Tips for Sending Targeted Link Requests

Guest Post by Abby Gilmore from Vertical Measures |

There is no doubt about it — manual link building is one of the best ways to achieve a diverse backlink profile, and sending targeted link requests are a major part of the process. Though sending targeted link requests can be a tedious and time consuming task, the payoff can be huge.

The process of sending targeted link request is overall pretty simple: send e-mails to website owners, positioning your website or your client’s website as a resource or authority in a specific niche.

How to Find Opportunities

  • Look at competitor backlinks using a backlink checker.  Some tools I frequently use are Yahoo Site Explorer and Open Site Explorer. Though these tools will not provide you all the backlinks of a site, it is definitely a place to get started. Once you pull the backlink profile of your competitor, go through the links and look for possible opportunities — I suggest sorting the anchor text and searching that way. Perhaps there is an influential blog linking to your competitor or you find a page where your competitor is listed as a resource. These are the places you want to get links!
  • Use a variety of search queries to find possible link opportunities. Using your keyword + a search query will bring back tons of results, and again, you can contact these sites and position your site as an authority in the industry. The list of queries you can use is endless, though this post will give you a great starting point! Also, SEOMoz has a tool called the “Link Acquisition Assistant,” which proves to be immensely helpful when using search queries for link building.
  • Find out what sites in your industry are linking to and use content you have as leverage. Say you have a great how-to blog post or a video series that is link worthy.  Find sites linking to similar content (through search queries or general searches) and present your piece of content as a resource.

Who to Contact

Once you have a list of websites you want to contact, e-mail these website owners and tell them about your site! Many webmasters will link to you if your site can provide quality and relevant content to their visitors. 

But, in order to contact these people and get a response, you need to find actual e-mail addresses. Not just “” or a contact form page. If the webmaster’s e-mail is not readily available on the site, do a Whois search for the domain. If you are still having trouble there are 12 advanced tactics on how to find someone’s email address in this post.

What should I say?

Make the e-mail request as personal as possible. Also, do not straight out ask for a link. This often comes on too strong and will scare off a potential linker! Be subtle, but get the point across. Ask the webmaster if they would be interested in sharing your site or piece of content with their visitors.
Each site is different, so each request will be different. When you’re drafting a targeted link request e-mail, you should consider:

  • The industry
  • Type of site — is it a blog, resource page, or are you leveraging a content piece?
  • Who you are contacting — age, gender, profession

All of these factors will affect the way you write your request. What has worked for me personally has been illustrating enthusiasm and being sincere. Some webmasters will know exactly what your aim is with this e-mail, though if you are passionate and genuine, your request still may be considered.

What are your experiences with sending targeted link requests?

Abby Gilmore is a part of the link building services team at Vertical Measures. She is also a freelance writer for a green living magazine and a volunteer at Phoenix animal shelters. Follow her on Twitter @AbbyGilmore.