How To Get High Domain Authority Backlinks From Sites That Seem Impossible To Build Links On

How To Get High Domain Authority Backlinks From Sites That Seem Impossible To Build Links On

If you’re an SEO, you know that it’s almost impossible to get backlinks on these types of high domain authority […]

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If you’re an SEO, you know that it’s almost impossible to get backlinks on these types of high domain authority websites:

  • EDU sites
  • Career sites and job boards
  • Government sites
  • Organizations
  • Leagues
  • Associations
  • Websites of big companies and corporations

They usually have massive DA and backlink profiles, and getting a single link can really affect your site’s search traffic.

But it’s seemingly impossible to consistently get links from these kinds of sites, especially for free.

They have a lot of gatekeepers, there aren’t many link building opportunities, and they are very careful about who they link out to.

Well recently, I’ve been trying out something new, and it’s been working like gangbusters 🙂

And today, I’m going to do a quick write-up to teach you exactly how you can copy it for your own sites.

Excited?

Let’s dive in!

Why Backlinks From Edu, Gov, And Corporate Sites Are So Valuable

Links from .edu, .gov, and corporate websites are considered as the holy grail of SEO.

But why? Where does it come from?

If you’ve seen this Q&A session with Matt Cutts (Google’s former Head Of Web Spam team) on YouTube, he clearly says that they treat all the links the same way including GOV and EDU links.

mattcutts

He says they only evaluate links based on the linking site’s profile.

Theoretically, this means all links should be equal and .gov or .edu sites have no advantage. This would also mean that marketers shouldn’t spend so much time trying to get links from GOV sites.

Practically, however, things are different.

Even if Google doesn’t give preference to .edu or .gov links (which is hard to believe), we know that these sites have insanely authoritative link profiles of their own.

They never link out to any cheap content and get tons of links from other high authority sites becuase they’re official sites.

Any link coming from these sites holds immense value becuase it is a huge vote of confidence for the linked site.

When Google evaluates links and it sees links coming from such high authority sites, you’re going to get a hug ranking boost from it.

How To Get Backlinks – The Fundamental Rule

Before I dive into the specifics of this link building strategy, I want you to understand the fundamental reason why some link building strategies work and the others don’t.

Ask yourself, would you link to a website if they asked you to?

It depends, right?

If you’re getting some sort value in return that justifies the link, you’d be happy to link. But if someones asking for a backlink and they’re the only ones benefiting from it, you’ll probably ignore their offer.

And that’s the underlying principle of link building.

You have to show the other party a clear value in linking to you.

According to a study by Dejan Marketing, here are the top reasons why websites link to third party content.

As you can see, all the top reasons for using backlinks are based on value. Webmasters only link to an external resource when they see a clear need.

To build backlinks to your site, you need to offer something that’s really valuable.

And by that, I’m not referring to the copy/paste outreach emails that everyone uses these days. No one has time to check out your “much better” resource.

If you really have something of value in your content, clearly mention it in your email. For example “we interviewed X number of experts and found some amazing details about XX that you can reference” or “we surveyed 1000 people and found XYZ”

The method about to share with you is based completely on giving value to the other party. And this is why it’s so successful so far becuase I’m not asking for anything. Instead, I’m offering them something really valuable for free.

Let me explain the whole thing in more detail.

Building Backlinks With The Spotlight Outreach Angle

The beauty of this method is that the main target prospects are giant authorities with really high domain authorities.

Sites like large organizations, official leagues, career sites, job boards, edu sites, etc.

They usually have huge backlink profiles, and a ton of authority built up on their domains.

Most outreach strategies like broken link building, or just simply asking for a link on one of their relevant pages, wouldn’t really work when targeting these kinds of prospects.

But this strategy has been working very, very well.

How The Spotlight Outreach method Works For Link Building

The reason that this strategy works so well is because we’re not asking for anything.

We’re not asking for a link or a share.

Instead, we’re ONLY asking them if we can help them.

How?

By pitching to give them an interview where you can teach their audience about your career field.

Basically, you’re asking if you can do a career spotlight for them.

Now this is the part where it gets a little grey hat and may make some people feel uncomfortable about using this strategy.

Because a lot of the time, we’re not actually going to be working professionals in the field, and just be site owners who are targeting that specific niche.

But that doesn’t mean that we’re going to just give them nonsense answers for the sake of a backlink.

We’ll have to do the necessary research to give them an accurate, high-quality interview.

The Spotlight Outreach Method – Step By Step Guide To Link Building

This is a little tough to explain so I’m going to show you how it works with a real-life example.

Step 1 – Create An Author Persona For Your Site

An author persona is essentially a made up author who you choose to be the face for your website.

Some people feel uncomfortable with using personas. I think it’s completely fine as long as your site isn’t in more serious topics like law or medicine.

Think of a name and a profession (what professionals in your niche are typically called).

For example, fitness trainer for a health and fitness blog.

Or a fisherman for a fishing blog.

Or a stunt driver for a movies/entertainment blog (hint hint… A lot of people email me saying it’s impossible to build links to viral style movie/entertainment sites. Well, here’s a unique strategy you can try out).

The key here is, there are a lot of different angles that will work for most niches out there.

If you’re an actual professional working in the field, then there’s no need to create an author persona and you can represent your blog as yourself.

Step 2 – Create A Dedicated Email Address For Outreach

Create a new email address for your persona using your domain.

If your persona’s name is Joe Smith, just make something like joe@yourdomain.com.

You can use gmail or other public services, but I like sticking with custom domain emails.

This is the address you will use to do your outreach.

Step 3 – List Your Prospects For Outreach

I’m not going to list any specific sites here since I don’t want thousands of people going after the same prospects.

You can start by doing searches for things like job boards, career websites, career spotlights, careers interviews, career advice, college advice, education careers, etc.

And then go further and do niche specific searches.

For example, if I were in the swimming niche, I would search for swimming blogs, organizations, leagues, associations, clubs, and scholarship and awards websites that I could reach out to.

There are a ton of possibilities.

Step 4 – Trace Contact Information And Reach Out

Here’s the pitch that I’ve been using:

Hello,

My name is [NAME] and I’m a professional [CAREER POSITION] and also the founder of a [YOUR NICHE] website, [YOUR WEBSITE URL].

I was wondering if you would open to accepting an interview or guest post with me. I would love to share my experiences working as a [CAREER POSITION], and what it takes to make it in this industry.

I don’t see much information about this on the web, and it would be great to share my knowledge with your readers.

Please let me know anytime you are looking for submissions, and what I would need to do to be considered.

Thank you very much.

Regards,
[Name]

It’s simple, but it works very well.

I’m not asking for anything. I just want to share my story with them and help the readers on their site!

For me, I was mainly targeting big career and education sites with a lot of employees, so the process took a little longer than other outreach link building campaigns.

Usually going back and forth discussing the new post will take a few weeks, and then another week or two to get it written, edited, and published.

That doesn’t mean more work. It just means longer wait times between emails.

But although it takes a little longer, the link is more than worth it.

Your first response will typically be something like this…

first reply

And then gets handed off to a writer/editor.

outreach response

And a few back and forths later…

second response
third response

I answered a few questions, sent it back, AAAAND…

We got ourselves a link on a giant corporate website!

That was it.

Just a few email exchanges, and answering a couple of questions.

Massive authority. Link built.

How easy was that?

Step 5 – Use Your Link In The Interview

The cool thing about this outreach strategy is that the content you’re submitting to them will mainly be in the first person.

It’s about you. You’re the center focus of the article.

That makes it really easy (and natural) to add in a link to your site.

Usually, I’ll simply just mention that I run a website on the side and input my URL that way.

The Spotlight Outreach Method – Why It Works So Well

With other outreach strategies, like broken link building, you’ll come across a lot of weak prospects.

Links might be easier (and faster) to build, but they won’t always be from powerful sites with a lot of authority.

The great thing about this strategy is that, more often than not, your prospects will have huge backlink profiles.

Because the type of sites we’re going after are organizations, leagues, and career and education sites, they’ll usually have thousands of strong links pointed at them from other high authority sites like government websites, organizations, and other big companies.

= super powerful backlink 🙂

A single link can really impact your site, and noticeably increase your authority and search traffic.

The site in the conversation I showed in this post had a DA over 80!

The link was for one of my older niche sites.

I built just two links to the site using this strategy.

And the following 2 months after it, my search traffic rose 46%!

search traffic increase after using spotlight link building

Just two links! That’s it…

Before that, the site hadn’t been touched in nearly a year.

If there ever was a clear example of quality over quantity when link building, this is it.

The funny thing is that, despite the big spike in search traffic, my rankings for my main keywords didn’t move at all.

It was all long-tail traffic that increased, due to the authority added from the links.

Are You Ready To Build Backlinks From Authority Sites?

Yes, this outreach strategy does take a little longer.

But it’s one of the most successful link building campaigns I’ve ever done. Not in the quantity of links, but in the overall success rate and the sheer power of each link built.

What’s awesome about it is that you’re helping them in the process. You’re giving them high quality content, and sharing great information with their readers.

It’s tough to get responses from the type of prospects we’re targeting when all you’re doing is just asking for links from their site.

They have a lot of gatekeepers, and either ignore or decline most SEO-related inquiries they receive.

If I had done the same thing and asked if they could link to my new guide from one of their older posts, I doubt I would have received many responses.

But by offering to share my own insights and experiences with their readers, it was an offer they could consider and accept.

Of course, the best case scenario is if you actually are an active working professional in the field.

But for most niches out there, using an author persona will work perfectly fine, since most of the interview questions are quite generalized and can be answered with research.

I had 2 goals with this blog post.

1. To share with you a link building strategy that was working well for me recently.
2. To open your eyes to the different possibilities and versatility of outreach link building.

You shouldn’t always feel like you need to copy outreach templates word for word.

A lot of students in my SEO & niche site course email me frustrated that they haven’t been having a lot of success with their outreach link building.

When I ask them to show me the emails they’ve been using, they’re word-for-word the templates and scripts that I provide in the course.

I’m not saying that that’s bad. Scripts are created because they work.

But outreach link building is a lot easier (and you get a lot better at it) once you learn how to be versatile with them.

Think about it. Each niche is different. Each niche presents new opportunities for different angles that you can try out.

Someone who realizes they can use their creativity to come up with more effective variations is going to be much more successful than the person going word-for-word copy and pasting.

And as you get more experienced, you’re going to be able to better determine which strategy, and angle, will work best for your target niche.

Take a commonly known strategy, and see if you can customize it toward specific industries.

With the dozens of popularly used link building strategies out there, combined with the hundreds of different niches you can use them for, there is a lot of opportunity to try new and creative angles.

P.S. What do you think of this strategy?

I spend a lot of time thinking about, and testing out different backlinking strategies, both black and white hat.

Do you want to hear more about them in future blog posts?

Let me know in the comments below 🙂

Thanks for reading.

139 comments

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  1. Wow!!!! This is great and simple. I believe its gonna work out to get link from authority site. Even if you get rejected by one site admin, you can easily send request to many others to get links. Thanks for this.

  2. Love this strategy, Chris. Definitely a little gray-hat but if you add value, it works.

    It’s also extremely interested to get your link inserted, as you mention.

    One question: I’m curious if you tried this tactic on your biggest site, or why it worked better on one of your older sites and not your biggest site? Any insight into why one site is better suited for this type of outreach over the other?

    1. Yeah, they will all work. But the effects of the links are greater on smaller sites with not much of a link profile to begin with.

  3. Wow, that’s awesome Chris! This will work perfectly for my next SEO project, which will involve ranking a web design / dev site, so inventing personas and doing a bunch of research won’t be really all that necessary. Thanks for sharing! =D

  4. Long time Chris,

    Good to be here again 🙂

    Coming to your post, I think this is a superb strategy.

    Even though it’ll take a lot time before getting one opportunity but, its indeed worth all the efforts because, one such link can shake a websites search ranking.

    One other strategy I heard recently and think is interesting is “Offering scholarship to university students”. In exchange, you get lots of articles and links from the university website, don’t know if you’ve heard about that before?

    Thanks for sharing Chris, and happy new week.

    BTW: I sent you an email few hours ago, don’t don’t know if you saw it?

    1. Hey Theodore! Great to see you here 🙂

      Yeah, I’ve heard of the scholarship strategy. It’s actually one of the strategies I recommended when I was working at my old SEO job, but never ended up actually pursuing it.

      It’s interesting, but of course it does cost a lot of money to build say a dozen links.

      I got your email. Sorry for the late response. Inbox has been swamped lately 🙁

    1. OK Chris,

      Thanks a lot. I’ll be looking forward for your response.

      Right now, what I’m finding difficult is hiring writers and a VA.

      Its not easy man.

      I also wanted to know something…..

      Every article you got from your writers must be 100% original right?

  5. Awesome article. Thanks Chis! I can’t wait to try out this new tactic. This is a great tactic, that compliments the other link building tactics from your SEO Niche Site Course (I loved the course by the way). Thanks for all you do to provide great quality information for niche site builders.

  6. Hey Chris,

    Awesome post.

    Would you mind sharing a single example site where these kind of guest posts or interviews are accepted ?

    Just for making it more clear.

    Thanks.

    1. I’d rather not list any specific sites.

      They’re not very hard to find, though 🙂

      If I were to list one here, I would literally only need to do a single Google search and list any of the sites on there.

  7. Hello Chris,
    Nice to see an awesome strategy working for you and hope for me also!
    I am going to use this technique for my niche sites and share the result with you personally.

    One thing i’ve seen that outreach scripts with personal attachment is get better result. The more the person know you the better conversion you had! 🙂 Good luck buddy 🙂

  8. Hey Chris, nice article. Please continue with the link strategies.

    So, you are saying that the career angle could be used with most niches? What about the career niches themselves? It seems like the first couple of spots on google are often take by edu or government sites, but the information is usually dry and less than spectacular. It seems like if you could at least get on the first page, plus all the long-tails, you could still do well. Do you think a site should target only one kind of career, or could each profession be a niche within a larger career site? Thanks

    1. Thanks Mark!

      Yup, you could definitely go with a site based on a single career. It would largely depend on how large the individual niche is, and the search traffic potential.

  9. Hello Chris, Outreach still remains one of the best way to build backlinks, but I will rather stick with GSA and Pbn, the stress of sending outreach mails is enough to build real links that will get me on Google

  10. Thank you Chris for another great link building strategy. You keep emphasizing that it’s the quality of the backlinks, not the quantity of them and that’s why I rarely use fiverr.

    I think the way this strategy works best is how to find the authority websites in your fields which could have best chances to link external sites. That would be quite a lot researches to do.

    Also, the gender of the author persona could be a factor for different fields. For examples, you would need a girl’s name if your website is about facial essential lotions. Just my two cents for this strategy.

    Thank you, Chris and please keep up the good work and we really appreciate it.

  11. Thank you for this excellent strategy Chris. It is not very often these days I get my mental juices flowing from reading about new strategies, but this one has my brain working overtime with all sorts of possibilities.

    I am looking forward to implementing them on my latest venture and 1 or 2 of my established ones also.

  12. Chris?????? I have had success using this same strategy on my rafting niche site and was happy i knew a secret no one else was talking about until today.. Chris why?

    Anyway, Great one… I will have to think out of d box again for another strategy for my niche sites in the popular circle.. **Cheers**

  13. wow just wow, it put me in an imagination-possibilities drive mode or whatever haha.. Chris youre really a christ.. thanks a lot for this

  14. Hey Chris. Gold post as always.

    You are right when saying you should test different LB techniques and find something which working.

    And what you did in this case – you made some typical sale! You found out what is the demand and motivation of those authorities and gave it to them.

    Different types of potential LB targets have different demand. In my niche I found Broken Link Building is almost doesn’t work. Because pointing to broken links is not enough valuable to them.

    Instead simple “Lazy method” (“hey link to my epic post because it’s so epic”) works even better than BLB.

    I will try to use this method you described here with tailoring to my niche!

    Thank you 🙂

  15. Thanks for this extremely informative post, Chris! I’ll make sure to try this out next time. Back when I was doing link building for my previous site, I actually did the broken link building method and to my surprise, it worked. A couple of months later, I just realized that at least three .edu sites linked back to me. Haha.

  16. What if my not niche site , i mean i have posts on education , health , sports and kitchen niches and others .

    How i will expert in all this niches in their eyes

    and what is the best outreach email in this case , i think your email is work in niche sites not with the kind of my site .
    thanks

    1. I think you can just use your creativity there and create multiple user personas (one for each topic on your site).

      e.g. I’m a writer at [url], where I share my thoughts on the best kitchen appliances 🙂

  17. Impressive stuff Chris. You are a master of outreach white hat link building 🙂

    I recently applied some tips from your blog, plus some tips from the guys over at Authority Hacker, and I’ve gotten 5-6 35 DA guest posts this month.

    Your advice definitely helped a lot. Thanks

  18. link building is not easy. especially one get tempted often after seeing other ranking higher than you by buying links. I have resisted this temptation so far. But guest posts are not easy to come by. Thanks for sharing this tip

  19. Hi Chris,

    Good read. Short and simple. Outreach has been one of the difficult link building technique for me to use. I think it’s about time I give it a try now.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Francis

  20. Amazing Chris! It’s definitely hard to land a link on those pages. You did a great job. Thanks for sharing! But I was wondering, does it have a big difference compared to when you reach out to bloggers and influencers?

    1. Thanks Emmerey! Yeah, definitely. These won’t really work unless they are a blog that features people like this. I guess for bloggers and influencers something similar would be podcast interviews or just written interview questions featuring you and your career field.

  21. Hey chris..
    Another awesome article from you. I always find something new from your post. Surely i will apply these techniques in my personal blog.

    thanks for awesome work, keep up!

    Cheers,
    Anand

  22. Thanks for sharing such a great insight into getting backlinks from authority websites and I will take an action and contact many. This is really helpful and useful great content.

  23. Hi Chris,
    It’s an awesome article about building links and seems very legit yet simple than other methods. Pitching for being interviewed is a bit difficult but not impossible.
    I will definitely use this technique.
    BTW, thanks for helping through this post.

  24. Chris, you’ve really caught my attention…your content is really exceptional.

    In terms of building backlinks, what are your thoughts on press releases?

    Assuming cost isn’t an issue, press releases push blurbs out to hundreds of sites and are oftentimes picked up by big news sites such as Yahoo and AOL. One considerations is the content is duplicated across all of these sites, so I’m not sure if that’s a factor or not.

  25. Although this will take sometime to adopt, but I think this is a great way to build quality link. Thank you for the explanation.

    If you can’t win with quantity, build some quality links.

  26. Nice work Chris, I’ve always found the broken link strategy to work best when you focus on content posted on sites that have evergreen content. These sites are frequently updated which gives search engines a chance to crawl them often. Outreach links also help with building relationships with the sites you want links from, which also makes it easy to gain more backlinks in the future from the same site, yes it might be time consuming but it’s on of the best strategies that will never go out of style.

  27. Thanks Chris, to give devilry another great post.Now a days quality links and possible maintain relevancy give ranking it seems.outreach strategy
    is though little longer but it more beneficial for quality link.

  28. wow, it’s tremendous article about link building, got much knowledge, but what about coupons based website, hence coupon based websites doesn’t have any long articles like niche blog has it just shows coupons, so how can i build links for coupon website.

    thanks for the article 🙂

  29. Hi Chris thank you so much for this. I’ve been binging on Rankxl for the past few days. Went from the first articles working my way up and I have to say, oh my…

    This strategy is amazing but quick question, when I was doing outreach for my site, I came across high authority site with very powerful Domain Authority and have asked me to guest post for them however, their traffic numbers are not that good compared to their DA.

    A DA40 website get 1000searches per month or sometimes less. Would you recommend going ahead with it or this kinda thing will actually harm me than doing any good

  30. Wow, that’s awesome Chris! This will work perfectly for my next SEO project, which will involve ranking a web design / dev site, so inventing personas and doing a bunch of research won’t be really all that necessary. Thanks for sharing

  31. Long time Chris,

    Good to be here again

    Coming to your post, I think this is a superb strategy.

    Even though it’ll take a lot time before getting one opportunity but, its indeed worth all the efforts because, one such link can shake a websites search ranking.

    One other strategy I heard recently and think is interesting is “Offering scholarship to university students”. In exchange, you get lots of articles and links from the university website, don’t know if you’ve heard about that before?

    Thanks for sharing Chris, and happy new week.

  32. Hi Chris
    Great information with this post, thank you.
    Just wanted to ask, does the increase in traffic that you receive from the link – is that permanent or a temporary spike in traffic via the new link which then returns to regular numbers afterwards?

    Currently working my way through the tons of valuable info on your site to start building my first authority blog, wordpress academy, Niche sites 101 and all your great posts – there’s so much great stuff to read,
    Thanks Chris

  33. Great article Chris, I’ve been learning a lot about building links through your Authority SEO course and your blog.

    Though I have a specific question on Edu sites. How do you find the right person to contact for outreach?

    I usually find more than one person’s email on these type of websites and do you have any tips on who to reach out to, be it for this technique or other outreach methods?

    1. Usually, you want to email the webmaster.

      If that’s not available, try contacting general support and they’ll usually forward the email to the appropriate person.

  34. Hello Chris, how are you
    Great information with this post, thank you.
    Lovely content Chris! Glad I got to know about your SEO Strategy. I’m a big fan of you

  35. This strategy is brilliant. It takes some time for sure but it builds a relationship and a connection more than just focusing on the content. Excellent write up Chris.

    Excited to see what you put out next. More case studies would be awesome.

  36. Awesome article. Thanks Chis! I can’t wait to try out this new tactic. This is a great tactic, that compliments the other link building tactics from your SEO Niche Site Course (I loved the course by the way). Thanks for all you do to provide great quality information for niche site builders.

  37. Hey, Chris

    Awesome post! I really amazed by the technique you shared and I will definitely try out this technique to get backlinks from high authority sites and let you know if it works.

    Cheers

  38. Thank you chris, for this great article. This strategy seems very effective and promising to get a high authority link back. Although this will take some time but I will try it for sure.

  39. Thank you, Chris for your great post and Nice texture about link building.I will definitely try out this technique, Hope it will be working for me nicely.

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