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How to Use Outreach for Link Building: Expert Tips & Examples

Link building is still alive and well, and outreach is one of the best strategies for obtaining new backlinks. Illia Cherepynets, Jooble's SEO expert, shared his experience creating an outreach department and organizing the link building process. 

SEO Specialist
Illia Cherepynets is a seasoned SEO expert with almost 15 years of experience in the field. Since 2010, he has climbed the SEO ladder from Junior to Middle to Senior SEO. Currently, Illia works at Jooble, an international job search website that covers 69 countries and 24 languages, with over 4,020,000 job listings from more than 140,000 sources.

In this article, we will explore the importance of outreach, how to organize the outreach process, the tools to use, how to build your strategy, and the difference between PR and outreach; all of this will be supplemented by a real-life example from Jooble. Let's dive in!

What is Link Building Outreach?

Link building outreach is a process of contacting other websites and publications to establish connections and receive backlinks. Like other link building strategies, its primary goal is to improve your website's rankings and overall authority by growing a strong backlink profile.

Why is Outreach Important?

John Mueller, a Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, mentioned that they automated the process of disavowing spammy links. However, if you look at the graph below, you'll see that organic traffic decreased over time despite this automation.

Organic traffic growing over time after the automation
A visual representation of organic traffic growing over time after the automation

The bigger your website, the more at risk you are of receiving spammy links. In some countries, the amount of spam can reach up to 80% of all backlinks.

Chart illustrates that spam links are prevalent
A pie chart illustrating that spam links are prevalent

It is important to monitor your backlink profile and stay on top of any new links, which is why Jooble decided to open an Outreach department. This way, they could always manage their backlink profile and acquire more quality links.

How To Create an Outreach Strategy? 

Create an Outreach Department

Illia says that to manage their backlinks, Jooble created a professional team of outreachers with a comprehensive course to help new members dive right in. Jooble's outreach department is responsible for:

  1. Learning terminology;
  2. Finding new backlink opportunities;
  3. Working on anchor texts;
  4. Creating content (handled by a separate content creation department);
  5. Creating email templates in various languages;
  6. Negotiating deals.

Automate the Process

With around 25 million pages indexed, Jooble realized they needed to automate time-consuming tasks. They developed their software, Link To The Future (LTF), which:

  • Analyzes the website;
  • Fixes duplicates;
  • Creates tasks for outreachers;
  • Demonstrates backlinks, their creation date, and toxicity;
  • Checks if the domain is already connected to their CRM;
  • Saves all communication with the website;
  • Stores all emails and contacts from the website.

Jooble strives for uniqueness by allowing only one link per domain, making LTF crucial for managing backlinks.

How to Choose a Website for Outreach?

Automatic Analysis

LTF (Gathering Crucial Data) 

Jooble uses LTF to gather crucial data and filter link donors. They use parameters such as UR, DR, traffic, keywords, referring domains, TF, and CF, primarily using Ahrefs and Majestic API to gather this data. They aim for domains with 80 DR, 500+ traffic, and 100+ referring domains. They use a TF: CF formula to filter out low-quality websites.

Research 

Following this, Jooble parses Google and analyzes various domains. In this instance, they analyzed 2000 websites from different countries, revealing that nearly 98% were unsuitable for acquiring backlinks. 

98% of all links analyzed by Jooble were deemed unsuitable 

Jooble’s research shows that 98% of all analyzed links were deemed unsuitable 

Illia noted a correlation between good and bad backlinks in countries abundant in spammy content like casinos, gambling, and adult content, such as Germany, where 99.35% of donor domains were deemed undesirable.

Checker Extension

The following automated step is their own Checker Extension. It is a plugin for Google Chrome, and its primary objectives include:

  • Filtering out low-quality websites;
  • Gathering key SEO parameters;
  • Providing recommendations;
  • Assigning a base score (Jooble's internal metric);
  • Securing the domain by one of the outreachers.

Manual Analysis 

Traffic geolocation

Jooble selects domains based on the country, recommending only those where at least 10% of the traffic originates from a top-5 country relevant to the target market. This ensures that the backlinks are from reputable sources and align with the geographic focus of the campaign. 

Visual Analysis

After automated analysis, Jooble outreachers conduct visual assessments, rejecting automatically generated websites and those linking to online casinos and other gray niches.

Traffic Analysis

Websites experiencing a traffic decrease of three times or more or exhibiting dramatic fluctuations indicative of spammy resources are deemed unsuitable.

Traffic analysis made by Jooble in Google search console
Jooble analyzes traffic in Google search console to see if there are any dramatic changed

Forbidden Content

Websites with forbidden content or backlinks, such as those related to gambling, adult content, or other inappropriate topics, are immediately disqualified from Jooble's outreach efforts. This helps protect Jooble's brand integrity and ensures compliance with search engine guidelines.

No New Pages in Google Index

Websites that lack new pages in the Google index are flagged. This indicates potential issues with the site's health or its ability to generate fresh, relevant content, a critical factor for high-quality backlinks. Sites must demonstrate ongoing content creation and indexing to be considered viable backlink sources.

Сontent doesn’t match SEF

Pages that do not adhere to Search Engine-Friendly URL standards are disregarded. SEF URLs are crucial for improving the user experience and enhancing search engine rankings. Jooble ensures that its backlink sources maintain high standards in their URL structures to optimize crawlability and relevance.

Persistent Advertisements or Pop-ups Blocking Content

Websites designed primarily to drive traffic to other sites, characterized by persistent advertisements or pop-ups that block content, are excluded. Even if these sites meet other criteria, their intrusive ads and poor user experience make them unsuitable for quality backlinks. Jooble prioritizes user-friendly, content-rich sites for their outreach campaigns.

Additional Check After a Year

Manual backlink analysis in a year
A manual backlink analysis after a year showed a slight increase in quality

All domains Jooble previously checked were additionally reevaluated after a year, with almost 99% remaining unsuitable as donor domains. Occasionally, websites can be transferred to a "green flag" list after manual review — but only if their metrics improve over time.

Beware: SEO-targeted websites

Illia cautions against SEO-specific websites, which have increased recently. These sites often use deceptive tactics to inflate traffic and backlink sales. Jooble's analysis has identified a pattern where such websites experience rapid initial growth, followed by a decline in traffic and quality. 

To combat this, Jooble introduced Bad Donor Domain 2.0, improving filtering by 8%. The critical criteria indicating websites tailored for SEO specialists include: 

  • Discrepancy between organic keywords and traffic;
  • Suspiciously low prices for high traffic volumes;
  • A mismatch between referring domains and organic keywords;
  • Unnatural correlation between CF/TF/Referring Domains;

Which Pages to Promote?

When choosing a page to promote, Illia highlights the importance of focusing on median, pace, quality, and anchor lists. Initially, he manually created a table for outreachers, indicating the number of links each page required. 

Excel sheet for backlink monitoring
Illia recommends doing a simple Excel sheet for backlink monitoring

However, they automated this process using the Google Search Console API as the workload increased. This enabled them to identify pages requiring more backlinks accurately by utilizing the following metrics:

  • position;
  • impressions;
  • clicks;
  • impressions keyword-planner;
  • links.

This method allowed them to determine which pages have enough backlinks and which need to acquire more.

Illia's lifehack: If you don't know programming, learn Google Sheets formulas. This tool allows you to easily analyze a lot of data and simply forward it to programmers to implement it as software. 

Additionally, Illia emphasizes the significance of anchor text diversity and natural ratios in the backlink profile. Attempting to manipulate anchor texts can be detected by search engines, so it's discouraged. Their plugin evaluates website quality and recommends suitable anchor texts, such as naked URLs, Exact Matches, Partial Matches, or Branded Anchors.

Backlink Monitoring & Analysis

When creating your outreach department, it's important to understand that links get lost over time. Jooble developed a backlink monitoring tool to track new and lost backlinks automatically. This tool identifies various issues like:

  • "Unknown request execution error" (the site became a drop);
  • Error status code;
  • Redirect to another domain;
  • Site is blocked from indexing X-Robots-Tag;
  • Invalid HTML markup;
  • Site is blocked from indexing <meta>;
  • Link not found - link disappeared;
  • Nofollow attribute appeared/disappeared;
  • UGC/Sponsored attribute appeared;
  • Presence of links on both mobile and desktop versions of the site;
  • Presence of each link in the index;
  • Presence in the console.

You can also learn more about backlink monitoring in one of our recent articles: "6 Best Free Backlink Monitoring Tools to Track Link Building Success in 2024"

Difference Between Outreach vs. PR

Jooble has divided PR and outreach into two different departments because of the types of links each can obtain. While outreach may concentrate on acquiring natural and diverse high-quality backlinks, PR can assist in obtaining exclusive backlinks from prominent, high-authority websites. Here's why:

  1. Journalists prefer having material readily available.
  2. Journalists seek exclusive research.
  3. Journalists desire more content and visuals.
  4. Journalists value consistent communication.
  5. Journalists are interested in fresh and intriguing angles and topics.

Frequently Asked Questions:

You say that if you add links to the disavow tools, the URLs from the disavow list need to be reindexed. Is this true? Do you do this, and if so, how?

We don't reindex because we can't index them ourselves—it's not our Google Console. We researched all indexing tools and found they don't work well. Tiers work, but piling Tier 2 on sites you've disavowed isn't very logical🙂

How should sites be added to the disavow list? Should it be page links or site links?

Only site links. Google has even mentioned that page links don't work.

How do you measure the benefit/effectiveness of a link?

We use our automatic evaluator to determine how many links a page needs. If a website is high-quality and starts progressing, the plugin will reevaluate it and indicate that it needs another link.

Regarding monitoring and analyzing links, you say you're checking to see if a link is indexed. How do you check for indexing?

We have a parser connected to our server that automatically runs and collects data about links—whether they are indexed or not. We manually export and upload all links from the console.

Can you explain the logic behind anchor selection algorithms?

Our algorithm evaluates the quality of the site and gives recommendations. It currently cannot calculate anchors because it requires gathering all competitors' anchors and analyzing them. It's better to train an outreacher to choose the right anchors for the page and recommend the best anchor for the site.

What are the minimum terms for seeing results from outreach? Do you employ a strategy of purchasing links, both dofollow and nofollow?

Outreach does work. If a site doesn't engage in outreach, it quickly falls behind and can't withstand competition. Even Google has stated its need for external links to a site, so quality is paramount. Given the abundance of spam, we focus solely on quality links to counteract the automated spam influx.

As for follow and nofollow links, if we analyze, nearly 80% are nofollow. Nofollow links are also generated automatically, and at our scale, it's challenging to calculate. So attempting to acquire different types of links would be tough.

All successful site breakthroughs occur post-update. But if there are no changes three months after new links, then all the links you've acquired should be checked; perhaps something was done incorrectly.

On average, you can see the results after around 8-9 months, especially in less competitive niches like casinos and forex, the dynamics are different, the approach is different, and the volumes are different. But if it's your own site or a regular online store, and you're replicating competitor strategies without site growth, you need to focus on your own content. Something might be wrong with the site, functionality, or content quality.

Is the Chrome extension checker available online?

No, it's only available internally for company outreachers.

What do you do with outdated vacancies—redirect them to a category or to a 404?

We give a 404 to the bot and redirect the user to a category.

Have you tried automatically extracting anchor recommendations from the console based on keywords that show an increase in impressions for a specific URL?

No, it's unrealistic at our volume🙂

Can you explain more about working with the A-Parser, whether it's just for indexing checks or API connections?

It's connected via API. The A-Parser is our main tool. We also have Netpeak Checker, but I use it only for quick checks. Everything is built on the parser. We also have two Python developers creating our internal functionality, such as the checker extension.

What do you think will be the next trend after outreach?

Probably TikTok or YouTube—YouTube already generates a lot of traffic. Easy links on the internet—take China, where they have their own messenger for all communications.

Do you disavow spammy sites that have non-anchor nofollow links?

We have functionality that identifies these spammy and auto-generated sites and packages them all in the disavow file.

Collaborator's team thanks Illia for such a helpful and insightful presentation. We're sure that his outreach experience and Jooble's example will help you establish a successful outreach strategy and rank at the top of the SERPs.

P.S. You can find over 33K websites for guest posting on Collaborator, streamlining your outreach and link building process🙂

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