How to Get Backlinks (without Being Annoying)

9 min read
How To's, Rant, SEO/Content Marketing
By: Maddy Osman

Updated 8/13/18

As a regular contributor to several blogs, and the webmaster of my own (this one,, and Tanks that Get Around), I get requests from people trying to build backlinks at least once per day. Sometimes these requests are compelling, and I grant them, and sometimes they’re so misguided that they go straight to the trash, without a reply.

For selfish reasons, and to improve the process revolved around how to get backlinks, I’ve analyzed some of the most stand-out backlink requests I’ve ever gotten (both good and awful), with some practical takeaways so you have a better idea of how to get backlinks for your own efforts.

Answer the Question: What’s in it for Me?

This pitch actually pointed to a specific article and demonstrated an understanding of the type of content that can be found on my website. It amazes me how many backlink requests I get that aim for a general approach, throwing up the link for an article they want a link to, but giving no direction as to where the link should specifically go.

So one lesson that can be learned from what this pitch did well is to fill in the blanks. Don’t make me think. If you want me to do something for you, make it as easy and intuitive as possible – down to what specific part of the article your link should be attached to.

But my main issue with this backlink outreach attempt is that it’s completely self-serving. In my years of sales, I learned how to always approach a customer with what I was selling as the solution to their problems. But this person made no such attempt to win me over.

Nothing about this email makes me want to stop what I’m doing, log into WordPress, open up the post in question, and add in a link. It might seem like a small investment of time on my end, but I really don’t appreciate interruptions during my busy work days unless there is a good reason for them.

Some things this person could have told me to change my mind about giving them a backlink:

This example for how to get a backlink did a much better job of answering the WIIFM (what’s in it for me):

This backlink request did a lot of things right: