How To Build Your First PR Backlink From Scratch

Backlinks are awesome. They drive traffic to your website, but, more importantly, pass on ranking signals, eventually leading to your website ranking on the top spots of Google.

And ranking on top of everyone else just brings in more traffic, links, and even sales. Every website owner’s dream.

But getting to that point is not easy. In fact, it can take years, depending on how saturated your niche is. A solid backlink profile will help you stay on top of the competition until they amass a similar number of quality backlinks.

Not all backlinks are created equal, though. PR backlinks from authoritative publications with lots of monthly visitors will have a lot more weight than links from smaller-sized blogs.

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at exactly how you can get these backlinks, step-by-step.

1. Choose Your Strategy

There are many different link building strategies to help your website. Some of them are a little easier to carry out, and others are much more time-consuming.

I will describe a couple of my favorite strategies that are also some of the most effective.

Skyscraper Technique (And Its Reverse Variant)

If you know at least a little bit about link building and SEO in general, you probably already heard about the skyscraper technique.

It can sound a little confusing, but the idea behind it is actually very simple.

First, you research your competitor’s content. Then, you come up with ideas on how you can make a similar article but better, longer, with an infographic, etc.

After you publish your article (that is so much better than your competitor’s), you reach out to the websites linking to their content and let them know how they would benefit from linking to you instead.

The reverse version is essentially the same, but instead of targeting a specific competitor article, you simply create the best possible piece of content, and reach out to all of the people linking to your competitors’ articles on the same topic.

You will need a backlink monitoring tool for this, like Ahrefs, or SEMRush. If you see that one of your competitors got a bunch of quality links from really authoritative sources, it might be worthwhile to invest into the skyscraper strategy.

This way, you will both get an amazing piece of content for your blog, and earn some backlinks along the way.

Guest Posting

Guest posting is probably the most widely-used link building strategy out there. And there’s a very good reason for it: it works.

Most websites (even the huge, high-quality ones) accept guest posts, even if they don’t openly advertise it with a “Write For Us” page. Here is an example of an informative “Write For Us” page.

If you’re good at writing, and pitch a topic that’s actually relevant to the publication that you’re reaching out to, there are pretty much zero reasons for them to turn it down.

One downside to guest posting is that most blogs only allow you to have a single link back to your own site within the guest article. However, there’s one way to go around that limitation.

If you have any partners (especially of the link building kind), what you can do is include their links in your post – and they will do the same for you in return.
To get the most possible results out of your link building, it’s wise to combine different strategies.

2. Prospecting

Finding prospects is not hard. For the skyscraper technique, all you really need to do is look up the list of sites linking to your competitors through SEMRush or Ahrefs, and export it.

That’s it. That’s why it’s one of my favorite link building strategies.

For guest posting, there are two ways you can approach prospecting.

  1. Look for websites in your desired niche that have a “Write For Us”page by typing in your keyword + write for us in the search bar.
  2. Compile the list of websites that you want to write for either by manually scraping Google or making use of link building tools.

3. Preparing Your Pitch

Once you have your list of prospects ready, it’s time to prepare your email pitch template that you will use.

I’m not going to go too much into detail about how to write a pitch email since there’s already tons of content about it available, so I’ll just note the one thing that’s most important in it, in my opinion.

And that is the value proposition.

What’s in it for them? Why should they link to your article or accept a guest post from you? Most people will not do it for free.

Some websites require “editorial fees” for both link insertions and guest posts. If you wish to pay them, you can, but I would discourage you from doing it.

My typical value proposition is an indirect link back from a guest post I wrote for another site. So, for every link that I earn, I give one back from another guest post. It’s fair and most people agree to an exchange like that.

It’s also a good idea to run your pitch through a spam word checker to ensure the best chances of delivery.

Here’s an example of a simple guest posting template:

Subject: Question about guest post submission

Hey {first_name},

My name is {Name} and I am a {Role} at {Company Name}—{Something about the company}.

This may be a bit out of the blue, but we decided to reach out as we are actively searching for guest posting opportunities.

We have followed your blog for a while now, and we think that we could add some value to {organization} audience through a nice and well-written guest post.

Everything that we write is SEO-optimized and well-researched.

These are some content pieces we’ve published on websites like {Website 1}, {Website 2} and {Website 3}:

{Title & URL 1}
{Title & URL 2}
{Title & URL 3}

Would you like to hear a couple of topics we have in mind for you guys?

Thanks,
{Name}”

4. Finding Contact Information

I can guarantee that this is every link builders’ most hated step of the whole process as it is just extremely tedious.

There is a number of ways how you can acquire someone’s contact information:

  1. Connect with them on LinkedIn and just ask for it;
  2. Use a plugin like SalesQL to get their email;
  3. Use an external email finder;
  4. Use an all-in-one email outreach solution that includes an email finder.

For PR backlinks, you will be looking for editors, SEO managers, and article authors’ contacts. Avoid using personal email addresses if you can find a work email.

Also, make sure to validate your email list before sending any campaigns to it. It’s also a good idea to confirm that the person works for a certain domain by checking their LinkedIn profile. Even if you validate their email, sometimes by the time you reach out to them, they have already quit their job, but the email address remained.

5. Personalizing Pitches

Bloggers and journalists receive dozens, if not hundreds of link pitches every day.

So, you need to make yours stand out, at least a little bit.

One way you can do that is by sprinklink just a tiny bit of creativity in it. The way I like to structure my pitches is so I have a section where I can just casually mention something about the prospects’ article, like:

“Completely agree that [some fact from their content]”.

If you're looking to improve your outreach efforts, emphasizing the importance of personalized pitches is key. And with AI writing tools like SurferSEO at your disposal, you can easily create customized pitches for each and every contact in a matter of seconds. This will help you stand out from the competition and increase your chances of securing that coveted meeting or sale.

This way, it’s pretty easy to personalize at scale, and looks good on the receiving end. Before launching your campaign, make sure you personalize every single message in it.

6. Launching The Campaign And Monitoring Replies

After all the personalizations are done, all you really have left is to launch the campaign and wait for replies.

It’s best to answer any emails as soon as you receive them if you can, while your prospect is still in front of their computer, “still hot”.

Manually managing link building campaigns can be extremely time-consuming and tedious, so looking into a link building outreach solution could be very much worthwhile.

About the author

Vlad Orlov

Managing brand partnerships at Respona, Vlad Orlov is a passionate writer and link builder. Having started writing articles at the age of 13, their once past-time hobby developed into a central piece of their professional life.