The Teammate Technique: How I Achieved a 45% Outreach Success Rate

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Have you ever stopped to think about why you’re not getting as many backlinks as you want?

The truth is that people forget they’re not the only ones using link building strategies.

Thousands of other people are trying to win the same links as you.

It doesn’t matter if their content is terrible or the best thing since sliced bread – you’ll be facing stiff (or stale) competition regardless.

If you really want to have success with your link building, you’ll need to do something different.

Today, I will show you a technique that’ll help you earn high-quality links and build sustainable relationships with website owners.

Let’s get started…

The Teammate Technique: Value-based Link Building

After spending years doing SEO for clients and experimenting with different projects, it was time to have my own personal site.

I started my website in May 2020, publishing roughly one piece of content each month for a year.

After implementing “The Teammate Technique”, I built dozens of high-quality links which helped increase my site’s referring domains by 553% within one year.

Referring domain increase YoY 553%

Some pages had backlinks pouring in within a matter of weeks:

Referring Domains with The Teammate Technique

More notably, Organic Search contributed to over 35% of my site’s sessions in that year.

Organic Search The Teammate Technique

Oh, and one more thing… my website was NEW.

No historic backlinks or previous branding, just a fresh domain with some content.

So what does this all mean?

You can get these results for your site whether it’s brand new or well-established.

The 3 Steps to Using “The Teammate Technique”

There are only three steps to The Teammate Technique.

I cover all of them in this easy-to-follow video:

As referenced in the above video, here are the three steps that form The Teammate Technique:

Step 1: Create content that confirms your expertise

Step 2: Find websites with content/knowledge gaps

Step 3: Reach out like a teammate

You might be wondering why this technique works so well (and how it got its name).

Think of a basketball team with 5 players.

They all have a common goal: to win the game.

No matter how good or bad each player is, they need teammates to assist them in reaching that goal.

Your role is to assist a website owner, whether that’s by improving their content, skills or processes.

Essentially, YOU are their teammate.

You could help someone reach their goal of having better content on their website by copy-editing their work or suggesting topics that they’ve missed, for example.

Does that sound good?

Great!

Now it’s time for you to learn The Teammate Technique step-by-step.

Step 1: Create content that confirms your expertise

If you want your website to succeed, you need great content.

This is easier said than done, but it’s common sense that (for the most part) great content will rank higher on Google.

The thing is, Google continues to favour websites whose content is written by experts in their field.

If your content doesn’t add value or make it apparent that you’re an industry expert, you’re going to have a hard time both ranking on Google and convincing people to link to you.

That’s why the first step is to ensure that you have content on your website that confirms your expertise on whatever topic you’re writing about.

Also, great content gives people a reason to trust you.

There are plenty of ways to write appealing content.

But how do you know which content types will work best?

Here’s how:

Let’s move on to step two…

Step 2: Find websites with content/knowledge gaps

Once your awesome piece of content is live, it’s time to look for websites that you can reach out to to link to your content.

At this juncture, most people will find any website that has written about a similar topic and then reach out to them.

The problem with this approach is that if a website already has great content published, why would they even consider linking to you?

Spoiler alert: they won’t.

The solution to this problem is finding websites that have gaps in their content and/or knowledge that you can fill.

Here’s an example:

In my YouTube SEO guide, I mentioned the use of cards and end screens.

Were I looking to generate more links to this post, I would look for similar content on the web that has no mention of cards and end screens.

Google Search Operators are INSANELY helpful to accomplish this. Let’s take a look at an example:

intitle:youtube seo -cards -“end screens” -“end screen”

Google Search Parameter using step 2 of The Teammate Technique

Now you’ve found a list of websites that have written about your topic but haven’t included certain points or ideas.

As such, these websites can all benefit from a teammate.

And that teammate is you.

The reason this approach works so well is that you are guaranteed to have value that you can add to these articles.

Now it’s about finding a way to reach out to these websites that will increase your chances of success.

Step 3: Reach out like a teammate

Email outreach is one thing that pretty much everyone does when it comes to link building.

It’s no different in The Teammate Technique, except for ONE thing.

Instead of screaming “my content is the best” like 99% of people do, you put the focus on the other person by demonstrating how you can assist them, like a teammate.

Because you already know from step 2 that you have value to add, people will appreciate you trying to help them out.

This is especially the case if the person you are reaching out to isn’t as knowledgeable as you are on that topic.

And psychology tells us that people love talking about themselves, so talk about their content and how you can help them succeed.

I had 92 promising prospects to outreach and this is the template I used:

Email outreach template example using The Teammate Technique

(The template was tweaked each time to better match the prospect’s content).

Notice how I didn’t even ask for a link?

Crazy, right?

By engaging people in content that they’ve already written, you have a head start in knowing that they’re pretty much guaranteed to be interested in that topic.

And you therefore have a higher chance of getting a reply.

I received LOTS of great feedback using this (always tailored) template.

Many people jumped on a call with me whereby I helped them with their content, website or even general SEO questions.

I received two powerful links from this response.

When you help people, they’ll usually reciprocate.

Results

Out of the 92 emails I sent, I had 59 replies and 41 links.

That’s a 64% response rate and a 45% success rate.

What’s even crazier is that these results came from cold emails.

Other studies usually have terrible response rates because they reference their content and ask for links in the initial email.

The outreach template I used didn’t mention anything about my own content.

And that led to me getting a link from almost half of the people I reached out to.

That’s why The Teammate Technique works so well.

Were the backlinks strong?

Short answer: yes.

The domains that linked to me all had different metrics (according to SEO tools) and of course, some links came to my website organically.

I didn’t prioritise metrics like DA/DR, instead I considered how relevant the websites were to mine in terms of the topics they cover, as well as their inbound/outbound anchors & referring domains.

Whilst building 41 links might not sound that impressive, the high response and success rates coupled with the tailored list of prospects ensured that the links were VERY powerful.

And these backlinks came purely from cold email outreach – not newsjacking, journalist hunting or digital PR campaigns.

Sure, links are great… but what about organic visibility?

My site’s impressions grew steadily over the course of the year.

Google Search Console Impressions Increase Using The Teammate Technique

Mind you, this started off as a fresh website with virtually nothing in the first two months.

As an SEO consultant that has worked on countless sites, I know that SEO takes time.

Did you manage to build strong relationships with the prospects?

I’ve kept in contact with many people who responded to my outreach.

This provides more opportunities to build links in the future, branch out my network and scale my visibility MUCH more.

All in all, some of the best links I’ve built have come from using The Teammate Technique.

Limitations

Every case study has limitations, and mine is no exception.

Due to the sheer number of SEO projects I was working on at the time (which included publishing ‘Keywords for SEO‘), I wasn’t able to churn out more frequent content for the site.

It also meant that I didn’t reach out to as many people as I would have liked.

Email outreach is another limitation because it depends on various factors, such as the time or day you send the email, or the accuracy of your email records.

My site is also in the marketing niche so outreach results can vary depending on your industry.

Additionally, I had other natural links pointing to my site which contributed to the increase in referring domains.

Don’t get me wrong, the results were great – but they could have been even better.

Imagine combining this technique with frequent, great content. WOW.

You can use The Teammate Technique at scale, but you’ll need more time and content to continue getting good results.

Over to you

Now you know how to execute The Teammate Technique for your website or business.

There are lots of websites out there that could use a teammate – will you be theirs?

Remember that you don’t just build links with this technique, you build relationships that can benefit you in the future.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

I’ll make sure to reply to every single one 🙂

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26 thoughts on “The Teammate Technique: How I Achieved a 45% Outreach Success Rate”

  1. Reach out like a teammate: This phrase has all the essence. A quite useful and insightful technique described in this blog post. Once you reach out like a teammate, it definitely creates the difference. You are offering your knowledge and expertise and helping the other side and in turn you also get benefitted. Thanks Itamar for sharing and helping us too.

  2. Hi Itamar,
    I was doing some digging around link building today and happened to find your post on LinkedIn.

    Your mention of using a customized email template is great – it’s something I recommend as a huge time saver. 😉

    Have you considered using UTM codes in the URL? Google has a great tool to do it for free and it would allow you to track the CTR of posts on LinkedIn or other platforms much easier!

    I’m sure you’re familiar with it, but if not, I’d be happy to hop on a call and discuss! Let me know if you’ve time for a quick chat!
    Thanks for your time and I hope to hear from you soon,

    Best,
    Steven Adelmund

    PS. I know this was a bit cheeky, but I’m sure you’ll appreciate it 🙂

  3. Itamar,

    Thanks for this detailed post and for sharing precious knowledge. I couldn’t agree more: link building is all about building relationships. That’s what I do for my own link-building campaigns.

  4. Hi there, I just want to say thanks for this post.

    I have been trying to explore link building techniques and you seem to be sharing quite a lot in this space! I’ll be reading some of them today. So thanks again Itamar.

    1. I like the approach of trying to offer value upfront first.

      And you don’t even mention the link in the first email…. I’m all about engaging in and tactic that’s different

      You should consider offering this as a service

      1. Thanks, Bobby! Don’t get me wrong, people who ask for links in the first email can get success, but it takes much longer and doesn’t really help towards building a relationship with a website owner that you’ve never engaged with before.

        I’m always happy to help people with specific use cases, but firstly I want to ensure that my content is freely available on my site or YouTube channel 🙂

  5. Hello Itamar! Thank you for sharing! I will keep practising this technique. Are there any nuances in this teammate technique (relationship-based link building) for various niches? What extra tips could bloggers or experts use/apply in their discipline to rank the websites? Thank you!

    1. Hi Polina! Different niches will vary in terms of their success, of course, but it’s also important to understand that link building on its own won’t guarantee a website will rank (or for the right types of searches, at least).

      Bloggers should aim to research their niche well and find gaps that they can capitalise on in terms of creating great content and building an audience-base that will engage and (hopefully) convert.

  6. Great blog article this Itamar! The process actually makes great sense and it’s extremely useful, especially when you are wanting to build more organic links as opposed to other methods….!

    1. Good question, Dawid. The boundaries you’re referring to would be related to your prospecting. People have different ways to determine if a website is a good prospect for them, and my technique covers how you can do this from a content perspective. Of course there’s not a problem with delving into different tools, but it’s important to know how to analyse them correctly as metrics that you have mentioned can be inflated. I hope this helps!

  7. This is an interesting idea, but… How does this work for niches outside of the SEO/marketing sphere, when your content won’t have any influence on their blog’s success?

    1. Hi Robert,

      All niches benefit when it comes to a blog being able to evoke trust amongst audiences. Even without thinking about this from a pure SEO perspective, strong branding is crucial and this can easily be hindered by having inadequate content or site. This is something that you as a teammate can help build on in a way that benefits both yourself and the teammate with their goals.

      I hope this helps!

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