How to Improve Your Link Building Outreach Pipeline – Moz
Link building is probably one of the most challenging pieces of your SEO efforts. Add multiple clients to the mix, and managing the link outreach process gets even trickier. When you’re in the thick of several outreach campaigns, it’s hard to know where to focus your efforts and which tactics will bring you the most return on your time and resources.
Three common questions are critical to understand at any point in your link campaign:
- Do you need more link prospects?
- Do you need to revise your email templates?
- Do you need to follow up with prospects?
Without a proven way to analyze these questions, your link building efforts won’t be as efficient as they could be.
We put together a Google Sheets template to help you better manage your link building campaigns. The beauty of this template is that it allows for customization to better fit your workflow. You’ll want to make a copy to get started with your own version.
Our link building workflow
We’ve been able to improve our efficiency via this template by following a simple workflow around acquiring new guest posts on industry-relevant websites. The first step is to actually go out and find prospects that could be potentially interested in a guest blog post. We will then record those opportunities into our template so that we can track our efforts and identify any area that isn’t performing well.
The next step is to make sure to update the status of the prospect when anything changes like sending an outreach email to the prospect or getting a reply from them. It’s critical to keep the spreadsheet as up to date as possible so that we have an accurate picture of our performance.
Once you’ve used this template for enough time and you’ve gathered enough data, you’ll be able to predict how many link prospects you’ll need to find in order to acquire each link based on your own response and conversion rates. This can be useful if you have specific goals around acquiring a certain number of links per month, as you’ll get a better feel for how much prospecting you need to do to meet that link target number.
Using the link outreach template
The main purpose of this template is to give you a systematic way to analyze your outreach process so you can drill down into the biggest opportunities for improvement. There are several key features, starting with the Prospects tab.
The Prospects tab is the only one you will need to manually edit, and it houses all the potential link prospects uncovered in your researched. You’ll want to fill in the cells for your prospect’s website URL;, and you can also add the Domain Authority of the website for outreach prioritization. For the website URL, I typically put in an example of a guest post that was done on that site or just the homepage if I can’t find a better page.
There’s also a corresponding status column, with the following five stages so you can keep track of where each prospect is in the outreach process.
Status 1: Need to Reach Out. Use this for when you initially find a prospect but have not taken any action yet.
Status 2: Email Sent. This is used as soon as you send your first outreach email.
Status 3: Received Response
Status 4: Topic Approved. Select this status after you get a response and your guest post topic has been approved (this may take a few emails). Whenever I see this status, I know to reach out to my content team so they can start writing.
Status 5: Link Acquired. Selecting this status will automatically add the website to your Won Link Opportunities Report.
The final thing to do here is record the date that a particular link was acquired and add the URL where the link resides. Filling in these columns automatically populates the “Won Link Opportunities” report so you can track all of the links you acquire throughout the lifetime of your campaign.
Link building progress reports
This template automatically creates two reports that I share with my clients on a monthly basis. These reports help us dial in our efforts and maximize the performance of our overall link building campaign.
Link Pipeline report
The Link Pipeline report is a snapshot of our overall link outreach campaign. It shows us how many prospects we have in our pipeline and what the conversion/response rates are of each stage of our outreach funnel.
How to analyze the Link Pipeline report
This report allows us to understand where we need to focus our efforts to maximize our campaign’s performance. If there aren’t enough prospects at the top of the funnel, we know that we need to start looking for new link opportunities. If our contact vs. response rate is low, we know we need to test new email copy or email subject lines.
Won Link Opportunities
The Won Link Opportunities report lists out all the websites where a link has been officially landed. This is a great way to keep track of overall progress over time and to gauge performance against your link building goals.
Getting the most out of your link building campaigns
Organization is critical for maximizing your link building efforts and the return on the time you’re spending. By knowing exactly which stage of your link building process is your lowest performing, you can dramatically increase your overall efficiency by targeting those areas that need the most improvement.