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Link Building: How SEO Gurus Do It And Why You Shouldn’t Follow Them


If you’re a blogger then I bet you get a lot of emails from marketers (and sometimes from “guru” bloggers) that says they are a regular reader of your blog and then say “Great stuff!” after highlighting a blog post of yours.

The reality? They are neither a regular reader of your blog nor did they read any of your blog posts. How do I know? Well, essentially what they send is just an email template (it can be copied or a custom one).

You can easily find it out by Google searching a phrase or two from the email message. And they send it to a ton of other bloggers as well — after modifying the name, blog URL, etc.).

So what do they want? Links. More links. And even more links.

And remember, some of them are “guru” bloggers while others are just a representative of another blogger or an internet marketing agency.

Don’t Miss: The Link Building Handbook – 75+ Resources, Tips, Strategies & Tools

There was a time when I used to reply to each and every email that I received. But now I have stopped responding to them. At times, I even replied to anonymous senders (I still do it).

So here, I have answered all the 10 types of emails that I (and probably you) get regularly from blog outreach experts. My answers state exactly what’s in my mind when I get such an email but I do not send it. Some of them do appear natural but they are just templates!

Note: I removed the identity (and email signatures) of the senders to protect their privacy.

Type 1: Check It Out

Hey Mahesh

I was looking for some articles about inbound marketing when I came across your “The Email Marketing Handbook – 101+ Resources, Tips, Strategies & Tools” post.

Great stuff!

Just wanted to give you a heads up that I created a landing page optimization guide you might like.

Let me know if you want to check it out.

Have a great day and keep up the great work!

Oh, you didn’t even include a link to your blog post. You did that to make me curious? No, I do not want to check it out. I mean, there are hundreds of new blog posts published every day and it can be related to topics on my blog. But why should I read it in the first place?

Let me tell you something, if I want to know more about a topic then there’s always Google search for me — if not, then there’s Bing search — and it’s all what I (and probably everyone) will ever need.

Type 2: Updated Version

Hey Mahesh,

I just wanted to say that I’m loving the blog. I actually came across a great post of yours today, “The Internet Marketing Handbook – 101+ Resources, Tips, Guides & Tools” .

As always, great stuff !

I noticed that you have a link to :

I really like this resource, some very valuable content in there. In fact, it inspired me to write an updated version called “His Blog Post”.

You can check it out here: Might be worth adding to your article.

Wow, I inspired you! But you know what? When someone inspires me to write a blog post I naturally link to them to show my gratitude (like this). I scanned your blog post and I didn’t see a backlink or a credit in any manner. I’m sorry but I didn’t inspire you in any way and all you wanted was a backlink.

Type 3: Something Similar

Hi ,

I was checking out some of your articles at Minterest and found this page: “The Definitive Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Handbook”.

I noticed that you linked to one of my favorite articles:


I actually set out to make something similar: “His Blog Post”.

It’s like “”, but way more comprehensive in exactly how you can become a top blog.

Would you consider adding a link to it from your page if you think it meets your standards?

Either way, I’ll see you around at Minterest!

I suppose I’m linking to one of your competitors. Does that means that I should also link to you? I’m sorry but neither you nor your article meets my standards.

Type 4: Resource Addition

Hello Mahesh,

My name is “Mr. X” from “Y Company”. I’m a big fan of your posts and read them as often as I can. I’ve learned a lot from what you write, and found it a valuable resource lately especially, when preparing “His Blog Post” that was just published.

That’s how I noticed you have a pretty nifty resource list on your site (, which made wonder whether you’d be willing to add to it. I’m quite proud of how the blog post turned out, and I think it would be a good fit for your list. I’d be grateful if you considered including me as well.

Here is the link:

I look forward to hear what you think!

Okay, I agree that it does appear real. But I have already mentioned at the bottom of all such list posts that you can suggest your resource as a comment. Do you really read my blog posts as often as you can? 🙁

Type 5: Guest Posts


I am a big fan of your blog and have been a reader for quite a while. Are you currently accepting guest posts? If so, I would be happy to write one for you want – The choice is yours! (The only thing I ask for in return is just one or two do-follow links back to my website.)

I am professional writer with a lot of blogging experience, so you can count on me to produce quality content. As soon as you reply with a topic, I will get started right away.

I saw that you featured some guest posts in the past and I thought the piece was an excellent fit for your site and your readers. Let me know if you’d be interested in reading and possibly hosting and article, I’m excited about the possibility of working with you.

I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Oh, that was the worst guest blogging pitch ever. You’re a big fan of my blog but you haven’t noticed yet that I NEVER accepted or published a single guest post on my blog? Stay away spammer!

Type 6: Do-follow


I hope you don’t mind me emailing you today, I am looking for owners of websites and blogs that might be interested in collaborating on some content for their respective sites in the form of an article in this case for

The article mentioned can of course be written by us if needed or yourself if that’s how you prefer it. We do have a few requirements for posting but we can go over that if you are interested in moving forward.

I am however working with a respected client in the i-gaming industry who would like the article to contain one text link back to their site, blended in with the contents of the article to look as natural as possible.

I would also be prepared to pay you for your collaboration.

If you are happy with hosting content and do not mind the client mentioned please let me know and I am sure we can create something suitable and beneficial for all parties involved.

Many thanks and kind regards.

I know it’s just an automated email and I’m pretty sure that you will pay me. Anyway, I do not accept sponsored links and posts for SEO. Thanks.

Type 7: Broken Links

Hey Mahesh,

Just wanted to start off saying that I love (and I mean love!) Minterest. I came across it yesterday when looking for social media resources. This one was particularly amazing: There were so many resources I had to spend a second day pouring through them. 🙂

One thing, though: a few links in the post weren’t working. Looks like the sites moved or pages taken down. No biggie, just wanted to let you know. Here are a few of the links that didn’t work for me:,

Also, I just posted a few articles recently that covers topics similar those on your page that might be a nice addition.

As a huge fan I’d be honored if you’d consider adding these links if you think they would be useful to your readers. If not, it’s cool. I’ll still read your stuff!

Broken link building strategy is not a bad idea. But telling lies is a bad idea. You DON’T love Minterest and you don’t know me. And I’m well aware of the fact that your email itself is a copied template.

Type 8: Review

Hi Mahesh,

We’ve been an ardent fan of your blog Minterest and thus reaching out for a few minutes of your time.

A little about us. My name is “Mr. X”. I handle the Digitial Marketing of “Y Company”, an open source platform for t-shirt designers to design, showcase and sell their products at zero cost entry and with tons of benefits other than just revenue optimization.

We have been wondering if we can collaborate with you to tell our story. We’d love to discuss with you the possibility of being mentioned/studied/reviewed via an article on your blog.

Please feel free to get back to us with any guidelines as well as a quote for your comfort zone. We’d love to initiate a long-term relationship with you.

You can read more about us at our “Y Company” Blog to understand who we are and what we do.

P.S. We’ve also got a really cool tee which we’d love to send to you as a gesture of good faith.

Looking forward to your response.

Again, you’re not a fan of my blog (In fact, I have very few.) and you don’t have a clue about the kind of topics or products that I usually write about.

Type 9: Infographic

Hi Mahesh,

I’m writing to let you know about an infographic we have published on our blog, titled ““His Blog Post”. I think you will enjoy it as you’ve covered topics like this before.

Here is the weblink to the resource: and if you find it worthwhile, I hope you will consider sharing it with your readers.

Either way, I’m excited to see what you will post about next as I’ve found your site a pleasure to read.

Thanks for your time!

You must be kidding as I haven’t published any infographic blog posts after 2012. And I don’t think that I have more than 5 infographics on my blog.

Type 10: Press Releases


We are a new technology startup who offer shirt printing and shipping fulfillment apps for Shopify, WooCommerce, Etsy, and Storenvy. I would like to push our press release through your outlet to gain some exposure. We are trying to get people to this page:

I have included the text of the release below, and have HTML and PDF versions available — if the release isn’t acceptable to publish, could we create some real content for you instead, like “Sample Topic” or something like that? Thanks in advance!


::: a 500 word press release :::

No questions asked, they just send their 500 word press releases (and sometimes with a YouTube video as well). And I seriously don’t have a clue about what to do with it (and it seems like neither do they).

Don’t Miss: The Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Handbook

So what’s the right way?

I don’t know. But…

1. Use Common Sense

I don’t know any guru tips. Pardon me! What you really need here is some common sense and not “guru tips”.

“Email unto others as you would have them email unto you.”

The real source of the above quote is unknown but I first came across it from the latest blog post by @Dharmesh — 17 Tips For Emailing A Cold List Without People Hating You. In fact, it inspired me to write this blog post (but it never “inspired me to write an updated version”). 😛

2. Write A Genuine Message

You can use the email or the social media (especially Twitter). Today, Twitter is probably the simplest form of communication (and I love it much more than email). You can easily initiate a connection on Twitter by simply saying “hi” or asking some sort of question or anything like that.

Or, you can share your favorite blogger’s blog posts by adding a custom message (and not by using the original title of their blog posts). I always tend to reply to those who share my blog posts on Twitter with a custom message. It clearly shows that they did read the blog post (or at least I can make sure that they were not using a robot to do it).

Nobody likes to read automated emails or templates. But everybody loves to read genuine emails or messages — good or bad. If you initiated a contact in a genuine way then there’s every chance that they will respond.

In case they didn’t then you can always follow-up after few days to make sure that they did receive your message. And luckily it takes only few minutes to write a genuine email and you don’t need any “guru tips” for that, right?

3. Make A Real Connection

A genuine message creates a real connection. Seriously. It may last only for a day or a month or an year but you can always follow-up when you want to. The good thing is… when you make a real connection, you are not actually expecting anything in return.

For instance, let’s say you’re a WordPress developer and you helped me to increase the user experience on my blog by adding some extra features or something like that and never asked anything in return.

And, what happens after that? There’s a very good chance that we will follow-up via email or instant messaging and help each other. And if the next blog post of mine is about WordPress Coding then there’s every chance that I will link to you (or at least mention you). It’s not so hard to make real connections.

4. Send Your Pitch

Pitching a blogger is a good idea when there is a genuine reason to do so. But make sure that your pitch is short, personal, and relevant — as it makes your pitch real.

Ideally, you should pitch a blogger only if you know them or would like to know more about him. It’s not a good idea to pitch bloggers only to get something in return. It may work — by following “guru tips” — but they (or at least I) will hate you.

Don’t Miss: Over 101 SEO Tools (Free & Premium) You’ll Ever Need

Closing Thoughts

If you’re one of the senders of the above emails then I bet you’re annoyed now. Sorry, but please do bear in mind that I (and probably all your other email recipients) was much more annoyed than you are now.

Guess what? The next time I get another automated email like the above ones I will probably forward them this blog post or Dharmesh’s 17 tips for emailing a cold list. And I really hope it annoys them as well.

What do you think?

Image Credit: Flickr