6 Link Building Lessons I Learned from Sending 150 Outreach Emails in 30 Days

link building


Do you know the best way to earn backlinks for your site? The methods that will make a real difference to your search engine rankings?

Guest posting? The broken link building method?

There are lots of link building strategies that every SEO can use to build links to their site.

As for me, I decided to get involved in email outreach.

Now, you may ask: “Why did you decide to use email outreach? It is too time-consuming”

Yes, it takes a lot of time and patience, but…

By mastering email outreach you will build solid connections with other website owners and pick up high-quality links in the process.

It’s not easy:

I spent a month before I got positive results on email outreach.

I faced numerous obstacles, and learned a lot along the way.

So today I’m going to share with you 6 important lessons I learned from sending over 150 outreach emails in 30 days.


Arm Yourself With Patience and Time


Firstly, I must admit – I expected positive results in a short period of time.

But, I was mistaken.

Email outreach is a very time consuming process. You will have to arm yourself with patience and spend time preparing a strong prospect list before you even send an email.

It doesn’t really matter what piece of content you want to promote.

The trick is to find your target audience. And believe me, this process would be WAY longer without some cool tools that helped me to achieve my goals.

You will probably wonder: “Did you search for your target audience manually in Google? ”

I didn’t search for my potential clients via Google but…it gave me a tip of what content might help me. This competitor’s content links to my target audience.  


Your Competitors Will Help You


My task was to promote this article on growth hacking.
So how did I start? I asked Google.

Google suggested to me a few articles for the search “growth hacks”. That was enough for me and the next step was to work with Ahref’s Site Explorer.


Link building lessons I learned from sending 150 outreach emails


This amazing tool provided me with all the data I needed – 1.44K backlinks that I had to work with (and this data is related to only one competitor’s article).


Link building lessons I learned from sending 150 outreach emails


You can imagine how many people I had to reach to achieve my goal.  Yes, it was the longest period of my work. Remember – lazybones have nothing to do here.

If I were lazy enough, I would never have complete this task. Why so? Because collecting the personal data of potential linkers is tedious work. If you are lazy – stop reading now 😉

You will hit the jackpot if you find detailed information in the section “about the author”.

But if there is no info, you will have to use additional tools to find their contact details.

I recommend using the following ‘email finders’: Emailhunter.co, Findanyemail.net, Voilanorbert.com. They are free but have a limited number of searches per day. I picked up around 40% of my prospect’s emails through these services.

I managed to collect the remaining 60% via social media platforms.

Now I want to get into a bit of detail about these extra tools.


Additional Tools – Your Secret Link Prospecting Weapon


As mentioned above – there are 2 ways of getting email addresses. You can do it manually or use specialized tools for it.

Which tool should you choose? I highly recommend you use these 3 tools simultaneously. The difference between them is clear:

  • Voilanorbert.com – a very convenient service; it requires you to insert the full name of the person you need and the domain where you found him. The rest will be done by the service. I must admit that in 80% of the cases the result was correct.


Link building lessons I learned from sending 150 outreach emails


  • Findanyemail.net – works exactly like Voilanorbert but only offers 20 free ‘searches’.


Link building lessons I learned from sending 150 outreach emails


  • Emailhunter.co – this one I like the least. Here you can insert only the domain that you are interested in. The service suggests to you possible email addresses that are related to the domain and you will have to check their correctness manually. It takes lots of time.


Link building lessons I learned from sending 150 outreach emails


You can also use services such as website.informer.com or who.is but, believe me, they take your time and give zero results.


A Platform for Semi Automating Your Email Outreach


Sending emails manually is a very tedious process.

Furthermore, you may make a mistake during the data personalization.

So it is much better to use such platforms such as Buzzstream or Yesware. Both platforms have their merits, but I chose Buzzstream.

Why Buzzstream?

Because of its marvelous system of implementing email templates.

Believe me, these are essential for scaled email outreach.

Once you have prepared the templates and implemented them within Buzzstream, the rest will be taken care of by the service. Buzzstream does all the preparation with every template and makes it as personal as possible.


Link building lessons I learned from sending 150 outreach emails


Link building lessons I learned from sending 150 outreach emails


If you want to use Gmail for your outreach, then Yesware is great for tracking email opens. Send out a tracked email and Yesware will let you know when it has been opened/clicked.

Outstanding tool, but for me, Buzzstream is the winner.


A Few Words About the Template


Every template that you send must be strictly relevant to the subject of your message.

With my subject being ‘growth hacking’, I had to prepare 3 individual templates. These 3 templates were separated into the following groups:

  • To be sent when site specifically writes an article about growth hacking.


  • To be sent when the article is about another topic, but references growth hacking.
  • The article is specifically on growth hacking, but a bit light and could do with the additional information.

Of course, the body of each outreach template was different. You can see the actual templates here.

The only thing that I want to underline is to follow the subject and don’t forget about a call to action.


The Results are In


My outreach campaign took a month. I was sure after the month of work I would get positive results…at least I thought so.

Luckily, the results were pretty good:

I sent the message to 150 recipients. 20 people replied to me, 65 just opened it with no feedback and only 15 people ignored me (sad but true).

A quick calculation shows us that I got a 20% response rate. Yeah, not bad for the beginning. And I have a more persuasive fact for you!

Ahrefs’ article on growth hacking placed at the bottom of Google page №2. After the month of outreach ‘battle’ the position of the article is vastly improved. Now it places at #7 on the VERY FIRST page of Google.



Link building lessons I learned from sending 150 outreach emails


Cool, right? I think it is! Even if you reach 20% of positive results, it will definitely move your article’s search ranking upwards.




I believe every reader of my article will realize that there’s a lot to learn with email outreach. It is very much a step-by-step process.

Hopefully the lessons that I’ve learned will help you to achieve your ranking goals.

For more actionable link building tips, check out The ‘Noob Friendly Guide To Link Building’ over on Ahrefs blog.

And if you have any questions or comments then please leave them below!


About the Author




Sergey Aliokhin is an outreach manager at Ahrefs. He spends most of the time discovering and learning SEO and internet marketing tendencies. His primal goal is to study and practice new aspects of outreach strategy. In his spare time he likes to spend time with family, visit specialized sports clubs and study martial arts. If he has nothing to do at all he reads books on science fiction and playing the bass-guitar. You can reach him on Twitter and Email.





4 thoughts on “6 Link Building Lessons I Learned from Sending 150 Outreach Emails in 30 Days

  1. Cacey Taylor

    One of the best articles I have read on Link building strategy. To break it down to 6 of the most useful lessons is incredible. Thank you for sharing your expertise and look forward to implementing what I learned into my strategy.

  2. emmereyrose

    Awesome piece Sergey! Thanks for sharing these tips! However, I want to know what is your take on writing emails to bloggers for your outreach with a casual tone (e.g. using emoji)?

    • sergeyaliokhin

      Thanks for the question and sorry for the delay!

      Frankly speaking, it all depends on the blogger I’m going to reach out. Definitely, the message must be personalized as hell. I try avoid using various types of emoji; nevertheless, if it is to the point, I can add some “slight smile” emoticon. I rely on the information I learned about the blogger. I try to connect his or her interests, hobbies with the actual purpose of my message. It goes without saying, that the manner you’re reaching the blogger out must be friendly. But try not to overdo with it.


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