Link Building Guide – How to Approach Webmasters for a Link

Now we are getting something, the next part of this link building guide, how to approach webmasters for a link. The time when you could send a direct link request, for a one way link, a link exchange or whatever, is almost good and gone. You can get lucky from time to time, but that is not the way to do things. In order to get a link you either need to know the person in some way or have something to offer them.

Knowing a person is not as hard as it may seem. You just go look at their blog, read a few posts, comment on them, get noted, and follow that person on Twitter and in less than two weeks you can go the distance to propose a link exchange or ask for a guest post. In most cases you will get it. That is one way to go about it. The second one is to offer them something.

Good Link RequestWhen offering them something I mean a guest post, a review, offer them to be a guest blogger, or simply ask them if there is something they are interested in if you are not sure, but I think you can find something. Now all of this goes much easier if you know the person, if not you first need to get their attention. So your first mail should not contain any mention of a link, none so ever.

Your first mail is used to introduce yourself and get attention. So here is an example of a first email to approach a webmaster, without knowing the person or having comments on that blog (but I advise the safer route, it’s much easier).


Loved your post on Top 5 Locations for Honeymoon, I have been to Morocco, but I never had a clue about the lovers market, now I wish I can go again! I’m a travel lover myself and have been to a few places, which is why I have a travel blog myself.

If you want you can check out my website LINK, maybe you will find something you like.

Keep up the good work.



Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn LINK”

Now this is far from being a perfect mail, but asking for something, other than a blog post, in your first mail will get you ignored 99% of the times. And I’m sure you don’t want to send 100 mails to get one link! So what is good in this example, its short for one thing! Don’t write an essay! It’s personalized, it has a person’s name and it talks about his posts. So that says to the webmaster that you read through a bit, my advice is to actually comment on a specific part of the post.

A simple line from a person’s post can do a great deal to your benefit. So what else do we have here, you have your name, your website, and even your social account or accounts, so that shows that you are a real person, and not a spammer. And even though you haven’t mentioned anything directly, this is a passive call to ask for a guest blog post, or guest post exchange, or eventually a link from a page you had your eye on!

To sum things, when doing a link building campaign and you are approaching webmasters for link, never ask for a link in your first mail, take it slow and do it the safer way. Now this is a bit different when we are talking about company websites or professional websites and not blogs, but the idea is the same, find a way to connect to them and try to offer them something they will want. It’s better to invest 10-15 minutes into reading a post or two and finding some info on the person and increase your chances of getting a link than writing thousands of mails with success rate below 1%!

About The Author

is the founder and CEO of Practical SEO and also a passionate blogger. All of his free time he dedicates to his Practical SEO blog and giving free advice as well as participating in the blogging community.

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27 Response to Link Building Guide – How to Approach Webmasters for a Link

  1. Tweets that mention Link Building Guide – How to Approach Webmasters for a Link -- on February 21, 2011

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tucson SEO (Urban), Zarko Zivkovic. Zarko Zivkovic said: Link Building Guide – How to Approach Webmasters for a Link [...]

  2. Tia on February 21, 2011

    Hi Zarko – Perfect. One of my clients gets asked so much guest posting opportunities, and now we are doing it, too! It is a great way to go about getting links.

    We have started making relationships with related blogs via Twitter, and that carries over into email, which then transpires into a guest post. Works brilliantly, however, we would like to make first contact via email in some situations, too.

    Thanks for this!

  3. Zarko on February 21, 2011

    Hi Tia,

    Most of the links I get for my clients, exchange, one way, promotional, go through Twitter, but a great number of links is gained through direct mail correspondence. However, speaking from experience I know it is much easier to get in touch with someone before you ask for anything. Even with mails, I use the first mail for introduction, maybe one out of ten mails I send get’s right to the point, and that is when I want something exactly and I know what I can offer to that person that they will like.

  4. DiNaRa on February 22, 2011

    Zarko, do you reject any requests? And if you do what kind of them you ignore and why? I’m sure you don’t work with all ‘bloggers’. It would be really interesting to hear.

  5. Zarko on February 22, 2011

    I reject requests like the one I presented in my previous post. I also reject unreasonable requests and thematic unrelated requests. I also look for the potential value of the site, there are many things I look for, but I’m really picky. The most important thing I look for is if the domain is registered for more than a year and if there are no paid links on the site, after that, I look for the usual, quality, persona, thematic relevance and thematic links…plus a few more things :)

    Depending on the client I may lower my standards, but that depends from campaign to campaign. In most cases I will reject 90% of the requests as they don’t make sense and I will find something wrong with at least 5%. So I make the requests mostly, to say it honestly, 50% of them don’t get answered at all, but the ones that do are 99% in the bag :)

  6. Alex@gifts for wife on February 23, 2011

    You’re just mean :)
    Maybe 90% of those 90% requests that don’t make sense are just ordinary people who don’t know better. We’re not all marketers.

  7. Zarko on February 23, 2011

    No, they are not ordinary people. If they were there would be a sign of a person writing the mail, these are spammers that use 10 year old templates…But again, even with real people I will most likely find something wrong, like the theme of the site, authority of the site etc…So maybe I am mean, but I do what is best for my site and for my clients :)

  8. Kyle @ FinallyFast on February 25, 2011

    I read several blogs about SEO and link building (after all it is my job!) and I really feel like every single link request post brings me back to the very same conclusion: real life requests and online requests are the same. You can’t walk up to some random person on the street and expect them to lend you $10 anymore than you can just randomly email a webmaster whose blog you’ve never read and whose name you don’t know and expect a link. It boggles my mind that this concept is so difficult for people to understand. But I guess if you’re a spammer and you’re sending out thousands of emails, a 1% conversion rate is okay…

  9. Zarko on February 25, 2011

    Kyle, I love you for this comparison! This is a perfect way to explain it so everyone can understand :)

    You are also right about the spammers, they do go for the 1% conversion rates and that number boils down to more than we can imagine…

  10. lawmacs on February 25, 2011

    You made an interesting point there Zarko i get that weekly from website i don’t even know about asking me for link exchange. One of the main reason why i am picky about link exchange request is that i realize that some of the request comes from so call Seo experts tryng to gain links for their client. Thanks Zarko for this great post.

  11. Anna on February 26, 2011

    I guess most web masters behave like you, Zarko, they reject most requests. But that’s a closed circle – if you want to get a response from a webmaster, you have to be something in the world of blogging BUT in order to be something in the world of blogging, you’ll have to get a post or response from a web master but …. see the beginning of my post :)

  12. Round Up on February 27, 2011

    [...] (3)Link Building Guide – How to Approach Webmasters for a Link – Now we are getting something, the next part of this link building guide, how to approach webmasters for a link. The time when you could send a direct link request, for a one way link, a link exchange or whatever, is almost good and gone. You can get lucky from time to time, but that is not the way to do things. In order to get a link you either need to know the person in some way or have something to offer them. [...]

  13. Mark @ TheBitBot SEM Blog on February 27, 2011

    I have been getting a lot of spam requests via my contact form as of the first quarter of this year. Many of them are unrelated to my theme. Kind of annoying. A fair amount of them are link exchange companies and when you look at their offerings, it is obvious that they have been at it a while and have added no value to the web.

    My number one rule…keep exchanges in context.

    Nice post, as always, Zarko.


  14. Zarko on February 27, 2011

    @Anna, you are partially right. There are some webmasters that will only accept requests from a well known blogger, but they are also small in numbers. I don’t care if it’s a known or a new blogger, I judge the website or blog by quality, authority and the approach. If you have something to offer I will be the first one to respond with a positive attitude :)

  15. Dimitry@Internet Marketing Canada on February 28, 2011

    Hi Zarko,
    O.K 90% of e-mails are crap. Am I right? 5% are not so good. And still 5% you can accept. I’m receiving a ton link exchange e-mail everyday. And what? Do you think the link exchange is in a live? I’m not sure. You ask 1 time….. 10 times….It is a wast of time.
    There are a lot of very interesting ways to build a high quality one way links from related sources.

  16. Zarko on February 28, 2011

    Waste of time? That is a bit harsh, I don’t know of any other way to get PR7 to PR9 legit backinks from content or even site-wide besides asking for links and paying thousands of dollars for a single link of that quality!

    If you don’t know what you are doing then yes, they are a waste of time, but for someone who investigates and has a knack for it this can be the most lucrative method of building links. Just this morning I have arranged over 10 PR5+ links for free for my clients, all from link requests using the right method of approach. So, although there are many ways of building links this is the best one for high quality links. And since the Farmer update is in order from Google most websites will start loosing ranks because they have links from content farms, so one more reason to start taking things seriously and approach link requests the way you should.

  17. Dimitry from Internet Marketing Canada on March 5, 2011

    Hi Zarko,
    Sorry about tough comments.
    But I think, the value presence in your community is the more natural way to building a quality links. I don’t care about PR or .edu or .gov sites.
    If it’s not a related source to your topics, the PR or edu+gov are doesn’t matter.
    What do you prefer – PR8 (not related) or PR2 (related source)?
    This page has PR-zero and what? Is it bad? Not at all. This is my topics and I have my opinion. We are here to share our knowledge. Am I right?
    If you will provide the useful links within your post, I will follow, I will click.
    But I don’t follow the “Ads by Google” and other useless stuff. I’m focusing on your post. I’m here to read your post and not to click on “Site Map Creator” or Blogroll.
    Why people linking to ComScore or Webtrends ?

  18. Zarko on March 5, 2011

    Hi Dimitry,

    You are right, value of your community is the more natural way to build good links, but natural is one thing, if we only rely on natural link building our competitors will eat us, that is a fact that I’ve be learned after years and years in this business, we need to have that little extra something to beat our competitors.

    I don’t care about the tld .com or .edu are the same to me, as long as they have topic relevancy and some authority in their field, so we see eye to eye on that one, I covered this in my previous post, so if you read them you will see that we agree on most things.

    the bottom line is that there are dozens of ways to build quality links, link requests are one of them, one with the greatest chance of acquiring high quality backlinks, but there are others, I like o use all of them as much as I can, focusing only on one method of link building will bring the best results for you. So maybe you don’t like link requests, but you should try it as well as any other linking method you know of, mix them together and you will get a wonderful link profile to be proud of!

  19. TrafficColeman on March 10, 2011

    Hi Zarko..I do mostly a top 50 list and ask them to answer a question or two..this helps because they will usually link back to it and I will get a link..

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  20. Richard@Web Design Leeds on March 14, 2011

    You are completely right that being personal is only way to go about it.

    I get quite a few link requests, and the ones that annoy me are the ones which are clearly automated, usually saying “I found your site and thought that it has a lot in common with my site”… with a completely irrelevant link request.

    I think transparency is also important – say that you’d like the link for SEO reasons, and what’s in it for them.

  21. Goran on March 27, 2011

    I have to disagree with you guys, I think .edu and .gov sites are very important because they are seen as authority sites and what is better than being linked to an authority site, even if it is not related to your niche. Link is a link, no matter what is is so I would not discriminate against any links.

  22. Zarko on March 27, 2011

    Well Goran, a TLD is a TLD, Matt Cutts clearly stated on several occasions that they do not give more weight to any TLD including .gov or .edu, the quality of the sites, links and other factors are what makes the website an authority, not the TLD. So a .com can be greater authority than a .gov if the quality is there, .edu and .gov sites also need to prove their authority before they can be considered trustworthy.

    On the other hand you are right about not being discriminative about acquiring links, it is to our benefit to gain as much related links as we can, but the bottom line that most of the links will help, of course all that is fine as long as we are linking from trusted domains and not the branded ones :)

  23. Goran on March 28, 2011

    I haven’t read Matts blog in a while, maybe I should, given all the free time that I have at work.

  24. Zarko on April 7, 2011

    Hi Nabil, you are 100% on the mark, calling them is one of the best ways to acquire a link, and the percentage of successful calls is much higher than emailing a webmaster. But it’s not for everyone, some of us do it because it is our job, but most people will not decide to take that action and call someone on the phone to discuss a link, although for high quality links this may be the only way to come to an agreement!

  25. matthew@theprescottrealestateguy on April 10, 2011

    Thank you for the great advice.. I new to all this, and am being left behind by the younger more tech-savvy people. I appreciate your blod advice, sincerely. :)

  26. Riya on November 17, 2011

    Thanks Zarko, Actually I’m little bit new for link exchange task, so it’s very helpful for me. Thanks Again.


  27. Selena Gomez on April 5, 2012

    Hi thanks for the nice information about getting the link but sometimes it gets very difficult because all the good and reputable websites ignore you in the beginning and dont give you any attention.. like for example a highly reputable site normally dont gives links to any ordinary normal or newly made site unless they find something reallly good,new or meaning full for them.. the same happened with me when i was creating my blog..for the first 4 months no one lnked to me but with the passage of time i got some of them one by one. today the blog is going good but still it gets sometimes very hard to get the links from high pr or high traffic sites

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