Why we don’t do link outreach

03.11.21 // Graham McConnell

Link building is important

Search engine algorithms take into account links to your pages. Websites that receive the most links from relevant, popular websites receive priority above websites that have fewer inbound links. Estimates of correlation point to links at the domain and page levels as one of the most important factors in ranking well.

Off-site SEO is often referred to as “link building” or “link outreach”, as the end goal is to have as many influential websites include a link from their website to yours.

Link building vs. link outreach

Link building is the strategy of acquiring links, while link outreach is one of the tactics that requires solicitation for placement, primarily for guest posting, which in this case includes a link back to the author’s website. Not all link building requires link outreach.

Obility describes four areas of link building:

  • Controlled Links -promoting events, sponsoring an event, or speaking at an event
  • Company Network – partners, customers
  • Link Mining & Competitive Analysis – where are competitors getting links?
  • Content Marketing – Content creation and publication

Content creation and publication on third party websites, in this specific case; guest posting, needs outreach to be successful. Without reaching out to the actual publications, content will not simply not get published.

Why we don’t do link outreach

Quality links at Scale

Link building, on an impactful scale from quality sources, can be extremely effective. Improving your domain’s visibility by acquiring trustful links undoubtedly increases your rankings. Unfortunately this needs to be done on a large scale to make a significant impact. 

Most Obility client’s link profiles contain a high percentage (over 50%) of links from news sources for things like publicity (positive and negative), funding, going public, among others. These are all links that occur naturally that come with newsworthy content. This is where the real impact can be seen.

The capabilities needed to impact the entirety of your domain’s trust is beyond creating content and reaching out to a minimal number of publications for guest posting opportunities per month. It helps, but the capacity needed to both create and see impact requires more than an SEO team. Obility is not equipped to provide more than this through lack of connections, resources or essentially functioning as a PR agency.

On-site vs Off-site Content Creation

Obility believes creating content for your own site is more valuable than creation primarily for link building purposes. It can be ensured that the content is optimized in addition traffic coming directly to your site. It is also possible that the content created on your site could garner links through promotion such as social sharing and newsletter or ranking well and being seen by an interested party who finds it valuable enough to link to. 


There is no guarantee that reaching out will lead to an acquisition. When it does, there isn’t a great way to measure improvement to a given page. Three new links to your keyword targeted page could result in the improvement of the keyword ranking, but that is also in conjunction with on-page optimizations or new content. Obility believes focusing on your on-site content is a better ROI and is more measurable.

What Google says 

From Google’s John Mueller on guest posts:

“The part that’s problematic is the links — if you’re providing the content/the links, then those links shouldn’t be passing signals & should have the rel-sponsored / rel-nofollow attached. It’s fine to see it as a way of reaching a broader audience.”

“Essentially if the link is within the guest post, it should be nofollow, even if it’s a “natural” link you’re adding there. FWIW none of this is new, and I’m not aware of any plans to ramp up manual reviews of this. We catch most of these algorithmically anyway.”

TLDR: Guest posting for links is problematic for Google in that it results in unnatural links.

What is an unnatural link? From Google’s Quality Guidelines:

Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.

What we do

Link Target identification

  • Identifying valuable publications that your  PR team can reach out to.
  • Reporting on easy-to-acquire links such as broken backlinks and unlinked mentions.
  • Evaluate externally linked to pages to create internal linking strategy to pass on value

Competitor analysis

  • Auditing competitors’ backlink profiles and identifying backlink gaps.

About Graham McConnell

Graham is the Director of Marketing here at Obility and has been with us since October 2014. He was awarded the prestigious Obility MVP 2017 award for his incredible contributions and positive attitude. Graham is also the office's unofficial movie/music guru with his endless knowledge and supply of entertainment. View all Graham McConnell’s posts >