like guest posting or resource page link building.
  • The focus is on peeling back the layers of the stages of link building to make efforts more efficient and effective.
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The Role of Content in Link Building

  • Content and link building are inseparable.
  • Content should dictate outreach pages and set context for the first conversation around a common interest or belief.
  • Content type matters in terms of success rates, with informational content being easier to get links to than commercial content.
  • Value should be tied to pitch angles, and commercial content is tougher to insert value into.
  • People share things they share because of a relationship, and authors share pages via hyperlink with their readers for various reasons, such as referencing or supporting a point.
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Finding Prospects

  • Use the seed and lookalike approach to find prospects.
  • The seed is a website or page that is relevant to your niche, and lookalike prospects are websites or pages that are similar to the seed.
  • Use Ahrefs' Site Explorer to find the top pages and websites in your niche.
  • Use Ahrefs' Content Explorer to find popular content in your niche and see who is linking to it.
  • Use Ahrefs' Link Intersect tool to find websites that link to your competitors but not to you.
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Crafting Personalized Outreach Emails

  • Personalize outreach emails by using the recipient's name and referencing their website or content.
  • Use a benefit-rich subject line to grab the recipient's attention.
  • Keep the email short and to the point, and include a clear call to action.
  • Follow up with a second email if you don't receive a response after a week or two.
  • Use Ahrefs' Email Outreach tool to manage your outreach campaigns and track responses.
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Reasons Why People Link

  • People link to things to prove that they're not making stuff up.
  • They link to things to add credibility to themselves or their companies.
  • They link to things they trust.
  • It makes them look good.
  • Creating pages that mention and portray a person or company in a positive way is a link building tactic on its own.
  • Implicit relationships are usually content super fans.
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Importance of Understanding How Links Were Built

  • Understanding how a page got its links helps to replicate that link profile.
  • Find a competing page to analyze.
  • Backlinks are likely a reason for high ranking positions.
  • Click on the number in the backlinks column to see the pages that link to competing guides.
  • Topics for linkable assets often have no search volume but have the potential to earn massive links.
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Competitor Analysis

  • Analyzing how similar pages got their links helps to form angles of attack for link outreach pitches.
  • Understanding the how helps to infer the why.
  • Find a competing page to analyze by looking at the top 10 ranking pages for your target query.
  • Backlinks are likely a reason for high ranking positions.
  • Click on the number in the backlinks column to see the pages that link to competing guides.
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Commonalities in Reasons Why People Link

  • People link to things to prove that they're not making stuff up.
  • They link to things to add credibility to themselves or their companies.
  • They link to things they trust.
  • Implicit relationships are usually content super fans.
  • Explicit relationships are your online friends who you talk shop with.
  • Helping each other succeed is one of the most powerful link building advantages.
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Finding Prospects for Link Building

  • Two categories of linkable assets: inspired by another page or don't know the exact angle
  • Use competitor analysis tool like Ahrefs Site Explorer to find competing pages
  • Use Ahrefs Content Explorer to search through billions of pages and get SEO metrics on them
  • Set filters to narrow down search results by referring domains, exclude subdomains, and page traffic
  • Skim through results and look for topics that might inspire you
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Validating Link Building Campaigns

  • Objective is to understand how targets got their backlinks to replicate similar links
  • Look at anchors and target URL column in backlinks report to understand context of links
  • Start at anchors report to summarize backlink profile
  • Look for specific points that are frequently mentioned as a sign of a linkable point
  • Ignore things like title of post, naked URLs, and branded anchors
  • Replicate things that stand out in the anchors report in your content
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Crafting Personalized Outreach Emails

  • Personalize outreach emails by mentioning something specific about the target's website or content
  • Use a friendly and conversational tone in your email
  • Keep your email short and to the point
  • Include a clear call-to-action in your email
  • Follow up with a second email if you don't receive a response
  • Use Ahrefs' email outreach feature to manage and track your outreach campaigns
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Managing and Scaling Link Building Operations

  • Use project management tools like Trello or Asana to manage your link building campaigns
  • Set goals and deadlines for your campaigns
  • Track your progress and adjust your strategy as needed
  • Use Ahrefs' batch analysis feature to analyze multiple URLs at once
  • Outsource link building tasks to a virtual assistant or agency if needed
  • Continuously learn and improve your link building skills and processes
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Finding Link Prospects

  • Use HS Content Explorer to search for relevant keywords and filter by metrics like DR and website traffic.
  • Look for list posts and follow the rabbit hole to find bigger opportunities.
  • Change keywords to expand the list of prospects.
  • Consider creating a link building ebook as a way to attract links.
  • Filter out websites that have already been pitched to avoid duplicate outreach.
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Identifying Linkable Points

  • Use the Anchors report in Ahrefs to identify linkable points in a popular page.
  • Ignore naked URLs and branded anchors.
  • Look for common themes in the anchors and surrounding text.
  • Consider whether the links are easily replicable.
  • Use the Backlinks report to search for specific keywords or phrases in the anchors and surrounding text.
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Using Data and Creativity for Successful Campaigns

  • Make informed decisions based on a blend of data, creativity, and common sense.
  • Ensure that your content supports both your link outreach pitches and the reason why people link to a page.
  • Consider including up-to-date data and making the information searchable and easy to digest.
  • Remember that link building is not an exact science and success is not guaranteed.
  • Use a blend of data and creativity to increase your chances of success.
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Link Prospecting for Personalized and Scalable Campaigns

  • Find seed prospects using HS Content Explorer and filter by metrics like DR and website traffic.
  • Look for look-alike prospects based on your seeds to broaden the scope of your campaign.
  • Segment your prospects based on factors like industry, location, and website type.
  • Use personalized outreach emails to increase your chances of success.
  • Track your progress and adjust your strategy as needed.
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Finding Seed Prospects

  • Seed prospects are people who link to a page for a specific reason.
  • Finding seed prospects is important because it helps you understand why people are linking to a page.
  • The most important skill for a prospector is the ability to identify patterns.
  • Patterns can be found in the context of backlinks, referring page titles, and actual content.
  • Identifying patterns helps you approach prospects in your outreach pitch.
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Context of Links to a Competing Page

  • Studying the anchors of a competing page's backlinks can help you understand why people link to a page.
  • Looking for patterns in the context of links can help you find linkable points.
  • Referring to a specific stat or point can be a good pitch angle.
  • Referring to outdated or incorrect information can also be a good pitch angle.
  • Looking for pitch angles related to the context of links can help you craft personalized outreach emails.
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Referring Page Titles of a Competing Page's Backlinks

  • Looking for commonalities in the titles of referring pages can help you find seed prospects.
  • Seed prospects can be listicles on a specific topic or type of content.
  • Referring to a free resource without any kind of opt-in can be a good pitch angle.
  • Looking for pitch angles related to the titles of referring pages can help you craft personalized outreach emails.
  • Using a commonality in the titles of referring pages can help you scale your link building campaigns.
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Actual Content Itself

  • Looking for incorrect, dangerous, or outdated recommendations in the actual content can help you find seed prospects.
  • Seed prospects can be anyone who linked to inaccurate information prior to an update.
  • Referring to accurate information and correcting outdated recommendations can be a good pitch angle.
  • Looking for pitch angles related to the actual content can help you craft personalized outreach emails.
  • Using accurate information and correcting outdated recommendations can help you build trust with prospects.
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Finding Prospects with Footprints

  • LSI keywords can help surface unique prospecting opportunities.
  • Finding a pattern or footprint with a pitch angle baked into it can be the foundation for link outreach campaigns.
  • Seed prospects are people who link to a page for a specific reason, identified by patterns in a competing page's link profile.
  • Following the footprint can help find more prospects like the seeds.
  • Tools like Ahrefs, Google, and the Scraper Chrome extension can be used to find lookalike prospects.
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Finding Lookalike Prospects

  • Lookalike prospects are people who are similar to a seed prospect.
  • Tools like Ahrefs, Google, and the Scraper Chrome extension can be used to find lookalike prospects.
  • Lookalike prospects help to define pitch angles.
  • Footprints can be used to gauge the breadth of the opportunity.
  • Using filters can narrow in on relevant opportunities.
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Examples of Finding Lookalike Prospects

  • For the SEO statistics page, a pattern was noticed in the majority of links to the page being because of a specific stat.
  • Looking for a footprint within a pattern can help gauge the opportunity.
  • For the link building guide, a pattern was noticed in the referring pages being on the topic of top SEO ebooks.
  • Titles of pages that include the words "best" or "top" and "SEO ebooks" can be used to find lookalike prospects.
  • Using Ahrefs, Google, and the Scraper Chrome extension can help find lookalike prospects.
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Expanding Your List of Prospects

  • Using lookalike prospects can help expand your list of prospects.
  • Tools like Ahrefs, Google, and the Scraper Chrome extension can be used to find lookalike prospects.
  • Using filters can narrow in on relevant opportunities.
  • Batch analysis can help to validate link building campaigns.
  • Managing and scaling link building operations is important for success.
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Finding Look-Alike Prospects

  • Use Ahrefs Content Explorer to search for seed prospects.
  • Filter and export the results as needed.
  • Change the search term to find more look-alike prospects.
  • Use Ahrefs Site Explorer to find pages recommending the seed prospect.
  • Scrape the web for potential seed prospects using tools like Chrome Scraper Extension.
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Vetting Look-Alike Prospects

  • Use Ahrefs Site Explorer to analyze the link profile of potential prospects.
  • Check for relevance and authority of the prospect's website.
  • Look for patterns in the prospect's linking behavior.
  • Check for any red flags like spammy links or low-quality content.
  • Use Ahrefs Batch Analysis to analyze multiple prospects at once.
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Segmenting Prospects for Outreach

  • Segment prospects based on relevance, authority, and linking behavior.
  • Use tags and labels to organize prospects.
  • Personalize outreach emails based on the segment.
  • Track and measure the success of each segment.
  • Adjust the segmentation strategy as needed.
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Scaling Personalized Outreach Campaigns

  • Use email automation tools to send personalized emails at scale.
  • Test and optimize email subject lines and content.
  • Follow up with prospects who haven't responded.
  • Track and measure the success of the outreach campaign.
  • Adjust the strategy as needed based on the results.
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Segmenting Prospects for Personalized Outreach

  • Personalized emails are relevant to something specific the prospect has done or said.
  • Linkable points make outreach emails personalized.
  • Look-alike prospects can receive almost the exact same email while maintaining personalization.
  • Grouping prospects by segment allows for unique emails to each segment.
  • Segmenting by linkable points is better than metric groupings.
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Example of Segmenting Prospects

  • Identify linkable points from competing pages.
  • Find look-alike prospects that mention the linkable points.
  • Use backlinks report and include filter to find prospects.
  • Create segments based on linkable points.
  • Automate prospecting with mentions or backlinks alerts.
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Automating Prospecting with Alerts

  • Set up backlinks or mentions alerts with a competitor's URL.
  • Use mentions alerts with a footprint and base level metrics filters.
  • Get notified via email when a page mentions the footprint.
  • Quickly reach out and ask for a link.
  • Segmentation is important in link prospecting.
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The Power of Segmentation

  • Segmenting prospects allows for personalized outreach at scale.
  • Linkable points make outreach emails relevant and personalized.
  • Segmenting by linkable points is better than metric groupings.
  • Automating prospecting with alerts saves time and effort.
  • Segmentation is a crucial step in link prospecting.
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Finding and Segmenting Prospects

  • Finding good seeds helps to carefully craft content and define pitch angles.
  • Finding lookalike prospects helps to create a sizeable and relevant list of prospects.
  • Segmentation helps to scale personalized emails.
  • There is a process to choose who to contact, which happens in the vetting stage.
  • A list of well over a thousand linked prospects is not blindly emailed.
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Vetting and Validating Link Prospects

  • Vetting prospects involves checking for relevant links and ensuring link pitches will be relevant.
  • There are three steps to vetting prospects: narrowing down the list by SEO metrics, ensuring prospects' pages are relevant to the page being pitched, and validating that the pitch angle is relevant.
  • Domain rating and website traffic are common metrics used to narrow down the list of prospects.
  • Prospects' pages can be scanned to ensure relevance to the page being pitched.
  • Prospects' pages must be validated to ensure the pitch angle is still relevant.
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Managing and Scaling Link Building Operations

  • Link building operations can be managed and scaled by using tools like Trello and Google Sheets.
  • Link building teams can be organized by assigning roles and responsibilities.
  • Processes can be streamlined by creating templates for outreach emails and follow-ups.
  • Link building campaigns can be tracked and analyzed using tools like Ahrefs and Google Analytics.
  • Scaling link building operations requires hiring and training new team members.
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Personalized Outreach Emails

  • Personalized outreach emails should be tailored to the recipient and include specific details about their website or content.
  • Subject lines should be attention-grabbing and relevant to the recipient.
  • Emails should be concise and easy to read.
  • Follow-ups should be sent to increase the chances of a response.
  • Templates can be created to streamline the outreach process.
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Custom Search and Page Vetting

  • Create a custom search to find pages that mention your linkable point.
  • Choose "contains" as the condition and type in the search term.
  • Select "page text" from the drop-down menu.
  • Run the URLs in list mode and crawl them.
  • Go to the custom search tab and choose your filter from the drop-down menu.
  • You will see a list of all URLs that match your custom search.
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Finding the Right People for Outreach

  • Contact the author, editor, marketing or content marketing manager, or webmaster.
  • If you can't find contacts for any of these people, reach out to a generic email like support or contact.
  • Consider your goal and the size of the company when deciding who to contact.
  • If you're pitching a guest post, contact the editor.
  • If you're requesting edits to an existing post, contact the author or editor.
  • Keep track of the titles of people you send pitches to and your link acquisition rates.
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Who to Contact for Guest Posting

  • Contact the head of content for larger companies.
  • Contact the editor for smaller companies.
  • Don't contact the author or webmaster for guest posting opportunities.
  • Identify who has the power to add your link to their page.
  • Contact people who can actually add your link to their page.
  • Don't waste your outreach pitch on someone who can't add your link.
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Manual Vetting and Hiring Good Veterans

  • For complex linkable points, the only way to vet prospects is manually.
  • Hire good veterans to help with the vetting process.
  • Consider the complexity of your linkable point when deciding whether to vet at scale.
  • Manually vetting prospects can be time-consuming but is necessary for complex linkable points.
  • Invest in good veterans to help with the manual vetting process.
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Blitz List

  • The most time-consuming part of link building is finding people's emails.
  • The blitz list is a fully ready to send outreach list generated based on a sample of your vetted prospects.
  • The blitz list saves time from finding emails because it's all done programmatically.
  • The blitz list helps you validate your outreach pitch by contacting only a sample of your big prospects list.
  • You can make an educated decision of whether it's worth continuing with the campaign, pivoting, or cancelling it all together.
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Finding Emails

  • Assuming you're contacting the author of a post, you take that author's name and run a search through an email finding tool like Hunter.
  • If you were taking an extra step to clean your list of prospects, you'd verify that the email is deliverable using a tool like NeverBounce.
  • When you're finding someone that's not the author, the process takes significantly longer.
  • You might look through a team page or the employee directory on LinkedIn to find the most appropriate contact.
  • You'd have to run the names and domains through Hunter and validate again with NeverBounce.
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Issues with Email Finders

  • People look to networks like Upwork and Mechanical Turk to get people who will find emails for you.
  • Some freelancers will find people's personal email addresses like a Gmail address, but you shouldn't be contacting them there unless it's stated on their site.
  • Others will provide lists of invalid email addresses or generic email addresses when there are better options.
  • Human error is real.
  • The quality is usually much better when you do it in-house, but it's a super inefficient way to build links.
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Creating a Blitz List

  • You run your list of URLs through Hunter's author API where Hunter will search for the author of the page and show you the email address if it exists.
  • You use NeverBounce's API to validate whether the emails are likely to be deliverable or not.
  • Assuming you had a list of a thousand prospects, it's very possible to find 60 to 120 email addresses from your vetted list of prospects and start your outreach campaign all within 15 to 30 minutes.
  • You can create your blitz list using Google Sheets, ideally with the help of a developer to create some app scripts around Hunter's author finder call and NeverBounce's email verification call.
  • You can also use Hunter for Sheets, which is a Google Sheets add-on made by Hunter.io.
  • You can use NeverBounce's clean tool to upload a CSV of found email addresses and then hit the clean my list button.
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Ways to Find Email Addresses

  • Use an email finding tool like Hunter or NeverBounce.
  • Create your own custom coded program for scaling email finding.
  • Use Google Sheets with a no code tool like Zapier.
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Link Outreach Approaches

  • Shotgun approach: sending the exact same email to all prospects with minimal personalization.
  • Sniper approach: carefully selecting pages and websites for personalized outreach.
  • Hybrid approach: sending personalized emails to a large group of prospects based on a commonality among segments.
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Pros and Cons of Outreach Approaches

  • Shotgun approach: fast, but can lead to spamming, burning bridges, and tainting brand reputation.
  • Sniper approach: better links and potential for long-term relationships, but not scalable and requires advanced negotiation skills.
  • Hybrid approach: combines speed and personalization, but may not be optimal for highly segmented prospects.
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Writing Effective Outreach Emails

  • Personalize the email based on a commonality among the segment.
  • Start with a friendly greeting and introduce yourself or your company.
  • Explain why you are reaching out and what value you can offer.
  • Include a clear call-to-action and make it easy for the recipient to take action.
  • Follow up if you don't receive a response after a few days.
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Hybrid Outreach Approach

  • The hybrid approach combines traditional link outreach with a linkable point.
  • Personalized emails can be sent at scale with this method.
  • Link acquisition rates are typically in the 5 to 12 range.
  • Cons include difficulty in consistently finding good seed prospects and the need for creative angles.
  • The anatomy of the email should be the same regardless of the approach used.
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Scaling Value with Hybrid Outreach Approach

  • Outreach emails usually have a good reason for contact and a value proposition.
  • The linkable point is the good reason for contact in the hybrid approach.
  • Segmenting prospects allows for more impactful value propositions.
  • Value propositions depend on the context of the linkable point.
  • Brainstorming value props involves thinking about how the reason for contact impacts prospects and their audiences.
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Example of Strong Pitch

  • A natural health site noticed an article recommending cinnamon for weight loss, despite potential dangers.
  • The pitch highlighted the importance of updating content and potential dangers to audiences.
  • A link to a reference strengthened the pitch.
  • The email was well received and resulted in top-notch links with a 20% conversion rate.
  • Pitch angles don't always have to be about life or death, but can still be effective.
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Example of Outdated Stat Pitch

  • A competing page had a ton of backlinks based on an outdated stat.
  • The reason for contact was that the stat wasn't even on the target page.
  • The angle used was to highlight how outdated the stat was and that the page didn't even mention it.
  • Most people won't care about outdated content on their site, so the angle needed to be stronger.
  • The pitch was successful in securing links.
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Creating Strong Value Propositions

  • Value proposition should be fresh data to keep content up to date.
  • Conversion rate of 6.8 on the campaign with no follow-up emails.
  • Offer to rewrite a paragraph or part of their article to make it reflect current data better.
  • Brainstorm ideas by segment to understand how linking to you will impact prospects and benefit their audience.
  • Strong value propositions that are tied to your linkable point will create an easy outreach email.
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Writing Personalized Templated Outreach Emails

  • People use templates, resulting in robotic sounding emails.
  • Generic templated emails have slim chances of standing out.
  • Practice and feedback are what will help you get better at the skill.
  • Focus on writing personalized emails and then extract personalization fields if any to see if it can be templated.
  • Extract personalization fields from the sample, such as the URL of the contacts page, the publishing date, the competing pages, company name, and the 20 part.
  • All personalization fields aside from the year of publishing can be easily templated because we're sending emails to segments.
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Hybrid Method for Outreach Emails

  • Hybrid method is a combination of personalized and templated outreach emails.
  • Personalization fields can be easily extracted from the personalized email and then used to create a templated email for a specific segment.
  • Example of a scenario: You have a personal finance blog and wrote an awesome post on budgeting.
  • Research a competing page's link profile and notice a good chunk of their links are from personal finance blogs.
  • Create a personalized email to one of your prospects and then extract personalization fields if any to see if it can be templated.
  • Use the hybrid method to create personalized and templated outreach emails for different segments.
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Validating Link Building Campaigns

  • Validating link building campaigns is important to ensure that you're getting the most out of your efforts.
  • Use Ahrefs to track the progress of your link building campaigns.
  • Check the referring domains, organic traffic, and rankings of your target pages to see if they're improving.
  • Use Google Analytics to track the referral traffic and conversions from your link building campaigns.
  • Use Google Search Console to track the impressions, clicks, and CTR of your target pages.
  • Use these metrics to determine the success of your link building campaigns and make adjustments as needed.
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Creating Personalized Outreach Emails

  • Traditional templates should be avoided to sound more like yourself.
  • Delivering value should be the mentality while writing an email.
  • Choose one prospect from your segment and write an email to them as if they're a friend.
  • Remove any empty statements, false flattery, and language you typically wouldn't use with a stranger.
  • Personalize the email by using the prospect's brand name.
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Editing the First Draft

  • Go through the first round of edits to remove any empty statements, false flattery, and language you typically wouldn't use with a stranger.
  • Change the language to make it sound more genuine and not like a zillion other emails.
  • Ask someone for feedback to improve the email.
  • Don't try to sound or be like someone else because it will surface in your email copy and play against you.
  • Use the brand's name to personalize the email.
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Validating Link Building Campaigns

  • Validate link building campaigns by checking the domain rating, traffic, and relevance of the linking page.
  • Check the anchor text and make sure it's relevant to the linking page.
  • Check the link placement and make sure it's in a prominent position.
  • Check the link velocity and make sure it's natural.
  • Check the link diversity and make sure it's not coming from the same source.
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Managing and Scaling Link Building Operations

  • Use a project management tool to manage and scale link building operations.
  • Assign tasks to team members and set deadlines.
  • Track progress and make sure everyone is on the same page.
  • Use automation tools to speed up the process.
  • Continuously analyze and optimize the link building process.
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Feedback on Email Pitch

  • The email is too focused on the sender and not enough on the audience.
  • The use of "etc" adds vagueness to the statement.
  • The pitch lacks enthusiasm and needs to highlight why it's better and how it fits the audience.
  • Don't use "if interested," instead write more confidently and directly to the reader.
  • The spreadsheet part should not be pushed too hard, instead, tell them how the budgeting method has brought value to others.
  • The last part of the email sounds similar to what other link builders use, so it needs to be rewritten.
  • Use a more creative and warmer sign-off.
  • The overall flow of the email is too focused on the sender and needs to be rewritten.
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Rewritten Email Pitch

  • The email should focus more on the audience and their needs.
  • Avoid using "etc" to add clarity to the statement.
  • The pitch needs to highlight why it's better and how it fits the audience.
  • Write more confidently and directly to the reader instead of using "if interested."
  • Tell them how the budgeting method has brought value to others instead of pushing the spreadsheet too hard.
  • The last part of the email needs to be rewritten to avoid sounding similar to other link builders.
  • Use a more creative and warmer sign-off.
  • The overall flow of the email needs to be rewritten to focus more on the audience and their needs.
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Templating the Email Pitch

  • The email pitch can be templated by changing the name of the recipient and the size of the segment.
  • The same steps can be repeated for other segments to do hybrid outreach in an effective and impactful way.
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Building a Link Building Team

  • To scale up link building operations, a team, system, and workflows are needed.
  • The next module will focus on link building from a managerial and operational perspective.
  • The module will cover building a link building team and creating efficient systems and workflows.
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Team Models

  • Two team models: all-in-one marketers and specialized team members.
  • All-in-one marketers do everything from content creation to outreach.
  • Specialized team members focus on one part of the link building process.
  • First model can be effective, but no one is a master of all stages.
  • Second model is more efficient and creates synergy within the team.
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Roles and Responsibilities

  • Prospector: finds prospects for link building campaigns.
  • Qualifies and disqualifies prospects based on set criteria.
  • Outreach manager: sends emails and manages relationships.
  • Prospector works with outreach manager to come up with pitch angles.
  • Vetter reviews prospects and updates prospect statuses in spreadsheet.
  • Outreach manager writes and templatizes emails and builds relationships.
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Skills and Qualifications

  • Prospector: strong knowledge of SEO, solid researching skills, analytical thinker, and creative.
  • Vetter: attention to detail and ability to follow instructions consistently.
  • Outreach manager: strong communication skills, good with people, organized, strong copywriter, and creative.
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Importance of Prospecting

  • Prospecting is arguably the most important part of the link building process for the seed and lookalike approach.
  • Campaign success is dependent on the relevance and quality of prospects.
  • Prospectors need to be able to analyze data and creatively execute on it.
  • Prospectors work with content design and dev teams to ensure all assets are ready.
  • Prospectors set up campaigns in a data management tool like Google Sheets.
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Building a Strong Link Building Team

  • Focus on core competencies of the role when hiring
  • Metrics can be taught, but creativity and people skills cannot
  • System is important for both experienced and inexperienced teams
  • System helps to stay organized and maximize efficiency
  • Next lesson will cover the five key components to create a link building system
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Creating a Link Building System

  • Systems are key to scaling and maximizing team effectiveness
  • Systems need to be customized for the organization and people in it
  • Efficiency of a system is fragile and alignment is crucial
  • Five key components to create a link building system:
    • Structure of the team
    • Alignment in company's goals
    • Standard operating procedures (SOPs)
    • Tools and technology
    • Metrics and reporting
  • Structure of the team
  • Alignment in company's goals
  • Standard operating procedures (SOPs)
  • Tools and technology
  • Metrics and reporting
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Structure of the Team

  • Have different team members handle different parts of the link building process
  • Helps to create an assembly line from a structural standpoint
  • Individuals can develop mastery in their role
  • People get better at their jobs, making things move faster and more effectively
  • Roles can include prospecting, outreach, content creation, and relationship building
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Alignment in Company's Goals

  • Set specific goals for the link building team
  • Goals make work more meaningful and help team members understand what they're working towards
  • Common incentive is to give performance bonuses
  • Monthly, quarterly, or annual bonuses can incentivize the team as a unit
  • Each person depends on the other to reach the company's goals
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Documenting Processes

  • Document the process of prospecting, vetting, and outreach as if teaching someone who has never done it before.
  • Create standard operating procedures (SOPs) for every marketing channel, including link building.
  • Handing off SOPs to new employees can ease the hand-holding process.
  • Use project management tools like Trello, Notion, Airtable, or Asana to organize all campaigns in one spot.
  • Project management tools are particularly useful if you have multiple campaigns running simultaneously.
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Using a Project Management Tool

  • Project management tools like Trello, Notion, Airtable, or Asana are a great way to organize all your campaigns in one spot.
  • Use Kanban boards in Notion to create columns for brainstorming, prospecting, vetting, outreach, and completed stages.
  • Create cards within each column to represent campaigns.
  • Assign cards to team members, change statuses, add custom fields and files, leave comments, and tag other members in your organization.
  • Keep assets in one place and have all relevant communications take place there too.
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Using a Campaign Management Tool

  • Use a campaign management tool that supports simultaneous collaboration, such as Google Sheets.
  • Customize your sheet and have multiple team members work together simultaneously.
  • Write your own functions in Apps Scripts to connect to third-party APIs and run a blitz list right inside Sheets.
  • Google Sheets has built-in functions like Query, Filter, and VLOOKUP to filter large data sets and match data from other sources.
  • Be conscious of inefficiencies and blockers and find ways to eliminate them with the people involved in these processes.
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Using a Triangular Model

  • A triangular model is more efficient than a linear model for link building teams.
  • The prospector looks for prospects based on a linkable point and segments them.
  • The outreach manager drafts email templates for each segment.
  • The prospector creates a master Google Sheet, cleans up the list, and generates a blitz list.
  • The campaign sheet is passed over to the vetter, who validates the links.
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The Vetter's Role

  • The vetter reviews blitz list prospects in batches starting with valid emails found in the blitz list.
  • This is the fastest way to kick off a campaign and validate whether your outreach angle will work.
  • After vetting a batch, the vetter contacts the outreach manager and sends off the first batch of emails.
  • The prospector finishes their work on the second campaign and assigns more email templates to the outreach manager and the vetter.
  • The vetter starts working on the new campaign, and the cycle continues.
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Validating Campaigns

  • Once a campaign has been validated from a blitz list, the vetter manually reviews the remainder of the URLs in that campaign.
  • Each day before logging off, the vetter pings the outreach manager to let them know that a batch of prospects is ready for them.
  • The link building team consists of one prospector, one vetter, and one outreach manager.
  • The prospector has a meeting with a content lead to come up with pages that need links and establish rough pitch angles for each post.
  • A card is created for each campaign in their project management tool, target URLs are added, and some rough notes for general guidance are added in the description.
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Creating Campaign Spreadsheets

  • The prospector exports all segments from Ahrefs site explorer for a particular campaign.
  • They download reports in HF site explorer, one report per segment, and create a merged version of the master sheet with each URL labeled with its segment.
  • The results are filtered by removing obvious spam and irrelevant pages, and URLs that contain certain footprints are removed.
  • Finally, URLs are de-duplicated by root domain, and the sheet is checked for headers and the root domain column is chosen.
  • The sheet link is added in the custom field in the notion card, and the team is ready to move on.
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Managing and Scaling Link Building Operations

  • Link building operations can be managed and scaled by creating a well-oiled machine.
  • The link building team consists of a prospector, a vetter, and an outreach manager.
  • The prospector has a meeting with a content lead to come up with pages that need links and establish rough pitch angles for each post.
  • A card is created for each campaign in their project management tool, target URLs are added, and some rough notes for general guidance are added in the description.
  • The vetter reviews blitz list prospects in batches starting with valid emails found in the blitz list.
  • Once a campaign has been validated from a blitz list, the vetter manually reviews the remainder of the URLs in that campaign.
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Prospecting

  • Remove duplicates from the list of URLs.
  • Filter URLs by metrics to remove irrelevant ones.
  • Run the blitz list to find valid emails quickly.
  • Hand off the campaign to the veteran.
  • Move on to the next project and repeat the process.
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Vetting

  • Filter for valid email addresses.
  • Visit each page and go through the vetting checklist.
  • Mark the status as ready for URLs that match all criteria.
  • Mark disqualified for pages that don't match the criteria.
  • Tag the outreach manager after going through the valid blitz list prospects.
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Outreach Management

  • Write email drafts for each segment and template them.
  • Set up the campaign in the outreach tool.
  • Export contacts in the ready status.
  • Change any status that's in the ready state to the send state.
  • Upload the export file to the outreach tool and go through the outreach process.
  • Monitor and optimize systems and workflows accordingly.
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Scaling and Conclusion

  • Don't use systems and workflows to spam people.
  • Vet prospects and personalize emails for better results.
  • Scaling can be exciting, but it takes creativity to execute successfully.
  • Take the extra time to vet prospects and go the extra mile with personalization.
  • Link building process can be more effective, efficient, and enjoyable.
  • Consider subscribing to the YouTube channel for more actionable SEO and marketing tutorials.

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