If you have worked on your websites SEO, you understand how important backlinks to your site are. It is still one of the biggest ranking factors to your site.
Of course, this is not the only ranking factor. Building backlinks to your site with a poor website won’t help whatsoever. However, if you’re website is well structured with good internal linking.
You have generally positive user experience when visitors do come and your website runs smoothly with great content than backlinks are going to dramatically increase your website traffic.
Common Strategies and why they don’t work
If you’ve come to this article you’re probably trying to find another, better way to build backlinks than you already have.
But, often these techniques are hard to implement and deceptively difficult… not to mention extremely time-consuming. The ultimate problem we face is a hell of a lot of work with little to no results.
This is painfully slow. Asking website admins for backlinks with cold email is a very low success rate. Sure you might get a few here and there. But the time taken and the backlinks acquired isn’t worth it.
This seems to be the most popular choice for a lot of SEOs and website owners. Guest posting often was free to do. These days, website admins will charge you a huge overblown amount for guest post spots. Often paying way over £200 for guest post, this can be a very expensive tactic.
Using this strategy you are going to be able to acquire links from high DA/PA sites with little work and also for free!
This is an ‘inbound’ style of link building that’s loosely referred to as Reverse Guest Posting.
I didn’t invent it and it’s been around a while, but this is a slightly different take on it.
I’ve illustrated how the Reverse Guest Posting process most commonly works below:
In a nutshell, when people reach out to me to try to guest post on my sites (I have Guest Post pages published on them through which they do the outreach), I instead negotiate a non-reciprocal (i.e. not linking back and forth between 2 sites) link exchange with them.
Note: I don’t do reciprocal link exchanges. Ahrefs has conducted research and found that reciprocal links are very common, but my personal preference is to avoid them.
So if they reach out to My Site (A), asking to guest post and link back to Their Site (B), I ask if they have a second site, and if it has a decent DR rating (generally I look for a DR 25+ site), I’ll have Their Site (C) link to My Site (A).
Regarding the backlink, generally, I’ll go onto their site and find the most relevant content I can link out from using existing anchor text on the page.
Sometimes I’ll use the AHrefs SEO software to figure out which pages have the highest UR rating, according to Ahrefs (Domains have a DR rating, while individual pages are assigned a UR rating), and try to get a link from the highest UR I can.
This is generally how it works.
There are some variations- particularly if they don’t have a second site and I do. I’ll cover some of the use cases in the next section and the specific email scripts/canned responses I use to facilitate this process.
The Pros & Cons Of Reverse Guest Posting
1. There’s no outreach involved
2. Low cost- I’m not spending hundreds and even thousands of dollars a month to pay Virtual Assistants to scrape websites, extract & send emails, buy content or pay publishing fees; or pay services like ReachCreator thousands of dollars for links
3. Easy way to potentially acquire high DR backlinks
4. You can build up a collection of websites you know you can get backlinks from to facilitate future exchanges
1. It can take longer to acquire links, especially with new sites, because you’re waiting to get outreached to. It’s obviously faster, particularly at the start, to mass email hundreds of site owners with guest posting proposals
2. It helps to have more than 1 website with a decent Domain Rating (say over 15 DR) to facilitate these exchanges. I do have a workaround that I’ll provide if you only have one site with a low DR.
3. A daily commitment- for best results you’ll want to set aside some time to respond to outreach emails and facilitate the exchanges. I use Canned Responses in Gmail to expedite it and spend about an hour each morning, Monday-Friday, dealing with the link exchanges.
How to Implement it
Executive Summary: A 3 Step Process
Publish a guest blog page (check out the “Publishing A Guest Blog Page”) module for instructions.
Set up your Canned Responses (check out the “Canned Response Scripts”) module for instructions.
You’re now ready to receive and respond to outreach emails and facilitate some exchanges. My process flow below will walk you through how I handle these exchanges to obtain high-quality backlinks. Make sure you read through the “Understanding The Use Cases” module- it provides a visual example of how these exchanges work.
I’ve outlined the process in the flowchart below.
Don’t be overwhelmed if this looks somewhat intimidating.
The process is generally pretty simple and intuitive once you’ve done it a couple of times.
(You can also check out my Example Exchange modules where I showcase the actual emails that facilitated the exchanges).
The flowchart is designed to accommodate every contingency that I’ve encountered in the process to make it as effective as possible:
To get a sense of how this will work, I’ll provide a quick executive summary here. Once you’ve published your guest blogging page:
1. Receive outreach email
2. Did they provide the URL of their site? Sometimes you’ll get an outreach email with the URL of their site, sometimes not. Obviously, you’ll need to know the URL to check the DR. If they didn’t provide it, send them the “Site Representing” template. If they did provide it, proceed to step 3:
3. Check the site’s DR:
3a. If it’s good, send them “Sensible Link Exchange” template: You’ll check out their site’s DR and if it’s decent (somewhat of a judgment call- say above 15 DR), you’re responding that you’d be open to a white-hat, non-reciprocal link exchange.
If they agree, suggest the link you want, add their link, and move on to step 4.
The one contingency here is that for a link exchange to work, either you or they’ll need 2 or more sites so that you aren’t directly linking to each other. Remember- this is a “non-reciprocal” link exchange, i.e. it’s not Site A linking to Site B and Site B linking to Site A. Instead, it’s Site A linking to Site B and Site C linking to Site A.
I outline the different Use Cases further down the page- make sure to read that for greater detail.
3b. If it’s bad: You’ll send them “Access To Other Sites” template to see if they have sites with a better DR for an exchange- proceed back to Step 3 if they send you some new URLs. Otherwise, if they don’t, you can choose to accept the guest blog post for free content or send them the “Guest Blog For Me” template and see if they’ll buy you a guest blogging opportunity on another site with good DR.
3c. If they can’t/won’t link out from that site, you can ask if they have other sites available for an exchange (“Access To Other Sites” template), accept the free guest blogging content, or send them the “Guest Blog For Me” template.
4. After successful link exchange: You’ll then ask if they have other sites for a link exchange, OR if you have other sites, consider suggesting another exchange. Regardless, save the site in your Link Prospecting Google Sheet that way when you have another site you need links to you can ping them to coordinate another exchange.
Remember: you’ll always want to verify that the link is live and “dofollow” on their site. Go on to the linking page, press Control-U in Chrome to inspect the source code, press Control-F and search to find your website, and ensure the link is do-follow.